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How to make use of the tile zoning trend

Don't grab your trowel just yet...
   Luke Arthur Wells  |  written on: 12-08-2019 17:00pm

Tiles, on a functional level, are used to zone a space - whether that’s a kitchen splash back or a shower, as a water-resistant material, you’ll see them used in small contrasting amounts all over your home. However, when I talk about ‘tile zoning’, I mean something slightly different. This is where you might see an area set apart visually by using tiles to shape the understanding of space, all on the same plane. This could be tiles set against wood on a flooring, where there may be some argument that it is a practical choice, but not comparatively to the examples above, or even using different colours or styles of tiles to zone areas. Take a look at the moodboard here for some of my favourite KBB Ark examples.

kitchen, contemporary, , black, tiles, tiling, storage, splashback, glossy, storage, open shelving, easy access, shimmering finishes, house of british ceramic tile

Tiles by House of British Ceramic Tile

It’s an idea that looks innovative and a lot of fun, but here comes the same old warning: the more outlandish the design idea, the sooner you’ll likely tire of it. I’m not sure flooring is always the best place to make a huge statement about a space, as it’s expensive, not to mention difficult, to change up and evolve with different schemes, but here’s how I’d approach tile zoning in a room.

First up, the threshold is so important. Pay attention to this detail to ensure the overall look remains sleekly designed. Wherever possible, avoid a raised, defined border between two materials such as tile and wood. This is something to consider pre-planning against, looking at any differences in thickness between your materials and also how the laying pattern may affect installation.

Bathroom,modular,spacious,tiled flooring,blue,bathroom
Inspiration by Mereway Group Ltd

Consider how this zoning will affect the flow of the space. While zoning with tiles won’t actually present any physical barriers that prevent you using the space in any way you wish, it does affect the visual understanding of it. The bathroom above, for example, uses tiles to create a path through the space which completely changes how your brain processes it. 

[Image credit: Bricmate from Pinterest]

When using tile zoning, I’d also suggest not over-designing a space - the best instances of it used are where a different type of flooring is useful, such as in a kitchen in an open-plan space, rather than simply as a quirky design element. It can sometimes look too ‘purposeful’ - when I always suggest trying to design an eclectic, evolving design scheme for your home - and more something seen in a restaurant or hotel, than something you’d want for your own property.
Also read:
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Luke Arthur Wells

Luke is an interior designer, stylist and blogger at www.lukearthurwells.com. He’s a believer in understated interiors that don’t have to shout to be heard, and he’s currently practicing what he preaches renovating a Victorian terrace in Essex, where he lives with his partner and two pampered pups. When it comes to his design style, he loves new and interesting building materials, a carefully chosen white paint and he also has a weakness for coffee table books and a fresh bunch of eucalyptus.

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