Tag Archives: Low Maintenance

Wood look tiles: The truth about timber tiles

Architecture news & editorial desk

The increasing consumer preference for green building materials that also come with the promise of durability, longevity and low maintenance is driving design trends across the world.

While timber remains a universal favourite in interior decor, especially for walls and floors, concerns about sustainable sourcing are encouraging architects, interior designers and homeowners to consider more eco-friendly alternatives such as wood look tiles in porcelain and ceramic.

It’s hard to replicate the timeless aesthetic and traditional raw appeal of timber in interior design, be it in the warm textures of hardwood flooring or the rich tones of timber wall panelling. However, natural timber comes with its own challenges, not only in terms of sourcing and pricing but also in its long-term care and maintenance.

Timber is not for every environment, nor can it be used in spaces exposed to moisture such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. Besides, hardwood floors need to be constantly protected against scuffs, scratches and spills.

Having made a soft entry in the market more than a decade ago, wood look tiles are increasingly finding acceptance as a viable alternative to natural timber in design applications. Several factors have contributed to the rising popularity of wood grain tiles, particularly, durability, affordable pricing, choice of sizes, colours, patterns, variations, finishes and materials, low maintenance, application versatility, green qualities, and longevity among many more – all without having to compromise on the beautiful aesthetic of natural timber.

Wood look tiles: Porcelain or ceramic

Timber grain tiles are typically available in porcelain or ceramic. While porcelain is more widely used as a base, it’s easy to confuse one with the other. A high quality porcelain tile has a higher breakage point than a ceramic tile – this means a porcelain tile can withstand hard knocks.

Porcelain can also stand up to minor temperature changes, avoiding cracks. Ceramic wood look tiles are ideal for low traffic residential living spaces.

The PEI rating introduced by the Porcelain Enamel Institute determines the ability of the tile to resist abrasion, and ranges from PEI 1 (easily scratched) to PEI 5 (maximum scratch resistance). A minimum PEI rating of 3 is required for residential home applications, and higher for commercial installations.

Porcelain wood look tiles are offered in through-body and colour-body options. While a through-body tile will have a consistent colour and pattern throughout including the surface, a colour-body tile features a baked-on sheen, which can get damaged.

Design versatility

Technological advancements in the production of wood effect tiles have not only enhanced product quality but also dramatically improved the look to simulate real timber to perfection, making the hardwood finish more realistic and authentic than ever before.

The sheer versatility of wood look tiles is impressive, especially in terms of the timber species they can replicate. Bold or dark, greys or pastels, these porcelain tiles can reproduce the beauty and warmth of Oak, Walnut, Chestnut, Maple, Teak, Jarrah, Wenge, Acacia or any other species of your choice.

The wood effect on these tiles is created by scanning natural timber and using high resolution inkjet printing technology to print the image down to every knot and grain in great detail. Wood look tiles that repeat the pattern every few tiles will not be realistic enough to visually simulate timber.

However, when the pattern is only repeated, for instance, after 24 or more tiles (faces), the wood effect is more authentic. The higher the number of faces, the more realistic your timber look flooring will be in the final design outcome with the repetitive pattern barely noticeable.

Choose your wood look from any of several timber species or the currently trending reclaimed wood and distressed wood finishes, select textures to go with your grains and knots, go for the glossy, polished finish or keep it rustic with a weathered look, complete with imperfections.

If the stock doesn’t match your expectation, you can even have your wood look tile customised to your personal grain, colour and texture preferences.

Indoor and outdoor

Wood look tiles are versatile in application too. Turn your bathroom into a spa-like environment with a wood effect, or get the much-desired timber finish in your kitchen. But timber grain tiles have a wider application beyond just the wet areas of your home.

Adopt a wooden floor look throughout your home including your living spaces and bedrooms. Create an accent wall to add drama to your interiors.

Being impervious to water and moisture, wood look tiles are perfect for homes in marine environments such as beach houses or homes near water bodies. Get a hardwood floor for your entryway without worrying about scratches, scuffs or dripping umbrellas.

Take the design theme outdoors seamlessly by installing wood look tiles with anti-slip properties on your deck or any alfresco space.

Timber look tiles are pet-friendly, stain-proof and moisture-proof, will not warp or splinter like timber, and can retain both colour and finish over the long term. These tiles are also compatible with underfloor heating systems.

