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Tile Choice: Getting It Right

Tiles. Seen one, seen ‘em all, right? Not quite. There is much more to tile choice than just choosing size and colour. The fact is, your tiles will be — in terms of pure surface area — the dominant element in terms of colour and texture that will set the style direction for, or lay the backdrop on which to add your personal style to your bathroom.

Tiles will be the prevailing or statement colour and tone to set the style direction of your bathroom no matter how you use them; for example, you may choose to use them as a style statement by picking tiles with bold colours or patterns, or you may choose to use them to be a crisp, stunning neutral canvas and background on which to add your personality to your new bathroom through bold style choice of accessories, lighting, vanity, etc. Choosing the right tile to suit your space, taste and budget is critical; you have to look at it every day, so you want to get it right!

Type of tile

All tiles are not created equal, so ensuring you choose a quality tile is paramount. Even if a quality tile is a little more expensive, the cost will pay off in the long-run, in terms of durability and wear. Let’s face it, we don’t redo our bathrooms every year, so you want tiles to last the distance in terms of wear, durability and finish.


As your tiles take up most surface area in your bathroom, choosing a neutral or non-dominant colour is a good approach. Continuing this colour or tone on both the floor and walls will help make the room look more spacious and provides a clean canvas on which to make your style statements pop. Neutral tones create a great backdrop to add splashes of style and colour on top of, through your use of other fitting choices, and is a good idea in terms of keeping your bathroom looking modern and timeless for longer. Additionally, if you decide to sell at some point, your bathroom will be immediately attractive to potential buyers, rather than if you choose those violet flower-pattered tiles favoured by grannies the world over. #truth


Size does matter! If you are trying to create an expansive feel, to make it feel larger choose large tiles and use them on both the floor and walls. Larger tiles are also a current key trend, so they will add to the contemporary feel, if that is what you want to achieve. Smaller tiles can work well in small areas like shower niches, (in a different colour or tone for a style statement, if you so choose), and small square tiles can work well if you are trying to create a more old world, traditional look in your bathroom. Rectangular ‘Subway’ tiles are currently also a popular favourite that oozes contemporary style, and mostly they are either laid horizontally or vertically.

Wall/floor tiles

Tiles are tiles, right? Not always. While you can usually use floor tiles on the walls, the reverse is not the case. Wall and floor tiles differ in thickness and durability, because their intended function is different, so using wall tiles on the floor is destined for disaster and tears. While a good tiler will pick this up, this is important to know before you order your tiles.

Patterned tiles: yay or nay?

When executed well, patterned tiles can be extremely effective and a standout statement in your bathroom. When used badly, it doesn’t bear thinking about! Using a patterned tile in your bathroom is a bold choice, and is not for everyone. You can use a pattern and still stick to a monochromatic (like black and white floor tiles, with a neutral wall tile that tones in) or neutral palette, so you have more play in your style additions, like accessories. Some patterns will enclose a room, and some will lengthen and widen it, so use patterns sparingly and in a considered, intentional way. For example, pattern only one area, like the floor, not both the floor and walls. Dynamic patterns like herringbone or chevron patterns – that give the illusion of moment – can be an arresting style statement used in one area.

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