Decorative Tile: A Guide

Once upon a time, choosing tile for your home was as easy as picking from a handful of pastel ceramic squares. Would it be mint green or pale blue? What about light pink or bright yellow? Today, the choices can be overwhelming – porcelain tile can be made to realistically look like everything from aged wood to sleek Italian marble, and tiles made of glass, cork, mirror and even leather are available in all shapes and sizes. With so many options, it’s tough making a choice: here’s some tips to guide you through the decision-making process.

Create a Plan

Before jumping into tile choices, you should lay out where the tile will be. Not only will this set your plans in stone, but you’ll have a general idea of how much tile you’ll need to purchase in order to complete the job. Your plan doesn’t have to be a professional layout; a hand sketch or elevation of each wall will do. The sketch can be given to your contractor or, if you’re taking a DIY approach and shopping at a smaller tile store, the professionals there can work with your layout to help you find the perfect tile.

Alternating vs. Consistent

While in the past homeowners chose a particular tile and used it throughout the space, some contemporary design trends favor alternating between large and small tiles. Simple changes, like using two different size subway tiles, can make a bathroom more stylish and interesting without risking it looking dated in a few years’ time. Another option is alternating the thickness of the tile so some rows jut out further than others. Some homeowners get creative with grout: thick lines of grout in bold or dark colors that contrast with the tile is one way to make a statement. No matter the type of tile you choose, deciding between a traditional or more contemporary style is crucial.

Tile Types

Once you’ve created a plan and decided on a style, it’s time to choose a tile type. If your tastes lean towards modern, clean lines, consider incorporating subway tile into your bathroom. If maintenance and durability are high on your list, you can’t go wrong with porcelain: it’s virtually maintenance-free and can be used on any surface or area of your bathroom. Glass tile is especially popular in bathrooms because the reflectivity is a great way to add light to dark spaces, but it shouldn’t be used in high traffic areas, such as bathroom countertops or floors, as glass can break more easily than other tile types.

Regardless of the size of your budget or home décor, incorporating decorative tiles into your bathroom is a great way to create an upscale look in your home. If your budget is small, consider using tile in a small area of your bathroom – such as a backsplash or behind the walls of your bathroom vanity. The variety of tile styles and designs for your bathroom are vast; find the one that works for you and transform your bathroom into the stylish, upscale haven you’ve always known it could be.

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