31 Days to Building Your Dream Home:: 5 Tips for Making Tile Selections

As I was looking to make all the various design selections, tile was one of the ones that seemed the most daunting. Not only are there a ton of different tile options, there’s also a ton of different ways to install it.

After a couple of different trips to the tile shop, opinions from an expert designer and a lot of hours of research, I was finally able to make final tile selections that I’m really happy with.

5 Tips for Making Tile Selections{Source}

Throughout the process I learned a lot though and today I thought I would pass along a few helpful tips for making tile selections that might help you in your own quest of picking out tile for your home.


Before you step foot in a tile shop, it might be helpful to do some research and know your tile terminology. In addition to patterns and colors, there are several different styles and types of tile that will help you create a cohesive tile design in your home. For example, ever heard of bullnose tile? Bullnose tile is a tile piece that has a rounded edge that’s used to frame out shower wall tile or the tile used to wraparound certain corners along a wall. It’s priced out per piece and you will typically select the same bullnose tile {color and size} that matches the rest of your wall tile. Another tile terminology to know is a decorative listello. It’s a fancy way of saying pencil or accent tile. You can see some examples of Listellos here. They help to add color and interest to solid wall tile. These are also priced per piece.

Pencil Tile Border{Source}

Focal Wall and Borders

Consider doing a focal wall in your stand-alone showers. A focal wall is where you frame out a small part of one of your shower walls and accent it with different patterns or colors of tile. Choosing a wall that can be seen from the main part of your bathroom is a great way to create visual interest. You can also decide to do a border around your shower using a different tile or create multiple focal points to create additional interest in your showers.

Focal Wall and Tile Border


Combine Colors and Patterns

Depending on the look you are going for, a great way to create a beautiful tile design for a space is to combine various patterns and complimentary colors. For example, if you are looking to go with a more square wall tile for your shower walls, consider going with a more rounded tile shape for your shower floor or focal wall to create a beautiful juxtaposition. When it comes to tile colors, make sure you are choosing colors that are complimentary and blend well together.

Tile Patterns and Colors{Source}


Tile can be installed in various ways. The most common way is straight lay which is just side by side. You can also install tile in a herringbone pattern or have it installed in a running bond pattern meaning each row of tile is offset from the row below. Keep in mind that certain ways of installing might cost you more as it requires additional time for laying it our or can require the tile be cut in a certain way. Know the additional cost for installation before deciding how you want your tile installed.

Herringbone Tile


Maximize Your Budget

If you are looking to select tile for your entire house and are working with a builder, you are more than likely working with a set allowance. One way to maximize your budget is to select nicer tile and the tile you really want for higher traffic spaces like your master bathroom or powder room and go with cheaper options for less used spaces like a guest bathroom or for a kid’s bathroom where durability is more important.

The idea of picking out tile seemed scary to me in the beginning, but once I familiarized myself with some of the terms and various ways it can be installed, I became more confident with what I wanted and was able to start visualizing how it would all look together.

Don’t be afraid to ask the sales professionals at the tile shop what they would recommend and have them point out some of their most popular selections. They can be a wonderful resource for ideas and can help you work with your personal budget or allowance you’ve been given.

31 Days Graphic-link to whole seriesCurious what tile we picked out for our house? You can see some of our final selections on Instagram.

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