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Tile is a near essential element of any home design. It can be found from floor to ceiling — and everywhere in between. Most commonly in the form of wall or backsplash tile in kitchens and bathrooms, they can be made from all sorts of materials, such as ceramic, travertine, glass, porcelain, mirror, slate and marble. It can be both exciting and overwhelming to pick out the ideal tile, but these tips should help you in your quest.

What do I look for in kitchen tiles?

Backsplash tiles will always be a focal point of the kitchen. Whether you’re doing a complete remodel or just updating your kitchen tile backsplash, think about how they will play with other elements, such as cabinets and countertops. If you want something bold, pick a colorful subway tile or mosaic tiles that contrasts with your current materials and colors. Travertine or more subtle colored ceramic tiles will give a softer look. Subtle does not have to be boring though; visual interest can also be created with an interesting pattern, such as a herringbone or diagonal design.

Kitchen wall tiles are bound to be splattered with sauces and oils. Clean up and maintenance can be a major factor in your decision, so keep placement and material in mind. Backsplash near the stove or sink will require the most attention. Light colors with no pattern will tend to show more food and water spots than a darker or patterned option. Marble and granite tiles with lots of swirling and color variation will hide small spots well. Consider the size of the tiles you will be using; smaller size means more grout, which means more maintenance.

What do I look for in bathroom tiles?

There’s no doubt that bathroom tile is going to get wet. Water and tile can be a slippery combination, but luckily design has come a long way. Look for shower tile with high slip-resistance ratings, since this will help reduce the risk of falling. Oftentimes homeowners who prefer wood over stone or ceramic will use tile that looks like wood in the bathroom to help create a cohesive look throughout their home. Glass tiles are also popular in the bathroom because of their light, slick look. If you have curves in your bathroom, small tiles are a better alternative for you, since they are easy to manipulate around tricky slopes and angles.

Because of the moisture, bathroom tile will require even more maintenance than other rooms. Hate cleaning all of the grout in your bathroom? Use larger slabs to minimize the amount of grout. Smaller pieces do provide better traction, but they can be a pain to keep clean. If you plan on aging in your home, bigger slabs will lend themselves well to universal design. In the end, don’t be afraid to mix and match coordinating materials and sizes to achieve a safe and beautiful design.
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Featured Reviews of Tile

12.25"x10.75" Carrara White Hexagon Mosaic Tile Honed, Chip Size 3"
Feb 15, 2016
Stunning and quality!: We are in the mist of a total home renovation. I have ordered nearly a dozen tile samples and I am completely impressed with this one, I can't wait to install it in my master bathroom! The quality and color are superb!
12"x12" Carrara White Herringbone Mosaic Tile Polished
Mar 8, 2017
A little small: The individual tiles here are a little small and I think the pattern would be TOO busy. But they are about as expected in the photo, so if that's your thing then they'll be great
13"x13" Faventia Ceramic Floor/Wall Tiles, Azul
Mar 31, 2017
Beautiful blue tiles: I am really happy with these tiles, the quality was excellent and there was no problem with chippage or breakage of the tiles. I used antique white grout to tie it all together. I had painted my cupboards with chalk paint, and the slightly weathered tiles fit in well.
12"x12" Arabescato Bianco Marble Floor and Wall Tile, Set of 8
Aug 15, 2017
Beautiful!: This tile mixes nicely w/ a variety of grays, blues, brown tones and even purples and lavenders-and those are just the ones I've tried. The variation in the colors also helps to hide dirt and paw prints. I'm so pleased with the way this looks it may be going in the 2nd bathroom as well.
Beveled Edge Subway Backsplash Tile, White Gloss, 3"x6"
Oct 19, 2016
True to description: Product is a true white white, not warm and not cool. Just a very true stark white. The edges are not finished however and that means you must buy additional bullnose or pencil to finish the edges which is disappointing. Also, about 30 pieces arrived broken and splintered beyond use. But, the product itself is nice.
17.63"x17.63" Royals Estrella Ceramic Floor and Wall Tile, Set of 5, Nero
Oct 30, 2016
beautiful, old world look!: I love these tiles and look forward to using them, however, i'm worried not because they have been discontinued. When that happened before they came back so I'm praying they come back again!! worried!! I give them 4 stars just because i haven't installed them yet and actually used them.
11.4"x11.4" Porcelain Pebble Mosaic Tile, Single Sheet
Dec 12, 2015
Excellent product: I ordered a sample to see if I like the product it look much better in reality I was going to order more but it was out of stock at this time. I think a lot more people like it too.
Girona 8x8 Cement Tile
Nov 22, 2017
Awesome: I really like this cement tile. Just concerned that it is 4 lbs each and very thick. Will have to talk to contractor first on how it will lay and butt up against other flooring. Quality is excellent. Matte finish!
12"x12" Carrara Marble Leaves Polished Mosaic Tiles, Design 46
Aug 29, 2017
This tile is really special!: This is our 2nd order. Both times came well packed and all tile in perfect condition. Our first order is to be use as the surround for a European style cast fireplace, which should be finished in a couple of weeks and I will post photos. We love it so much that we decided to use in our master bath as the accent tile. We will be installing it on the deck of the soaking tub and in the shower niche. I will also try to post photos of the master bath when we have completed but it won't be for a few weeks. So much to do, so little time... but Houzz has made my life so much easier with these great finds at unbelievable prices...
11.75"x11.75" Picasso Mosaic Tile, Crystal Lagoon
Aug 21, 2018
Nice cabinet: This is a nice cabinet, looks good, good space, but it does settle a bit over time, so the doors are not as straight anymore, but that might be a common problem with doors of this type.

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