Interior decorating purists may well feel that there’s no substitute to beat the outstanding appearance of natural marble or wood. However, a little research will highlight a variety of porcelain alternatives that replicate natural materials and can look just as good as the real thing.

What to consider when using the real marble and wood

Marble tiles and slabs look absolutely stunning when first installed. It is a porous material so will require sealing during installation to minimalise staining. If not maintained correctly the appearance of marble can deteriorate. Professional cleaning and resealing can sometimes be necessary, particularly in hard water areas where limescale build up can be a problem. So it is important to thoroughly clean surfaces on a regular basis to avoid this.

porcelain alternatives to natural materials blog

A natural wood floor is warm and inviting but can potentially be susceptible to scratching due to its softness. It can also stain and absorb water so is therefore not a waterproof solution in wet areas. If you want the real thing but are concerned about maintenance why not have a look at the many porcelain effect tiles that we have to offer.

Benefits of marble-effect porcelain tiles

There are a number of high-quality marble-effect porcelain tiles available nowadays. They truly do offer a wonderful interpretation of real marble, even down to the veining. Once fitted, it can be quite difficult to identify the difference between marble-effect porcelain tiles and genuine marble.

porcelain alternatives to natural materials blog

Porcelain wood-effect tiles

We believe that porcelain wood-effect tiling is a durable alternative to real wood flooring or walls. These porcelain tiles have the appearance of real wood complete with beautiful grains and texture. They are an ideal waterproof solution for wet areas of homes or businesses. This wood-effect tiling won’t warp or stain in wet conditions, unlike genuine wood. Other benefits from porcelain alternatives are that they don’t easily show dirt and can be used with all underfloor heating options.

porcelain alternatives to natural materials blog

Porcelain tiles are the perfect alternative to natural materials. They provide an easy care solution for busy homeowners and will look absolutely beautiful for many years. Porcelain tiles are available in a wide variety of designs and styles and offer a contemporary alternative to natural materials, providing a durable and affordable solution for stunning internal or exterior decor.

porcelain alternatives to natural materials blog

Reed Harris are proud to promote our range of marble and wood-effect porcelain tiles. Tile designs offer a variety of outstanding finishes that brilliantly replicate their real marble or genuine wood counterparts. Take the time to browse our entire range today to find out more.

Every year when September comes round London’s design scene is alive with activity as the annual Design Week kicks off. For us it’s one of our favourite times of year, as people from all sectors of the industry get together to showcase their latest and greatest. Hosting exciting events and collaborate on ambitious installations. This year we decided to put on a little event ourselves. We collaborated with the fabulous wallpaper producer MissPrint, and Mary Middleton from Hello Peagreen – a leading design and travel blog.

In order to give our showroom a fresh new look for the pop-up shop, we asked Mary to create a series of moodboards. Mary used a combination of our tiles and colour swatches, along with paints from Little Greene. This was all anchored by a MissPrint wallpaper for each moodboard. The completed schemes went into the various boxes that adorn our King’s Road showroom walls.

missprint pop-up

Mary did a stellar job and it wasn’t long before our showroom transformed into a bright and beautiful space. Fortunately for Mary, we’ve got a large range of samples. This gave her plenty of opportunity to get really creative. Mary picked out lot’s of tile designs to compliment the wallpapers and complete each box.

That’s not to say that we didn’t get involved in some of the fun as well. With Mary’s welcomed guidance, we styled up a series of schemes of our own. Mary got us to really think outside of the box – pun intended – forcing us to step outside our comfort zone. The schemes were based on the original theme of the existing moodboards but with a healthy injection of mid-century and scandinavian design. Having the wallpapers from MissPrint at the back of each box gave us something to focus on as the centre for each scheme. In the end we were very happy with the results and felt that the boxes flowed really well together. There was a clear synergy between them all which gave the overall wall a fabulously succinct look.

missprint pop-up

Another fun thing that we did was to ask our audience to come into the King’s Road showroom and create a moodboard of their own. Anyone who came could start fresh with one of the boxes. Using all the products we had available, they could leave their own personal mark on the wall. The best would also be in for a chance to win one of the fabulous MissPrint cushions we had on display!

