Lighting the way: choosing hotel tiles that maximise lighting

With travel restrictions continuing to ease and ‘staycations’ now a popular alternative to holidaying abroad, hotels across the UK and beyond are starting to see their bookings increase once more. And when it comes to hotel design – whether this is a new building or the refurbishment of an existing space – hotel tiles should be a key feature.

There are now almost endless possibilities when it comes to choosing the right tiles for a project, with a multitude of styles and materials available to ensure both beauty and safety. While the anti-slip rating is often the priority for floor tiles throughout hotels, wall tiles offer the perfect opportunity to be a little more creative.

It can however be easy to overlook the importance of considering lighting when choosing tiles, beyond simply the impact this can have on the perceived colour of the tile. Lighting is likely to vary not only from hotel to hotel, but also from room to room – so the lighting in a hotel’s reception might be different to the lighting in the hotel’s bathrooms. Because of this, it’s vital to approach every hotel project from a bespoke perspective.

Our team of experts are always on hand to provide advice and recommendations for projects, but there are some key considerations for choosing tiles for hotels that maximise existing lighting as a starting point: shape and texture, material, and even inclusivity are a great place to start.

Hotel Lighting with Tiles
Tile shape and texture

As well as potentially altering the perception of the colour of tiles, lighting can also affect the perceived texture – and with hotel lighting often varying between areas and even rooms, it’s important to consider this throughout the design process.

This is particularly applicable to hotel floor tiles, with timber-effect and stone-effect tiles most impacted by lighting conditions, both of which are popular design choices for hotels. Different types of lighting will affect these styles in different ways, with softer lighting likely to make these tiles appear flatter while more harsh lighting conditions can make them appear more textured. It’s therefore important to consider hotel floor tile design on a case-by-case basis to ensure the tiles have the desired effect.

While hotel lighting can have an undesired impact on a tile’s appearance without careful consideration, it can also be harnessed to maximise the effect of a tile.

Some tile ranges have been designed to work with lighting to create a striking overall effect. For example the Bow tile collection, which we supply here at CTD Architectural Tiles, was designed as a modern take on traditional roof tiles found in the Mediterranean and features a relief pattern and volume. The tiles maximise the interplay between reflected light and shade for a beautiful finish – making them the perfect choice for hotel bathroom tiles.

Different Materials for Hotel Tiles
Tile material

Materials are of course an important consideration when it comes to choosing hotel tiles, with gloss versus matt often the all-important question. Both gloss and matt tiles can offer their own unique benefits to a project, but it’s important not to forget the role each can play when it comes to maximising hotel lighting – and it all depends on the overall effect you’re looking for.

While matt tiles aren’t impacted as much by lighting beyond colour and texture, they remain popular as hotel floor tiles thanks to their reputation for being anti-slip and requiring minimal cleaning, and they’re also ideal for creating a rustic design.

Gloss tiles, on the other hand, tend to be impacted more by lighting conditions. When the right gloss tiles are chosen, they will interact well with lighting to make the space appear bigger – a fantastic bonus for any smaller areas of the hotel such as bathrooms, making them the perfect hotel bathroom tiles. When light reflects on the surface of certain gloss tiles, it can alter perception to make the space appear wider, which can make the room feel more spacious. What’s more, this interaction between gloss tiles and light can make the room appear brighter, which makes them ideal for areas of the hotel which receive little or no natural light.

But you don’t always have to choose between these two types of tile: some of the tile collections we supply feature both styles, which can be used together to create a striking effect. These include:

Tinte – this tile range features both gloss and matt tiles which can be used together in the same installation to perfectly complement each other

Marea – this collection has been designed to utilise both gloss and matt surfacing to create a striking overall effect, with these tiles alternating gloss and matt in an undulating ribbed décor piece. Marea is available in two inverse designs

Gleeze – while this collection features glossy tiles, these are available in different finishes which can provide interesting relief and create a stunning overall effect

Levels – tiles in this range feature a matt background with a transparent glossy finish, providing the best of both worlds for a striking feature wall

Gloss Hotel Tiles
Tile inclusivity

Although aesthetics play a key role in selecting hotel tiles, it’s vital to also consider safety. Beyond reducing slip risk through choosing the right tiles, it’s important to ensure spaces adhere to the Equality Act 2010, which requires public buildings, including hotels, to be accessible to those with complex needs.

One of the best ways to do this is to consider Light Reflectance Values (LRVs) when choosing both hotel floor and wall tiles. LRVs refer to the amount of light reflected from objects, in this case, the tiles used. They measure the visual contrast between different elements of the space – when it comes to hotel design, this would primarily refer to the difference between the floor and wall tiles – and are essential in creating an inclusive space for those with visual impairments.

When it comes to choosing hotel tiles with adequate LRVs, it’s always best to speak to the experts. Our team here at CTD Architectural Tiles can advise on which products have already been tested for LRVs, and if you’re interested in tiles which haven’t, we may be able to do this in-house.

To speak to our team about your next hotel design project, contact or call 0800 021 4835.