4 Expert Tips To Choose Floor And Wall Tiles

Floor and wall tiles have become an increasingly popular choice in households all across the world, and not just for bathrooms. There are many different ways in which you can customize the tiles you buy, and we're here to help! Below are some expert tips for you to follow on choosing the perfect floor and wall tiles for your home.

What material should my floor and wall tiles be made of?

This may be surprising to some, but there is actually a huge range of floor and wall tile materials available. This means that everyone is bound to find something that suits the aesthetic of their home perfectly. 

A huge factor that you will need to consider if how much you value durability as, in some cases, that is the only difference in the tile material. Below are some of the more popular floor and wall tile materials that you can find.

Want something low maintenance? => Ceramic

Ceramic tiles can range from vintage Victorian to very modern and are clearly a timeless option.

They are incredibly easy to clean as they don't require specialist cleaning products and are relatively resistant to a whole range of chemicals.

Although they're pretty durable, they don't last very long as floors, especially in high traffic areas, and replacing them is not that cheap.

They do work great as wall tiles in bathrooms though, as the splashback from soap and shampoo won't damage them.

Ceramic tiles are also typically smaller than other types of tiles, making them easier to use in DIY projects, but more tedious for covering larger surface areas.

Ceramic Patterned Wall & Floor Tile
Blue Rectangular Ceramic Subway Tile
Matte Ceramic Wall & Floor Tile
Square Ceramic Patterned Wall & Floor Tile
Ceramic Moroccan Wall & Floor Tile
Ceramic Wood Look Wall & Floor Tile

Need something that will last for years? => Porcelain

Porcelain tiles come in two varieties: glazed and unglazed, with the main difference being a glossy appearance if they are glazed, and the tile color sitting on top of the tile rather than seeping through the whole thing.

With a 0.5% water absorbency, porcelain tiles are almost completely waterproof, making them ideal for bathroom and kitchen environments.

They are also very dense and hard as the tiles are produced using finer clay than ceramic tiles, as well as being fired at higher temperatures.

Therefore porcelain tiles are a great, long-lasting choice for both floors and walls.

Porcelain Concrete Look Wall & Floor Tile
Cocoa Porcelain Wood Look Wall & Floor Tile
Porcelain Stone Look Wall & Floor Tile
Teal Porcelain Stone Look Wall & Floor Tile
Porcelain Spanish Wall & Floor Tile
Multi Color Porcelain Moroccan Wall & Floor Tile

Like a raw feel? => Cement

Although less popular nowadays, cement tiles were the height of fashion at the turn of the 20th century.

Cement tiles are perfect for those looking for a handmade, raw feel.

They can sometimes have some imperfections because of their production process, but we think that just adds character!

However, they are more prone to cracks and scuffs than porcelain or ceramic tiles, meaning that they may not be worth it if you want something that will last you for years.

Cement Granite Patterned Wall & Floor Tile
Brown Square Cement Field Tile
Beige Square Cement Field Tile
Hexagon Patterned Cement Field Tile
Black White Square Cement Field Tile
Blue Cement Patterned Wall & Floor Tile

Like luxury? => Natural stone

Natural stone tiles can include materials like marble, quartz, slate, or travertine.

All of these are quite hard and durable, meaning that they can be used for both floors and walls.

They also bring a certain richness into the room that other tiles seem to lack, because of their unique veins of color that can sometimes be found cutting through them.

Natural stone tiles are the most expensive option though, so keep this in mind if you are on a tight budget.

Natural Stone Slate Brick Mosaic Tile
Natural Stone Novelty Mosaic Wall & Floor Tile
Natural Stone Wood Look Wall & Floor Tile
Natural Stone Herringbone Mosaic Wall & Floor Tile
Brass Black Natural Stone Marble Mosaic Tile
White Carrara Natural Stone Marble Mosaic Tile

Want to save money? => Terracotta

This is the cheapest and, arguably, most humble tile material.

Terracotta tiles are perfect for creating a country or rustic atmosphere in the home.

These tiles have a naturally warm and colorful look to them, so they are sure to brighten up the room!

They are a quite popular option in Mediterranean style home since their color reflects the warm climate of that area.

However, terracotta is naturally quite porous and liable to damage and staining, so these tiles are not the best option if you need something durable.

Red White Terra Cotta Subway Tile
Sage Rectangular Terra Cotta Subway Tile
Blue Rectangular Terra Cotta Subway Tile
Gray Matte Rectangular Terra Cotta Subway Tile
Black Rectangular Terra Cotta Subway Tile
Gray Rectangular Terra Cotta Subway Tile

How strong do my tiles need to be?

The strength of your tiles will mostly be determined by their resistance grade and their thickness. Generally, the higher the resistance grade and the thicker the tile, the stronger it will be. Resistance grades go from Grade 1 to Grade 5

While there isn't a standard thickness for floor and wall tiles, most are at least a ¼ inch thick.

For areas with high traffic, get floor tiles that are between ½ inch and ¾ inch thick.

For wall tiles, you can get away with tiles even thinner than ¼, especially if they're decorative rather than functional tiles.

As far as the resistance grades go:

  • Grade 1 is the weakest resistance and is only suitable for wall tiles.
  • Grade 2 is another great option for walls and may be sometimes used in floors with relatively light traffic.
  • Grade 3 is the most common grade for homes as it can be used in higher traffic areas like kitchens without much wear.
  • Grade 4 can take a lot more foot traffic, so it's great for hallways. It's sometimes used in commercial areas like doctor's offices.
  • Grade 5 is the most heavy-duty, used in airports and shopping malls, and is a bit of an over-kill for home tiles.

What color should my floor and wall tiles be?

Just like with materials, floor and wall tiles can come in a wide range of different colors. When picking a color for your tiles, you'll need to consider factors such as the general color palette of your home,  and the size of the room the tiles will be placed in. 

You will also have to consider the material you have chosen, as not every type of tile can be made in colors that don't occur naturally.

Decorating in a smaller room? => Light colors

Cream or pastel colors are the best option for smaller rooms.

This is because they reflect light easily, which makes the room appear larger.

Lightly colored tiles are a popular choice for small bathrooms and narrow hallways.

They are also the preferred option for most floor tiles, regardless of where they are placed in the home.

Sky Blue Hexagon Ceramic Field Tile
Moon Porcelain Wood Look Wall & Floor Tile
Special Lava Verde Ceramic Subway Tile
Green Glass Brick Joint Mosaic Wall & Floor Tile
Light Gray Porcelain Wall & Floor Tile
White Hexagon Porcelain Mosaic Tile

Have a lot of space? => Dark colors

Darker colors like navy, chocolate, or sienna will look best in large areas, like an open plan kitchen.

They can really make an area seem much more luxurious, especially if they have a glazed or glossy finish.

Rooms with dark tiles will need a lot of light to avoid making the room appear smaller, as the tiles will not be reflecting any of the light.

If you need something low maintenance, avoid dark tiles at all costs as they show dirt and grime much easier than lighter tiles.

Beige Irregular Porcelain Wood Look Tile
Matte Black Hexagon Porcelain Wall & Floor Tile
Black Porcelain Wood Look Wall & Floor Tile
Chestnut Square Porcelain Field Tile
Black White Patterned Porcelain Field Tile
Blue Rectangular Metal Look Porcelain Field Tile

Want to make a vibrant statement? => Opposites

Choosing colors on opposite sides of the color wheel will help the tiles stand out.

For example, if you have blue walls and want to add an accent mosaic made of tiles, go for orange terracotta.

These vibrant combinations will give the room lots of energy and character.

Yellow Round Porcelain Mosaic Tile
Tangerine Orange Ceramic Singular Tile
Orange Blue Moroccan Cement Field Tile
Blue Varied Glass Mosaic Tile
Blue Rectangular Patterned Ceramic Subway Tile
Beige Blue Grid Glass Mosaic Tile

Prefer a relaxed atmosphere? => Neutrals

If you would rather create a relaxing atmosphere in the room, opt for neutral colors like gray, cream, or lighter pastels.

They don't bring much attention to themselves, and instead make the room appear cozier.

Try making things a bit more interesting by using tiles in multiple different shades of the same color, e.g. 5 different shades of blue.

If you still want a splash of color in the room, choose colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, like blue and green.