Plank sizes

Wood look tiles come in a broad range of sizes to replicate real wood. Thanks to modern production processes, tiles can even be supplied in 72-inch length planks (or more) with a choice of widths to suit the application and design theme. Some tile collections are also available in variable lengths to mimic a real hardwood floor. Shorter and narrower planks are perfect for creating herringbone patterned floors.


Made from natural materials such as clay and sand, wood look tiles with their longevity, minimal maintenance and zero VOC emission hit all the green building goals. They are recyclable too with the ground-up material used in paving applications.


Wood look tiles are typically installed on concrete slabs. For a more realistic wood look floor, make sure you select tiles with rectified edges – these are tiles with straight edges that eliminate the need for grout and deliver a smooth, even hardwood floor appearance, quite unlike a tiled floor. Tiles with a textured surface or non-slip properties must be considered for wet areas.


Unlike high maintenance hardwood floors, the stain-proof, non-warping wood effect tiles are easy to clean and care for over their lifetime using regular, non-abrasive cleaning solutions.   

And the cons…

In cold climes, a wood look floor can get uncomfortable underfoot. Discomfort can also come from standing or kneeling on the hard surfaces for an extended period of time.

Wood look tiles, especially those with smooth, polished surfaces can get slippery in wet areas, resulting in falls and injury. Wood look floors are also quite noisy.


Based on the quality, type, size and customisation, wood look tiles can cost anywhere from AUD 16 to AUD 46 per square metre, or higher.

Continue reading Wood look tiles: The truth about timber tiles


This Artist’s Los Angeles House Is Minimalism at Its Coziest


The story of how Emilie Halpern, a conceptual artist living in Los Angeles, came to reimagine her entire house in the Los Feliz neighborhood starts out with a girl crush. “I first met Jessie through our children’s preschool,” says Emilie, referring to Jessie Young of furniture and interior design studio Estudio Persona. “I remember thinking, Who is this cool lady with an accent wearing black leather shorts? I want to be friends with her.

The women clicked, and soon enough Emilie became familiar with Jessie’s work at Estudio Persona, which she cofounded with fellow Uruguayan expat Emiliana González. Seeing the duo’s fresh approach to design and collaborative spirit captivated the artist. “I noticed how Jessie and Emiliana complemented each other, bouncing ideas back and forth very spontaneously,” says Emilie. “It was inspiring to see these two minds coming together and being so expansive—I wanted in.”

As it turns out, Emilie’s home, a post-and-beam construction from 1962, was in dire need of a makeover. The two-story, four-bedroom property looked rather gloomy and dated, with dark walnut slats covering some of the walls, mauve paint covering others, and a handful of old louvered windows that obstructed natural light. “I love beautiful things, but I didn’t have the skills to translate that into furniture and interiors,” she says. “Jessie and Emiliana came in and responded to what each room needed.”

A custom bench—simply pieces of maple topped with a thin leather cushion—sits in the master bedroom. Above it is an untitled graphite artwork by Ridley Howard. The designers used a bunch of jute rugs throughout the house. “They add warmth and texture and they’re low maintenance; she has a young boy,” Emiliana notes.

Photo: Laure Joliet

While respecting the home’s midcentury style (those interior walnut slats stayed), the designers worked to create a lighter, more contemporary feel. They painted every non-paneled wall white, replaced a few windows, and paired custom pieces with items from their existing furniture collection, which is largely inspired by avant-garde sculptors and painters. The result is an effortlessly chic atmosphere where muted colors, natural materials, and sculptural shapes come together in a kind of earthy minimalism. “There was this very strong retro look that needed to be softened,” explains cofounder Emiliana. “We used a lot of blond wood and textures like jute to create a sense of calm and warmth.”

Easy Kitchen Renovation Hacks That Don’t Cost a Lot of Money

Estudio Persona’s pared-down esthetic was an ideal fit for Emilie, whose own sculptures, prints, and installations have a minimalist sensibility. “Now that the house is done, I miss them,” she says. “I actually still see them all the time, but I miss sitting there dreaming about what could be, and then watching it happen.”

Custom furnishings changed things up

Thanks to a few key pieces from Estudio Persona’s furniture line—matched with carefully selected artworks and accents—the living room and entrance went from midcentury to 21st century.

