Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tile Design Ideas for Those "Brain-Freeze" Moments

Whether you are a design professional, a sales associates or a home owner shopping for a new and beautifully tiled bathroom, a design "brain-freeze" can afflict us all. You've found the perfect tile but just can't come up with a way to design with it that you love. I know that I've been there. To prevent another creative block, I developed a series of tile layouts that provide design solutions that are easy to work with based on these design and budget criteria:

  • Use a 6"x6" tile - it's efficient and cost-effective.
  • Non-trendy for enduring style.
  • Simple design that is always in good taste.
  • Keep embellishments to a few key pieces.
  • All designs suitable for different tile types:
    • Ceramic
    • Glass
    • Stone
    • Porcelain

I am going to use the identical small bath - a typical 8'6" x 5' with a shower - to showcase how the same 6"x6" tile, a medium sized molding and 6"x6' base can be the foundation for many design expressions.


A typical small molding, say 3"x6"


A typical base 6" x6"

LIFESTYLE: Classic, traditional.
LAYOUT: Staggered joints, also called Running Bond.
TRIMS: Bullnose and molding stopends.
DESIGN OPTIONS:

  • All tile one color
  • Molding and base in contrasting color

For those of you who have read my August post, "Keeping Tile Costs Down", you should recognize right away that I am utilizing the design principles described there. If you haven't read this post, it is a good companion to this one and worth reviewing

LIFESTYLE: Traditional.
LAYOUT:

  • Mix of diagonal and on-the-square provides visual action.
  • Details at the top of the shower walls draw the eyes up to emphasize height in a small room.
TRIMS: Bullnose and molding stopends.
DESIGN OPTIONS:
  • Inserts in shower can compliment or contrast.
    • Stone to compliment the floor or vanity stone slab top.
    • Ceramic to compliment the wainscot.
    • Glass or metal to contrast.
  • Color blocking adds dimension.
    • Wainscot in one color.
    • Shower upper area in another color.
    • Can be subtle or dramatic.

LIFESTYLE: Traditional.
LAYOUT:

  • Mix of diagonal and on-the-square provides visual action.
  • Details at the top of the shower walls draw the eyes up to emphasize height in a small room.
TRIMS: Bullnose and molding glazed ends.
DESIGN OPTIONS:
  • The diagonal areas and square areas can be switched.
  • The wainscot and shower lower tile can all be the same (either diagonal or square) with the upper shower area contrasting.
  • Areas may be color blocked by tile direction.
  • Note: make sure the molding profile is low enough to fit behind the shower head.

LIFESTYLE: Modern or Contemporary.
TILE LAYOUT:

  • On-the-square for geometric simplicity.
  • Consider a more geometric molding.
TRIMS: Bullnose and base stopend.
DESIGN OPTIONS:
  • Note: The base tile has been turned upside down and used at the top of the shower.
  • Contrast the molding and base with the field tile by using a subtle color change.
  • A more contemporary washstand will ramp up the modern look.

LIFESTYLE: Eclectic or Contemporary.
TILE LAYOUT:

  • On-the-square for geometric simplicity.
  • Staggered joints for geometric design action.
  • Consider a more geometric molding as above.
TRIMS: Bullnose.
DESIGN OPTIONS:
  • Consider a subtle color accent with the two-tile staggered upper shower area as shown.
  • Color block the square and staggered tile areas.
  • The accent area at the top of the shower draws the eyes up to emphasize height in a small room.
  • A more contemporary washstand will ramp up the modern look.

Five different designs have been created with only a 6"x6" field tile, a molding and a base. This shows the great versatility of using basic tile formats to create many different design looks to suit a variety of lifestyles. All five will stand the test of time and result in happy end users. With these five tile layouts, now there should never be another tile design "brain-freeze".

DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION QUESTION: Does anyone know why I never put the molding directly against the ceiling in the shower?

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