Lock Tile Blog

Going Retro With Interlocking Floor Tiles

ByAllen Czermak


Decorators in the year 2021 have all types of customers and lately many of them have become more practical by asking for sleek and modern decor for their homes. Furnishings reminiscent of the 1950’s are making a strong comeback. This revival has been in the making for several years already. The negative comments such as, “my mom has stuff like that in her garage”. Or “this furniture reminds me of my great-grandma’s house” are pretty much coming to a halt. The fifties look is here to stay at least for the next several years.

The definitive meaning of the word, antiques, used to mean ornate and detailed designs such as French curved furniture with enough grooves and crevices to keep a resident or their hired cleaning help busy dusting seven days a week. With most of the population, both male and female in the workforce, folks are looking for the most practical way to decorate their homes. A homeowner might still have a favorite French provincial Louis XV antique chest in the front hallway offering a warm welcome to guests, but the major decorating themes of today are of the more modern straight-line presentations. Presently the 50’s have become this century’s antiques. (Even though technically speaking, for a furniture piece to qualify as an authentic antique it must be at least a hundred years old, but we are not going to be as strict as Sotheby’s.)

More often than not the rest of the homes that are being outfitted lately are trending to more practical pieces such as sleek straight legged couches and dining chairs. Details such as corbel brackets of bookcases of vertical fluttering on chairs or other furniture are becoming passé.

Luxurious oriental carpets from countries such as Iran and China have been rolled up and put into storage making room for shiny flooring of various shapes, sizes, textures, and materials. For each decorating situation there is a beautiful and practical flooring solution to be purchased and laid.

The retro furniture style started in the 1950’s with the growing importance of modern furniture. Changes in furniture style included pieces that became much sleeker and tapered. New materials were invented such as Formica (made from plastic) and bar stools made from shiny chrome. Yes, Formica was not limited to counter tops but popular in high end furniture pieces. Wall coverings and floors became more modern and brighter as well.

Dining chairs made with chrome legs and vinyl upholstery were considered high fashion by top designers and the in crowd. Laminated plywood floors with clean lines were introduced and made popular by Charles Eames, a revolutionary designer. Clean, bright color schemes creating pronounced contrasts between colors such as yellow, red, black, and white were the fashion of the times.

Many a time, the materials and colors of floors have to do as much as the age of the purchaser as their particular taste. Classic wood flooring comes in so many different shapes such as rectangular or oblong pieces of different widths presenting the decorator with an infinite amount of pattern possibilities with those same wooden slats. The slats can be laid in a simple vertical pattern or a slanted one. Intricately detailed patterns can be designed for a unique look that is exclusive to each homeowner.

Ceramic tiles will always be in style patterned from simple squared to distinctive individual conceptions. The tiles themselves can have spectacular eye-opening patterns that display the creativity of their makers. The possibilities are endless.

I have noticed that the younger under forty generation conceives of a shiny plastic type of look starting with the shiny covered chairs in the kitchen or dining areas. Red shiny plastic seats with stark white chairs are once again the rage. How can you match a traditional carpet to such a look? It would not work. Experimenting with shiny tiles is so much fun and keeps with that shiny sleek look that everyone is loving.

Twenty years ago, no one would dare recommend PVC interlocking floor tiles for a formal dining area. However, in today’s times if the chairs and table are modern why not the floor? Families with young children nowadays do not restrict their offspring from entering a so-called living or dining room. In fact, there is a good chance that those rooms are not even called by those old-fashioned titles. The family room or the great room would be more appropriate titles for these venues.

I would venture to suggest that such a family would be of the opinion to vote for interlocking floor tiles in abounding creative hues. Imagine an extremely white room being floored with shiny black interlocking floor tiles. What a huge contrast! Or how about conspicuously brightly colored walls and an icy white plastic PVC tiled floor covering? These are the looks that are so desired today. Not only for the physical excitement but also for the ease of cleaning up the messes that bristle with healthy family living.

Of course, we know that no solution is one hundred percent perfect. There are some issues using plastic interlocking tiles in the home. Let’s check out some of the issues and find solutions so that anyone who likes this clean look will be confident with their purchase.

Noisy Tile

Most polypropylene tiles have a hollow core inside creating a specific environment that sound will bounce off. Some people like this hollow sound bouncing off the backside of the tile . For those folks who would like to reduce the musical interlude of noise from their plastic tiles, synthetic landscaping cloth can be a doable solution. Landscaping cloth can be placed on the original floor underneath the not yet placed plastic tiles. This is called an underlayment. When an underlayment is installed, the sound is reduced significantly. This type of inexpensive cloth can be purchased at most home improvement centers such as Home Depot or Lowes. Even Amazon carries it as long as you know your accurate dimensions. It might be wiser to go down to a home improvement store so that you can see what you are purchasing and hone in on the opinion of an experienced sales representative.

One of the advantages of interlocking floor tiles is that they do not absorb water and you might be concerned that that underlayment will get wet and cause mildew or mold to develop under your floor. The nature of landscaping cloth is that it eventually dries and will not cause mold or mildew to develop. It’s a personal choice of either liking the hollow sound while walking on the tiles or opposing the sound but enjoying the look. In that case an underlayment will do the job of decreasing noise.

Are Interlocking Floor Tiles Slippery?

Interlocking floor tiles come in several different textures as well as color shades. Some families want the sleek look of a shiny tile others want the kids to slow down when running. This is a personal preference depending on the ages of the family members and the room or rooms where the tiles are placed. As each tile is separate the interruption between tiles will increase the safety and ease of walking or running on them. You will be able to try a sample or two to test out before purchasing. You cannot beat the beauty and durability of these tiles.

Final Thoughts

The 1950’s was a time of promise and looking optimistically to the future. It was the era of new inventions from vaccines to the introduction of the race to space travel. The sleek lines of the furniture, lighting and flooring reflected that hope in bright patterns and colors. We, in the twenty-first century are trying desperately to recapture their optimism. The space race is back and more promising than ever. Successful businessmen in private industry are taking the place of the government in shooting up rockets. The only limit is financial which is what stopped the government space program initially. Now that private businessmen have rekindled this dream, there is no limit to this new adventure. Just a couple of weeks ago an eighteen-year-old boy was given the opportunity to float in space for a few moments thanks to his father’s generosity.

Home designs are reflecting this optimism with new and innovative products ranging from home furnishing to practical flooring made from recyclable materials made in our own country of the USA. If you decide that you want to design your home in retro or even just one room, be brave. The 1950’s was a time for innovation and boldness. Just add some mid-century lights next to your tailored flat velvet retro sofa. Feel free to mix your present furniture with something retro like a new sofa and you have incorporated retro into your home without throwing out the old (or shall I say new). Who knows what’s old and what’s new when it comes to retro design? So, it’s entirely up to you if you want to go all out retro from your ceiling light down to your floor. It’s totally up to you how far you want to go. What could be more reassuring than that?

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