Choosing new tiles for your bathroom or kitchen can be a bit of a ‘mare. They’re a permanent fixture – and one that you want to get right. On top of that, tile choice can have a drastic impact on the look and feel of a room, making it seem bigger or smaller, airy or enclosed. Tile is best chosen at the start of your remodel to save costly changes further down the line, but with so much to choose from, where do you start?

Below we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about selecting tile for your home.

What are the best tiles for kitchen walls?

Generally speaking, you can’t go too far wrong with ceramic and porcelain tile. There are all kinds of finishes available, including natural finishes like wood and stone. Glass tile is mostly reserved for walls and backsplashes, whereas porcelain tile with sand added to the mixture will produce a harder, denser flooring tile, ideal for high-traffic areas. 

Ceramic is a safe and affordable choice for the kitchen, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, stone, vinyl, cork and bamboo tiles all make valid options, particularly for flooring.

Where is the best place to buy tiles?

Your local independent tile shop is probably your best bet – sometimes they have end of line sales, which means they work out cheaper. National retailers like Wickes and Topps Tiles have a varied selection and allow you to order samples online. As for online retailers, there are many to choose from, it’s just a case of shopping around to find a good deal on something you like. Make sure you order samples before purchasing the whole lot – it’s hard to get a sense of these things without seeing them in person.

Should bathroom floor and wall tiles match?

Some say yes; others say no. Helpful.

The answer is that it’s completely up to you. Some say matching floor and wall tiles make a room feel smaller. Others say it’s a dramatic way to add interest, particularly if you’re using large-format tiles. There are, however, some key differences between wall tile and floor tile, namely that flooring tile is much stronger. So if you want to keep everything the same, opt for flooring or multi-purpose tiles throughout.

Can you tile on top of tiles?

You can tile over existing tiles, provided the wall is sound and none of the existing tiles are cracked or loose. This saves the big job of tearing out the old tile. The surface of the existing tile should be free of mold and mildew and completely level in order to achieve a smooth new layer. Epoxy tile adhesive is one of the best options for tiling over an existing tiled wall, as it bonds with the tiles underneath.

What is the best colour for kitchen tiles?

Colour can make or break a room, so it’s important to choose the correct colour tile from the outset. Colours that work in one room might not work in another. In the kitchen, consider the colour of your kitchen units and surroundings, as well as your preference for warm or cool tones. Small tweaks can make a big difference, for example, contrasting grout colour with tile colour or opting for multi-coloured glass mosaics. Earthy, natural colours are a popular choice for tiled floors.

What size tile looks best in a small bathroom?

According to hearsay, the bigger the tiles, the smaller the room will look. But not everyone agrees; some say this actually makes the room look smaller as it creates more dividing lines. Either way, the following tiling tips can help to make a small bathroom look bigger:

  • Choose a plain, non-patterned tile 
  • Keep everything the same colour
  • Opt for light over dark colours
  • Install tiles all the way to the ceiling 
  • Use horizontal lines to give the impression of width

Should floor tiles be darker than walls?

According to interior design theory, your wall tiles should be lighter – or the same – as your floor tiles. Work from the bottom up: darker hues at the bottom and lighter at the top. A light floor with light walls will make your room look more spacious, whereas dark floors with light walls create contrast and will make the room feel wider.

How do I choose a bathroom tile?

Bathroom tiles set the tone for the entire look and feel of your finished space. Decide what the focal point of your bathroom ought to be and choose tiles that will enhance that feature. Having too many bold tiles in a room will create too many focal points, so opt for feature tile alongside a neutral complementary tile. Finish is important too; natural textures look beautiful, but smooth tiles will be easier to clean. See our previous post on the best flooring for bathrooms.

What colours make a small bathroom look bigger?

The simple answer is this: any light colour, especially white. White naturally recedes, which will make the space look bigger, as well as reflecting any available light. If you’re keen on colour, pale tones will have much the same effect: think sky blue, soft cream, pale green or cloudy grey.

Should bathroom tiles be horizontal or vertical?

If you opt for rectangular tiles, you can choose to lay them horizontally or vertically to create different visual effects. Horizontal tiles can make your kitchen or bathroom look wider, whereas laying tiles vertically gives the illusion of height – good for rooms with low ceilings. But it’s no longer a case of one or the other; alternative tiling layouts include brick, mosaic, herringbone and basket weave. 

Got questions about renovating your kitchen or bathroom? Leave a comment or get in touch.