Encaustic tile is nothing new. These colorful tiles have been around since medieval times, but they're currently enjoying a bit of a moment. I'm a huge fan, and can't help but think that their popularity owes to their timeless beauty. You can get them in intricate curlicues or modern geometric patterns, but they always have a certain "been here forever" rustic charm.
These tiles are produced by using two (or more) different colors of clay in the body of the tile, so that the patterns you see are integral to the tiles (rather than glazed onto the surface) and will never wear off. Old-school encaustic tile, which can be seen in many European homes, can have incredibly intricate patterns, but lately there's been a wave of tiles created with more modern designs. A lot of modern encaustic tile is made from cement, so you'll occasionally hear it referred to as 'cement tile' as well.
Love the look? Check out Apartment Therapy's guide to sources for encaustic tile.
Black and white encaustic tile in a kitchen from Jessica Helgerston Interior Design. The design is pretty modern — but don't you think the tile gives the kitchen a certain rustic charm? Like a lot of things, the beauty of encaustic tile is in its ever-so-slight imperfections.
This Moroccan home, spotted on HomeLife, is positively stuffed with wonderful encaustic tile, which is no big surprise because the owners of the home also own Popham Design, which sells... encaustic tile.
These tiles in the living room are gorgeous... no need for a rug here. And I bet all that tile feels wonderfully cool underfoot on a hot day.
In the same home, a colorful tile backsplash add just the right amount of liveliness to a modern kitchen.
Black and white encaustic tile, spotted in a bathroom from The New York Times.
I love how the tile covers the floor and the wall in this kitchen by Shubin + Donaldson.
Another colorful backsplash, in a kitchen from Milk Magazine.
Colorful encaustic tile in a bathroom from D Magazine.
Vintage Spanish tile adds style and warmth to a modern bathroom. Lots more photos at House Nerd.
Old-school encaustic tile looking very European. Spotted on Planete Deco.
And finally, an airy bath with a beautiful floor, spotted on The Style Files.