Vintage Tile and Stone Designs to Make Your Floors Pop
Tile and stone have been in use as building materials for centuries, but the hardy flooring medium became truly popular in the late 19th century; germ theory was a new field of study and glazed tile refreshingly easy to clean. Of course, few people are satisfied by functionality alone, and by the 20th century decorative accents, patterning, and other stylish flourishes became de rigueur in most households. Nowadays, homeowners take inspiration from a wide range of periods and adapt it to their individual needs. Below are some of the most popular stone and tile flooring designs, which might look right at home in your 21st-century house.
Roman mosaics come in many forms, but they all have that weathered, centuries-old look and use tiny (1" by 1" or smaller) porcelain tiles in repeating patterns and inset designs. Since they are often eye-catching and complex, these statement pieces look best as accents, think borders in bathrooms, inlaid on kitchen backsplashes, or welcoming visitors in the foyer floor. While any combination of colors will do, antiqued earth tones are the classic choice.
Spanish and Mexican
Warm and welcoming, Spanish-inspired stonework and tile create a festive feeling wherever placed. Choose brightly colored and highly-polished geometric patterns to add pizzazz to a bathroom or kitchen backsplash or use large (12" by 12" or bigger) terracotta tiles in open living spaces. One popular emerging trend is to mix and match medium (4" by 4") patterned tiles in similar colorways to create a bathroom accent wall or fashionable floor.
Ornate and feminine, Victorian tile patterns often take on a swirling, floral, or geometric appearance designed to beautify any space. That's why these tiles were placed around fireplaces, the focal point of the home. In addition to the patterns, prints of birds and other animals, flowers, and illustrations (sometimes entire scenes of activity) add charm in spades.
A more masculine take on the Victorian style, Edwardian tiles lean more heavily on geometric patterning, with intricate yet versatile variations on checks and other square-based designs. Some of these prints are quite simple while others verge on Byzantine. You can customize the look to suit your tastes, and our professionals can guide you in the right direction.
Turn of the Century
Back in the States, Americans were going wild for…subway tile. These rectangular, white tiles were laid in a simple straight or brick-like pattern to emphasize cleanliness and order. Subway tiling has once again become tremendously popular, although many homeowners opt to update the look with a different color tile, different color grout, or bigger tiles. Another benefit of this approachable design is well it goes with everything.
Subway tiles swiftly became hexagonal tiles, and color arrived on the scene with the swinging '20s. Pink, navy, olive, yellow, and brighter colors were commonplace in this period, as well as organic prints that defied geometry. This era can overwhelm or look dated without the right technique, so you may wish to focus instead on simple subway tile for the largest areas and add a '20s border or backsplash to soften the impression. Our people can help to decide how to make the most of this era's distinctive look.
After the difficulties of The Depression, people were modest about their renovations, seeking a minimalist look that was easy to clean, classic in appearance, and anything but boastful. Utilitarian designs and larger tiles set this era apart from the turn of the century monochromatic look. Now that gray is popular once more, this efficient, industrial style can appear thoroughly modern again.
Toward the end of the '50s, positivity came back into style. Blossom-like pastels made their way into the bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms of many homes, and to this day you can find water closets with matching baby pink toilets, bathtubs, and vanity sets. Since this look remains common in unrenovated older homes, most people are hesitant to reintroduce it. To do so successfully, you'll want to make sure you keep the tub, sink, and cabinets as simple (or plain white) as possible so as not to overwhelm your senses.
The '60s and '70s Mod
The '60s and '70s offered a love letter to luxe, and if you find drama alluring, this style has your name on it. Think mosaics using elegant stone and tile (marble, if possible). Pair your refined floors with cutting-edge fixtures, a chandelier in every room, and other glamorous upgrades. Textured stone flooring can give a spa-like feel, so consider adding a splash of mod design to your bathroom, bringing in colorful wallpaper (black and gold offers a sleek update on this style), and creating a one-of-a-kind space to primp and pamper in.
Fashionable flooring from days-gone-by provides limitless inspiration for your home. Whether you're interested in creating an eye-catching small space or outfitting your entire home in a favorite era, it's important to begin from the ground up. Trust the experts to help you balance old and new to minimize the possibility of missing your mark. Our helpful handyfolk will bring oversize samples to your house, so you can see them in person before committing to any changes. Call us today to schedule an in-home appointment.