Reading Time: 4 minutes

Humanity has relied on tile for practical and decorative uses for literally thousands of years. Here are 12 ways to carry on that tradition in your own home.


One of the most versatile materials out there, tile works well on floors and walls as well as for decor. Whether you’re considering a low-budget bathroom remodel or you’re planning a major kitchen renovation, tile can add functionality and aesthetic appeal. Take a closer look at these 12 ways to use tile in your home.

Arabescato Herring Bone marble tiles for shower flooring

Arabescato Herring Bone marble tiles for shower flooring (Carrara marble series from BuildDirect).

1. Bathroom flooring

Replacing outdated vinyl or laminate with tile flooring is a smart way to spruce up your bathroom and add value to your home. Keep it simple with individual ceramic or porcelain tiles in a grid pattern, or go custom and design your own flooring with variety of shapes and colors.

If you’re short on time or resources, you can even use sheets of porcelain tile flooring. This can help speed up your installation, lower the chances of mishaps, and keep your bathroom remodel under $5,000.

Browse for porcelain tile.

2. Tile the tub or shower area

Tile works well for much more than just flooring. Cover the wall behind the tub area with tile, and you’ll dramatically increase your bathroom’s ability to keep water where it belongs. For best results in the bathroom, try stylish subway tiles or go upscale with travertine tile. Not only are these materials durable and easy to install, but they’re also available in colors ranging from white to black and everything in between.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider tiling the tub itself, too. This is great for creating a unique bathing area that’s customized just for you.

Salerno Porcelain Tile - Trench Coat Series Champagne / 12"x24

Salerno Porcelain Tile – Trench Coat Series “Champagne” / 12″x24 from BuildDirect.

Browse for wall tile.

3. Bathroom tile everywhere else

Once you’ve started to add tile in the bathroom, there’s no reason to stop with just the floor or the tub. Instead, add tile throughout the bathroom, covering the floor, shower, and bathtub. This type of design works best if your bathroom remodel allows for a custom bathtub and a relatively open shower.

Use smaller tiles to add mosaic-style depth and to create an even more striking appearance in this intimate room. Since an installation like this can become complicated quickly, don’t hesitate to consult with a designer before moving forward.

travertine tile bathroom

Ceramic tile with travertine patterning  is accented by dark cabinetry, creating striking contrast.


Browse for ceramic travertine pattern tile.

4. Rethink Wainscoting

With all the water that flows through a typical bathroom, unprotected drywall or plaster can suffer some serious wear and tear. Add a layer of protection and a dose of texture to the wall with tile wainscoting. This design element extends from the wainscot to the floor and works best with straightforward subway tiles. When installed correctly, tile wainscoting also creates a seal where it connects with the floor, so you won’t have to worry about leaks or water damage in the bathroom.

wainscotting tile

Browse ceramic and porcelain mosaic tile.

5. Create a Kitchen Backsplash

Without a visually appealing backsplash, a kitchen never seems complete. Take your kitchen rehab ideas to the next level by getting creative with your backsplash.


Mint green glass subway tile for decorative and practical kitchen backsplashes.

Go classic with colorful glass tiles, or add some intense color with a variety of smaller tiles in a mosaic pattern. The backsplash is also the ideal place to add metal tiles, as they can withstand all kinds of heat, spills, and general wear and tear. No matter what color or type of tiles you choose, a tile backsplash adds a dash of flair to your kitchen.

Browse for new glass subway tile.

6. Spruce Up a Corridor

All too often, hallways remain empty pathways from one room to another. Instead of leaving corridors blank in your home, spruce them up with tile flooring. Patterned tile works best here, and it’s an easy way to take a hallway from 0 to 10.


7. Design an Entryway

As they do with corridors, homeowners often overlook the aesthetic appeal of entryways in favor of making these spaces functional. Make a great first impression on visitors and welcome friends and family by installing tile flooring in place of hardwood or laminate flooring. While you can make a statement with classic sandstone or travertine tile, consider taking the foyer to the next level with a bold mosaic design.

Browse for marble tile.

8. Take It Outdoors

Tile works well in numerous indoor spaces, but it’s also a great choice outdoors. Add tile around your pool, or upgrade an outdated patio area.

Start from scratch and design a functional and attractive outdoor living space with sandstone or limestone tile flooring. Continue the tile look on the countertops to create a cohesive outdoor kitchen area.

Browse for glass tile mosaics.

9. Make an Accent Wall

If a painted accent wall can turn an average room into a visually pleasing one, then a tiled accent wall can turn a lackluster room into a dynamic one. For the biggest impact, choose one of the most prominent rooms in your home, and get as colorful or as detailed as you can. Larger tiles might look out of place in living or sitting rooms, but intricate glass mosaics will draw serious attention in these spaces. Be sure to adjust the rest of the decor to accommodate the accent wall so the room doesn’t become overwhelming.

living room textural accent wall

(image: My Wall Art via Flickr)

10. Customize Shelves

If a tiled accent wall sounds too extreme, consider tiled built-in shelves instead. Depending on the color and style you choose, tiled shelves can add visual interest to a den or family room without dominating the entire space.

11. Enhance Furniture

Adding tile to furniture allows you to redirect people’s focus from the walls to another part of the room. Use glass tiles to enhance a coffee table in the living room or a stand in the entryway, or apply mosaic tiles to a headboard or footboard in the living room.

12. Turn It into Artwork

If you’re not ready for a permanent tile installation, consider adding tile-based artwork to your home instead. Tiles are a natural fit for mosaics, which you can assemble and install virtually anywhere in your home. Add color to the entryway with a pair of vertical mosaics, or make a bigger statement with a large circular mosaic in the living room.

When it comes to tile, there’s no limit to where or how much you can use it. Start in the bathroom or kitchen, then introduce this functional and attractive material throughout your home.




1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.