Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tiled Stair Riser Design Picks


Nothing adds more curb appeal, sense of personal style, and a real design punch than using decorative tiles on stair risers.

Decorative tiles used on stair risers showcase personal style and add curb appeal
Decorative tiles used on stair risers showcase personal style and add curb appeal. 

Tiles allow you to showcase your sense of style. However, most customers approach the use of tiled stair risers with caution. After finding a tile or two they love, I am used to being asked, "Can I do that?" or "Will that look OK?"

Rule #1: There are no rules when it comes to tiling stair risers. To prove that point, I'm dedicating this post to the many different ways you can tile stair risers, I'll show the most common ways tiles are used; but,, you'll also see many variations on a theme. You can choose to use the same bright, bold pattern on each row, alternate patterns on each rows, or only add an occasional decorative tile between plain tiles on each riser, With countless variations on these themes, they can all look good!

Stair risers tiled with different tile patterns on each step
Stair risers tiled with different tile patterns on each step.

Rule #2: Start with tiles you love!  The right colors are more important than a specific pattern. Just find a pattern that speaks to you or works with your home's style. Colors that contrast with the landscape will make the tiles really standout, such as the bright yellow tiles in the photo above. You can also use colors that complement the house or trim color. Remember, if working with your home's existing colors, the tile colors don't have to be a perfect match - just close. It's common to find tile patterns, like our Malibu ceramic tiles, that are available in one or more different colorways. For larger projects, the glaze color placement can be customized.

The same bright tile pattern is used on each riser of these stairs
The same bright tile pattern is used on each riser of these stairs.

A hand-painted tile border pattern is repeated on these risers
A hand-painted tile border pattern is repeated on each stair riser.
Notice the color variation typical of hand-painted tiles

Quarter-design patterns can be used to add geometric interest to the design.

Similarly, geometric patterns, border patterns, and Spanish tile patterns can work well with many different styles of architecture. I love how quarter-design patterns can be broken up to create additional interest and their own unique pattern. In the photo above, the  quarter-design pattern on the decorative tiles would create a square when placed together on a wall. However, the home owner spaced them differently to create a fun zig-zag or chevron as you go up the steps.

If you are "tile crazy" like I am, finding the right tile isn't the problem. The problem is finding too many tiles you love, which might force you to narrow your selection, or does it? In the image below, an assortment of tiles is used to create a repeating pattern on each stair riser. Alternatively, the pattern on each riser could be random. This method works well for wide stairs.

Finally, keep in mind that decorative tiles don't have to span the entire width of the riser. While the effect is usually less dramatic, it looks nice especially when the decorative tile on the riser is also used as an inset among the pavers.

Different tiles can be used on the same stair riser.


Decorative patterned tile don't have to span the entire riser.

So far, I've only shown you examples of glazed decorative ceramic tile, which is certainly more common. However, cement tile can be used for stair risers, too. Because the colors in cement tile can be easily changed, cement tile is a fine choice when you want to create a unique design, coordinate colors with the tread, or carry the design from the curb to the home. The tight grout line can also be used to create a very smooth, almost seamless look to the riser, as well.

Cement tile colors can be customized so the stair risers color match or coordinates with the tread
Cement tile colors can be customized so the risers match or coordinate with the tread.


An encaustic cement tile border pattern tiles these stair risers
An encaustic cement tile border pattern looks magnificent on these stair risers.

Regardless of the tile or design there is one very important thing to remember. Rule #3: Have fun! Choosing tiles for your stair risers should be fun and reflect your taste and style. Whether you need a Geometric pattern, want to define a Traditional Spanish or Portuguese look, or have a home that demands Spanish Revival, Avente has the stair riser tile (and tread) for you! If you need help finding the right pattern, ceramic tile design, or cement tile border, please let us know. We can help.


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