Hand-painted glazed ceramic tiles are unique and beautiful, and they come in every imaginable pattern, from florals and abstracts to geometric and traditional patterns. Although hand-painted glazed ceramic tiles are most often associated with Mexican-, Moroccan, or Mediterranean-style interiors, they can create bold accents for a home featuring any style of decor.
How Hand-Painted Glazed Ceramic Tiles Are Made
Hand-painted tiles start out like any other ceramic tile, as a clay slab that’s been fired once to make it hard and durable. After the design is created on paper, it’s transferred to the tile via screen printing. The medium used to create the design on the tile helps prevent the glaze from running during the hand-painting process.
To paint the tile, an artisan uses lead-free glazes, applying the colors to the tile with a paintbrush or bulb syringe. The painted tile heads to the kiln for a second firing, which hardens the glaze. In general, the design of hand-painted ceramic tiles is such that combining many together creates a larger pattern.
Hand-painted tiles make wonderful accent features in any or every room in your home. Here are some fabulous ideas for using hand-painted ceramic tiles to ramp up the visual impact of your rooms.
Accent Tile Inspiration
Four walls of intricate Mediterranean-, Moroccan-, or Mexican-style hand-painted tiles would likely overwhelm any room, but covering just one wall creates a bold, colorful backdrop for your decor. Choose tiles with colors that you’ll feature in the room, and consider motifs that you can echo in the textiles or art in the room. For example, a graphic or soft floral tile pattern can be repeated in the pillows.
For a fresh, modern look in the bathroom, create a backsplash with hand-painted tiles in a bold, graphic design. Tiles that fit together to form a geometric shape, such as hexagons or diamonds, create daring lines, while softer floral motifs, whether traditional or contemporary, give the room a cozier, more down-to-earth vibe. You can carry the backsplash tiles to the shower walls, or you can use solid tiles elsewhere in the bathroom so that the backsplash becomes the primary focal point. Consider extending the backsplash to the whole wall for a vivid look.
Behind the Stove
Behind the stove is a great place to install an adventurous focal point using hand-painted glazed ceramic tiles. You can go for a colorful Mediterranean look with lots of curves and lines, or opt for a Tuscan floral look rich in golds and blues. For the ultra-modern kitchen, a mosaic of hand-painted tiles with colorful or monochromatic geometric shapes will make the wall–and the eyes that look at it–pop.
Stair risers aren’t generally given much thought when it comes to home decor, but the backs of your stairs are a perfect place to incorporate hand-painted glazed ceramic tiles. Achieve an eclectic Moroccan look by combining different patterns and colors of tiles on each riser. For a more cohesive look, alternate two colors or patterns of tile. An abstract hand-painted tile like this tri-color glazed wall tile can give the backs of your stairs a soothing, more subtle facelift.
Accents in a Neutral Space
Sometimes, less is more. If you prefer more neutral decor in both color and pattern, using hand-painted tiles can be even more effective for creating a unique focal point. In a neutral kitchen, try monochromatic hand-painted tiles as a backsplash, or incorporate colorful, stand-alone tiles randomly to break up the neutral tiles. On a neutral bathroom floor, use hand-painted tiles as a border or to create a mosaic in the center of the floor.
A Bold Floor
Hand-painted tiles on the floor can transform a room and create movement in a small space. You can go as bold or as subdued as you wish. When choosing tiles for the floor, it’s usually best to choose just two or three colors to avoid overwhelming the space. Pick tiles that create a larger pattern for greater interest and more layered details. Make sure the tiles are rated for use on the floor.
The fireplace is a great place to use hand-painted ceramic glazed tiles. You can turn your fireplace into an eye-popping showpiece with earthy Moroccan or colorful Mexican tiles. Cover the hearth in solid tiles in a complementary hue, or extend the hand-painted tiles to the hearth. A geometrical and highly symmetrical pattern like this gorgeous floral-themed tile creates repetition that will make your fireplace stand out.
Covering the bottom half of your wall with hand-painted tiles, up to around 42 inches above the wall, creates a stunning wainscoting effect. To make it rustic, use tiles with faded, muted colors. For a more modern look, find a striking geometric pattern that creates a larger geometry.
Give the hallway a makeover with hand-painted tiles, and it becomes more than just a way to access your rooms. A tile floor brightens the hallway, and hand-painted tiles make it another unique feature in your home. If your other rooms feature neutral tiles, go bold in the hallway. If the rest of your home has hardwood floors, choose earthy hand-painted tiles that will enhance the warmth of the wood.
Hand-painted glazed ceramic tiles are just the thing to inject your home with color and texture. No matter where you use them, hand-painted tiles make your home that much more unique and welcoming.