Adding Style With Flooring Inlays

If the floor of your bathroom, foyer, dining room – or anywhere – is lacking in style and interest, consider adding an inlay to your new flooring design. Inlays add instant interest, pattern, depth, and design to your floor, whether you opt for a medallion, some cut-ins, or a border.


At its simplest, an inlay is simply the mixing of materials – laying a different material into a field of another material to add interest or make a statement. Inlays can be put into tile, wood, or stone and may be as simple as a different color of the same material, or an intricate design made up of several smaller pieces.

Inlays make great choices for areas that have wide sections of open or unused floor, because these areas normally otherwise lack substance. The type of inlay you choose depends upon the shape and size of the area, the style of your home, and the type of material the floor is made of.


Medallions make good inlay choices for large rooms and entryways. They instantly draw the eye and focus it. They also line up properly beneath large chandeliers, creating balance in tall rooms.


Inlaid borders are the perfect addition to smaller rooms or oddly shaped rooms. They allow you to square off the room, filling the interior with a different pattern or material. Borders can be made up of laser-cut pieces epoxied together, mosaic borders on nets, or simply a contrasting color of the same material, such as dark gray Bardiglio marble inlaid into a field of lighter Carrara.


The most impressive inlays provide the most amount of contrast to the surrounding flooring. This may mean mixing materials, such as inlaying marble medallions into a field of hardwood, or it may mean using a very decorative border in a field of more sedate tile. The idea is to draw and capture the eye, which can be best done with contrast.

Inlays come in so many shapes and sizes, it’s possible to add one to every room of the home and not repeat yourself. Consider adding an inlay to any floor that needs a little boost and see what results you can achieve.

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