We had so much fun at our pop-up and it was such a pleasure to collaborate with Hello Peagreen and MissPrint. Our showroom looked absolutely gorgeous and we loved the results of the collaboration. So much so that we’ve kept most of the boxes up! Stay tuned for more exciting collaborations to come in the future.

Porcelain wood effect tiles have come a long way in recent years, meaning the latest renditions can be, in many cases almost indistinguishable from their natural counterpart. There is nothing quite like the real thing of course, but there are times when using a porcelain alternative could be the best option for you.

Porcelain vs Real Wood – 5 reasons to choose porcelain.

The hard-wearing alternative

If you are looking for a hard-wearing floor that will last you for decades, we think that you should consider porcelain tiles. They are incredibly durable and are particularly useful for use in heavy traffic areas such as hallways and kitchens. The tiles won’t scratch or easily mark like real wood flooring so you can stay calm when entertaining large groups of people in the knowledge your beautiful floor won’t be harmed! When it comes to installation, porcelain wood effect tiles are easy to install and due to their naturally non-porous nature they don’t need sealing.

Will not fade

Real wooden flooring looks gorgeous during the first year or so, but over time it will slowly begin to weather and fade from things like the sun, foot traffic, liquid spills and more. Many people do enjoy this feature of real wood floors and some of the most beautiful floors are ones that have been slowly weathered over time. If you’re not one of these people and you want your floor to remain in tip top condition for years to come, porcelain wood effect tiles are the right choice for you.

Versatility of design

If you chose to use porcelain wood rather than real wood, the choice is endless. Manufacturers are producing all sorts of interpretations of wood designs, allowing so many design options. If you’re looking for a contemporary sleek finish or maybe a rustic wood effect floor with an aged finish, we’ve got the solution for you. You can even have herringbone or chevron designs, so whatever the style of your property, there’s a style to match it.

Low maintenance

We all lead busy lives and none of us want to spend hours cleaning and maintaining our floors. The good news is that porcelain floor tiles are incredibly low maintenance. Simply give them a quick sweep and mop and they’ll soon be as good as new. Installation is straightforward and there’s no sealing required either.

Reed Harris – Cozy

Waterproof

Finally, one huge benefit of swapping your wood flooring for tiles is that they can be placed in the bathroom or kitchen with confidence, as they are waterproof. No more worrying about that leaking washing machine, burst pipes or how an overflowing bath may damage your natural wood floor!

Reed Harris – Making it work;

Reed Harris has a wide variety of wood effect tiles in both porcelain. To find out more, please do browse our website today.

Tiles come in many shapes, materials and sizes, in anything from bright bold patterns, to simple blocks of colour. Traditionally in this country, ceramic tiles were mainly used for kitchen floors and splash backs and also in bathrooms. In in recent years there has been a big influence from Europe and people are becoming more aware of the durability of tiles and therefore receptive to using them in different areas of the home.

If you’re looking for an update to your property, be it kitchen, bathroom or hallway, we have plenty of choice and ideas to offer you. Since tiles are usually more of a permanent fixture, it’s important for you to be happy with the end result and that’s why we strongly believe that attention must be paid to the finishing pieces, so it’s always worth allocating some of you budget for this purpose as it really will enhance your tiling project.

What are finishing pieces?

These can be anything from tile trims, edges, corners, borders or even bull noses on steps, fabricated in the same material as the tile or a contrasting one such as brass, metal, plastic or aluminium. Some tile manufacturers even make finishing pieces in the same material as the tile these days, so it’s always worth checking that.

What is their purpose?

Simple really, to conceal any exposed unfinished edge of a tile.

Professional looking results

First and foremost, any room with tiling work will be instantly catapulted into looking extremely professional if finishing pieces are used. What’s more, the pieces also help to enhance the fabric of the tile itself and go a long way in helping to complete the look.

Different trims for different effects

With finishing pieces, it’s never a case of one size fits all and as we’ve already mentioned they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, so you can choose the best one for your tiles and we can help with this.

