Lately I have noticed a revival of patterned floors in interiors, and I am here for it! Over the past ten years in Australia, we’ve been drawn to quite plain blonde timber, or dark timber floors that lean towards a Scandinavian aesthetic. But more recently, we seem to be moving away from minimalist spaces and into more expressive and individual designs. And that includes the floor!
Don’t get me wrong, perfectly smooth wood or concrete floors will never go out of style… but it’s also well worth exploring different flooring materials, to bring more variety into the home, and inject real personality into any space.
We’re now open to something more textured and characterful on the floor. Using a patterned floor can instantly conjure an atmosphere; the rustic handmade terracotta tiles of a charming country homestead, to the romance of an Italian loggia with a well-worn checkerboard marble tile. A flooring selection alone can evoke any feeling that you want to in a space.
Of course, patterned floors are anything but new. From the mosaics of ancient Mesopotamia to the oak Parquet de Versailles; we’ve long held traditions of embellishing the floor beneath us. But, we must ensure we select a floor that is not just #trending in this moment – flooring is a permanent element in an interior, and not something that is quick to swap out.
Flooring can have a huge impact the way a space looks and feels, but it also has an important function. It needs to be durable, and suit the usage of the room and the lifestyle of the occupants, so material selection is key.
But don’t be dissuaded! If you’re looking to create more than just a beautiful space, but create an atmosphere too – then injecting some character into the floor is a guaranteed way to do it!
Colour blocking your flooring allows you to delineate zones within a room, without partitions or barriers. Varying the flooring in this way creates a feature in the space, but it can also be very functional, allowing hard wearing materials such as a tiles to be used where needed (entryway or kitchen), giving way to softer flooring in less high traffic areas.
In Vokes and Peters Subiaco house, and also their Byron Bay house (both pictured above), the delineation of the flooring creates interest, and marks out zones in these richly detailed interiors. Meanwhile in the stunning Melbourne home pictured above, interior designer Claire Larritt Evans has used timber endgrain flooring under the dining area, to soften an otherwise concrete floor, and add warmth to the dining area.
Using a pattern on the floor gives a space movement, creates excitement and interest and never fails to result in an amazing space! There are patterns out there for everyone; from conservative checkerboard, or a subtle change in texture on a tile; to a custom designed cement tile and just about everything in between.
A floor tile with a pattern really can transform a space from ‘nice’ to ‘WOW’, and make any space come alive. The patterned floor is the main event, taking the pressure off the furnishings to create an atmosphere.
To say that terrazzo has had a comeback is the interior design understatement of the decade. Whilst we may have grown up seeing terrazzo floors in our favourite pizza place on Lygon Street, in recent years we’ve seen it everywhere, from handcrafted ceramics to bespoke kitchen bench tops. This composite material made of marble, quartz, granite and glass chips is used in furniture, décor objects and of course, floors.
There is a long history of terrazzo that can be traced back to the ancient mosaics of Egypt, and later Italy, where it gained popularity in Venice around 1500-1600. Unbelievably, it was originally a low-cost flooring material, consisting of clay and discarded marble chips.
Today, Terrazzo flooring is an artisanal finish usually consisting of a concrete or epoxy-resin base, and suspended shards of stone, glass, mosaic tiles and other decorative details.
Custom terrazzo requires a specialized tradesperson and is a highly bespoke floor treatment – however there are many ways to get a similar look. If custom terrazzo is out of reach, consider a polished concrete floor, which can be tinted in almost any colour, and embellished to resemble terrazzo. Terrazzo tiles are another great option – try Signorino or Fibonaci in Melbourne for a great range of terrazzo tiles.
Character isn’t just about adding colour and pattern – texture lends so much to a space, and especially when it’s underfoot.
We’re seeing a lot of brick flooring, terracotta tiles and earthy, antique-style tiled floors in Australian interiors right now. Some great examples include Emma Lane’s spectacular home in the Byron Bay hinterland, and Georgia Ezra’s stunning Melbourne home, featuring the designers own signature tile range.
Another fabulous floor treatment is an internal ‘crazy paving’ look, utilising stone or slate pavers inside the home. This treatment has become a hallmark of Melbourne interior design studio Studio Esteta, and is executed perfectly in their Portsea beach house project, and also, Via Porta deli and cafe.
When it comes to bringing texture into the home in this way, the main thing to remember it to embrace irregularities and imperfections. We want to see and feel real materials in the home, and it doesn’t matter if they are not perfect.