|Moorish revival staircase dating from the 1920s:|
Now that's some real tile work.
Boring tile colors haven't always been the rule, however. Ceramic tile work reached a peak expression of color and pattern during the Twenties, with the popularity of Moorish and Middle Eastern design. Inspired by the incredibly ornate mosaic work of Islamic architecture, such designs made full use of tile’s color and pattern possibilities. Entrance foyers were frequently inlaid with ornamental motifs or mottoes, and bathrooms became showcases for intricate mosaic tile decorations.
The Art Deco movement of the 1930s brought tile to a high point of another sort. Rather than the intricate tile ornament of the Twenties, Art Deco delighted in bold geometric designs featuring zigzags, stripes, and zigurrat shapes. Colors became more strident as well, with combinations such as pink-and-purple and yellow, gray, and black.
|Art Deco tile work of the 1930s wasn't afraid of color either.|
Given this, er, colorful history, you needn’t feel obliged to use bland tile schemes just because developers do. The real fun of ceramic tile lies in its unlimited potential for adding color and pattern.
• To explore the possibilities of designing in tile, try drawing on graph paper with colored pencils, using an appropriate number of squares to represent each tile. Better yet, if your computer has a drawing program such as Sketchup, set up a grid of the correct proportions and experiment with color and pattern that way.
|Classic 1x1 tile pattern of the|
Mid Century era, with its
characteristic preference for
• Many tile manufacturers offer decorative pieces designed to complement their regular tile lines. They’re usually available in a range of colors; some also have embossed textures or hand-painted designs. By combining them with the basic field tiles, you can create some striking combinations. However, try to use such pieces sparingly, both to avoid diluting their design impact and to keep costs in line.
|Glass tile: Pretty hip, but like all other fads, it will|
date stamp your remodel "right around 2017".
• One obvious caveat applies to both tile and grout colors: Unlike paint colors, they’re permanent. Choose color combinations because you like them, not because they happen to be in vogue at the moment. The current fad for glass tile, for example, is sure to date-stamp your remodel with "Designed in 2017". Rather than going with the latest thing, choose a personal favorite you can live with for a long time.