With any interior design scheme, opting for a style to suit the rest of your home is key, and sometimes less can be more. Remember that using the correct finishing piece will add detail and help to accentuate designs, whatever style you chose, helping to give rooms that bolder more unique look and feel.

If the room is already quite busy with patterns, colours, or furniture, sticking to one colour and style of trim is best so as not to take away from the existing design.

Help easily define rooms

Finishing pieces can quite easily help to define a particular look and feel inside a room, and also create quite an interesting transition between different materials or zones.

If you’re tiling a larger, more open-plan space, finishing pieces can be used to create artwork in your interior. Using a variety of styles and materials can really bring a room to life, and breaks up larger spaces, too.

 

In today’s modern housing world we are seeing less of nature and more industrials-style builds. Our homes showcase the very latest technologies and very often new developments spring up in areas where there are no signs of grass, trees or plants. Our souls and psyches are being starved of all things natural. Thus we need to find our way back to nature, and one way of doing so is through biophilic design.

What is biophilic design?

The term biophilia was coined by the psychologist Edward O. Wilson in the mid-eighties. Biophilia is the need for humans to possess a connection with nature. Without that connection, we are supposedly more prone to feelings of depression and anxiety. Connection can be achieved through the close proximity and interaction with animals, plants and the wider natural world. For example, walking through a forest, hearing the birds sing or watching waves break on the shore.

Biophilic Design uses these ideas as principles to create a human centred approach that when applied improves many of the spaces that we live and work in today, with numerous benefits to our health and well-being. This includes using natural materials, indoor plants, water features and natural shapes. Images or illustrations of nature are also effective.

The benefits of biophilic design

Incorporating a biophilic design into your indoor and outdoor living space can be hugely beneficial to both your mental and physical health. Surrounding yourself at home with plants, materials and items that remind you of nature will instantly calm the mind and help improve well-being and mental health. This sense of fulfilment and relaxation can help to improve your cardiovascular health and lower your blood pressure.

How to use tiles in a biophilic design scheme

In this case we’ll use the bathroom as an example. When it comes to designing your bathroom or shower room, you can use tiles to help with your biophilic design scheme. Tiles that depict animals or plants are ideal for this purpose. Reed Harris’ Jungle tiles are perfect for creating a relaxing, nature-themed environment to soak in. These vibrant tiles can make a calming focal point in any bathroom space. Throw in some blue or yellow tiles to maximise the effect.

Another fabulous idea for a biophilia-themed bathroom is to use stone or wood effect tiles like our Blend range. These tiles are great since they’ll give the impression of a wood floor or wall but without the hassle of a real one! Alternatively, you could use mirrored tiles to reflect plants within the bathroom and to give the impression of an open, expansive space.

Reed Harris has a range of tiles that can perfectly integrate into your biophilic bathroom design. Get in touch with us today if you’re interested in adding a touch of nature into your home.

At Reed Harris we’ve had a long standing love affair with terracotta tiles. This hard-wearing and organic material has been around for thousands of years yet continues to look fresh and modern. Our new range of glazed terracotta tiles continues that passion, bringing a new functionality and durability to these beautifully rustic tiles.

The history of baked earth

Terracotta has always blended the aesthetic with the utilitarian, being used for thousands of years to create fertility figures, statues and of course the astonishing Terracotta Army of the Chinese Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE). More functionally, terracotta was widely used for roofing tiles, bricks and water pipes.

Highly ornamented Bengal terracotta temples were the inspiration for a revival of terracotta as a decorative material in the 19th century. Louis Sullivan, the father of the skyscraper, used terracotta extensively to ornament his buildings. It was popular in England too, until the spread of Modernism and the rise in the use of concrete in the 1930s.

Now considered too porous to use for roof tiling, terracotta has found its niche as a beautiful and hard-wearing flooring material.

Rustic beauty

Literally meaning ‘baked earth’ in Italian, terracotta continues to be used for interior floor tiles that lend a rural or Mediterranean feel to your interiors with their lovely range of red and earthy hues. It’s this beauty and simplicity combined with durability that makes terracotta such a desirable option for your floors.

