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Practical tips

The Marlborough Tiles guide to pairing wall and floor tiles

When it comes to interior decoration, inspiration is everywhere, and it’s not unusual to feel a little overwhelmed as you begin to plan a project. In fact, one of the questions our Design Team is most often asked is where to begin when pairing floor and wall tiles. In today’s article, we share our tried and tested approach, to help you put together a harmonious scheme for your kitchen or bathroom renovation.

Every project needs a starting point – and if you ask us, a moodboard is the perfect place to begin.

A wonderfully low risk way to experiment, a moodboard will allow you to bring together all of your ideas and curate them until you have a clear vision for your space. Pinterest and Instagram are both excellent sources of inspiration, as are interior design magazines such as Elle Decoration and Homes & Gardens.

Pay close attention to the general aesthetic and the atmosphere of the shots you are drawn to, and be sure to look for images that share similar practical characteristics to the room you are renovating – aspects such as the amount of natural light in the space, the size and the age of the property.

Once you are clear on the overall look you wish to create, it’s time to consider the details. Usually one or two clear design decisions will emerge from your moodboard – perhaps a particular paint colour, a beautiful fabric, or even a hand painted tile. It really doesn’t matter where you begin – simply start by identifying a key item and build out from there.

Today, we will begin with the floor, as it’s very much our subject, and often the largest surface area to need consideration.

Let’s assume that for practical and aesthetic reasons you have already decided to lay a porcelain floor tile, and that your moodboard has helped you to establish whether you are looking for a timber, terracotta, or stone effect floor. It should also have helped you to identify whether the look you wish to create is polished and contemporary, homely and traditional, or a mix of the two.

Establishing these key points will help you to narrow down your options to just a couple of collections.

If it's a contemporary look you seek to create, you might consider a wood-effect floor tile with a planed finish such as Marlborough Oak, or flagstones with rectified or straight edges such as those from our Lacock collection. For a more rustic look, you might choose a timber effect porcelain floor tile with antique texture, such as our Weathered Oak collection, or a flagstone with tumbled edges like those from our Ridgeway collection.

From there, give some thought to tile size. This will generally be dictated by the dimensions of the room itself. Don’t feel that a smaller room requires smaller floor tiles – in fact, using a large tile will create fewer grout lines, allowing the eye to move freely and really opening up a space. At this stage, we suggest ordering a few samples in different shades and in warmer or cooler tones.

L-R: Ullswater wall tiles in Packhorse with Andalucia terracotta-effect porcelain floor tiles in Seville; Halcyon wall tiles in Wild Rose with French Limestone flags; Kennet wall tiles in Winterbourne with Weathered Oak porcelain planks in Honey.

When it comes to choosing wall tiles, again, be guided by your moodboard. Consider the overall aesthetic. For a modern look, perhaps you’ll be drawn to a matt tile, or an unusual shape such as a hexagon or scallop – or you might opt for a classic brick shape. For a more characterful look you could choose a rustic, hand-pressed tile, or a hand painted patterned tile. Perhaps you wish to add a delicate, vintage feel to your space, in which case, consider a tile finished with our aged crackle glaze.

Once you’ve narrowed the options down to a few favourites, order some samples, and bring them together with the other items you have pulled together so far – perhaps a paint sample, a fabric swatch, some specific metal finishes and other accessories. It’s time to create a real-life moodboard using your samples.

Take some time to consider everything in the light – literally – of the space you are renovating. Switch items in and out of the mix until you land on the perfect harmonious combination. Move them around the room, and look at them at different times of day as the light changes. And if something doesn’t feel quite right, never be afraid to go back to the drawing board and order more samples.

We very much hope that this article has offered you some guidance and inspiration, but of course, if you have questions, would like some advice, or simply need a second opinion, please get in touch with our Design Team. We are here to help.

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