Floor tiles - your essential guide to choosing, fitting and cleaning

Tiles are no longer just for kitchens and bathrooms, the latest textures and finishes will work well in your living room, dining room or even your bedroom.

house room with pattern floor tiles
(Image credit: TBC)

Tiles are no longer just good choices for kitchens and bathrooms, the latest textures and finishes will work well in your living room, dining room or even your bedroom.

Here's everything you need to know...

Natural tiles

Natural materials shouldn't just be the choice for period homes, as slate, limestone and polished granite can work in contemporary interiors, too. They are the most expensive choice, but will last for years and grow more beautiful with age.

  • The naturally pitted and weathered surface of travertine stone gives an attractive, worn-in look that's perfect for a laid-back kitchen.
  • In busy areas, choose dark slate tiles that won't need cleaning so often.
  • Glossy stone makes a great backdrop for designer pieces.
  • Large-scale limestone tiles in rich tones complement wooden furniture.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are a good alternative to natural materials – they’re hard wearing, light and relatively easy to lay. They often cost less than natural materials, which makes them the ideal choice for larger areas or where you have a limited budget. The new styles of oversized tiles are very fashionable and can create a hotel-chic look.

  • If you'd prefer your flooring to be subtle rather than bold, go for porcelain tiles with a minimal design, without any texture, in a cool colour.
  • Choose neutral grey porcelain tiles with a textured finish for a super-chic room.
  • For a spacious wet room, use matching ceramic floor and wall tiles.

Vintage tiles

Whether they’re reclaimed, recycled or a reproduction of an original tile, vintage floor tiles, with their classic designs and attractive finishes, are a great way of giving your floor character. Monochrome designs are a traditional choice and can work in both and new homes, while reclaimed bricks look great in country-style properties. Patterned Victorian tiles have beautiful designs and are most suited to properties of the same period.

  • Add detail to your bathroom with black and white hexagonal mosaic tiles.
  • Reclaimed clay bricks are ideal for a farmhouse-style kitchen.
  • Lay a pattern diagonally to make a room appear wide.

How to care for floor tiles

Tiles can look better with age - with the proper care. We've listed a top tips to keep your tiles in prime condition:

  • Use the right cleaning products on your floor as they will have been formulated to clean the floor and help seal the stone. Ask the manufacturer for recommendations.
  • Wipe up sills on unglazed floors immediately or they might cause a stain.
  • Remove stubborn marks with white spirit, but always do a spot test first.
Thea Babington-Stitt
Managing Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Managing Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for around 10 years.

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.