I ADORE the fabulous zoned flooring trend. Over the past year or so, I’ve spotted it creeping in here and there on Pinterest, mostly hidden amongst encaustic tile posts, but every time I spot a zoned floor idea, it yells at me – LOOK AT ME I’M GORGEOUS!
Some of you may totally disagree of course, loving the clean look of a single material in a single space, but that’s just a bit dull isn’t it? I like the idea of mixing it up a bit and creating visual excitement, zoning areas using pattern and allowing spaces to either melt into each other or delineate sharply.
Here are some examples I’ve seen but there really aren’t that many yet. It takes time, effort and design savvy to make them work so it’s always going to be an easier option for a client, designer or installer to choose something simpler. Guess which way I’m heading on our renovation? 😉
I love the idea of a tiled ‘mat’ at the same level as the rest of the floor.
The above works brilliantly in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways, adding pattern which isn’t overpowering. Bear in mind whether your tiles are ceramic, porcelain or encaustic, the levels have got to be the same. It’s no good using a 15mm thick patterned tile then a 10mm plain around it or you’ll get a lip which will chip, and no-one wants a chipped lip. It’s usually best to buy all the tiles from the same company and explain what you’re trying to do, or to speak to your tiler about how best to get the perfect levels.
One way of zoning tiles and getting the levels spot on without cuts (apart from at the edge of the room obviously) is to use hexagon tiles from the same range but in different colours, or some plain and some patterned. Hexagons in general are super popular at the moment, and although I love them, I’m a little hex vexed that they’ve become almost ubiqutous. However they are a design classic and you can create something entirely unique. Though this bathroom isn’t zoned as such, you can see how easy it would be using individual tiles like these. I adore the home office area, it feels fresh and inspiring.
TILES TO STRAIGHT TIMBER PLANKS
Zoning floors using tiles and timber can be relatively straightforward if you butt up a full tile edge to a full linear plank, but again the trick here is getting the top level spot on.
Make sure the thickness of the adhesive plus the tile is no higher than the thickness of your timber plank. Getting this look takes more thought than ‘normal’ floors, but it is achievable. Although the above is designed into a commercial application, there’s no reason it couldn’t work in a fabulous residential kitchen/diner.
The below is slightly more complicated as the timber planks need to be cut into the diamond points. It’d be very complex for a mat effect where the wood completely surrounds the tiled area, so if you opt for this one, maybe just have it along one meeting edge:
HEXAGON TILES TO TIMBER
Even more complicated but even more stunning is the combination of tile and timber in a pattern where the planks need to be cut to fit a hexagon tile. I saw this Paulo Navone floor above about two years ago and just fell in love with it, utterly spectacular. Lots of hard work this one, and if you’re not DIY tile savvy, you’d better have deep pockets.
Likewise for the gorgeous bathroom effect below, though the area is smaller than Paulo’s industrial sized dining room. This effect is very pretty and I like it a lot, though maybe for practicality I’d have put more tiles in front of the bath!
CERAMIC AND TIMBER PARQUET
How about this bathroom for a stunning mix of tile and timber?
The parquet floor has been created using parquet pieces of the same size to create a melting into each other effect, but unusually the white sections are tile and the timber section are, well, timber. This creates a more practical tiled zone in the wet area and a wooden walkway through from the hall. Very clever. Very expensive as well, I suspect 😉
TILE TO CONCRETE
Tiles can also be zoned to meet a poured concrete or resin floor in interesting ways and this is a great look.
The above is generally an effect achieved in commercial applications but could be done domestically if you’ve a solid floor or are having a new build extension for example. Highly decorated tiles definitely soften an industrial vibe.
PAINTED TIMBER ZONES
Creating zoned areas using all timber is fairly straightforward to achieve simply by painting areas different colours, or you could use different stains or even different types of timber.
Forming a walkway or demarcating different areas in a large room using timber and paint works brilliantly, as long as you have a steady hand and plan well. The floor above has been specially laid in different sized planks which run in different directions, this takes some planning but does look very cool.
How about some coloured parquet? I’m spotting lots of new ways to allow individualisation and personalisation.
ZONING USING LVT’S
Luxury vinyl tiles allow creativity relatively easily, as in these spaces I designed for Bath Empire. One has two walls under the suite zoned in Harvey Maria blue bricks and the area to the front in a Dee Harwicke patterned tile, the other features a monochrome feature mat surrounded by black timber effect planks.
At 100% Design 2015, I spotted innovations in vinyl tiling on the Karndean stand, a company not previously thought of as particularly design led and thus a clear indicator that the market is getting more adventurous. This would have looked better if the timber vinyl planks had been cut around the hexagons….
Carpet tiles haven’t been thought of as particularly innovative for a very long time but that’s changing on a commercial level. For the gym flooring I recently designed at Withington Baths, I used an Interface blue tile in amongst the greys to zone where the pathway around the equipment would be. Some of their recent designs incorporate the zoning trend brilliantly and this is very easy to do in office spaces, inexpensive and very effective.
Have any of these floors inspired you to think a little differently about your floor? Go on, I dare you, get zoning 😉
Credits in order:
Kitchen tiles: Baked Tile Company
Spanish hallway *rug* : Domain Home
Moregeous designed bathroom using Harvey Maria Tiles for Bath Empire
Monochrome hexagon bathroom on Pinterest
Diamond shaped tiles to timber: LolaMakes
Bar Netherlands – Pinterest
Paola Navone floor photographed by Max Zambelli
Hex Star Bath: Charles Tashima Architecture
Kook Bar, Rome – Dust Jacket
Banquise: Mathias Kiss photographed by Alexandre Guirkinger
Auvers bathroom floor: Kalb Lempereur Interiors, photographed by Céline Parcinski
Yellow parquet flooring via Design Milk on Pinterest