Tile Design Advice

Before starting your tile project start with doing research. Find out what you like, what is available, and what will work the best in your space. The most important question is, 'What do I like?' Knowing your personal style will help you communicate your desires to showrooms, designers, contractors and other technicians working on your project.

Spending time looking through showrooms without stressing over selections will help you know what you like. If you have the time available, visit one of our showrooms to look at walls, floors and pictures to see what is available in tile today. There are so many options and saying, "No" is half the battle.

Here are a few trends and pieces of advice that we can offer to get you started...


Royal Mosa Large Format Tile

Royal Mosa's Terra XXL Large Format Tile

Big Is In!

Large tile has become one of our top selling styles. Large format tile visually expands the size of a room when used on floors or walls. Not only does large tile make a room appear larger fewer grout joints means less maintenance.

Large format tile can be anything 18" x 18" and above. Popular sizes are 24" x 24" and 16" x 32" tile. The large tile might be intimidating at first, but the smallest space can easily handle a larger tile.


Classic Subway Tile by Crossville

The 3" x 6" Subway From Crossville

Subway and Beyond

When someone walks into our showroom to ask for subway tile they are not always asking for the classic subway size anymore. Subway tile has taken on the definition of any rectangular tile. The classic subway size is a 3" x 6" tile originating in 1904 in the New York subway system. Currently subway tile is used in contemporary and traditional homes. They come in all sorts of materials from ceramic to glass and different edge types from straight to pillowed.

Many traditional homes stay close to the 3" x 6" size. Being the classic size, you can choose to use either ceramic, stone or porcelain tile. Sometimes glass can be too contemporary, but it still may work depending on your design. Sonoma Tilemakers makes both a pillowed edge and a straight edge subway tile. The pillowed edge offers a more handmade feel while the straight edge gives tighter grout lines.

Royal Mosa Mix Rectangular Tile

Royal Mosa's Terra Maestricht planks


If contemporary or transitional is more your taste then playing with the more linear sizes is fun. A 2" x 8" or a 4" x 16" are great takes on the classic subway size. Glass subway tile is an excellent option for a contemporary home. Often our customers have a traditional home that they want to put a contemporary spin on. Glass tile is one of the best ways to accomplish that transitional feel. Blending your rectangular sizes modernizes the installation by making the install linear with the interest of the dual sizes.

Tile Edge Type

There are many of edge types for tiles; pillowed, chiseled, straight and undulated. The most popular edge these days is a straight edge. Straight edge tile is popular because an installer can create a small grout joint in comparison to an edge with more character. Pillowed and chiseled edges require a medium to large grout joint because the tiles require more forgiveness when bringing them together in the installation.


What Color Grout Should I Choose?

Grout is one of those items that most people don't think of until the last minute. Grout is an important part to the look of a tile installation. Often people try to match their grout to the color of the tile they are working with. The reason for this is that if you match the grout to the tile, the grout line should disappear and act as a compliment rather then the main show.

Sometimes clients want to work with a contrasting grout. Why would they want to do this; to direct attention to the pattern of the installation. For example, when installing white subway tile, often a grey grout is chosen to pull out the pattern of the subway style. Other times it is fun to play with the grout to pop out different colors in the tile and bring more attention to a tone that our customer wants to highlight.


United Tile