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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"x12" Carrara White Hexagon Mosaic Tile Polished, Chip Size: 1"
July 26, 2015
Top quality product!: This tile is as good as it gets for mosaics, seamlessly interlocking with perfect grout lines and no obvious sheet outline when grouted. The Carrera marble is pretty uniform in color so as not to be too busy. I really do love this tile!
13"x13" Isla Floor/Wall Tiles, Set of 10, Blue
March 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.
17.75"x17.75" Cadence Floor/Wall Tiles, Set of 5
May 29, 2018
My new kitchen floor: This was the perfect addition to a small, white, galley kitchen that needed some pizzazz. The pattern is great and the product itself was easy enough to work with. It is easy to clean but will hide the dirt from the dogs easily enough. I like the inconsistency in the color because it looks antique almost. But don’t expect a pure black and white tile or you will be disappointed.
Kaligaris Porcelain Art Tiles, Set of 16, 9.75"x9.75", White
December 16, 2016
Beautiful: This tile is beautiful! Fast delivery and no issues with breakage. So happy with this purchase. The black in this tile is more of an antique black or charcoal black---not a dark black.
Seville Ceramic Tiles, Set of 10, Azul
March 22, 2017
Smart design: I like this tile a lot. The faux grout lines look real, they are 1/16" and dark in color. This all adds up to make it low maintenance for my bathroom. I give it a 4 because it's so freaking expensive!
12"x12" Reclaimed Boat Wood Tile, Interlocking Bricks
June 26, 2017
Backsplash Hunt: We received the sample for this wood tile. It is gorgeous as shown online. The texture is awesome. However, we selected a glass tile, because the wood was too dark for our kitchen.
8"x8" Monet Handcrafted Geometric Cement Tiles, Set of 12, Black and White
March 7, 2018
Wonderfull Fireplace!!: Used this on my fireplace and it looks great and is good quality. Colours are for sure a more greyed out black and warm white. I did however mark some of the tiles and Im a little bit afraid of what will happen when I try to clean them (suggestions welcome)
13"x13" Santander Ceramic Floor/Wall Tiles, Set of 10, Charcoal
September 3, 2017
Amazing!: So beautiful!! Perfect subtle pattern to warm the space up. Tile held up well when cutting; we installed ourselves and we were able to cut small holes for the outlets without the tile shattering or cracking. It is breathtaking!
13”x13” Yates Tile, Set of 10
April 19, 2018
Gorgeous!: Ordered 5 boxes, which shipped very fast and came all intact. This tile is so unique and really does look naturally aged. It was hard to find the right tile as our house was built in the mid 1700s and we didn't want anything too modern. This fits perfectly. Cannot wait to put it in our new bathroom.
11.75"x11.75" Picasso Mosaic Tile, Crystal Lagoon
August 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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