Move Over, Subway Tile: The Old-World Material Making a Comeback

Move Over, Subway Tile: The Old-World Material Making a Comeback

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Katie Holdefehr
Jan 22, 2017
(Image credit: Country Living)

All things cozy and comforting are set to trend in 2017, and what you'll see more of in tile is no exception. Recently, we've noticed the design world is warming up to rustic, richly-colored terra-cotta tiles. Timeless, earthy, imperfect—this is everything we want to see right now.

When translated from the Latin, "terra cotta" literally means "baked earth." The rich orange and red clay tiles in the Australian rental above look like just that, imbuing the space with an earthy, natural vibe.

When balanced with a minimalist, mostly-white kitchen, a terra-cotta floor warms up the room without bringing it to a rustic place. Browse through the full tour photographed by Juan Baraja on Yellowtrace to ogle the other beautiful tiles peppered throughout this Madrid home.

(Image credit: La Maison d'Anna G )

Peeking out underneath a graphic striped rug in this living room from La Maison d'Anna G, old-school tile looks surprisingly modern.

(Image credit: C Magazine)

An abundance of natural materials find a home in designer Kendall Conrad's Santa Barbara abode, captured by C Magazine. The wood flooring in one room blends seamlessly into the terra-cotta tile in the next. Light walls keep the space feeling fresh.

(Image credit: Tabarka via Rue )

Terra cotta doesn't immediately jump to mind as an obvious choice for a backsplash, but when cut into a picket fence pattern and brushed with white glaze, it makes the space. We spotted the Tabarka tiles above on Rue.

Two types of terra-cotta tiles give the kitchen in this New York apartment personality: Traditional clay-like slabs lend European charm, while patterned tiles add interest behind the sink.

(Image credit: Elle Decor)

Paired with white wood-paneled walls and a vaulted, beamed ceiling, these floor tiles cue beach resort vibes in this home on St. Barts, featured in Elle Decor.

(Image credit: Country Living)

Painted black cabinets lend sophistication to this rustic kitchen from Country Living.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

It may be the fact that the door opens up to the backyard, or it may be the irregular, rough-hewn tiles, but either way, this peaceful bathroom from Design Sponge gives the impression that it's one with nature.

(Image credit: House Beautiful)

What appears to be a brick wall in this New Orleans kitchen from House Beautiful is actually terra-cotta tile. The owners wanted a material with history that would connect the brand-new kitchen with the rest of the 1850s home.

(Image credit: sfgirlbybay)

This room from sfgirlbybay has no lack of materials—red terra cotta, checkerboard tile, reclaimed wood, and stone all mingle, yet miraculously seem to get along.

(Image credit: AD Espana)

It's no surprise that many of the most inspiring terra-cotta-tiled homes come from Spain, including the room above featured on AD España. A bright woven rug, vintage metal chairs, and a boho fringe light fixture combine for an eclectic collector style.

Digging the trend? Shop the most beautiful terracotta tiles we've ever seen.

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