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How to Choose Tile: Style Tips from an Interior Designer

When learning how to choose tile, it’s important to consider your space. To get an idea of how to make the right choice for you, we’re going to look at some different examples of tile and determine what would go better in different areas. 

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How to Choose Tile Size

How to Choose Tile: small format decorative arabesque tile

Large Format Tile

When talking about choosing tile for a large area in your home, such as a common area, great room, or kitchen, you want to pick a format of tile that is larger. When you pick a large format tile, the size of the tile is going to make the space feel more expansive. 

Also, you’re going to have less grout joints with larger tile, and less maintenance with the grout. With less grout lines, the surface won’t look as “busy” or “noisy.” That makes it flow a lot better in a larger space, and it’s highly recommended.

Smaller Format Tiles

When you’re looking at designing a smaller space, such as a powder room, consider smaller format tiles. 

For example, something highly detailed like a marble arabesque mosaic is something I love to consider when designing a smaller space. You can get more creative, and you can even put smaller tiles on the floor in smaller spaces. It’s a way to add a lot of drama, and it’s not going to make it look really busy because it’s a smaller area.

Related Content >> Floor Tile Buying Guide

How to Choose Tile for Bathrooms

How to Choose Tile: Anti-slip floor tile for bathroom floors

Now I want to mention wet areas. One of the most common mistakes people make is choosing the wrong tiles for their bathrooms. When designing a bathroom, always consider the slip of the tile. 

For example, you wouldn’t want to select a highly polished tile for a floor in a bathroom, because that’s already slippery on its own. Once you add water to that, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Rough Tile Textures

How to Choose Tile: marble-look floor tile

For wet areas, consider tiles that have a lot of texture to them. Many stone-look porcelain tiles also feel like stone. If you run your hand over the surface, it has highs and lows and feels like a natural stone. This kind of tile is perfect to use in a bathroom, or on shower walls, because it is matte and non-slip.

Anti-Slip Tiles

Another thing to consider is a non-slip tile. It is smooth to the touch and doesn’t have the highs and lows of a textured tile, but it’s still matte. It’s made specifically to be used in tough, high-moisture areas.

Related Content >> Best Bathroom Flooring Options

Tiles for Showers and Tubs

How to Choose Tile: stone-look pebble floor tile for bathrooms

Larger format tiles with textured or anti-slip surfaces are ideal for the area where you have your vanities, or in your water closet, but when we start talking about shower or tub areas, it’s time to consider smaller format tiles. 

Large format tiles would not be something that I would put in your shower floor, even if they are anti-slip. You always want to do something that’s smaller in size.

In our first example, we have the perfect size of stone-look pebble tiles. You always want to use a tile that is around two inches or smaller in the shower. The reason for that is because the smaller the tile, the more grout joints you have, and the more grout you have, the more traction you have. 

Related Content >> Best Tile Flooring Options

How to Choose Tile: marble-look geometric tile

Another example to consider is a geometric patterned tile like a hexagon or picket pattern. The picket pattern is trending this year because it has a very neat shape. The tiles in this example are smaller than the pebble tiles, and the grout joints are also smaller, but there are more of them. This is an example of a very small format tile that is going to work as anti-slip flooring because you’re going to have a lot more grout involved.

Related Content >> Wall Tile Buying Guide


How to Choose Tile: Daltile color wheel wall tile in a living room

Thanks for joining me as we talked about choosing the right tile for your space. You should now be prepared to choose a tile that is both stylish and functional. If you have any more questions about choosing tile, please feel free to reach out. We are happy to help!


About Cynthia Flottmann

Cynthia Flottmann

Cynthia Flottmann is an interior designer in Tempe, Arizona. She studied interior design and business at Arizona State University. As a designer for the past 8 years, Cynthia has had the pleasure of designing and collaborating on spaces and homes throughout the country.

One Comment on “How to Choose Tile: Style Tips from an Interior Designer

  1. Thanks so much for the breakdown on what to consider when choosing tile for a wall. My parents want to remodel a chunk of their house including the kitchen and bathroom. My mom wants to pick and install the tile but she had trouble making the decision.

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