By Jacky Parker
The choice of tiles is greater than ever but there are some key trends afoot that can help you in the decision making process. Metro tiles in black, white or even a smart colour are a simple staple in modern kitchens, providing an urban, industrial edge that doesn't seem to date.
It helps that grouting is available in a plethora of shades that can be contrasted or coordinated to match your tiles. Dark grey or black grout between white metro tiles gives a completely different look to regular white grout, with the former offering stand out style and the latter, seamless simplicity.
If you're going for coloured metro tiles, it's possible to buy grout in a shade to match, which offers a cleaner look. Take a look at the beautiful green tiled splashback ahead and you'll see what we mean.
Encaustic cement tiles are another huge trend, and there are a number of surface styles to choose from. Many take their influence from the Moorish patterns seen in Southern Europe and North Africa, while others are reminiscent of those seen in Victorian hallways. There's also a new breed of cement tiles from companies such Bert & May or Otto Tiles with stylish stripes or geometric shapes in modern hues.
See more encaustic tiles here.
Irregular shaped tiles are a thing too - with fish scale tiles a key look that provides wall protecting qualities with a softer edge.
Before you decide on the tiles you'd like, consider whereabouts you'd like your tiles to go, as it may have a bearing on what you choose. Going for a small area like a splashback or an alcove behind an oven or sink? Then why not choose something bold in both colour and pattern such as the beautiful Moroccan tiles, or the fishscale tiles below? It may mean you can splash out on some hand made beauties at the top end rather than compromise on something less expensive for a larger area.
That said, inexpensive plain tiles look anything but basic when covering an entire wall. We're rather taken with how effective they look.
See metro tiled bathrooms too.
The bespoke cabinets are made from reclaimed floorboards. They and the table are lightened with quick-drying chalk paint, which the owner says is a decorator’s dream due to its malleability. Metro tiles give a utilitarian feel. Get the LookThe cabinets are painted in Chalk Paints in Paris Grey and French Linen by Annie Sloan, sealed with dark wax. For a bench and table like this, try Harvey Jones. The fridge is by Smeg. The wall tiles are from The Reject Tile Shop. The industrial-style pendant lamp was found at a stall in Brick Lane. For similar, try Trainspotters. Buy an olive tree at Clifton Nurseries.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
This kitchen is full of clever design details – from the metro tiles inside the kitchen cabinets to the herb trough in the island. Get the look Jamie Blake of Blakes London made this kitchen from sketches drawn up by the home owner. The cabinet doors came from Waxed Floors. The wall lamps were bought on eBay.
The kitchen was made bespoke by the builder. It is painted a deep greyish black and treated with a matt varnish. The tiles have the look of old cement tiles but are actually porcelain. Get the look Tiles, European Heritage. Kitchen painted in Railings, Farrow & Ball.
Terracotta tiles, dark grey cabinetry and rustic wood surfaces create an earthy kitchen. Get the look The built-in kitchen units came with the house – for similar, try Magnet. Find terracotta floor tiles like these at Fired Earth. The Live East Die Young print is from Nelly Duff.
Rounded corners make the kitchen more child- friendly, while charcoal-coloured bricks and cabinets along the spine wall streamline the look and define this space as a work zone. Get the look The charcoal glazed bricks are from Euroa Clay Products in Melbourne. Try grestec.co.uk for similar. The island was custom-made from bleached American oak and Calacatta marble, and the kitchen cabinets were made bespoke from charcoal-stained American oak with powder-coated handles. These are the Albert bar stools by Massproductions – Twentytwentyone stocks this design. The tap is by Dornbracht. This is a Bertazzoni oven.
TASTE OF THE MED
Evoking the beauty of the mediterranean, these Formentera porcelain tiles form one of six new collections by Homes & Gardens magazine and Tile Giant. Get the look Find these tiles (20cm) at Tile Giant.
This kitchen is the hub of this home. It has an industrial edge, with hard surfaces and simple, practical fittings. Get the look The Honed Petite Granite floor tiles are from Integrated and the Grove wall tiles are by Waterworks.
