Say goodbye to baby-blue blocks and pink squares. Tile flooring has taken on a new life – and it’s surprisingly elegant. Not only are tiles trending largely to trick the eye into seeing more square footage, but textures and colors are more dynamic than ever before.
With marble-mimicking porcelain floors and ceramic tile passing as concrete, there’s a tile for every style. Whether you’re striving for minimalism or trying to nail that modern design, today’s luxury tile floor will surely get you there.
Luxury Tiles for a Modern Design
Modern design in the U.S. dates back to the 1920s when Miami’s South Beach adopted Art Deco from the sophisticated French. It was defined by the artistry and expensive materials like ivory. Later, the 1950s and 1960s gave rise to mid-century modern, which also emphasizes craftsmanship through various wood elements. In fact, mid-century modern is heavily influenced by nature, leading to earthy tones and an airy layout.
Thanks to the integration of indoors and outdoors, modern flooring tends to be rich in texture. That’s why you’ll often feel cork and bluestone underfoot. While these are quintessential mid-century modern, they may not suit luxury living. What will? Porcelain, marble and natural tile:
- Wood-look porcelain – To achieve the natural feel of mid-century modern, this wood look-alike is a fool-proof option. It will also do a good job of actually fooling you. Thanks to ink-jet technology, porcelain can have a wood-grain design that is so realistic, you’ll do a double take. With Reserve porcelain tile in Fawn or Saddle, you can clearly see the natural knots and lines that mimic modern wood floors.
- Marble tile – When your modern design is more Miami than mid-century, let marble tile give you that old Hollywood glam. Keep in mind, though, marble is also a high-maintenance flooring option. If you want less upkeep, porcelain tile – like the Stratus design – can achieve the same gorgeous, veining effect.
- Stone tile – If you’re focused on bringing the outdoors in, a slate or terrazzo tile can lend modern sophistication. These tiles come in a variety of earth tones and offer a heavy texture when you want your floors to be a focal point.
Luxury Tiles for a Traditional Design
Traditional design is often referred to as “classic,” because of its timeless elegance. Technically, traditional style in the U.S. dates back to the 1700s, when Colonial America was starting to develop. During this period, no home was complete without wood furnishings and coffered ceilings.
Today’s traditional home still incorporates many of those same elements, adding twenty-first-century flair with light fixtures, accessories and small areas of varied flooring. However, most of the flooring is covered in medium-to-dark wood, made of long, thin planks.
While hardwood is the classic choice for this classic style, it isn’t always the most practical. When you want to bring traditional design into the modern world, these luxury tile floor options get the job done:
- Wood-look porcelain – The same elegant nature of hardwoods comes to life with wood-look porcelain. Just be sure to find a well-defined grain, like this Cypress style, to evoke the charm of yesteryear.
- Terracotta – This brownish-red material may not seem like a luxury tile flooring option, but it accents white shaker cabinets for those who prefer a modern spin on traditional style. It’s even classier when laid into a herringbone or diagonal pattern – the best tile-laying patterns for traditional design.
- Stone tile – For smaller areas, such as the bathroom or laundry room, you can create traditional style flooring with textured stone tile. This usually consists of a beige travertine, but you could also use a multi-toned porcelain tile, like the Cipriani.
Luxury Tiles for a Minimalist Design
Minimalist architecture came about post-World War I when glass, concrete, and steel were widely available. It didn’t take long for those elements to spill over into interior design, leading to the concept of a minimalist home.
Even today, glass, concrete, and steel still define the essence of minimalism because they offer clean lines, create open space, and reflect natural light. While steel is not a popular flooring material, you will commonly find wood and concrete covering the floors in a minimalist design. Of course, there’s always an opportunity to elevate the design. For minimalist flooring that’s a bit more luxurious, try these tiles on for size:
- Concrete porcelain tile – There’s nothing more simple than bare-bones concrete. It screams unfinished in a way that feels natural and environmentally friendly – not cold or sterile. While you could pour concrete floors and call it a day, a more upscale approach would be to use a gray-toned porcelain tile, such as the Baltimore Gris in a 48” x 48” square.
- Marble tile – Glossy white tile is clean and crisp, which makes marble a viable option for minimalists. Try it in small doses, like a bathroom or foyer. And look for a marble tile with little to no contrasting veins to stay true to minimalist design. The more durable Dolomite porcelain tile offers the look of pure marble but holds up against foot traffic. Choose the white polished finish, and you will surely turn heads.
- Wood-look porcelain tile – Just like real wood in a minimalist design, the durable wood-look porcelain should be completely unobtrusive. Stick with a light color that resembles white oak, maple or birch like this Acorn style in the white finish.
Luxury Tiles for an Industrial Design
In the late 1700s, industrial buildings were erected solely to streamline production. But when the 1900s rolled around, a boost in manufacturing required larger factories. As a result, the old buildings were abandoned until the 1960s and 1970s, when artists started to convert these empty spaces into studios. As people made these shells their home, industrial elements – such as exposed pipes, beams, and ductwork – became accidental staples in interior design.
Today, those industrial elements are purposely incorporated into home décor, which is why you get a neutral color palette with contrasting metals, woods and brick. The flooring usually consists of distressed wood or poured concrete to represent the years of wear and tear on those old factory floors.
But just because you want industrial design doesn’t mean you have to stick with industrial-age materials. The growing interest in industrial design means choosing these high-end alternatives to wood and concrete:
Wood-look porcelain – It’s perfectly acceptable to upgrade those hardwoods to a luxury tile floor, such as a wood-look porcelain with visible character. Remember, industrial design is open to layers of texture, so you can choose a slab like Dreamwood to contrast plain metals.
Concrete ceramic tile – Concrete is perhaps even more common in industrial design than in a minimalist home. The main difference is you can get away with wider grout lines in industrial design, which is why concrete ceramic tile is a perfect match for a luxurious loft home.
The Next Steps
Thanks to an expanding variety of options, luxury tile floor can easily be incorporated into any design. The key is finding the right balance of texture and color to define the space. Not sure where to start? Let the flooring experts at Happy Floors help. As the top Italian tile importer in the U.S., Happy Floors offers merchants a wide selection of luxurious porcelain tile – including hard-to-find styles you or your clients will love.