How to Select the Right Tile and Tile Layout for Your House

How to Select the Right Tile and Tile Layout for Your House

Choosing the right tile isn’t easy, and you’ll soon find out that the sheer range of possible options is too much to handle. Let us guide you towards choosing a perfect tile by establishing some ground rules, regardless of where you are placing tiles, bathroom or in some other room.

There are three things that matter when choosing a tile, and that’s the size of the tile, the color and design of the tile, and the layout in which you place tiles. The end goal is to make your space pleasant to be in and to make it visually bigger. With only three variables, the number of possible combinations is endless, especially as you’ll be using more than one type of tile in one space.

Size of the tile

It is often said that the size of the tile should vary with the size of the bathroom – small tiles in small bathrooms and large tiles in large bathrooms – but this is not true. A small bathroom can benefit from large tiles as with fewer grout lines the space may feel visually expanded. Using smaller tiles, and tiles with a smaller pattern such as mosaics, can make the space feel smaller, and it is usually a bad idea to put such tiles on all walls. As a general guideline, larger tiles are better as they expand the space and look more elegant, as opposed to smaller tiles which congest space. But this is just a general rule of thumb and there are many successful bathroom designs that use smaller tiles.

Mosaics and similar patterns can work well if applied in moderate amounts, for example to apply to a certain area amongst bigger tiles. Smaller patterns may do wonders for the floor of a small bathroom as they’ll trick the eye into thinking that the room is larger than it really is.

Types of tile layouts

There are three main types of tile layouts, and these can apply to almost every tile on the market. First there’s the normal layout where you just put tiles next to one another and create a grid of grout lines. Most of the time, this is the layout to choose as it’s exactly what people expect to see when they walk into a bathroom, and it creates a sense of order.

The second type is the brick pattern, where each tile is offset by half its length, and there are situations in which this is the right choice. For example, in very small bathrooms and with tiles of larger size the normal layout would instantly reveal just how small the dimensions of the walls are. The brick pattern breaks this by confusing the eye and making it focus on the brick pattern instead the length and width of the walls. Brick pattern can be horizontal or vertical. Square tiles don’t allow for many different patterns, and longer tiles do give several additional options.

Diagonal pattern visually expands the plane it’s on, and usually this is done on the floor. The eye is tricked into following the diagonal lines – which are much longer – and therefore the entire room looks larger. This works especially well with smaller tiles or tiles with smaller patterns.

Color of the tile

Most people think lighter colors make space look bigger because they reflect more light, while some will argue the sheer whiteness of those tiles actually congests space and that darker tiles create a sense of distance between yourself and the wall. This would be even more true if the other elements in the bathroom – sink, shelves, and other stuff – are white or light in color.

Opinions will differ, and there are many different combinations you can use in one bathroom, so there is no right or wrong here. Using only one color of tile and making that color white won’t enlarge space, as the whole point of using tiles of different colors, layouts and patterns is to trick the eye into making the bathroom look bigger and making the space pleasant to be in. A purely white bathroom won’t do that.

A dark floor with white walls, on the other hand, will likely visually expand the room and make it seem as if the floor is pushing the walls away and therefore making the entire room larger. White floor with dark walls will likely do the opposite and make it seem the walls are caving in on you while at the same time the floor won’t look very solid. Although, there are exceptions to this, and dark walls with light floors can work well in some designs.

How many different tiles to use

It is very rare to see a bathroom with only one type of tile that spans the floor and all walls, and it is common to use one tile for the floor and one for the walls. Most people go even further and use two or more different tiles for the walls, either by using one tile up to a certain height or mixing the two in some other way. In most cases, a minimum of two types of tiles is needed, and often this will be at least three or more. It’s impossible to tell how will a tile – or tiles – look in your bathroom just by looking it at it, so it’s usually the best idea to take some samples home and see how they look like in the actual bathroom they’re decorating. It’s easier to go back for another tile sample than to put tiles in the entire bathroom and then decide you don’t like it. All these rules apply to any room, not just the bathroom.

Contact the team at Letta London if you’re ordering tiles for your bathroom and we’ll make sure you have enough options to choose from.