It seems that many tile shops are reporting a huge growth in demand for natural stone effect floor tiles. Trade professionals and DIY homeowners are buying this particular tiling product for their home interiors in numbers never seen before. What's going on?

In case you've never come across stone effect tiles before, they are a superb tiling solution for people who want to recreate the sheer beauty of stone tiling in their homes but simply can't afford the real thing. And believe me; the cost of the real thing is prohibitive to most people's pockets. Think of the gorgeous marble floors, walls and ceilings of the Taj Mahal and the awe-inspiring limestone structure of the Great Pyramid. OK you may not be trying to reproduce buildings like these in your home but,  for sheer visual beauty, stone in all its many hues, tones and textures  offers a fantastic choice for anyone wanting to carry out some serious home improvements to their kitchen, bathroom, living room, hallway, dining room or conservatory.

The main challenge is, of course, the cost. But that's where stone effect tiles are the perfect solution to an apparently insoluble problem. They bring all the advantages of natural stone and none of the disadvantages. Modern technology means that it's now possible to recreate perfectly the precise look, the gentle tones and the subtle hues of stone such as marble, limestone, slate, travertine, granite and sandstone at a fraction of the cost of the real thing and without the need for environmentally unfriendly quarrying and blasting of rare stone.

Makeney Blanco

At the same time, the material from which these tiles are made – porcelain or ceramic – means that you avoid the inherent problems that come with many natural stone products such as staining and cracking, and the need for frequent, costly, time-consuming maintenance. So natural stone effect tiles are a winner whichever way you look at it.

I think there's been a noticeable swing in the public's attitude to their homes. With house prices failing to rise significantly, there's a mood to stay put and improve their homes by bringing in real quality but at a genuinely affordable price. In part that's due of course to these long, long years of austerity. Maybe we are now learning that sometimes it is possible to get something that looks the part perfectly yet we don't have to pay through the nose for it if we shop around and think before we buy.

And so, to anyone living in the East Midlands area, I strongly recommend you drop by Tile Town's showrooms in Derby or South Normanton and see for yourself the superb choice of stone effect floor and wall tiles for your next home improvement project. You'll be joining a lot of customers who are already doing just that!