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March 31, 2020 – Published in Design & Decor Spring 2020 issue

The return of the patterned floor tile

Words: Stephanie Falzon

The patterned floor tile is a very traditional thing for Malta. A lot of our old magnificent houses are still paved with the local designed tiles. Each room used to be tiled with a distinctive pattern. Very often each room would have had a different pattern and colour scheme. The effect was, or I can say is, stunning. But whilst before the decorated tiles were only placed in the middle of a room with two, at most three, plain tiles being laid on the outside, creating a carpet effect, today we plan and map out exactly where we are going to place the designs on the floor.

The larger manufacturing companies have reproduced and created some of the most lovely designs in floor tiles in the strongest of materials. They manufacture complete designs in gres porcelain, which will not stain and will not need any polishing. And from one series you may find floral, Greek, symmetrical or even geometrical designs. And apart from the traditional patterns, designers are also coming up with more modern motifs. Colours vary from the strong blues/greens/yellows/cotto Mediterranean colours to the more subtle shades of the ‘worn out’ hues. With all these wonderful possibilities, our options are endless. 

Deciding which parts of our home to decorate with these tiles is now easier than ever. Each room can have its own personal design but still be in complete harmony with the rest of your home. The one thing we need to be very carful about, is where are we going to place the furniture. We cannot assume that the ‘carpet’ design will look best in the middle. 

A common misplaced design is usually found in the kitchen. In a kitchen you cannot just place the design in the middle. You need to first identify where the kitchen cupboards are going to be placed. Most kitchens have only one wall with kitchen cupboards, or at most, two walls. The tiler must keep these cupboard spaces in mind, then calculate the ‘middle’ of the area left.

Another room where we see many mistakes, is the bedroom. Again we need to be sure where we are going to place the bed. In a bedroom, it is usually the bed that juts out the most into the middle of the room. It is only when we are sure where we are placing the bed, that we decide where we are going to place the design on the floor. 

One way to not have any problems, about where to lay the designs on the floor, is to tile the whole area with the décor tile. This can be very effective. But for the whole room to have a decorated tile, you have to be sure of how strong you want the colour and design of the tile. Floors, that are completely tiled in the decorated tile, will not give us any headaches of where to place our furniture.

The decorated tile can be laid outside as well as inside. And not only that – this tile looks good on the wall as well as the floor. Of course, if you are going to use it on the wall, we need to be careful as to which tile we use on the floor. We cannot have too many designs shouting out for attention. Keep to one strong focal point in any room and the rest of the room will look good.

Perhaps, I can say that it is fundamental that with these kind of tiles, we need to plan ahead. We need to know what furniture we are going to have. What are the measurements of the furniture? How are we going to place the furniture in the room? Because although like we said above, we can opt to decorate the whole floor of the room – it might be too much to do the same thing to all the rooms of our home. 

I have tried once again to bring you some examples of what can be found in today’s market. I always advise that you need to be sure that apart from looking good, the tiles must be of good quality. If you are not sure, please get the services of an interior designer. We are extremely lucky that we have so many good ones in Malta. They will be able to guide you so well. So as always, I will end with the usual: Choose carefully. Mistakes are very costly.

Falzon’s Bathrooms & Ceramics, Psaila Street, Sta Venera. 

Tel: 2148 2860 / 2148 5536



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