Terracotta tiles are created from brown and red clays coloured by iron ore. The clay is shaped into the desired style and then left to dry. The tiles are then fired at which point they can be left unglazed, but they must be sealed so they don’t stain. Machine cut terracotta tiles have a more consistent look and are easier to install than uneven and rough hewn hand-made styles but lack the same character.

Warmer and more tactile than glazed ceramics and stone, terracotta tiles are an ideal choice for a country style kitchen or a cosy, traditional living room.

Simple elegance

If you prefer your terracotta floors to be easier to keep clean and maintain, then why not consider glazed tiles? Glazing adds a thin layer of glass to the tile which increases its durability and makes it much easier to clean. Glazed tiles also catch the light in a way that can look really attractive.

The latest addition to our terracotta tile range, are our through-colour tiles. These tiles are coloured all the way through the material. This is done by adding the dye into the terracotta mix during the manufacturing process. The advantage of opting for the through-coloured tile is that it’s far less noticeable should the tile become chipped or damaged, since the colour isn’t solely on the surface layer. The gorgeous pale blue triangular tiles in the image below are an example of these tiles.

At Reed Harris we love the warmth and sumptuous vibe that terracotta gives off and the way that it can be paired with a blush pink or spring yellow to create a very contemporary look. Suitable for kitchens, boot rooms and even patios (if you choose a frost proof tile), we stock a huge range of beautiful terracotta tiles in a range of sizes and shapes and we can also create bespoke tiles to order for that special installation.

At Reed Harris, we are in love with terrazzo tiles! Terrazzo’s distinctive appearance and the versatility of its production means a terrazzo tile, whatever the colour or texture, is always the right choice.

What is a terrazzo tile?

Terrazzo tiles consist of chips of a suitable material such as marble, quartz or glass as examples, mixed with a cementitious substance to create its distinctive appearance. Versatile in nature, terrazzo tiles can come in a range of different colours, textures, sizes and shapes to allow it to fit into any design scheme while promoting a handmade vibe.

 

The origins

The appearance of terrazzo tiles, with its cementitious base, often brings forward images of industrial design; however, terrazzo has far more ancient roots. From the mosaic features of Egyptian history to ancient Italian architecture, terrazzo design can be viewed throughout the old world. The versatility of terrazzo meant that its method of manufacture fitted perfectly into the buildings of the industrial age, and now, with trends attempting to find a way of adding modern twists on a classic design, the versatility of terrazzo in terms of both colour and texture makes it the perfect tile for any current design project.

 

 

The production process

There are two ways of making terrazzo tiles: the traditional press method or casting. Chippings of choice are placed into a frame and a cementitious mixture, along with the colour, is poured over the top. The mixture is then pressed to remove any air pockets and to ensure the mixture is firmly bonded. The tile is then left to dry and, after the drying process is complete, the tile can be ground down to bring the chippings to the forefront. The tile can then be finished with the desired effect such as honed, polished or brushed. The casting method uses a large block mould which is then filled with aggregate. A resin, which includes both the chippings and dye, is then added. Once set the tiles can be cut to the desired size and shape.

The range

Both methods of manufacturing terrazzo tiles allow for a wide range of versatility to suit any decor project. Our tile experts at Reed Harris are particularly excited by the new neutrals surfacing in this year’s tiles trends. From millennial pinks to sage green, subtle tones are now replacing the neutral greys so popular in previous years. These new trends allow designers the opportunity to put additional twists on classic looks. Replacing traditional polished terrazzo tiles with a brushed effect instead can add to the modern translation of this ancient tiling technique.

Whether you are looking for a classical yet romantic tile resonating from ancient Italy, wishing to evoke more industrial vibes in your decor, or want to add a modern twist to something traditional, at Reed Harris Tiles, we believe terrazzo tiles, with their inherent versatility, are perfect for you. Our tile experts, with their excellent relationships with a number of suppliers, will either source the perfect tile for you or help you create the perfect bespoke tile for your needs. So if you are thinking tiles, think terrazzo!

Location: London