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What is Rustic Tile?

B. Turner
B. Turner

Rustic tile is a building material characterized by a classic, old world design. This tile features influence from ancient Italian art and architecture, along with a distressed, natural finish. Rustic tile can be used in a variety of home applications in order to create or complement a rustic, classical design style. The colors and finishes of these tiles are heavily inspired by nature, and provide an effective antithesis to modern designs. Builders may salvage or reclaim these tile products from older structures, or re-create the look of this tile with modern materials and techniques.

Manufacturers create rustic tile designs from a variety of different tile materials. Natural products like stone or clay may be stained and molded to give these tiles an authentic look. Traditional Saltillo and mosaic tiles made from clay also offer a rustic, natural look. Modern versions made from ceramic, porcelain, and terra cotta can also be used to create this design style.

Ceramic tiles can be used in a rustic design.
Ceramic tiles can be used in a rustic design.

One of the primary features that characterizes this style of tile is its imperfection. Tiles vary in size, shape, and appearance to add to the natural appearance and authenticity of this style. Higher quality versions may be hand cut or hand molded to increase variations among each unit, and features such as chips or missing corners may be intentionally added. Rustic tile may also be tumbled like marble to give it a soft, distressed finish. As a result of these manufacturing techniques, this tile often has a highly textured surface that adds depth and character.

Rustic tile colors typically include reds, browns, and other shades found in nature. Colors are muted, and emphasize earth shades. Terra cotta and other orange or earth-based colors serve as popular rustic tile finishes, as do tans and grays like those found in stone. In some applications, tile with a rustic texture may be stained to give it the desired finish. Some users even add hand-painted designs to these tiles for use as an accent feature.

These tiles can be used in a number of applications within a home or business. Rustic tiles may be used to tile a floor, or to finish the walls in a bathroom, kitchen, or other living space. Rustic tile can also serve as a backsplash or countertop material in the kitchen, where it can help to complement a European, or old world, style of design. Different patterns and finishes of rustic tile may be combined to form elaborate designs in any of these applications.

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    • Ceramic tiles can be used in a rustic design.
      By: PiLensPhoto
      Ceramic tiles can be used in a rustic design.