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how to select tile for a home design project

Are you wondering how to select tile for your home design project? You are in luck! I am here to tell you that a designer grade design is more than pretty things. It’s in the details, the thought, and the planning.  You need to steal these tile details to give your house that designer level style.

Most people think the interior designer is the expert of selecting the  beautiful finishes of a bath or a kitchen.  And all of that is true but the true craft of design is the details. So make sure you consider these details when you  select tile for your home design project.


 1. Backsplash tile will look darker.

It looks lighter when its setting on the counter top but once installed under a set of cabinet you will get a shadow.  Its only source of light is the under cabinet lighting and your default here should be to consider going a shade lighter.  this blue backsplash seems a little too heavy for the light cabinets and light counters.  I would use something more the color of the counter top or tone of the cabinets.

See in these photo examples.

kitchen backsplash

2.  Check the tile for how it will finish on the sides:

TIle edging problems

Some builders will use a metal edging, a matching tile edging to a natural material that can be finished on site to make the edges look nice. In other scenarios it is painted.  I said it painted.  An expert tile person can miter the edges of the tile and install it to look like a seamless install.  Either way you are paying for the edges eventually so take time to consider building out a wall to fit full pieces of tile or a finishing the tile in a way where the material’s size makes a stopping point. The black penny tile is finished off with a natural black marble tile that is cut then bullnosed.

3.  Grout color makes or breaks it.

Is this suppose to look like wood?  or like wood colored tile.  Make sure you pick grout that disappears and for wood tile darker is better.

If you are a lover of vintage subway tile looks having black grout can cause more problems that it is worth.


4.  Tile a plane.

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plane…. and the tile should stay mainly in the  plane.  If you are new to design I would avoid breaking up surfaces with lines and patterns and save the accent tile for creating a moment. Not a weird line- those go out of style.  Here is an example of why a tile drawing is vital.  You have to clearly indicate how things are finished off.  The line in this shower is messed up by the window and the expectation of using bullnose tile instead of schluter to finish it up.

what not to do.

Here is a better solution to the same design problem:

Tileing the plane looks more like this:

or like this:


5.  Niches- this deserves it own post but I have to touch on it here.

  • There is a lot of consideration when Placing a niche:
  • They will get water in them.
  • Consider if you really want to see all of the stuff in them.
  • Builders will not put them on an outside wall.
  • know the size of the objects you want to use them for.

Here we are discussing the details and the details are the size of the tile and not having to L -shape cut a tile to fit it into the wall.  Look at these beautiful niches.  and how they start and end at a top of a tile and end of a tile:

6. Know the size of the tile you are using and make sure your pattern makes sense.

Know how much tile area you need to cover.  Then choose a tile that is the correct scale or that the pattern will read well.  You need to see a pattern repeating 3 times for it to look like it’s the right size for the area.

A pattern like a double herringbone will not read in kitchen backsplash of 18″ unless the tile is 1″ X4 ” any bigger than that you will not even comprehend the pattern.

If you have any questions on how a pattern lays out or how to determine the best pattern for tile for your space. Try out Design Appy to play around with patterns shapes and sizes.

Design Appy tile details

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