September 8, 2022

Trends & Styles

Spanish Tiles: get the look

The term ‘Spanish tiles’ conjures up all sorts of exotic images when we think of wall and floor finishes. From intricate geometrical patterned tiles to highly decorative glazed painted ceramics.

Spanish tiles today include both the traditional and more cutting-edge contemporary options that can add a decorative flourish to home décor.

The following article provides tips and advice on how to feature Spanish tiles in your home. We include photos and tile samples to inspire you to bring Mediterranean chic into your home.

Spanish tiles

Geometry and floral pattern tiles

To explain why Spanish tiles look the way they do, we must travel back in time. In particular, to the Moorish or Arab occupation of the Iberian Peninsula during the mediaeval era.

Because of certain religious practices, representation of the human body in art and architecture was prohibited. Decorative treatments in architecture and design, therefore, include rich geometric patterns and intricate mathematical inspired motifs.

The influence of this Islamic style is still legible today within the built environment around Spain. It also survives as a popular decorative treatment in homes not only in Spain but across the globe.

Blue Spanish tiles

Spanish tiles are closely associated with Talavera de la Reina, a city located in the centre of the country. This is where, during the 15th and 16th Centuries, the traditional Talavera-style wall tile was popularised. The motifs and patterns were influenced by the mix of cultures that had settled there. This included a mixture of Arab, Christian and Jewish populations. The ‘City of Ceramics’, as it became known, is still a centre of tile manufacture.

The typical blue colour was also linked to Talavera’s location. The blue pigment is a by-product of the nearby tin mining industry. Even today, blue is the colour most associated with Spanish tiles, though other colours such as yellow and green are gaining popularity. When it comes to flooring and wall tiles in kitchens and bathrooms, blue tiles are still a very practical and relaxing option. They are also very versatile and forgiving, in terms of combining with different colours and styles of décor.

 


▶ Note: The Spanish tile style was exported to colonial-era Mexico where it evolved into a separate expression. More vibrant colours were added and the decorative motifs became more exuberant. However, they share the same DNA as Spanish tiles.


 

The various generic categories of Spanish Tiles

With so many options to choose from it can be difficult to decide on what tile works best. Generally speaking, the following categories below describe the different types of Spanish tiles in terms of motifs and patterns. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with each before making the final decision.

The medallion-style Spanish tile

This subcategory typically has a circular motif contained within the tile itself. As a result, it differs from a more jigsaw-like pattern which depends on a few tiles to complete the pattern.

The dominant geometric motif almost suggests a three-dimensional quality. It is, therefore, an ideal choice for creating an impacting décor, equally classic but fresh. It is suitable for walls and floors.

CRAFT BUTTERFLY 14.7X14.7X0.8
CRAFT BUTTERFLY 14.7X14.7X0.8

Mismatched Spanish tile patterns

The mismatched mosaic of contrasting pattern tiles is a more contemporary approach to wall tiles and floor tiles.

Typically, a collection of patterns within the same colour palette are laid in a manner that eschews continuity of motif. The effect is jarring but satisfying visually thanks to the asymmetrical result.

Hexagonal Spanish tile

One of the most recognisable of the Spanish tiles is the hexagon, a six-sided figure that is surprisingly versatile for wall and floor coverings.

The tile can be plain or decorated with intricate motifs. The hexagon reflects the roots of Spanish tiles but, nevertheless, is highly contemporary when featured in bathrooms and kitchens.

BASALT DECOR 17.3X20X0.8
BASALT DECOR 17.3X20X0.8

Geometric & floral motif

The Spanish tile often mixes geometric and floral motifs within the same surface. The effect is visually disarming and one that is ideally suited to fireplace surrounds and the kitchen backsplash. In fact, the muted colour scheme can create a decorative feature.

ALMERIA 44.3X44.3
ALMERIA 44.3X44.3

Spanish wall tiles

Spanish tiles are perfect for those areas of the home where resistance to humidity and wear and tear are important. Combined with their easy maintenance, this makes Spanish tiles ideal for areas like a kitchen backsplash, bathroom walls, shower cubicles, etc. If we want to establish a coherent aesthetic throughout the home, then few options are equal to Spanish tiles, thanks to the sheer variety of options. The effect can be different depending on the pattern, and the colouring yet shares a basic stylistic common denominator.

 

Ceramic spanish tiles
Dover Antique 33.3×100 (Shop now)

Spanish ceramic tiles 

Spanish ceramic tiles are a surprisingly suitable finish for home décor for other less obvious reasons. Ceramic as a material offers unmatched fireproofing and reduces allergens thanks to its low porosity.

As well as being an affordable decorative option, Spanish ceramic tiles are easy to install and do not involve complicated construction work. They will pay for themselves over the years with easy maintenance. Just a regular clean will keep them as pristine as the day they were installed.

Spanish floor tiles

We recommend flooring areas like the entrance hall, pantry, kitchen and bathroom with Spanish tiles because of their unparalleled hard-wearing qualities. The Spanish tile floor is ideal for these areas with a lot of traffic. Spanish tiles in addition have the look to create a good impression as well as easy maintenance.

 

Spanish porcelain tiles
Dover Antique 59.6×59.6 (Shop now)

Spanish porcelain tiles

Porcelain is the ideal material for floors. No other material matches its properties for hygiene, easy maintenance and resistance to wear and tear.  The Spanish porcelain tile brings a cool Mediterranean aesthetic to floors.

This example exudes chic elegance with a minimum of effort. A plain tile forms a border to a contemporary mismatched style tile pattern. Compatible with underfloor heating, this fresh and clean look exudes Mediterranean cool.

Spanish bathroom tiles

The Spanish tile look has the distinction of being capable of providing either a decorative panel or a fully tiled surface. Both walls and floors can benefit from the practical and decorative qualities of Spanish tiles. The sober and aesthetically pleasing designs, combined with hundreds of years of manufacturing experience, make Spanish tiles a timeless addition to bathroom interiors.

Examples of how to include Spanish tiles in bathroom décor:

  • Bring a contemporary Mediterranean-style décor to the bathroom with the mismatched geometric mosaic. The predominant shade is white which helps lighten the space and evoke a sense of hygiene. While visual interest in guaranteed with the contrasting patterns and motifs.
  • For a more conventional bathroom flooring, the repeated motif of this Spanish tile is recommended. The curved motifs suggest Victorian-era charm but with added Spanish verve. The pattern is achieved by rotating the separate tiles, while the pastel shades create a visually interesting complement to the sanitary ware.

 

Spanish kitchens tiles

Similarly, Spanish tiles are ideal for kitchens of any style, from minimalist to rustic. Here are some examples of how to use Spanish tiles in the kitchen, both on the floor and on the walls:

  • The decorative motifs of Spanish tiles work best when contrasted with clean lines and unfussy design. Spanish tiles are intrinsically somewhat austere, so that simple quality should always be maintained. That’s why they look so good in a modern kitchen. They supply just the right decorative touch. A backsplash of mismatched Spanish wall tile in grey, for example, complements a minimalist worktop perfectly.
  • The clean silhouettes of modern kitchen cabinetry make for the ideal partner to showcase the Spanish tile floor. The colour palette brings the timber doors, stainless steel appliances and high gloss of the panels together seamlessly. This floor style expresses a more ‘pared back’ kitchen design.

 

Spanish kitchen tiles

Antique Silver 59.6X59.6 (Available in-store)

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