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Top Tips for Choosing Tiles

19 August 2021

Selecting a bathroom tile can be a frustrating process. After all, there are just so many options out there. The tile can set the mood and overall aesthetic of the bathroom, so of course, you want to pick the right one. But walk into any tile shop and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. 

Whether you’re considering a major renovation or a small upgrade, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing bathroom tile.


  • Pick your budget and materials


As with any remodel, it’s important to set your budget first for several reasons. 

First, it helps you narrow the available choices, so you don’t have a hundred options on the list. Second, it will stop you from overspending on any single area. Remember that you may have other things to budget for such as installation cost, buying the vanity and cabinets, etc. 

Third, your budget will dictate the choice of material for bath tile. You might like the look of marble but it is expensive to buy and maintain. Ceramic and porcelain are the two most popular options and work well in humid areas such as bathrooms. Natural stone tile looks exquisite but requires sealing and seals in more moisture. So it may not be the best choice for most homes.

Remember that you will need tile for the floors, walls, and other areas depending on your bathroom configuration. Ideally, you would cover the shower stall with tiles up to the ceiling. It will make the overall space look bigger. Purchasing expensive tile quickly adds up.


  • Choose the color scheme


Consider the overall look and feel of the bathroom, as well as its purpose. You may want completely different colors in the master bath and children’s bathroom. Lighter colors work well in small bathrooms, making them feel spacious especially if you don’t have a window there. A large bathroom with several windows is suitable for darker shades and you can experiment with different colors here.

Most bathrooms are small areas, so don’t pick more than 2 – 3 colors for the space. If you want to demarcate separate areas (tub, shower, vanity, etc.) use tile in the same color but in different shades. Make sure the color scheme fits with the overall look of your home as well. A traditional-styled bathroom next to a modern master bedroom can be jarring. 

Similarly, some colors work well with certain design choices. A rustic bathroom may use shades of warm reds and greens whereas a modern bath would be perfect in white or neutrals. 


  • Consider textures and patterns



Wet bathroom floors can be slippery, so you want a tile that will prevent falls. But you can choose different textures for other areas such as above the vanity. If you have the budget, glass tiles can look gorgeous in any color but it’s not advisable for high traffic areas such as a guest bath or kids bathroom. Glass tiles are perfect for the space next to or above the vanity rather than the floor.

Feel free to experiment with creating patterns using colors as well. For example, you can use white subway tile in the shower with a splash of blue tile for the final few inches near the ceiling to create a striking effect.


  • Tile size – big or small?


Big tile sizes are all the rage right now but you can use multiple sizes in one room. If you have a bench in the shower, bigger tile will feel more comfortable for sitting. Smaller tiles are perfect if you want to create an intricate pattern or outline the edges around the tub. So consider using different tile sizes based on your needs.

The size of tile plays an important role in maintenance, installation cost, and working in tricky areas. For instance, using bigger tiles on a wall with several windows means your design could end abruptly. Smaller tiles will help you build around such areas. Similarly, intricate mosaic looks good but can be tricky to install driving up the cost of installing it.


  • Pick one main feature and build around it


This main feature can be anything – a gorgeous free-standing tub in the middle of the room, a focus wall with several large windows, an alcove containing your vanity, etc. Select the color, material, and size for that tile first. You will find it easier to select tiles for the less important areas based on that focus feature. Suppose your main bathroom wall has a large green pattern, you can choose smaller tiles in the same or lighter shades for the other walls.

Many people go overboard when remodeling and want to highlight everything! This makes the room look chaotic instead of relaxing. So stick to one main feature and build the remaining space around it.

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