MOOR MOOR MOOR
The arched alcove was crumbling, so the owner seized the opportunity to add pattern and colour with tiles. The bespoke cement tiles are based on Moroccan mosaics she had seen on her travels. Get the look Try Maitland & Poate for cement tiles like these. The Knole kitchen by Stoneham has this look. Go to Creostone Worktops for a Carrara surface like this. Trumpet eggshell by Little Greene is a similar yellow paint.
line them up
There's a pared-back aesthetic in this kitchen, with its sweep of white metro tiles echoing a traditional, country feel that's present throughout the house. Get the look Source white metro tiles from Fired Earth.
A black kitchen might seem like a bold choice, but black can actually help a bulky feature in an open-plan space recede like a shadow when it’s not in use. We think it works a treat. Appliances are concealed in black lacquered cabinets, matched by black tiles for the walls. Get the look The kitchen cabinets is a custom design by P&T Interiors, with a black lacquered finish. The worktop is made with Black Corian. These are Subway wall tiles in Black from Waterworks.
earn your stripes
This kitchen is part of an Eighties extension, but has been given a radical new look thanks to a wall of bold striped tiles. The whole kitchen was done on a budget and cost about £2,000 thanks to a few clever ideas. Floorboards and woodwork were sanded and repainted, simple painted MDF cupboards were topped with concrete and new tiles on the back wall gave the kitchen a fun twist. Get the look The kitchen was designed by Rory Robertson. The cabinetry is painted in Chia oil eggshell by Bert & May, which also supplied the concrete fittings. The wall and splash back are clad in Pesadilla tiles by Bert & May. The Danish table and chairs are from Béton Brut.
The kitchen in this New York apartment boasts rich, masculine materials – concrete, steel, dark walnut – and looks more to Europe than the US for inspiration. Get the look The island and cabinetry were custom-designed by P&T Interiors. The black metro tiles are from Waterworks.
green with envy
The newly enlarged kitchen space was embellished with herringbone parquet flooring, green metro tiles, marble work surfaces and resplendent brass-clad units, in a topsy-turvy remix of traditional Victorian materials. Get the look This is the Hand-Brushed Brass kitchen by Bert & May. The Verde St Denis marble was sourced by J&R Marble. The metro tiles are from Fired Earth.
CATCH OF THE DAY
The owners inherited the Aga. The alcove it sits in presented a perfect opportunity to add a modern touch with these eye-catching fish scale tiles. Get the look This is an Aga range cooker backed by Fired Earth’s Paris Cabaret tiles and the bar stool is from Norman Cherner.
all white now
The simple kitchen from a no-frills supplier and white metro tiles are ‘luxed up’ with marble worktops. There are no wall-mounted units as the owner wanted the kitchen to feel like a lovely room you would want to spend time in. Get the look Kitchen cabinets, Howdens. Wenge flooring, Nagle Flooring. Tiles, Walls And Floors. The photographic artwork is of Kate Moss for an Agent Provocateur campaign, shot by Mike Figgis.
black and gold
The kitchen was based on a 1940s console, which is fitted to the left of the oven. It was then copied to make all the units. Black tiles form a fitting splashback. Get the look Tiles, Sera of London.
This kitchen feels fresh, but not clinical, thanks to the mix of sleek, custom-made stainless-steel units, teamed with marble, oak and patterned tiles. Get the look The steel cabinetry, door fronts, moulded sinks and freestanding cabinetry were all made to measure by Charlotte Crosland Interiors in collaboration with Alternative Plans. The aged-oak parquet floor was laid by FPS Flooring. For similar splashback tiles, see Neisha Crosland’s Tulia designs for Fired Earth.
The splashback tiles in the kitchen were made by Suzanne Sullivan, a ceramicist living in New York. Her work is so sought after in Brooklyn, shops don’t even display it. You have to go in and ask if they have any of her pieces – it’s usually hidden under the counter. Get the look The cabinets are by Howdens. The handles and lights are by Buster + Punch. The worktops are by Concreations. The range cooker and appliances are by Smeg.
Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites
A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.
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