Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cement Tile Tips for the Pattern Addict


The month of March was devoted to tile patterns and designs. I've had so much fun and such a great response, I've decided to continue playing with pattern through April! I'm no April Fool, when I say we've got some more great tile talk on pattern. Last week, I provided some design tips on how to effectively use patterns if you are pattern shy or a pattern wallflower. Today, I share my favorite cement tile tips for the pattern addict.

Tips for Pattern Addicts

If you're a pattern addict, keep these tips in mind to maintain balance and harmony in the space. Too much of a good pattern can create chaos.

The scale of the pattern needs to match the scale of the space or the room. Large-scale patterns are striking in large open rooms. A quarter design pattern and border separated by plain tile makes this tropical veranda inviting and expansive.

Large cement tile patterns often need a large space
Large patterns often need a larger space, such as this veranda.

But, smaller rooms require smaller patterns. For instance, quarter design cement tile patterns are too big for many kitchen backsplashes; you'll need to use a pattern that fits on a single tile. The scale of this pattern fits nicely into this cozy New York City apartment's kitchen.

The scale of the pattern should match the space.

Unify different patterns in a room by choosing a common color for all patterns. Or, use the same pattern in different scales or colors. The border pattern and main field pattern in this entry are flawless together! Why? The patterns are unified by common colors.

Unify patterns in different rooms by choosing common colors
Unify patterns in different rooms by choosing common colors.

One of the most common questions I get with cement tile is, "What border tile works with this pattern?" The answer is almost any border tile pattern can work with that pattern if they are unified by color. In this installation, both the entry and adjoining powder room use cement field (solid colored) tiles and border patterns in the same color.

The bath and entry are unified with common pattern colors.
Use the same colors in patterns to unify patterns in the same room.

The colors really unify both spaces and allow for a cohesive design. It's a lot of pattern in two small spaces. However, you can see that when it's done right it works splendidly - even the pattern shy will agree!

Limit yourself to just a few patterns in a single room. Or, you can use subtle or muted patterns to help create some negative space. This typically bold, Cuban pattern (below) was muted to create a much softer effect that was used in the entry, bath, and dinning room. 


Cement TIle Pattern Cuban Heritage Design 150 in a muted colors
Cuban Heritage Design 150 in a muted color palette.

The muted pattern allows you to use more of the same pattern and provided much needed negative space.  Here's the pattern on the entry floor.

Muted Cuban Pattern Tile in Entry Muted Cuban Pattern Tile in Powder Room
Muted Cuban cement tile pattern in the entry.
Muted Cuban Pattern Tile in Powder Room
Muted Cuban cement tile pattern in the powder room.

Notice how even the muted pattern becomes powerful in the bathroom? This is because there is very little negative space with the pattern on the floor and wainscot. Contrast this to the dining room where the cement tile is only used as wainscot.

Muted Cuban Pattern Tile is used as Wainscot in Dining Room
Muted Cuban cement tile pattern is used as wainscot in the dining room.

In fact, let's step further back to get a really good view of the entire dining room.

Negative space between different patterns is required.

What do you see?  Did you notice a different pattern and some negative space between them? The wainscot and the fabric in the chairs use different patterns; but, the rest of the room is "pattern quiet." Patterns need room to breath and negative space and the right color are the perfect dance partner.

When using several patterns in a room, distribute them around the room so there is space between them to balance them out. However, if you want to draw attention to an area or wall, such as a kitchen backsplash, then concentrate the pattern to create a focal point.


To learn more about tile and pattern design, make sure to subscribe to our blog. It's published weekly, and this month, we'll continue playing with pattern.


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