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Tile is one of the world’s oldest building materials yet still ready for modern use. How do choose a tile floor? Take a look at this overview to get started.

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Choosing a tile floor for your home can be intimidating. The combinations of color, size, style, and texture are impressive, but once you find tiles you like, how do you know they’re going to fit your home décor style?

Finding tile floors that will match your personal style and complement your home décor takes some thinking about location, color, size, shape, layout, surface pattern, and spacing. Find out how these elements combine to create a flooring surface that best complements your living space.

Location

Tile is durable, water-resistant, and easy to clean, making this material a good choice for your kitchen, bathroom, and entryway. However, not all tile suits every room in your house. Your first choice for tile should be one that is safe and practical for your floors.

Use a textured tile for your shower floor instead of a smooth surface that gets slippery when wet. In your entryway, textured tile can be tough to clean, while smooth tile eases mopping duties.

Torino Flexible Italian Porcelain Tile - Rustic Sequoia Collection Sierra Earth

Torino Flexible Italian Porcelain Tile – Rustic Sequoia Collection Sierra Earth

For high-traffic areas in your home, use durable porcelain tiles that resist scratching and chipping. Keep ceramic tile flooring indoors only, as ceramic tiles are more porous than porcelain and won’t last as long against the weather.

After you’ve chosen the best type of tile for your floor, think about the color you want to convey.

Browse for kitchen and bathroom tile.

Color

Color influences the overall attitude of your room, which makes choosing the color of your tiles important.

Dark tiles add warmth, but make sure you have an open area and light to keep the tile color from overwhelming the palette of your living area. Consider chocolate brown, navy, or burnt-colored floor tiles in a large kitchen space.

To make a room look larger, choose lighter hues. Cream and pastel flooring tiles will make your narrow walkway or guest bathroom seem larger.

10082342-glossy-white-room

Classic lines and classic patterns in bathrooms (Kaska Wall Tile – Rockefeller Series Glossy White – Ceramic Wall Tile 12″x24″ from BuildDirect).

For areas with heavy traffic, consider variations of shades; a slight contrast on your floor tiles can help mask dirt. Mixed browns and tans, flecked tiles, or shades of gray and white are all options for busy areas of your home.

If you’re looking for color inspiration, turn to the color wheel. Add energy to a room by selecting tile in a color on the opposite side of the color wheel as your existing décor. To keep a room feeling tranquil, use the color wheel to pick a shade adjacent to the color of your walls.

However, your floor tiles don’t have to be one solid color. Selecting an attractive surface pattern is the next step toward your ideal tile floor.

Browse for subway tile.

Pattern

With today’s technology, flooring tiles are available in many affordable patterns to complement your home’s interior design.

For a subtle look, use stone-patterned tiles, which can match many décor types. Be sure, however, that your stone pattern has a style that won’t clash with your home’s personality. Marbled stone surfaces add an austere look, so keep your home’s proportions in mind if you opt for this surface.

raw silk series of ceramic tile bathroom flooring

Tile has evolved! This is an example of uniquely textured tile that resembled the look of fabric. (Salerno Porcelain Tile – Raw Silk Series “White” from BuildDirect”)

Surface patterns are fun, but they can get too busy. Don’t use patterned tile flooring where you already have a strong pattern on your walls. This double patterning will make a room look busy, and neither design will stand out properly.

Browse for stone look ceramic tile.

Whether you choose a subtle or a bold pattern for your tile, also think about the size of your tiles in relation to your space.

10105266-copper-oak-6x26-room_1000

Wood look tile is a low-maintenance, highly stylish surface for a variety of spaces beyond the kitchen and bathroom. (Salerno Ceramic Tile – American Wood Series “Copper oak” from BuildDirect.)

Size

The pattern on your floor tiles influences not only the look of a room, but also its size. With tile flooring, size matters.

Large tiles make small areas seem more expansive, making them a safe bet for most rooms. Small tiles can make a room feel more intimate, but these tile sizes should be used with caution. Small tiles have more grout lines, which can add a complex look to your room’s design.

Large tiles also take less time and effort to install than smaller tiles, a point worth considering if you intend to hire a professional to tile your floor or whether you choose to do the job yourself.

Browse for 12″x 24″ tile.

Layout

10096631-trenchcoat-champagne-matte-12x24-room_1000

Tile flooring represents a uniquely tailored and sophisticated surface (Salerno Porcelain Tile – Trench Coat Series “Champagne” from BuildDirect)

Like surface patterns, tiling layouts can be simple or complex depending on the type of look you want for your room. Consider your existing décor and decide if you want your floor to be the feature that stands out in your room.

To make a small room feel spacious and neat, use an uncomplicated tile layout such as diamond, brick, or a straight layout. These layouts work for a room that already has a complicated pattern, design, or color, since they won’t distract from your existing décor. Simple layouts are also the easiest to work with if you’re doing the work yourself.

To draw attention to your floors, choose a bold layout like checkerboard, herringbone, or Versailles. While complicated layouts can add interest to small areas, they can become busy in large rooms.

Finally, think about the space between the tiles, a consideration that is as important as the tiles themselves.

Browse for tile pattern sets.

Spacing

Once you’ve chosen the type, color, pattern, size, and layout of your floor tiles, it’s time to install them. Think about how the spacing of your tiles can influence your floor’s appearance.

The farther you space your tiles, the thicker the grout line will be between the tiles. To camouflage your grout lines, use a grout that matches your tiles to give your floor a clean, cohesive look.

To draw attention to your floors using tiles, use a colored grout to make individual tiles stand out. Grout comes in a range of colors, allowing you to choose whether to dramatically contrast or peacefully complement your tiles.

Unlike products from the past, today’s grout repels moisture, but it can still be difficult to clean. Use a stain-proof grout if you can and use a grout colorant to revitalize areas that fade over time.

Let your vision be your guide

Choosing the right tile flooring might seem complicated, with the combinations of texture, color, pattern, size, layout, and spacing to consider. By going through your choices step by step and thinking carefully about the look you want for your home, you can select the right tile for your floors. Functional and beautiful, there’s a place for tile flooring in your home that suits your personal style.

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Resources Linked to in the Article:

  • https://www.builddirect.com/Porcelain-Tile.aspx
  • https://www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/basic-color-theory
  • http://www.tilehomeguide.com/tile-patterns-the-ultimate-quick-read-beginners-guide-including-secrets-of-tile-professionals-revealed/
  • https://www.builddirect.com/blog/how-to-be-bold-with-tiles/
  • http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/tile/installation-how-to/ceramic-tile-porcelain-tile-flooring/

 

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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.