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Our Top Tips for Designing with Tiles

by Chloe Donaldson on August 22, 2020
We understand that undertaking any renovation or new build can seem overwhelming.

With so many decisions to make and things to consider it's often hard to know where to start.

Designing with tiles is no exception. Besides the obvious things like, where to use it, what to use and how to use it.

We are here to give you our insider top tips to ensure you are covering all the bases before you set out on your selection journey.


 1. Start with a Colour Palette 

In the beginning stages of designing any home or renovation with tiles, the first thing we recommend is to choose your colour palette. Compiling images that you are drawn to on Pinterest, Instagram, or even from your best friend’s coffee table.

Once you narrow down your favourites, start looking for consistent colours in each of them. This is a vital part of the design process, ensuring your home will have a cohesive theme throughout. Sometimes you'll surprise yourself with what you find, and once you lock the colours you want to use, you can start looking for tiles that compliment your scheme!

2. Pay Attention to the Flowliving room tile floor

Whether you are planning on tiling a large floor area, a bathroom, laundry or a feature fireplace, consider the flow.

Which direction will the pattern take you, how will it compliment or contrast against other flooring elements, and how collectively the whole designs integrates together. Often you want the tiles to feel unique in their own space, but for best design overall, all the elements must flow together.

People often forget to think about the directional flow throughout a space. A horizontally laid tile can accentuate the width of a room, a vertically stacked wall tile can articulate the height of a room.

Consider door thresholds, both internally and externally. Where different product elements meet and room integration. Does your design flow seamlessly, or should a change in direction be considered to maximise the flow?

This can also mean utilising the same product throughout multiple spaces, to ensure continuity and flow. For example the feature tile on your kitchen splashback, continued to your butlers pantry or even laundry space. This will help increase the flow and link the spaces together.

3. Diversify Scale & Texture

terazzo bathroom tiles
herringbone tile bathroom
coastal bathroom design
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There are endless possibilities when it comes to tiles, so there is no one size fits all approach to selecting the right combination. There are a few simple things that can help define a space;

Scale - Utilse scale to create visual contrast without overpowering your space. A large format floor tile teamed with smaller version wall or feature tile can create a subtle point of difference while maintaining continuity throughout your design.

Finish -When it comes to finishes it’s all about mixing up surface textures within a space. Experiment with texture pairing; rough with smooth and matt with gloss, in order to achieve a curated look and provide a sensory experience that draws the eye and encourages touch. 

Print - Patterned & printed tiles offer the opportunity to add an exotic touch to any room. They create visual intrigue and can be a great way to express your personal character. There is a wide variety of prints available in the tile space. From bold and extravagant patterns to inspired natural stone look alikes. Combining aesthetics and luxury without sacrificing practicality.


 4. Consider Your Layout 


Another way to add a thoughtful, custom look to your space is by playing with the layout of your tiles. Even the simplest tile can be elevated in your design by your choice of layout.

 Vertically stacking subway tiles will put a new twist on a well-loved tile style. Adding a herringbone pattern to your floor (might send your tiler crazy) but will create a whole next level of luxe in your home.

Think about this well in advance, as often your contractor will go ahead and work out a standard set out for your space. If you want something out of the box....get in first to avoid being disappointed! 


 5. Don't forget the Grout

taylor knights architects - bathroom tiles

Credit : Taylor Knights Architects

Grout is one of the most under-thought elements in tile design.  Many people actually miss the opportunity to specify their own grout altogether, assuming that they don’t have much choice other than white or grey.

These days, grout comes in a multitude of shades so you've got the option to choose a colour that will significantly impact the finished look of your tiles.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing grout. It’s all about the look you are going for. Grout selection can generally be characterised into 3 categories - Contrast, Compliment or Camouflage.

Contrast: Something to make your tiles POP! Think black grout in white subway tiles. Its bold, its brave and when done well, can lift any space.

Complement: Sometimes your tile may feature multiple colours or variations. A multi-coloured pattern tile will require you to choose a grout colour that compliments the palette. 
CamouflageWhen you want to blend your tiles seamlessly camouflaging your grout is the goThis can help blur the lines between tile and joints and make the space feel cohesively whole.
Still can’t decide? Samples in grout sticks is a great way to visualize the result. Hold it up to your tile and see what feels best.

Okay, with these things in mind you are well on your way to making a considered and conscious tile selection and really bring your project to life! GOOD LUCK!


Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love — Nate Berkus