Herringbone in the Powder Bath from our Point Loma Project.

It’s that time again! This month, we are talking tile. WOAH, tile can be a hefty discussion to take on, but we are here to break down the basics. Like paint and wallpaper, tile is an easy way to take a room from basic and flat, to interesting and textural. On the flip side, tile can no doubt be a more expensive and permanent change to your home, but the results are worth the investment, we promise!

In terms of breaking down the tile knowledge, we figured it would be best to break it down per room: kitchen, bathroom, & laundry room. In our projects here at South Harlow, we find that these three rooms are where a lot of the tile designing takes place, and the magic of mixing patterns and materials come together in one happy home.


THE KITCHEN

Walker Zanger Tile in our Avenida Manana Project.

When it comes to the kitchen, it’s not just for the cooks, but often we find that the kitchen is the hub of the home. Since most families spend so much time here, it’s important to make the heart of the home feel clean, open, and of course, beautiful. A great way to bring in some character to the kitchen is, you guessed it, tile.

We often find ourselves selecting tile for backsplash, walls, perhaps even the countertops, kitchen islands, the hood range, and flooring. When it comes to selecting tile for your kitchen, it’s important to consider the layout of your home. Is it open concept? Is it separated? What is the flow? If rooms are connected or you have an open floor plan, make sure your tile selections go well with the rest of the house and are cohesive to your overall color palette. We typically like to stick with neutrals over here, but if you’re a risk-taker, always refer back to your original color scheme without going too awry.

Our favorite types of tile in the kitchen are zellige, a classic ceramic subway, and natural stone. Designer tip: selecting tiles in a glossy finish is a great idea for the kitchen! Gloss is easy to clean, so when you’re cooking up a storm over the stovetop, the aftermath and tidying up will be a breeze.

Calacatta Gold Tile in our Hymettus Project.

THE BATHROOM

We have made it to the holy grail of tile talk, the bathroom. It can be a lot to unpack, but let’s just start things simple. In the bathroom, there’s a lot of space to cover. You could be tiling everything from the floors, to the walls, to the shower surround and shower threshold, you name it. Using a variety of sizes, shapes, patterns, and layouts are where the design fun comes into play. You don’t want to go overboard, however, you do want to keep things interesting and mix the materials and the types of tile you’ll be incorporating. Think of mixing a classic subway inside the shower with penny tile shower floors. Pair that with an interesting bathroom tiled floor, perhaps a fun patterned encaustic or a hexagon mosaic, and you have yourself a nice mix!

Straight Herringbone with Hexagon Mosaic Tiles in our La Jolla Project.
Herringbone Walls mixed with Hexagon Cement Tile Floors in our Hymettus Project.

Once you have your tiles selected, next consider the layout. Straight stacked? Offset? Herringbone? You choose! Just consider the feel you are hoping to achieve. For example, if you are hoping for your master bath to feel like a spa, you probably don’t want to go for any patterns or layouts that are too busy. If you have one tile that is a total showstopper, make surer the rest of your selections are more subtle and paired back. We don’t want materials to be competing. We do want materials to enhance each other and make the room feel in balance. Another little hot tip: when choosing tile finishes for bathroom floors, it’s best to pick something in a matte finish. A matte finish means no slipping on wet surfaces – yay! When it comes to the inside of the shower, pick shower floors in a smaller tile shape. A small shape means more grout lines, and more grout lines mean more grip. As for the shower walls, a glossy finish is always a great option, because as we learned earlier, glossy is easy to clean.

On that note, one last topic to discuss here is grout. Yep, so fun right? Right! We will leave this short and sweet. Contrasting the grout and tile color will bring out the tile layout and pattern, whereas a similar grout and tile color will allow for the layout to be for subtle and less noticeable. Similar rules apply with grout width. The wider the grout, the more pronounced the tile layout and shape will be. The thinner the grout, the more subtle and less pronounced the tile layout will be.

Mosaic Tile Floors in our Del Sur Project.

THE LAUNDRY ROOM

Lastly, we have the laundry room. The laundry room can sometimes be a neglected space within the home, so it’s important to make it feel as beautiful as it is functional. If the laundry is a bit separated from the rest of the home, this can be a fun opportunity to use a playful and patterned encaustic tile. Have some leftover tile from your upstairs bath? Use that tile on the laundry room floor. We promise it will make those household chores feel way better. Just make sure that the tile is as durable as it is good looking.

Hexagon Cement Tile Floors in our Hymettus Project.
Encaustic Tile Floors in our Santaluz Project.

That’s it from us, folks. We hope you enjoyed a little tile talk, and we hope you found this information educational or useful in some way. We will be back with more next month. Ciao for now!

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