Cinco de Mayo: 5 Ways to Use Mexican-Inspired Tile

3 min read

Cinco de Mayo: 5 Ways to Use Mexican-Inspired Tile - Architessa

The Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day – May is never short on it’s share of holidays and celebrations. Because the percentage of people interested in horse-themed tile is slim and it’s hard to give your mother a bouquet of tile, let’s instead honor Cinco de Mayo with 5 ways to bring Mexican-inspired tile to your next project. When we celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it’s important to know the significance of the day: Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. Now, modern day associates the fifth of May with Mexican-American culture. Tacos or huevos rancheros anyone? Looking at Mexican inspired tile can do the same; it started with tradition and has adapted to today’s trends.


Handmade Talavera Tile

You can’t think of Mexican tile without picturing colorful, hand-painted designs. Talavera tile, originally adapted from pottery, is a red clay-based tile with a white glaze. Deep, rich colors are then painted over the white. Authentic Talavera pottery and tile reign from Puebla, Mexico.
Photo Credit: Pinterest
To achieve a traditional Mexican look, consider using boldly colored tile in a large or small scale.
Professional Tip: It’s highly recommended to sample handmade tile before placing an order. The beauty in handmade or hand-painted tile is that the glaze and embellishments will vary in color. If a consistent look is what you’re after, look elsewhere.

Terra-cotta Tile

Saltillo tile, named for the region it’s from, is Mexico’s most well known type of Terra-cotta tile. Unlike its Talavera counterpart, Terra-cotta tile is unglazed and highly porous. Before making its way to Mexico, the Romans used Terra-cotta or fired red-clay vessels to carry water throughout their ancient baths. The Spanish used and still use Terra-cotta tile to clad their roofs.
Pictured: Architessa's Product Line: Walker Zanger, Series: Spanish Cotto

Today, homeowners and designers are crushing over Terra-cotta’s usage as a popular flooring material.


Decorative Details

Using Talavera and Terra-cotta tile together is a great way to achieve an authentic Mexican look. If a busy pattern overall is too much for your taste, use a neutral field tile with pops of bold color instead.
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Here, Terra-cotta tile makes up most of the design, but the corners are clipped to insert colorful accents of Talavera tile.


Unexpected Applications

Have fun with how you use Mexican-inspired tile. It’s not just for borders anymore, and can make a big statement. 

Here are just a few unconventional ideas:

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Talavera hand-painted tile, used on the risers of a staircase, adds instant drama.


Photo Credit: Pinterest
A painted sink basin can take your powder room from bland to bold. Here, the sink is used in combination with Terra-cotta tile on the counter top, and Talavera square tiles as a backsplash.
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Shut the front door. This bold trim around the door really sets the tone for what may be behind it. When you greet guests this way, they can't help but smile.


A Modern Interpretation

Want a more modern take on the red-clay classic? Try a more muted palette. You don’t have to use an obvious choice like Talavera tile to achieve a Mexican-inspired style.
Photo Credit: Bob Narod, featured in Home & Design Magazine July/August 2016
Chevy Chase, Maryland-based interior designer, Sarah Turner, of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd., opted for a more subtle backsplash color for her client’s project. Here, a less literal usage of tile, purchased from AC of course, still honors the geometric and floral patterns seen in traditional Mexican imagery.
NKBA Award Winner: 2nd place in Medium Kitchen category, featured in Home & Design Magazine's July/August 2016 issue
Architessa's own Rockville Assistant Manager and Lead designer, Ginnie Schielke, collaborated with Turner to develop the sophisticated backplash. The tile comes from our Walker Zanger product line, where the Duquesa series offered the perfect pale blue to act as a monochromatic compliment to the kitchen island.
Photo Credit: Bob Narod, featured in Home & Design Magazine July/August 2016

The kitchen island stands boldly against the white and neutral backdrop, energizing the space with a deep blue hue. The floor, while hardwood and not tile, still references the warm tones to that of Terra-cotta tile. Whether making mole or carnitas, this kitchen brings Mexican style into the 21st century.

Request a Sample