Selecting Tile for Your Home
Selecting tile is one of the most fun parts of designing. A tile floor, backsplash or shower are all opportunities to tell a story. It seems there are endless options for tile nowadays, which is both exhilarating and overwhelming. Where to begin? What shape speaks to you? How to choose a color? How do you narrow down to a single tile? Here are a few looks to inspire you. As always, we’d love to guide you through the Tile Universe to select the perfect tile pairing for your home.
One look I’ve long been partial to is the handmade look. This look celebrates the artisans and makers who craft each individual tile and finish by hand. They are the embodiment of craftsmanship and skill. The Arts & Crafts design movement championed all trade workers and celebrated their hands-on process and the products they procured. Handmade tiles tell a story and are a labor of love. On average, a handmade piece of tile will pass through the hands of 7-9 people. While not “perfect,” that’s the charm.
Once upon a time if you wanted the handmade look, it would have been an expensive endeavor, and understandably so as I just outlined above. The handmade tile look can be now replicated by machines. Thanks to the latest technology, machines can mimic the handmade look without the handmade price. While only certain looks are offered, it can be a way to compromise if the handmade option is out of budget. Can you spot which one is handmade and which is made to look handmade? Neither can we!
The subway shaped tile is a classic motif that will never go out of style. Available in a plethora of different shapes, colors and textures, the sky is truly the limit. Choose from small subway tiles that measure 2”x4” to oversized tiles 4”x12”, which can drastically change how the space feels. There are a few different patterns the subway tile can be installed in—straight stack, herringbone or 1/3 off-step.
Intricate patterns and designs come to life through mosaic tile. Modern technology has allowed smaller pieces of tile to be held together by a mesh backing, which then gets covered by grout by the installer. Prior to this breakthrough, artisans would individually design, then break larger clay/glass into the desired shape and set by mortar. The process was incredibly slow and dare I say—painful. Today patterns using glass or ceramic can be laid out and streamlined, which makes the product less expensive. Once again, there are thousands of designs, textures and colors out there.
Another option available are shaped tiles. Timeless shapes like the ogee, Moroccan, teardrop, hexagon and paseo are still alive and kicking. Slightly more contemporary shapes such as the star, cross, Escher, crevette and hexite keep us on our toes.