Tile Design: Materials and Inspiration

There are a million and one tile design options on the market. From large format slabs down to half-inch mosaics; from all-white marbles to all the colors of the rainbow. Choosing your tile can be a stressful experience! It needs to match your cabinet and counter material, needs to function well in the space, and needs to match your design style. So, how do you get started? Find some tile design inspiration, of course! Below are a few of our favorite materials and installations so let’s dive right in!

Glass Mosaic

When you think of glass tile, your mind probably goes to a classic subway and a back-painted glass. But, there are so many glass options, like this bold translucent herringbone mosaic. Glass can come in so many different colors and can be gloss or matte, transparent, or even more opaque. There are also a ton that shimmer and the high reflectivity of glass can help light bounce around in smaller, darker spaces. We just love this install!

Concrete and Cement Tiles

Cement, and similar-looking, tile started trending over the past few years. Below we see a more neutral gray palette, but there are so many colorful options to choose from. Most manufacturers may showcase some of the same patterns but with different colors. Some even allow you to choose exactly what parts of the tile get what color – a truly customized tile. This tile design is perfect for both wall and floor applications.

Porcelain Flooring

Although porcelain and ceramic are similar in a lot of respects, a lot of the industry tends to lean more towards porcelain. Why? It has a lower absorption rate, it’s denser, typically can be used indoor and outdoor, and most have a through-body color which can help hide any scratches/chips over time. In this primary bathroom, we used marble-looking porcelain which is also a great compromise between style and budget – marble tends to be pricier, and harder to maintain in some cases.

Handmade Ceramic

We all know you can get machine cut ceramic tile, but we are loving some of the handmade finish options on the market. Ceramic tile is probably the most common wall covering product we use (other than paint) and usually seen in a shower or as a kitchen backsplash. There are a million and one options for shape, size, and color so you really aren’t limited with this material selection. We also love mixing more than one ceramic together to create a truly unique tile design. Our favorite half bath tile installs (below) used a 4×8 subway as a wainscot around the room, and then penny rounds above, with meticulously placed “flowers” made from a lighter color.

Mixed Marble Mosaic

Marble can come in many shapes and sizes, but these mosaics really pop when combined with an alternative material. Metal is a go-to for one of our tile manufacturers, and we love being able to combine white and grey marbles with brass – as seen in this stunning kitchen. A lot of these mosaics are also fully customizable and you can combine any two or three marbles together to create the perfect tile design for your home.


Need some more tile inspiration? Check out some of our favorite waterjet tiles, and read about some fun patterns to create with even a simple subway tile. Happy designing!