Blue Green Grid Glass Mosaic Tile
Steel Porcelain Concrete Look Wall & Floor Tile
Blanco Porcelain Wood Look Wall & Floor Tile
Beige Natural Stone Novelty Mosaic Wall & Floor Tile
Glossy Blue Ceramic Subway Tile
Bone Rectangular Ceramic Wall Tile

How should my floor and wall tiles be arranged?

The arrangement of your floor and wall tiles can practically be anything that you want it to be. Below we've outlined some fun arrangement ideas that you can try out, ranging from simple to intricate. The more intricate patterns may take some amounts of planning, but the end result is incredibly satisfying!

Want ease and simplicity? => Linear

This is the most straightforward tile arrangement possible.

Simply start in a corner of your room and line up each tile closely next to the previous one.

This may seem a bit boring, but you can easily make this arrangement more exciting by adding in some colorful tiles or making a checkerboard pattern.

Square tiles work best for this arrangement, although you can easily try it out with other shapes as well!

Ceramic Subway Tile In Warm Deco
Light Brown Patterned Porcelain Field Tile
Vintage Gray Square Porcelain Field Tile
Square Blue Beige Ceramic Field Tile
Blue Yellow Square Ceramic Field Tile
Graffiti Multicolor Square Porcelain Field Tile

Want to add detail to the room? => Mosaic

A mosaic consists of small pieces of tile, arranged in a specific formation on a sheet.

All of the tiles can be from the same material, or a combination of different materials, depending on if you want a more textured appearance.

It's a great way to bring attention to a certain part of the room.

Mosaics are quite popular in bathrooms and wet rooms.

Oil Metallic Mosaic Sheet Glass Pebble Tile
Rabbit Natural Stone Rectangular Mosaic Tile
Glass Pearl Shell Mosaic Tile
Natural Stone Pebbles Mosaic Wall & Floor Tile
Ceramic Mosaic Tile In Glacier White
Silver Metal Versailles Mosaic Tile

Decorating a small room? => Herringbone

A Herringbone arrangement can be created by laying the tiles in such a way that they point up the wall or floor in a V-shape.

This free-flowing pattern will open up the room, creating a sense of a larger space.

You will need to purchase narrow, subway-style tiles to create this arrangement - ask your local tile seller about them, they'll know exactly what you need!

White Silver Herringbone Marble Mosaic Tile
Herringbone Marble Mosaic Tile In Green Slate
Herringbone Slate Mosaic Tile In Sunset
Herringbone Glass Mosaic Tile In Gray Black
Herringbone Glass Pearl Shell Mosaic Tile In Gold
Crema Herringbone Marble Mosaic Tile

Want the freedom to design? => Modular

A modular arrangement can be almost anything that you think of.

It's an incredibly customizable arrangement that allows you to create unique and exciting patterns with your tiles.

All you will need is tiles of different colors, shapes, and sizes - make sure they can still easily fit together though!

This arrangement usually requires some extra planning, especially if you want to incorporate more intricate patterns.

Novelty Metal And Ceramic Mosaic Tile
Novelty Ceramic Mosaic Tile In Deep Emerald
White Gray Novelty Stone Mosaic Tile
Mixed Vintage Wood Look Tile
Gray White Random Sized Glass Mosaic Tile
Polished Gray Novelty Ceramic Mosaic Tile

Like geometry? => Hexagon

Now, a hexagon arrangement can come in two forms: either you arrange square or rectangular tiles in the shape of a hexagon, or you order tiles that a specially cut into small hexagon shapes.

Regardless of which form you choose to use in your home, you will be adding an incredible, playful geometric aesthetic.

Similarly to a mosaic arrangement, you can choose to have different tile colors and materials if you like a more textured look.

This sort of arrangement is perfect for an accent wall.

We don't really recommend using this arrangement for floor tiles though, as it may turn out looking messy, and may prove to be more of a distraction than an attractive feature.

Gray Hexagon Porcelain Patterned Wall & Floor Tile
Black Hexagon Porcelain Patterned Wall & Floor Tile
Mixana Hexagon Porcelain Field Tile
Matte Hexagon Natural Stone Mosaic Tile
Brown Hexagon Porcelain Wood Look Tile
Silver Hexagon Metal Mosaic Tile

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.