Victorian Homes

Victorian floor tiles: how to get the look in your home

Patterned tiles, or tiles making up patterns, were mass-produced by machine during the Victorian era and were hugely popular. They were hard-wearing but gave a distinctive look and style that retains its popularity today.

Both the Gothic Revival and Arts and Crafts movements favoured decorative floor tiling. You can read our blog to find out how to get the  Arts and Crafts look in your home or this one to discover how to furnish your home in the Gothic revival style

A tile manufacturing revolution

The industrial revolution saw the introduction of factory-manufactured tiles for the first time. These new tiles were cheap to produce, of uniform size and colour and reliably flat for laying on surfaces. 

They became especially popular in churches, schools and public buildings, but they were also used for domestic hallways and bathrooms.

They were hard wearing but could be incredibly decorative at the same time.

The use of wall tiles in various styles also revived during the Victorian period; the rise of the bathroom contributed greatly to this, as well as greater appreciation of the benefit of wipe-clean hygienic surfaces in kitchens.

The top tile designer of the day

William De Morgan was the leading English tile designer and his work was strongly influenced by Islamic imagery.

His tiles became typical features of the interiors of the time and were used in grand houses such as the Arab Hall in Lord Leighton’s house in London and in the smoking rooms of P&O liners. 

The best-known De Morgan design is the ‘fish panel’, a depiction of swimming fish and water lilies. 

With cheap and swift production methods his  designs could be replicated on mass and utilised by the middle classes. 

Today, many firms offer replica tiles in the style of the Arts and Crafts movement. Topps Tiles has a range which includes the De Morgan fish panel, floral and trellis designs, grape designs and a fruit palm design. 

download the full victorian homes ebook

Download Victorian Homes, a free ebook created by Adrian Flux insurance services. It is full of Victorian house facts, tips on how to create a Victorian style house — even if you live in a new-build home — and advice on where to source original Victorian and reproduction fixtures, fittings, furniture, accessories and art.

5 popular decorative Victorian tile styles

1. Tessellated geometric tile

The tessellated geometric tile was used in most British homes, and most homes throughout Europe for that matter. Decorative and colourful designs were used for halls and often featured encaustic tiles, with an inlaid decorative pattern, at the intersections of the pattern.

2. Star and box motif

A common theme in period tiling is to combine a star and box motif. The design possibilities with tessellating geometric patterns are pretty much endless – the only limitation was the imagination.

3. Octagon and dot design

The octagon and dot design, or octagon and star motif patterns were always popular but particularly so during the Georgian period. They had a definite neo-Classical elegance which the Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival movements both embraced. 

4. Chequerboard tiles

Classic black and white tiles were most commonly used for exterior pathways during the Victorian period, but they were also used in high footfall areas such as shops and busy hallways. 

5. Subway tiles

Subway tiles, white glazed ceramic, often paired with the occasional coloured tile, were popular in kitchens and bathrooms. They got their name as they were used throughout the London underground when it was developed in the 1860s. 

Victorian home insurance

Whether your home boasts original Victoran tiling or contemporary tiles laid in the Victorian style, you really should make sure your home is well protected. 

Call the Victorian home insurance experts at Adrian Flux on 0800 369 8590 for a swift and sensible quote – 81.5% of all customers receiving an online quote in August 2022 could have obtained a cheaper quote over the phone. Or, alternatively, arrange a callback at a time that better suits you.

Providing a more detailed look into the Victorian Home

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