Decorating with tile

Household 5 min read

There are some design trends that never change. Tile is one of the true constants of design. The shapes, patterns and materials have certainly changed and evolved over the years, but tile itself has been part of homes for more than a thousand years. Today, tile is an amazing addition to any modern home. From hi-tech tiles that capture solar energy, to new tile finishes that mimic brick, concrete or even wood, tile has a variety of new looks that lead to endless stylish possibilities. Here’s a look at just a few ways that using tile can make all the difference in your home.

The kitchen is one of the best rooms to start with when you’re looking to fit tile into your decor. Because it’s such a functional room, it needs materials that are hard-wearing and easy to clean, and nothing fits that bill better than tile. In this kitchen, large marble tile in a black creates a striking visual that defines the space. Fitted together, these large slabs of marble tile form a single pattern that brings color and visual interest to the space.

1. Subtle powder room style

Like with kitchens, creating a beautiful bathroom requires a combination of functionality and style. One way to make it work is to use smaller tiles for a more subtle and blended look. With the right size and just a few variations in tone, you can create organic, abstract patterns that fill the room while offering a backdrop to modern fixtures and other pops of color throughout the room.

The tiny tiles that cover this bathroom give it a modern, almost pixelated look. The color variations run in random pathways across the walls for a series of patterns that seem to fade in and out as they progress across the wall. As an added touch, the mirror picks up the tile on the opposite side of the room for an extra layer of pattern.

Photo Credit: Seth Caplan (

2. Geometric tile patterns

Square tiles are often the norm, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always the only option, or even the best one. If you’re looking to create pattern in your space without putting up wallpaper, geometric wall tiles might be exactly what you’re looking for. While the fit of any group of tiles will naturally create a pattern, those created by tiles with more intricate shapes, such as pentagons or octagons will generally – if unsurprisingly – create more interesting patterns.

This stunningly colorful kitchen is made up of blocks of solid blue and white. To break them up, the designer adds a much-needed moment of pattern with a simple backsplash made of hexagonal tiles that fit seamlessly into the room’s color palette. The pattern is enhanced even further by the unusual shape of the backsplash, which extends upward between the shelving rather than existing as a simple rectangle. Making a shape out of shapes is always a great way to create an eye-catching feature in any room.

Photo Credit: Seth Caplan (

3. Tile everywhere

In most instances, tile only needs to be used in small doses to achieve the desired effect. However in some cases, such as in bathrooms, tiling everything from the ceiling to the floor isn’t just a good idea, it’s a great one. Tiling the entire room is an excellent strategy for bathroom design as it ensures that both the floors and the walls will stand up to the wear and tear of constant use while keeping costs low because tile is a generally inexpensive material to use. Using the same tile throughout the room, however, creates an enveloping effect that covers the room in pattern.

The tile is in this bathroom shower covers every inch. The neutral color palette, that totally envelopes the spaces, conveys a cool and relaxing bathroom retreat.

Photo Credit: Seth Caplan (

4. Mixing tile patterns

For something a bit more eye-catching than a subtle, all-around tile pattern, try mixing tiles for a bold statement. From a functional standpoint, the benefits of covering a bathroom in tile are the same regardless of the level of pattern involved. However, the difference in aesthetic can be significant.

This bathroom does more than mix and match the pattern of its wall and floor tiles. It mixes the color, size, shape and texture for a unique and timeless look. The tiles on the wall are porcelain with a marble look in a rectangular cut. The tiles on the floor have a far more intricate pattern, a darker color and are ceramic. Put together, they are a gorgeous combination, made even more classic by the timeless black and white color palette.

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper (

5. Outdoor patio tile

Tile is perfect for outdoors. Outside, it comes with all of the same benefits that it has in a kitchen or bathroom. It can stand up to the elements, it’s easy to clean and it adds layers of color, pattern and texture that can turn a simple patio into an outdoor oasis. Put it all together, and there’s no better place to start planning your outdoor space.

The tile in this outdoor space combines all of the elements we’ve seen that make tile such an important addition to the style of a home. The varied color palette of the individual tiles is eye-catching and contributes to the color blocking on the walls. The hexagonal shape creates an interesting pattern that gives a unique aesthetic to the space. Finally, the natural stone texture contrasts with the wood of the walls, a perfect combination for relaxing in the great outdoors.

Photo Credit: Seth Caplan (

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