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Red glass bathroom tilesMost tiles are extremely hard-wearing, and many of them take water in their stride. Excellent for surfaces that are subject to moisture, they are also easy to clean and keep hygienic, which means they are favorites for bathrooms and utility rooms. However, their cool, hard finish is extremely appealing in other rooms, particularly in hotter climates.

Tiles can easily be made the key point of your design scheme. A simple tiled floor in your bathroom, for example, gives an instant sense of timeless antiquity because people have been designing with tiles for hundreds of years.

Tiles are part of a wide variety of traditional styles, which can be recreated effortlessly using either antique tiles or modern reproductions. Modern designers have given us new surfaces and finishes to play with, from the new brilliantly hard­wearing porcelain tiles to glamorous metallics and glass mosaics that can make wonderful tub or shower backdrops and enclosures.

Simple to use, tiles can cover large areas easily, and the subtle texture of their repeating shapes means that even an area of single color never looks boring. There is scope, however, for huge creativity. By using borders, color contrasts, size and texture, you can create a unique theme ofr each bathroom from the masterbath to the kids bathroom. 

Tiles have health and environmental advantages as well, and they are a good choice for use in a home with an allergy sufferer. Carpets and natural floorings such as jute and seagrass - however well you clean them - will always be a source of dust and dirt. Tiled floors are more straightforward: they form an allergen-free surface that is easy to keep clean and doesn't harbor dust mites. Most tiles are made of natural products and are extremely hardy. Their life cycle, therefore, including final disposal, is more environmentally friendly than that of many other decorating  prodUcts. Over the next few weeks we will be adding additional information on using tiles in the bathroom and the best types of tiles available,