A floor of large stone tile, laid on the diagonal, is inherently elegant. The designer of this grand foyer toned it down by using humble fabrics and rustic furniture, and, in the same vein, chose a pockmarked java-stone for the floor instead of a fancier marble.
Intricate geometric patterns, such as this intriguing two-tone "basketweave," once involved painstaking -- and thus expensive -- installation. They now come prearranged on twelve-inch squares that lie together to form a seamless pattern. So while they may cost more than plain tiles, the installation no longer does.
Inlays add interest to any floor, whether wood laid in tile, wood in wood, or tile in tile. Inlays can be used as borders or to create any kind of pattern you might dream up. Patterned wood forms a border in a dark wood floor.
Here, glass mosaic tiles form a grid among limestone squares.
A large rectangular inlay gives the impression of a rug. Here a slate mosaic, bordered in larger slate tiles, contrasts nicely with the light wood floor surrounding it. The slate repeats on the stair risers down the hall.
In this entryway, dark wood set into lighter wood has the same effect.
Tile "rugs" can also be custom-painted or bought as kits, complete with borders and sometimes even tile "fringe."
This one was painted to look like an antique kilim.
Patterned tiles bring color and flair to a space. These set a Moroccan tone in a tower sitting room.
One of the biggest tile trends of the moment is river rock. Carefully chosen and mounted on mesh squares, it is installed just like any other tile. It is a bit pricier than the average tile so is best used in smaller spaces, such as this wine room, where a little bit can make a big impact.
These multi-hued concrete tiles continue from the patio right into the house. That continuity of the floor surfaces adds to the indoor-outdoor feel of the home.