Just because you’re no longer stuck in the house, staring at the undecorated walls, outdated lighting fixtures, and other decor elements that are screaming for a mini makeover, doesn’t mean the home renovations have ceased. In fact, there’s just something about the start of a new season that always seems to inspire a bit of sprucing up. If that describes how you’re currently feeling about your interior space, tile could be a way of adding some color, texture, and otherwise drama into any room — especially if you try some of the trendiest and most unexpected uses. Creative uses for tile are popping up in the chicest homes and mood boards of in-demand designers, but with the right tips they can also easily become a focal point in your abode, too.
You already know the magnitude tile can have in a kitchen renovation (especially for floors and backsplash) or bathroom revamp (floors, shower and tub walls), but it can be just as effective in other nooks and crannies of the home as well — and using it in out-of-the-box ways could be the key to completely changing up a mood or highlighting your home’s best assets. “I think tile can be such a fun, 3-dimensional way to really create change in a space,” says Sara Queen, senior designer at Lisa Queen Design. “By playing with pattern, texture, and color, we can really create a ‘wow’ effect!”
The variety of effects you can achieve with tile is pretty wide. For example, get the look of vintage and/or French style kitchens (Claude Monet’s iconic Giverny home serves as great inspiration) with blue-and-white hand-painted styles, but there are so many modern tiles to help you get a super contemporary look in any space, too.
That said, for the most part, adding tile can be a pretty intensive project — which is why you might want to leave this one up to the pros. “I've seen people DIY successfully (via TikTok), but I'm of the mind that if your home is one of your biggest investments and assets, it's usually best to treat it that way and make sure any home renovations are done right,” Queen says. “You could potentially end up paying more if your DIY goes DIW (do-it-wrong), so I would at least get a few professional quotes and weigh the options.” And while the designer hasn’t tried the trendy vinyl peel-and-stick tiles (she fears they could produce a low-quality look in comparison), this could be something to try for renters or those who want an affordable and low-commitment option.
Tile can also be a vehicle for you to try some of the latest decor trends, like textured walls and colorful staircases. Want to know how the pros do it? Ahead, find these and more creative ways to utilize tile that you’ve probably never thought of, but could be a total game-changer.
Frame Your Fireplace
Want to make your fireplace a focal point? Consider swapping out (or adding on) some fresh tile, like Queen recently did. “We used a zellige tile from Clé Tile in our office around the fireplace,” she says. “The fireplace involves a small arch made of painted brick (pre-existing) and before we remodeled it, the tile surround was a white basic tile with old-fashioned, wide grout. Changing out just the white tile for a soft, organic blue made such a beautiful difference. The zellige tiles have a wonderful irregularity to them that adds a lived-in feel to the new addition.”
Create A Statement Wall
In lieu of patterned wallpaper, Georgie Smith and Hilary Gibbs, co-founders of LIVDEN, love the idea of using tile to create a statement on your walls. “Most people will opt for paint, wallpaper, or even a picture wall to try and fill in the empty spaces, however tile can be an awesome way to blanket that white space with a creative, fun design that is also a conversation starter,” they explain.
Warm Up With Wood
You know the warming effect a beautiful hardwood floor can have in a space? You can recreate this with tile, too, according to Queen. “We recently completed two bathrooms — a pool house bath and a bonus/playroom bath — that used a combination of wood-like tiles and more standard ceramic tiles,” she explains. “In both scenarios, we wanted to incorporate the color tones and warm feeling of the hardwood floors throughout the rest of the home into the bathroom. In one instance, we put the tiles on all walls and the effect is very warm and welcoming, although contemporary. In another, we used a hexagon-shaped, wood-like tile on the floor to create a continuous effect as you step into the bathroom from the adjacent space. The hex was a fun way to play with pattern, while keeping the overall impact simple, impactful, and long lasting.”
Pamper Your Pet
Show your furry friend a little extra love by creating them a special nook that’s set off with tile. “More and more people are creating designated pet-feeding zones in their kitchens, especially if you’re doing it custom,” Smith and Gibbs share. “To really have fun with it, try adding tile to the backdrop of the feeding zone. Not only will it look pretty, but it’s a fun, unexpected moment.”
Make Your Island Pop
If you’re looking to add tile to your kitchen in fresh way, Smith and Gibbs suggest keeping your backsplash neutral and surround of your island with something more colorful or patterned instead. “This will make the island pop the minute you step into the kitchen,” the two offer.
Offer A Warm Welcome
Give your visitors a statement from the second they walk in the door. “Rather than putting a welcome mat or runner in the entry, opt for a creative tile design to welcome guests,” Smith and Gibbs say. “It will look like the outline of a rug, but will be easier to clean and a great way to open up your home.”
A New Way To Do Wainscoting
“Instead of using drywall or plaster to create the wainscoting effect, why not try tile?” Smith and Gibbs suggest. “Whether in a powder room, mudroom or dining nook even, creating wainscoting through tile adds a dose of texture to the wall, and can be a better, protective solution against leaks if used in the bathroom.”
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