Modern Terracotta Tile

Any valuable discussion about Modern Terracotta Tile has to begin with a baseline of knowledge on terracotta in general. Let’s go!

What is Terracotta?

At Country Floors they never get tired of passing on information about modern terracotta tile. Here we go again. Terracotta, in the simplest of terms, means “baked earth.” There are two significant variables in that definition. In certain instances, “baked” can literally mean tiles that are sun-dried to harden. In other cases, the material is kiln-fired at high temperatures which yield denser tiles.

The second variable is the region of the world the “earth” is taken from. Mexico is famous for Saltillo-type tiles that have an extreme range of color, that skews toward lighter hues. The Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese producers are capable of deeper, redder offerings.

Historical Uses of Terracotta

Flooring, paving, interior wall covering, and exterior facades are great historical examples that date back thousands of years. Outside of the tile format, bowls, urns, pots, and figurines, like the Chinese Terracotta Army, as shown below, are found in museums worldwide.

Chinese Terracotta Army
via Smithsonian Museum

Modern Terracotta Tile

The modern terracotta tile lineup has changed dramatically in the last 20-30 years. The traditional combination of fire, water, earth, and air are still indispensable building blocks of the product. However, modern technologies now allow a client to select from a wider range of finishes. These include matte, polished, and textured.
Additionally, the assortment of shapes is no longer simple squares and rectangles. A client visiting a Country Floors showroom, or their online Shop, now sees terracotta hexagons, pickets, stars, crosses, octagons, chevrons, and the timeless arabesque piece. Take a look below at the elongated version of the hexagon.

Modern terracotta tile
Cotto Med 

Terracotta is Always Elegant

Trends come and go, but terracotta has a timeless, elegant quality that is hard to measure. Modern terracotta tile is a far more flexible flooring surface than you might think at first glance. The color palette of warm reds, light browns, and cool tans will obviously work well if your goal is the “natural home” style, in all its iterations. Pairing your terracotta floor with cut stone, brick, multiple species of wood, plants, and light fabrics is effortless.

That said, according to Architectural Digest terracotta “has piqued the interest of artists and designers, who are now delightfully experimenting with its functional range and decorative appeal in modern interiors.” Perhaps the most important takeaway from the AD comment above is to gather an understanding that the modern terracotta tile floor is a wonderful backdrop for a client and their design team to work above. It is capable of holding its own across a wide range of design themes.

Modern terracotta tile
Cotto Med

Modern Terracotta Tile and Color

The path of least design resistance is to pair a terracotta floor with traditional earth-tone color values. It is hard to go wrong using the comfortable staples of mixed browns, pale yellows, earthy oranges, tans, and bones. But the true genius of modern terracotta tile is the ability to play second fiddle to more powerful color themes that may include green, blue, pink, red, and even black. At the very top of this post, you will see two chairs with medium blue cushions and blue striped pillows juxtaposed against a classic terracotta floor. Perfect!

Modern Terracotta Tile and Mood

In terms of mood, with terracotta, we have the perfect example of a design neutral. Want to lighten the vibe of your living room? Choose a terracotta tile that drifts more towards a tan blond color. Then let in more natural light, use lighter woods, playful fabrics, and paints, and you are on the way. Are you thinking of a more somber space? Select a richer brown to red terracotta. Match that with heavier, darker furnishings and similar area rugs. Somber is yours!

Modern terracotta tile
Tuscan Mood

Modern Terracotta Tile and Shape

Shape, or form, is an important aspect of any design plan and is another strong suit of terracotta tile. We have previously discussed interesting shapes beyond just squares and rectangles. Hexagons, pickets, stars, crosses, octagons, and chevrons can be used as tools for personal expression and help to change the feel of your living room.  But don’t let any particular shape overwhelm you. It doesn’t have to be the entire floor. Instead, the shape might simply be a floor inlay or even a focal point feature wall.

Cotto Med
Cotto Med

In Summary

According to the well-respected, terracotta in the living room has gained significant traction “as homeowners are showing a greater inclination towards more rustic and traditional themes. With many of us trying to create a home that feels like a relaxing escape devoid of repetitive urban elements”

Given that validation, updating any space in your home is still a personal statement, especially a living room area. The theme of this post has been that modern terracotta tile is a flexible partner that you can rely on to achieve your design vision.  It also helps that Country Floors has been a purveyor of the finest terracotta for almost 60 years.

The internet is a wonderful source of information and inspiration. However, sometimes a more hands-on approach might be helpful. If that is the case, then we are certainly able to offer a luxury showroom experience in a bespoke setting. Country Floors has showrooms across the USA and now also in Puerto Rico. They are ready to help!


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