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Tips for choosing the perfect tile

With so many different tiling options on offer in today’s market, it can be hard to know where to start in choosing the perfect bathroom tile. Should you select a light or a dark tile? A large or a small one? The marble option or the glass mosaic?

Avoid being overwhelmed by choice; start your tiling selection process with an understanding of the different tile features and what might be best suited for your home. Selecting the right tile not only elevates the aesthetics of a bathroom, it also contributes to the room’s overall feel and function. To help narrow your selection down, we’ve compiled a guide of factors to consider.

Choosing your material

Bathroom tiles area available in four different materials: stone, glass, porcelain and ceramic. Each has its own pros and cons, so it’s worth considering their differences before making a selection.

Glass

Shimmering and sleek, glass tiles can add a sense of elegance to a bathroom. Glass tiles naturally reflect light, making a bathroom feel radiant and spacious. However, their placement is key. Glass tiles can be slippery and susceptible to scratches, so they may work better as a wall, rather than a floor, tile.

Stone

From marble to granite, the beautiful natural patterns on stone tiles can help to make your bathroom feel truly special. Keep in mind, however, that stone’s lack of water resistance means that the tiles need to be periodically sealed, usually around once a year. Stone can also be slippery and often requires careful maintenance to protect the sealant and prevent dirt and grime from sinking into the pores.

Ceramic

Ceramic tiles are an affordable, low maintenance option that offers plenty of design variety. They also tend to last a long time and are relatively difficult to stain or scratch.

Porcelain

Similar to ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles have the added benefit of being durable and easy to clean. Porcelain is also denser and more waterproof than ceramic and it’s highly resistant to damage, including cracks or scratches.

Making a colour choice

When selecting the colour of your tiles, think about the space of the room you are decorating and what mood you want to convey. Lighter colours help to make a bathroom feel larger and brighter, making them particularly suited to bathrooms with little natural light. Darker tiles, on the other hand, can be great at creating a feeling of cosiness and intimacy.

Determining the size

As a general rule of thumb, think of the size of the room as generally proportional to the size of the tiles to select. A larger tile will generally look better in a larger bathroom, and vice versa for a smaller tile in a smaller room. Larger tiles are also especially suited to rectangular shaped rooms, while smaller tiles are great for rooms with lots of angles and curves. Having said this, a modern trend is towards using larger tiles more often, particularly on the floor.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the size of the tile can affect how slip resistant it is. Smaller tiles tend to work well on floors, as the grout provides added friction. While this shouldn’t stop you from selecting a larger tile, it’s important to make sure that whichever selection you make for the floor is slip resistant.

Matching your selections

While some people may choose just one tile for their bathroom, others may opt to bring together multiple complementary tiles. If you’re in the latter category, it may be helpful to choose one dominant or eye-catching tile and a maximum of two complementary, or ‘accent’ tiles. Too many bold designs can easily feel distracting.

If you’re selecting multiple tiles, think about their placement in the room. Feature walls, for example, are a great way to create contrast and showcase interesting, bold designs without them overwhelming the room.

Applying the finishing touches

Once you’ve selected your perfect tile (or tiles), the final step is to choose a grout to pair with it. The grout that you choose will depend on whether you want it to stand out as a point of contrast, or blend into the tiles.

The seamlessness of a blended grout can help a room feel larger and more open. However, if done well, contrasting grout can be striking and add to the overall visual impact of the tiles. The trending white ‘subway’ tile with a darker grout, for example, is a great illustration of how grout can be a design element of its own and is just as important to consider in the selection process.

© Marlin tiles 2019

Created by Paykel Cairns