Tiles are a fabulous choice for a busy family home

Hard floor tiles will withstand the onslaught of muddy boots, pets, bicycles being wheeled through the hallway and all sorts of splashes and spills. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are brilliant options for kitchens and bathrooms as once laid and grouted they need no further upkeep, apart from regular cleaning. Porcelain tiles that replicate pale natural stones such as limestone or marble are popular and work well across open-plan spaces, especially where a classic look is required. Natural stone tiles will need to be sealed upon installation; the supplier will advise on suitable sealers. Thereafter the floor may need to be re-sealed from time to time, depending on wear and tear.

How to choose tiles

For a rustic, country look, consider larger-format flagstones, which can be real or man-made stone. On the whole, man-made stone is often a little cheaper and the finish, edging and shading will be far more uniform than real stone. If you have an open-plan kitchen conservatory, perhaps opening on to a terrace, consider using the same tiles inside and out, for a continuous look. Check with the supplier that the tiles chosen are frost proof.

Where to use tiles

Tiles are suitable for all main living areas, including bathrooms and kitchens. They can be a great option for hallways too, as a continuous run of tiles can link the ground floor areas visually. Remember that tiles can be softened with rugs and runners – perfect for co-ordinating halls with staircases. Underfloor heating will make tiles comfortable underfoot. Natural stone and terracotta are both very good at retaining the heat absorbed and feel warm for longer.


–       Porcelain tiles generally replicate classic stones, but check out the Arboreto tiles from Fired Earth, which look like wood. For a decorative look with Moorish and Oriental influences, try the highly patterned floor tiles in the stunning Earthworks range from Original Style.

–       Look at ends-of-ranges of real stone, porcelain, terracotta etc to revamp small rooms such as cloakrooms, utility, bathrooms etc. You won’t need massive quantities and can pick up bargains.

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