To lighten up the house’s walnut-paneled wall, the designers hung lithographs with white backgrounds by artist Jonas Wood. A white “Cloud” sofa from RH further softens the room. Because the ceilings are on the low side, the designers went with low-slung forms. The minimalist white oak coffee table and alder console, which holds part of Emilie’s vast vinyl collection, are custom. Estudio Persona’s egg-shaped Nido chairs, made of timber and black leather, and Puru side table, made of stainless steel and white oak, complete the look.

Photo: Laure Joliet

The designers wanted to make a unique statement in the entrance. Their solution: a multipurpose piece called Totem. (It was inspired by Brancusi sculptures and a Richard Serra drawing called Weight and Measure.) Now part of Estudio Persona’s collection, Totem consists of two stackable wooden stools and a tray on a concrete base, which fit together into a single column. A Kim Fisher aluminum artwork hangs on the wall; around the corner is a Rich Brilliant Willing floor lamp.

Photo: Laure Joliet

Minimalism is a calming force throughout

Several rooms in the house have a distinctly Japanese austerity, owing not only to Emilie’s taste but also to her lineage. “Her grandfather was a Japanese artist, so it was important to bring that heritage into her home,” Emiliana explains.

This “Cloud” platform bed from RH really is quite reminiscent of the fluffy puffs in the sky. It sits nearly by itself in the master bedroom, joined only by a slim reading lamp from Atelier de Troupe, a smaller version of Estudio Persona’s Totem, and a tiny drawing by Andrew Cameron titled Tear. A floating credenza, original to the home, provides ample storage without dominating the floor space.

Photo: Laure Joliet

Emilie’s lucky six-year-old son gets to sleep in this light-filled room, which features a custom platform bed in maple wood and a matching side table, both designed by Estudio Persona. The walls were left bare for the ultimate serene vibe—even the wall sconce by Rich Brilliant Willing is barely perceptible. The perforated brass table lamp is by Atelier de Troupe.

Photo: Laure Joliet

The master bathroom’s Japanese-style soaking tub is a piece of art in and of itself. The two rugs are from Cold Picnic.

Photo: Laure Joliet

Emilie’s series of chromogenic prints, No End, are on display in the dining room and match the colors of the foliage outside. The red oak dining table and maple chairs by Estudio Persona boast clean, sculptural lines that don’t distract from the view.

Photo: Laure Joliet

Speaking of that dining table, it’s fittingly named Linea because of the deep slit running through it with almost imperceptible joinery. The chair design, called Una, features a horseshoe-shaped seat and a cylindrical backrest upholstered in tan leather. Isamu Noguchi’s Akari pendant light hangs overhead. Open to the dining area, the kitchen was renovated by the previous owner and left as is.

Photo: Laure Joliet

It’s all in the details

Small alterations make a big difference when it comes to lightening a room. The designers replaced a series of old louvered windows in the guest bedroom and playroom, which not only looked dated but also blocked sunlight, leaving the rooms dim and unwelcoming. Throughout the home, built-ins save the day when it comes to keeping things neat. Lastly, Studio Persona painted the formerly mauve walls a bright white.

A Jonas Wood print adds one of only a few touches of color in the home to the guest bedroom. The stump side table is from Kalon Studios and the brass table is lamp from Atelier de Troupe. Naturally wrinkly linen sheets mean no ironing is necessary before friends arrive.

Photo: Laure Joliet

The house’s playroom is super organized thanks to a wall-to-wall closet, which hides hundreds of toys, and Estudio Persona’s custom console. On either side of the piece are two deep drawers. In the middle, what looks to be the base of the furniture is actually a set of detachable stools. The unfinished maple bed is from Kalon Studios and the sconce is from Atelier de Troupe. Halpern’s vibrant blue artworks, a series of cyanotypes called Sunset, hang on the wall.

Photo: Laure Joliet

Off the master bedroom, Emilie’s office is the tidiest we’ve ever seen. “She has boxes for everything; she loves visual serenity,” says Emiliana. An inset bookshelf right behind the custom desk helps keep the surface uncluttered. The table lamp is by Os & Oos. Emilie’s own vases line the floating shelf.

For More Information About This Blog Post, Click Here! 

%d bloggers like this: