The holiday season is in full swing and, while most of us are preoccupied with checking items off our gifting lists and decking the halls with holiday décor, the interior designer in me couldn’t help but continue thinking about all things renovation – surprise, surprise!
As is the norm this time of year, our days around the office are filled with one install after another as we work to wrap up our projects in time for our clients to show off their new interiors during holiday festivities.
Installs bring the importance of every detail into full focus. This “install season” got me thinking about one of my favorite aspects of detailing: tile. While most families are relaxing in their cozy homes and remodeling usually isn’t typically on the brain this season, I wanted to pop in and offer a few quick tips on the process to get your creative juices flowing for whenever inspiration decides to strike! Read on to learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to installing tile and perfecting design details.
- Envision the Design
Before deciding on tile colors, cuts and sizes, it’s important to be able to visualize the design you’re looking to achieve. If you need some inspiration, I recommend exploring options on Pinterest, in the various shelter magazines or visiting a showroom. Land on the look you’re going for before you hit the tile showrooms to help you select the perfect tile pattern to complement your overall aesthetic.
For example, in the design below, we knew we wanted to showcase texture and linear accents with minimal color. The ceramic tiling by Porcelanosa Grupo was a perfect fit because it added just the right amount of textural design without overpowering the modern style.
On the other hand – in the design below – we wanted to add a touch of color to this classic kitchen design. A backsplash with a light, watery blue, was perfect, and we kept the size small and installed in a simple running bond tile pattern (also called a brick pattern). In doing so, the color takes center stage and reference the beautiful ocean outside the kitchen window.
2. Pattern Selection
Once you have an idea of the style you’re going for and a visual in mind, consider the various pattern and shape possibilities. Options can range from small to large-scale with a diverse variety of installation tactics. Some examples include the straight lay tile pattern, the diagonal tile pattern, the checkerboard pattern, the herringbone pattern and more.
The straight lay tile pattern above uses long, running grout lines, which helps lead the guests’ eyes around the room and emphasizes the horizontal striped pattern.
While I do love streamlined designs, this small-scale arabesque pattern in the image above really makes a statement. Because we wanted to highlight the detailed cut without overpowering the room, we kept the color scheme neutral with whites and grays. Love it!
Pro tip: If you’re working with a small space, you can always opt for large-scale patterns to create the illusion that the area is roomier than it really is. See for more tips on making a small space feel larger.
3. Placement and Tile Tips
The last step before installation is deciding on the tile placement. You have the colors and cuts, so now it’s time to plan the arrangement. Options are endless when deciding on a pattern, so have fun with it and explore different options!
For the design above, we went with a staggered brick-lay backsplash, which looks fab popping from behind the navy cabinetry. We installed the tile not only in the 18” backsplash above the counter backsplash but also ran it up the back wall behind the shelving because it gave us a new dimension without overpowering the rest of the design.
In the image above, we used a painted concrete tile for our client’s foyer. There were so many ways to go about installing this tile (as a “rug”, throughout the adjacent rooms, etc…) and we decided to have it fill the entire foyer and stop at the threshold to the dining room. This created an impactful entry!
Keeping these guidelines and tips in mind during your next tile renovation will help build a foundation for what you’re looking to achieve and therefore cut down on time and cost. For more design inspiration and tips, follow me on and !