Modern terracotta tiles are often an overlooked design element that can fully transform your living room into a new space. In this article, we reveal how to use terracotta tile colors, shapes, sizes, and finishes to bring an organic yet sophisticated feel to your project.
Any valuable discussion about modern terracotta tiles has to begin with a baseline of knowledge on terracotta. Let’s begin.
What is Terracotta?
At Country Floors, we never get tired of sharing information about modern terracotta tiles. Terracotta, in the simplest of terms, means “baked earth.” There are two significant variables in that definition. In certain instances, “baked” can literally mean tiles that are sun-dried to harden. In other cases, the material is kiln-fired at high temperatures which yield denser tiles.
The second variable is the region of the world the “earth” is taken from. Mexico is famous for Saltillo-type tiles that have an extreme range of color, that skews toward lighter hues. The Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese producers are capable of deeper, redder offerings.
Flooring, paving, interior wall covering, and exterior facades are great historical examples that date back thousands of years. Outside of the tile format, bowls, urns, pots, and figurines, like the Chinese Terracotta Army, are found in museums worldwide.
Modern Terracotta Tile
The modern terracotta tile lineup has changed dramatically in the last 20-30 years. The traditional combination of fire, water, earth, and air are still indispensable building blocks of the product. However, modern technologies now allow a client to select from a wider range of finishes. These include matte, polished, and textured.
Additionally, the assortment of shapes is no longer simple squares and rectangles. A client visiting a Country Floors showroom, or our online show, can now select from terracotta hexagons, pickets, stars, crosses, octagons, chevrons, and timeless arabesque pieces. Take a look below at the elongated version of the hexagon:
Terracotta is Always Elegant
Trends come and go, but terracotta has a timeless, elegant quality that is hard to measure. Modern terracotta tile is a far more flexible flooring surface than you might think at first glance. The color palette of warm reds, light browns, and cool tans will obviously work well if you prefer the “natural home” style in all its iterations. Pairing your terracotta floor with cut stone, brick, multiple species of wood, plants, and light fabrics is effortless.
That said, according to Architectural Digest terracotta “has piqued the interest of artists and designers, who are now delightfully experimenting with its functional range and decorative appeal in modern interiors.” Perhaps the most important takeaway from the AD comment above is to gather an understanding that the modern terracotta tile floor is a wonderful backdrop for a client and their design team to work above. It is capable of holding its own across a wide range of design themes.
Modern Terracotta Tile and Color
The path of least design resistance is to pair a terracotta floor with traditional earth-tone color values. It is hard to go wrong using the comfortable staples of mixed browns, pale yellows, earthy oranges, tans, and bones. But the true genius of modern terracotta tile is the ability to play second fiddle to more powerful color themes that may include green, blue, pink, red, and even black.
Furthermore, nowadays terracotta comes in a variety of unexpected and unusual colors and finishes. Look no further than this pastel blue glazed terracotta tile from our Las Palmas Glazed Tile Collection:
Or, if you’re in the mood for something more simple, check out our Mashiro Glazed Hexagon Terracotta Tile, also from the Las Palmas Collection:
Modern Terracotta Tile Shade and Mood
In terms of mood, with terracotta, we have the perfect example of a design neutral. Want to lighten the vibe of your living room? Choose a terracotta tile that drifts more towards a tan-blond color. Then let in more natural light, use lighter woods, playful fabrics, and paints, and you are on the way. Here’s our Beige Natural Terracotta Tile from the Antico Thin Brick Terracotta Collection:
Are you thinking of a darker color scheme? Select a richer brown to red terracotta. Match that with heavier, darker furnishings and similar area rugs. Consider the Rectangle Rustic Terracotta Tile from the Tuscan Terracotta Collection:
Modern Terracotta Tile and Shape
Shape, or form, is an important aspect of any design plan and is another strong suit of terracotta tile. We have previously discussed interesting shapes beyond just squares and rectangles. Hexagons, pickets, stars, crosses, octagons, and chevrons can be used as tools for personal expression and help to change the feel of your living room. But don’t let any particular shape overwhelm you. It doesn’t have to be the entire floor. Instead, the shape might simply be a floor inlay or even a focal point feature wall. The Fan Shape Natural Terracotta Tile from the Cotto Med Collection is a good example:
According to the well-respected Decoist.com, terracotta in the living room has gained significant traction “as homeowners are showing a greater inclination towards more rustic and traditional themes. With many of us trying to create a home that feels like a relaxing escape devoid of repetitive urban elements.”
Therefore, updating any space in your home is still a personal statement, especially a living room area. Modern terracotta tile is a flexible design element that you can rely on to achieve your vision. It also helps that Country Floors has been a purveyor of the finest terracotta for almost 60 years.
The internet is a wonderful source of information and inspiration. However, sometimes a more hands-on approach might be helpful. If that is the case, we are certainly able to offer a luxury showroom experience in a bespoke setting. Country Floors has showrooms across the USA and now also in Puerto Rico. We are ready to help!