Our latest lookbook brings together 10 living spaces that take tiling from practical to decorative, applying it to everything from bars and fireplaces to entire walls.
Tiles in the modern home are often consigned to the bathroom or kitchen, where their durable finish can protect walls from water damage.
But a growing cohort of designers are using upholstery much like they would rugs or wallpaper, as a way to bring color and pattern into living spaces.
Whether crafted from ceramic, stone or concrete, it can help imbue an otherwise cozy interior with a much-needed sense of depth and dimension.
This is the latest in our lookbook series, which is visually inspired by the Dezeen archives. For more inspiration, check out previous lookbooks featuring maximalist interiors, kitchens with polished granite surfaces, and brutalist interiors with a surprisingly welcoming feel.
Dream Weaver Penthouse, Australia, by YSG
Spanish tapas bars inspired the design of this Sydney penthouse, which is owned by a couple of empty nesters.
In the open-plan living space, that reference translated into an entire wall of glossy off-white tiles, serving as the backdrop for a custom bar cart in white ash and blue granite.
Learn more about the Dream Weaver penthouse ›
Conde Duque Apartment, Spain, by Sierra + De La Higuera
Vibrant glazed tiles help define the different areas of this Madrid apartment, with green used in the kitchen, red and blue in the bathrooms and yellow in the living areas.
Traditional Moroccan zellige tiles are characterized by their variations in tone and texture, with imperfect hand-moulded surfaces.
Learn more about Conde Duque ›
Puro Hotel Krakow, Poland, by Paradowski Studio
Polish practice Paradowski Studio has mixed and matched different types of tiling in this living room, covering everything from the floor to the columns to an entire wall, designed by artist Tomasz Opaliński from the modernist mosaics of the 1970s.
To soften those hard, shiny surfaces and add a feeling of warmth, the studio added lots of textiles as well as a stained oak bas-relief, which features two doors.
Learn more about Puro Hotel Krakow ›
São Paulo, Brazil Apartment by Casulo
A bar dressed in shiny green tiles forms the centerpiece of this living room, contrasting with the matte black slate on the floor.
Brazilian studio Casulo repeated that same palette of materials in the bathroom and kitchen of the São Paulo apartment, which the owners bought at a closed-door auction without seeing its interior.
Learn more about the São Paulo apartment ›
Yurikago house, Spain, by Mas-aqui
The hydraulic tiling helps to create a sense of continuity between the different floors and half-levels of this apartment, designed by the architecture studio Mas-aqui.
The natural tonal variations of the reddish-brown ceramic help create a sense of depth and texture despite using a single material.
Learn more about Maison Yurikago ›
Hotel Les Deux Gares, France, by Luke Edward Hall
Herringbone marble floors, striped pink satin armchairs and chintzy teal wallpaper create a clash of patterns and colors in this living room by British designer Luke Edward Hall.
“I really wanted this space to be above all joyful and welcoming and lively, classic but a little crazy at the same time,” he explained.
Find out more about the Hotel Les Deux Gares ›
Reforma de una Vivienda in Ensanche, Spain, by Arquitectura-G
Barcelona-based firm Arquitectura-G removed a series of dividing walls from this apartment to let more light into the plan and relied on changing levels and flooring to designate different areas.
Here, the transition between the hallway and the living room is signified by a zigzag junction between the checkered gray tiling and the neutral-toned carpet, made of coarse sisal plant fibers.
Read more about Reforma de una Vivienda en Ensanche ›
Passeig de Grácia 97, Spain, by Jeanne Schultz
A pink stone fireplace with checkerboard tiling served as the starting point for the renovation of this old Barcelona apartment, with doors, window frames and ceiling moldings throughout the house painted in a matching shade of green .
Designer Jeanne Schultz has also introduced minimal but characterful modern furnishings to keep the emphasis on the building’s period features, which also include traditional Catalan vaulted ceilings and wooden flooring.
Find out more about Passeig de Grácia 97 ›
Ilioupoli Apartment, Greece, by Point Supreme
Originally popular in the 1970s when used to cover the verandas and porticoes of holiday homes all over Greece, these glazed terracotta tiles were salvaged from storage so they could be used to cover the floor of a one-bedroom house in Athens.
Once a semi-basement storage space, the apartment is located at the bottom of a typical Athenian polykatoikia – a concrete residential block with tiered balconies.
Learn more about the Ilioupoli apartment ›
Casa AB, Spain, by Built Architecture
When Built Architecture renovated this 19th century Barcelona apartment, the Spanish practice retained the traditional mosaic floor laid in most of its rooms, including the hallway, bedroom, living room and dining room.
The spaces between the tiles were filled with oak planks to match the custom oak cabinetry the studio installed to run through the apartment like a backbone, dividing the private and common spaces.
Learn more about Casa AB ›
This is the latest in our lookbook series, which is visually inspired by the Dezeen archives. For more inspiration, check out previous lookbooks featuring maximalist interiors, kitchens with polished granite surfaces, and surprisingly welcoming brutalist interiors.