USA: (888) 577-0016 | MEX: (444) 240-4456

Encaustic Tiles in Modern Design

Encaustic tiles have a rich and fascinating history that spans centuries and continents. These beautiful tiles have experienced a resurgence in popularity, becoming a favorite choice for modern designers and homeowners. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history of encaustic tiles, their journey through time, and their revival in contemporary design. By the end of this article, you’ll understand why encaustic tiles are a timeless and stylish option for any space.

Encaustic Tiles History and Revival

The Origins of Encaustic Tiles

Early Beginnings

Encaustic tiles date back to the medieval period, around the 12th century, when they were first used in Europe. These tiles were initially made from clay and were decorated with patterns that were inlaid with different colors of clay. The name “encaustic” comes from the Greek word “enkaustikos,” meaning “to burn in,” which refers to the process of heating and setting the colored clays into the tile’s surface.

Spread Across Europe

Encaustic tiles became particularly popular in Spain, Italy, and France during the Renaissance. They were commonly used in churches, monasteries, and palaces, adding intricate and colorful designs to floors and walls. The tiles’ durability and beauty made them a favored choice for both decorative and practical purposes.

Decline and Revival

By the 19th century, the popularity of encaustic tiles began to wane, and they were largely replaced by cheaper and more easily produced ceramic tiles. However, during the Victorian era, there was a renewed interest in medieval art and architecture, leading to a revival of encaustic tiles. This period saw the production of encaustic tiles on a larger scale, with new designs and manufacturing techniques emerging.

The Modern Revival of Encaustic Tiles

Rediscovery and Relevance

In recent years, there has been a significant revival of interest in encaustic tiles. Modern designers and homeowners have rediscovered the charm and versatility of these tiles, incorporating them into contemporary spaces in innovative ways. The unique patterns, vibrant colors, and handcrafted quality of encaustic tiles make them a standout choice for modern interiors.

Contemporary Applications

Encaustic tiles are now used in a variety of applications, from residential to commercial projects. Their versatility allows them to enhance any space, whether it’s a cozy kitchen, a luxurious bathroom, or a stylish patio. Let’s explore some of the ways encaustic tiles are being used in modern design:

Kitchen Tiles

Encaustic tiles make a bold statement in kitchens. They can be used for backsplashes, flooring, and even countertops. The colorful and intricate patterns add a touch of personality and elegance to the heart of the home. Pair them with sleek cabinetry and modern appliances for a striking contrast.

Bathroom Tiles

In bathrooms, encaustic tiles can create a spa-like retreat. Use them on floors, shower walls, and vanity backsplashes to add visual interest and sophistication. Their water-resistant properties make them an excellent choice for wet areas.

Patio Tiles

Outdoor spaces like patios and garden paths benefit from the durability and beauty of encaustic tiles. These tiles can withstand the elements while adding a touch of charm and elegance to your outdoor living areas. Create a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor spaces with matching patterns and colors.

Living Areas

Encaustic tiles are also perfect for living areas, where they can be used to create stunning feature walls, fireplaces, and accent floors. Their unique designs and vibrant colors can enhance both modern and traditional interiors, making them a versatile option for any style.

The Art of Making Encaustic Tiles

Traditional Craftsmanship

The process of making encaustic tiles has remained largely unchanged for centuries. Each tile is handcrafted by skilled artisans who use traditional techniques to create intricate patterns and vibrant colors. This meticulous process ensures that every tile is unique and of the highest quality.

Modern Innovations

While the traditional methods are still used, modern innovations have improved the durability and consistency of encaustic tiles. Hydraulic presses and advanced pigments ensure that the tiles are not only beautiful but also long-lasting and resistant to wear and tear.


One of the most appealing aspects of encaustic tiles is their ability to be customized. Designers and homeowners can choose from a wide range of colors, patterns, and sizes to create tiles that perfectly match their vision. At Original Mission Tile, we offer custom manufacturing services to help you achieve the exact look you desire for your project.

Benefits of Encaustic Tiles


Encaustic tiles are known for their durability. They can withstand heavy foot traffic, making them an excellent choice for high-traffic areas in both residential and commercial settings. Their resistance to moisture and stains also makes them suitable for bathrooms and kitchens.

Aesthetic Appeal

The aesthetic appeal of encaustic tiles is unmatched. The intricate patterns and vibrant colors can transform any space into a work of art. Whether you prefer a classic, rustic style or a sleek, modern look, encaustic tiles can enhance the beauty of your interiors.


Encaustic tiles are an environmentally friendly option. They are made from natural materials, including clay and mineral pigments, and do not require firing in a kiln, which reduces their environmental impact. Choosing encaustic tiles is a sustainable choice that contributes to a greener planet.

Tips for Incorporating Encaustic Tiles into Your Design

Choose the Right Patterns and Colors

When selecting encaustic tiles, consider the overall design and color scheme of your space. Choose patterns and colors that complement your existing decor and enhance the aesthetic of your home. For a bold statement, opt for vibrant, contrasting colors. For a more subtle look, choose muted tones and simple patterns.

Mix and Match

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different patterns and colors to create a unique and personalized look. Combining different designs can add depth and interest to your space, making it truly one-of-a-kind.

Consider Scale and Proportion

Pay attention to the scale and proportion of the tiles in relation to your space. Large patterns may overwhelm a small room, while small patterns may get lost in a large area. Choose the appropriate scale to ensure a balanced and harmonious look.

Focus on Key Areas

Use encaustic tiles to highlight key areas in your home. Create a focal point with a patterned backsplash in the kitchen, an accent wall in the living room, or a statement floor in the bathroom. These focal points can add visual interest and draw attention to the most beautiful aspects of your space.

Professional Installation

For the best results, consider hiring a professional to install your encaustic tiles. Proper installation is crucial for ensuring the durability and beauty of the tiles. A professional installer can ensure that the patterns align correctly and that the tiles are securely placed.


The history and revival of encaustic tiles in modern design highlight their timeless appeal and versatility. These beautiful, handcrafted tiles bring a unique charm and sophistication to any space, whether it’s a cozy kitchen, a luxurious bathroom, or an elegant patio. By understanding their history and exploring contemporary applications, you can appreciate why encaustic tiles are a popular choice for designers and homeowners today.

For the best selection of high-quality, handmade encaustic tiles, consider Original Mission Tile. With hundreds of tiles in stock and the capability to create custom designs, we can help you bring your vision to life. Visit Original Mission Tile to explore our collection and start your project today.