5 Travertine Tile Design Ideas to Inform Your Remodeling Decisions

There is nothing that beats travertine for “Old World” charm in remodeling. Travertine tile patterns are as old as the Roman era, where travertine was known as “lapis Tiburtinus,” since it was taken from Tiber (a town now known as Tivoli in modern times). While natrual travertine tile ideas are beautiful in their buildings, however, new, modern, filled, honed, stone tiles can work around the kitchen and bathrooms in any high-end home or hotels. Businesses like the veined travertine because it is similar to marble, but with a lower price point making it ideal to cover large areas. Take a look at some of the following travertine tile design ideas to learn more about how I expand the use of travertine into modern applications.

1. Create New Patterns from Old Traditions

The Romans used white travertine in between bricks in the Colosseum as it was stronger than brick. Travertine comes in more colors than white, though. This makes it easy to create checkerboard patterns for modern floors without being overwhelmed with travertine. Take a look at this tile design made with Noce and black tile in a basketweave pattern.

The Noce tile creates quite a rusty contrast to the black accents. You can also use the white travertine tiles with other tile materials and colors to create interesting and unusual checkerboard or herringbone patterns too.

2. Incorporate Earthy, Natural, Tones with Travertine

Travertine is a layered rock created when limestone is put under pressure for thousands of years. Like limestone, it can come in white, but it also comes in rich earthy tones from beige to red. There are also warm golds. With this type of palette, it’s easy to create that Italian rustic look that is so popular in kitchens today that make a kitchen literally glow with earthen comfort. If you just used one stone for the floor, beige or gold travertine can make a dramatic statement in your luxury kitchen.

Imagine the same design using a rustic red stone instead. It will make you feel like you’re living in Tuscany, Italy. If that’s too much of a design statement, consider using the red as a modern kitchen backsplash or in a checkerboard pattern with the rustic gold.

3. Go With the Grain (or Not)

For those with more subtle tastes, travertine offers even more design possibilities. Tiles that have veins can often have subtle effects, like a wood grain. The Roman tile can be laid out in the same direction of the grain to give a flowing look to the floor or surface covered. If you want to get a hatched look you can also just use the tiles with the “grain” in a crosshatch pattern for an overall herringbone thatched look. Use subway tiles with the grain all in one direction for something truly unique, subtle, and modern.

4. Imitate Marble in Large Areas

The same town of Tivoli that was famous in the Roman era as Tiber (where travertine got its Roman name) is still actively quarrying travertine there. It is cut up in large blocks to retain the vein so that it can be used in tiles that have a marble look. If you’re interested in seeing the process in action, just sneak a peek at this YouTube video.

In fact, travertine is so synonymous with marble that people think travertine is the commercial brand name for a fancy marble. However, it really is a different material. Marble does come from travertine, but only after thousands of more years of heat and pressure, much the same way carbon and a diamond are very different materials even though they are related. Tiles that look like marble come with names like Yosemite and Silver. It can be easy to see how these would make a lovely accent wall in a bathroom or hotel lobby.

5. Pick a Surface from Sure-Grip to Slippery Smooth

Travertine comes from the calcareous buildup of lime in the hot spring areas over a millennium of time. So, it’s not hard to see why it is also a favorite for pool decks and outdoor patios. Travertine can come in filled or unfilled. Sealed travertine is waterproof, otherwise it is a rather porous stone. Honed travertine is ground down further to a smooth finish. However, natural travertine is rough in texture and offers a sure-grip surface around a pool, like the one around this reef mosaic pool.

It keeps people from slipping and sliding when around water. However, polished, honed, tiles can be as smooth as marble to see every design intricacy on the surface, as shown in the Durango tile.

Travertine’s Limitless Design Possibilities

Travertine is perfect for buildings the size and grandeur of the Colosseum and Renaissance cathedrals, but it also is perfect for the luxury home and high-end commercial establishment. It is more durable than limestone with the veined beauty of marble, in some cases. I hope you liked the travertine tile design ideas I’ve picked for you, but there are plenty of more ways to make use of this beautiful stone. However, in terms of design, it’s important to consider the many design possibilities available with the natural earthy colors, the grain/veins, and finished surface to get just the right look with different travertine patterns. How would you take this ancient, traditional, stone and make it your own in your next remodeling design? Let us know how you’ve used travertine or how you plan to use it in your next remodeling project in the comments below. Also, if you like the list we’ve created, please feel free to share it on social media and like it for your friends and followers.

About the Author

Nelson Londono founded Artsaics in 1998 after learning the ins and outs of designing custom artistic tiles and stone mosaics. The New York-based surfacing company specializes in producing stunning artistic tiles & stone designs with fine natural stone from around the world. Nelson and his team’s passion lies in working with their hands, heads and hearts to make each and every space a unique reflection of self expression. You can learn more about Artsaics here.

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