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Square Terra Cotta Tile is Good but Decorative Tiles are Better

terra cotta tile

Gone are the days when a plain 12×12 square terra cotta tile is your only Saltillo flooring option. Notable interior designers and architects adorn homes worldwide with decorative shapes and sizes available in terra cotta tile flooring. Avoid plain square terra cotta tile if you want to impress your friends and neighbors with cultivated style. Instead, check out these budget-friendly options to make a statement with your flooring.

square terra cotta tile
Unsealed Square Saltillo Tile – Pastel colors are normal for unsealed clay tile.

Did you know that terra cotta tiles have a natural range of colors? And it doesn’t stop there. These varieties of colors also have their own distinct ranges of colors. Let me break it down for you.

Since terra cotta tile is a creation of natural clay, there will always be color variances from one tile to the next. But now, square terra cotta tiles and decorative shapes are available in 3 defined finishes – Traditional Saltillo, Manganese Saltillo, and Antique Saltillo.

Traditional Saltillo (home to the famous 12×12 square terra cotta tile) is made up of colors that range from red and orange to yellow. Manganese Saltillo (my personal favorite) blends neutral tones ranging from chocolate and walnut brown to deep merlot terra cotta colors. And lastly, Antique Saltillo is a textured terra cotta tile created to have deep rust tones that are reminiscent of Italian or French reclaimed terra cotta tile. If you have an outdoor space that needs a non-slip surface, Antique Saltillo is your winner!

fleur de lis mexican tile
Fleur de Lis Tile in the Sealed Antique Saltillo Finish

Once you’ve picked your saltillo tile finish, consider the shape and size of your terra cotta tile. As I mentioned before, tried and true is square terra cotta tile. Yes, it’s a great value and is found in homes and businesses worldwide. Most people don’t realize that you can amp things up with a more decorative option while maintaining your budget.

Most of the decorative shapes and sizes from Rustico Tile and Stone fall within $0.20 – $0.40 per square foot compared to their 12×12 square terra cotta tile price.

mexican tile floor and decor
Cement Tile Risers with Manganese Saltillo Hexagon and Stair Coping Tiles

Check out this Hexagon in the Manganese Saltillo finish, for example. I love the hexagon shape because it allows you to install a 1-tile pattern without breaking the bank. The 12-inch Hexagon is a 6-sided tile that trends to something more modern than a square terra cotta tile. And when it’s displayed in the Manganese color finish, many interior design styles are embellished. Consider a Manganese Hexagon terra cotta tile paired with white (or light) colored subway tiles in kitchens or bathrooms. The light/dark contrast plays well together to produce an enchanting look.

Antique Saltillo Tile in the Riviera Pattern
Riviera Pattern in the Sealed Antique Saltillo Tile Finish

Do you want a real “statement” floor? Make no mistake, the Riviera Pattern in Antique Saltillo flooring inspires a bold and timeless look. This is a 2-tile interlocking pattern that sets a foundation for complimentary Spanish style décor.

herringbone saltillo tile
6×12 Saltillo with charcoal grout in Herringbone Pattern.

One of the most versatile shapes available is a rectangle. Rectangular-shaped tiles create various patterns, including herringbone, brick-lay, running brick, basket weave, and more. Our 6×12 Saltillo pattern is a common alternative to those considering a 12×12 square terra cotta tile. It’s easy on the budget, too!

And a couple of other fun patterns to consider…

san felipe terra cotta tile
San Felipe Pattern in Sealed Traditional Saltillo
12x12 Traditional Octagon Saltillo Tile
12×12 Sealed Octagon Traditional Saltillo with 4×4 Mexican Tile Inserts
antique saltillo tile outdoors
Sealed Antique 12×12 Terra Cotta Tile

I like the Crossville Pattern Book for some other ideas about tile patterns for your home. It’s a free online pdf filled with designs that parallel many shapes and sizes of terra cotta tile. (Pro Tip: if your tile is handmade and has size and thickness variations, always lay out sample tiles in your chosen floor tile pattern. You need to verify that the terra cotta tiles you’ve selected will accommodate the floor tile pattern you’ve chosen.)

If you’d like to explore alternative options for decorative floor tiles, check out our Cement Tile!

Contact any of our product specialists for design tips and tile advice for your home! We’re here to help you Make Every Space Count!

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