Hexagonal or hex tiles were hugely popular in the 1920s and 1940s as floor tiles. Although they were available in a variety of simple colours, the most popular ones were black and white mosaic hex tiles. These could be laid in a variety of interesting formations by a skilled artisan. Today, hexagonal tiles are making a big comeback, and are being used to great effect as both wall and floor tiles to create beautiful features throughout the home.
Johnny Lamprecht from sanitaryware and tile supplier, Bathroom Bizarre, says hexagonal tiles have been gaining popularity largely due to their interesting organic honeycomb shape.
"The difference with modern hexagonal tiles is that they are now available in a variety of colours, textures and materials," says Lamprecht.
"Since designers have started embracing this interesting shape, so has the variety of sizes, colours, and textures grown to accommodate tiles that would suit virtually any décor style, from contemporary to traditional.”
Here are Lamprecht’s tips for using hexagonal tiles:
Simple and stylish
Since the shape of hex tiles are so charismatic, you don’t need too much embellishment for these tiles to make a statement.
The interesting honeycomb shape of hexagonal tiles will make a huge impact on the look and feel of any room. As such, you don’t need to go too overboard with colour, texture or design. When selecting your tile, remember that the grouting is almost as important as the tile, as it can make a huge impact by visually defining their interesting shape. You can choose a grouting in a similar colour for a more subdued effect, or you can select a contrasting grout that will really make the shape pop.
If your choice of hexagonal tiles already has a design on it, then this will dictate the way it must be laid. However, hex tiles in plain tiles open up a whole world of creative layout options. By combining a few colours and getting a little creative – you can create a wide variety of stunning designs. From geometric floral patterns, or to a more contemporary shaded effect, working from light to dark – the sky is the limit for visually interesting creations.
Although the endless creative layout options for hex tiles in plain colours can be dramatic and fun, add pattern to the equation and you can really up the stakes. There has been a huge revival of patterned tiles over the last while, and it is a trend that is affecting other trends – one of them being hexagonal tiles. There are a wide variety of hexagonal tiles in incredibly visually interesting geometric designs and colours, for a truly interesting end result. However, the designs are not just limited to interesting colours and shapes, but hexagonal tiles are also being manufactured with realistic wood or natural stone finishes that can be used to great effect for all sorts of interesting applications – from large indoor or outdoor floors, interior walls, splashbacks, showers or feature walls for example.
Plain and patterned
We have spoken about the benefits of both plain and patterned hexagonal tiles, but Johnny notes that the true magic begins when you use them together: “Patterned hexagonal tiles can be used to create a central ‘rug’ pattern, surrounded by plain tiles, or vice versa – a patterned border with a plain inner ‘rug’ effect. It is an unbelievable effective way to define various spaces, which is always useful in open-plan or loft-type layouts.”
The appealing shape of hex tiles can be used in conjunction with tiles with a more linear shape to create interesting focal features. Johnny explains: “You can create incredibly interesting installations by combining tiles of different shapes in one room. Imagine using hexagonal tiles to create one feature wall in the bathroom for example, or put a panel of hexagonal tiles on the floor and bath surrounds. However, if you choose to combine two different shapes, it is advisable to blur the lines between the different tiles by cutting the secondary finish into hexagons. Although this will take a lot of skill on behalf of your tiler, if it is successfully achieved, the effect is simply breathtaking!”