Monday, 01 April 2019 14:30

The power of tiles

    Liam Poole, Head of Customer Marketing at British Ceramic Tile, explores the rising popularity of tiles in the hospitality sector and how designers are turning to ceramic, porcelain and glass to create show-stopping designs.

    First impressions are incredibly important as those working in the bar and restaurant sector fully appreciate. In today’s competitive climate, capturing the attention of customers as soon as they walk through the door is vital with the overall design aesthetics the key to success. Equally as important as the food and drink that’s served, the interior design has to be high on the priority list for all managers with the environment and ambience encouraging customers to stay longer, order more and return.

    But given that most bars, restaurants and hotels are high traffic areas, keeping surfaces looking at their best is a huge challenge, which is where tiles come in. Tiles are a highly durable, stylish surface covering that will transform walls and floors, creating interior spaces that not only deliver on wow factor but functionality too. Years ago, tiles were seen as purely a practical choice, with limited design possibilities, but the landscape with tiles has dramatically changed with tiles rivaling paint, wallpaper, vinyl and carpet tiles.

    The choice of designs, colours, and sizes are growing at a pace bringing designer style to walls and floors. Whether you’re looking to create an Art Deco-inspired bar brimming with jade green tones and pops of matte black, or an industrial-style restaurant that marries together natural, aged materials with highly polished metals, you can now specify tiles as part of your design scheme to deliver incredible results.

    It’s all about identifying a design theme and using tiles to bring it to life. We’ve seen some truly show-stopping designs through recent projects with tiles specified for a range of bars and restaurants.

    Tiled feature floors are very much of the moment, increasingly specified for all areas from lobbies and entrances through to full restaurants floors. We’re also seeing patterned and coloured tiles selected for areas behind the bar and in open kitchens, to create a striking backdrop that can be easily cleaned and maintained.

    There’s so much scope when it comes to creating inspiring spaces with tiles, it’s having the confidence to be bold. Now more than ever before, customers are on the search for that Instagram moment – the ultimate feature wall where they can grab a selfie and tag on social media with a backdrop that oozes style.

    What to use on walls and floors

    Ceramic tiles are bursting with colour, character and design. Incredibly versatile they can be as sophisticated or impactful as your chosen design scheme dictates, and because they’re made from ceramic they’re durable, waterproof and easy to maintain. No special sealing or cleaning required.


    High traffic areas in the hospitality sector require a floor covering that will withstand pressure over time. Porcelain tiles are durable, low maintenance and, if properly installed, will last for decades, which saves money in repair and replacement costs. Before you focus on the design aesthetics of a tile, check the slip rating, as it needs to be suitable for where the tiles are to be installed. The pendulum test (PTV) and ramp test (R) are used to calculate the slip resistance of a tile, and give you the best indication of how suitable a tile is in a particular environment. For example, you need a high slip resistance in wet areas where water may cause slippage under foot – lobbies, restaurant floors, bathrooms.

    Key trends

    Trends come and go with the seasons, while others endure. As tiles are installed and specified to last, the key is to tap into key trends through feature areas on walls and floors to create a space that is on brand while being true to a design movement. For 2019 we will expect to see some stunning colours coming through in tiles. Spiced honey, Dulux’s Colour of the Year for 2019, will feature throughout design schemes as well as other autumnal shades such as amber and caramel. Watch out for white and grey marble effect tiles with ripples of honey and caramel for a luxe look. Pastel shades will be embraced albeit in a discreet manner. Everyone is talking about blush. It’s the go-to shade that works well in all spaces. It pairs perfectly with metallic accents, industrial greys, natural timber and intense black. The trend for bringing the outside in is also set to continue. Think industrial designs with concrete effect floors, exposed brick, aged weathered metals and distressed timber.


    Beck Hall Hotel

    This Yorkshire Dales hotel was looking to create an impact in its newly-extended restaurant, selecting the striking pattern of British Ceramic Tile’s Devonstone to create interest around the exterior of the bar. The black, decorative ceramic tiles combine beautifully with the dark wood exterior of the bar.

    The Anchor Pub

    The relaxed, British-themed dining space of the Anchor pub in Milton Keynes chose traditional-styled metro tiles in a stunning blue colourway to decorate the wall behind the bar. Who said blue was limited to the royals.

    Tiger Hornsby

    Situated on Newcastle’s iconic Quayside, Tiger Hornsby is one of the first new bars to open in the city’s regeneration area. Stunning industrial gold tile was specified for the entrance area to create maximum impact on arrival.

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