Think Outside the Box with Encaustic Tile

Like anyone in the interior design business, we’ve seen a nearly constant stream of trends come and go. From countertops to flooring, what seems like a brilliant idea at one point in time can easily fade into, “What was I thinking?” in just a few short years. It’s not that there was anything inherently wrong with these stylistic decisions, it’s just the nature of interior design. Sometimes, certain decor just can’t keep up with the shifts in preference surrounding it. However, every once in a while, there comes along a bit of decor that is simply impervious to the winds of trends. Sometimes it’s just because of how simple and classic the piece is, like subway tile in the bathroom or hardwood floors, but other times, it’s because the piece is such a standout that nothing else could conceivably replace it, such as encaustic tile.

Encaustic tile (or ‘cement tile’ as it’s commonly known) has proven to be one of the most resilient decor pieces found in American homes. Starting as early as a century ago, this tile carved a niche for itself in American hotels and upscale homes, swiftly spreading from its Miami epicenter across the nation. Since then, some variation of cement encaustic tile has remained a persistent part of interior decor, appearing in styles as diverse as mid-century modern, bohemian, and art deco. That said, this variety of tile isn’t something you can put anywhere. Its bold patterns and vibrant colors aren’t suited for some spaces, and if applied thoughtlessly, it can easily overwhelm the rest of the room. Fortunately, we have a wealth of fantastic examples of encaustic tile applications in many different settings, thanks to the keen design eyes of our customers. 

Cement Tile Makes Any Space Interesting Instantly

One of the best parts about using encaustic tile is seeing how its bold look impacts a space. What might be a simple and somewhat plain kitchen or bathroom is instantly elevated the moment encaustic cement tile is placed. Just take this bathroom for example:

Using our Maya Black 8×8 cement tile, this bathroom is a completely fascinating affair, but let’s take a brief moment to visualize this room without the cement tile wall. While the wood-finish floors, glass shower door, and white tiling looks pretty good in its own right, no one would accuse it of being particularly interesting. The addition of Maya Black takes this bathroom from ‘good enough’ to ‘exceptional’ in a simple application. The designer used this tile to darken the room, adding bold, complex color to an otherwise traditional space. This boldness is well-contrasted by the classic simplicity of the rest of the bathroom. Additionally, the intricate linework pattern present in this tile is the perfect way to break up the dark color while matching the white shower. Functionally, this tile application serves as something of an equal and opposite to the shower, with its bright white accented black by the door. All-in-all, this bathroom proves that just a simple addition can make a significant difference in the feel of a space.

Encaustic Tile in Unique Places

Though its most common uses are in kitchens and bathrooms, encaustic tile isn’t limited to either location. In fact, this variety of tile can be used strategically around the home to add color and texture. In some areas of the US, they can even be used outside, like in this welcoming patio:

This designer made use of one of our most obviously modern offerings, Shades Black, to build something they can confidently say is their own creation. Unlike most of our other encaustic cement tiles, Shades Black can be oriented in different ways to create different patterns, putting even more power in the hands of the designer. In this instance, the Shades Black was placed to create a basket-weave pattern that is positively enamoring. Acting as a middle ground between white walls and stylish black Dutch door, this cement tile patio is sure to be remembered by any visitor.

Though this is an amazing example of an outside-the-box encaustic tile application, it’s important to remember that cement tile can’t be used outside in every climate. If your region is prone to freezing temperature in conjunction with high moisture, cement tile will not hold up for very long if placed outdoors. 

The way you choose to use your encaustic tile is really only limited by the imagination. Its natural durability and variety of different patterns opens up a world of possibilities that you can take advantage of, empowering you to improve your home however you choose. Even some fairly subtle applications, like this stairway, can go a long way in making a space something special:

These stairs, created by a designer using our Maya White cement tile, are yet another amazing example of what happens when creative people have access to high quality building materials. Stairs present a unique opportunity for interior designers because they’re typically function over form. Not too many folks spend time visualizing more aesthetically pleasing stairs, largely because not many people pay a great deal of attention to them. But as you can see here, stairs are more than capable of bettering a space. This space is remarkably simple for how elegant it is, using the clean lines of Maya White to match both the upstairs wallpaper and the black steel banister. It’s an exercise in textural exploration and contrast. This just goes to show that when attention is devoted to improving a particular part of the home, that part tends to stand out alot more, no matter how small. 

Break Free from the Ordinary

Though encaustic tile may not be the perfect choice for just any situation, it’s a fantastic choice for those bold design pioneers interested in introducing something out-of-the-ordinary to their home without straying into the avant-garde. In our opinion, this tile is the perfect blend of modern design and traditional elements, making it a unique, but comfortable choice for many homes. If you’re interested in seeing any of our encaustic tiles in person, please feel free to order a sample today, and we’ll ship it directly to your door. Remember to order a few tiles for your sample so you can better envision your application.