Whether you’re looking to revamp your bathroom or build a new home, there are plenty of options when it comes to tiles. But if you’re after something that’s truly eye-catching, it might be worth considering encaustic tile as your flooring or wall covering choice. The look may be reminiscent of times gone by, but it has become an increasingly popular option in modern homes. Here’s what you need to know about incorporating these patterned gems into your space.
The process of making encaustic tiles is complex. The different components of the pattern are impressed into a layer of unfired clay using a design mold. The indents are then filled with a liquid clay ‘slip’ of a contrasting colour. The top layer is then hydraulically pressed onto the tile. Encaustic tiles were a popular choice of flooring in the 1800s, as the Gothic Revival style took hold. The leading manufacturer at the time was Herbert Minton, whose catalogue featured medieval-inspired patterns that found favour with many church patrons. Minton’s tiles can still be seen today in buildings like the Palace of Westminster and the US Capitol Building.
While encaustic tiles can be a focal point of your room, they also work well as a backdrop to other design elements. A graphically patterned floor tile works best when it’s balanced with white or neutral wall tiles and simple tapware and cabinetry. This will ensure the tile isn’t competing for attention with other features in the room.
However, it’s important to remember that patterned tiles can be bold and statement-making. This is especially true of highly textured and detailed tiles. For this reason, if you’re going for a full-on encaustic look, you should limit the use of other decorative elements in the room.
If you’re unsure how to incorporate encaustic tile into your space, take inspiration from the colours used in other parts of your home. For example, if you have chosen to go with a colourful encaustic tile in your bathroom or laundry, consider choosing other items in the kitchen that are also in the same colour palette. This will make the space feel pulled together and coordinated rather than disjointed.
For kitchen splashbacks, Marish suggests taking cues from the colour of your cabinets, benchtop and tapware to create a cohesive look. In an open-plan kitchen, this will also help to tie the look into the dining and living areas of your home. You should also consider the colours of upholstery, carpet and artwork in these spaces when selecting your encaustic tile to ensure that it coordinates perfectly with the rest of your home’s palette. With careful consideration and planning, it is possible to incorporate a striking encaustic tile into any space in your home.