Tile comes in a vast array of colors, shapes, sizes, textures, and patterns, allowing you to create a truly unique look for your space. With so many options to choose from, tile offers endless design possibilities. Read on to explore the rainbow of tile colors available and how to use them creatively in your home.
The Meaning of Color in Tile Design
Color has a profound impact on our emotions and moods. When selecting tile, consider how different hues make you feel. Warm tones like red, orange, and yellow evoke energy and excitement. Cool blues, greens, and purples create a more tranquil vibe. Neutrals like black, white, gray, and brown promote feelings of sophistication and flexibility.
Once you settle on a color family, explore the many shades and tones available. A soft sage green conveys a very different look than vibrant lime. Pale blue reads more beachy and airy than navy. Pay attention to undertones too. A tile with yellow undertones looks entirely different than one with blue undertones, even if the base color is the same.
Consider the light in your space as well. South facing rooms illuminated with sunlight can handle deeper, bolder colors. North facing spaces with little natural light call for paler shades to brighten up the room.
Mood Enhancement with Color Psychology
Here are some examples of how thoughtful color selection can enhance the mood of a space:
- Foster relaxation in a spa bath with cool blue or green tiles. These serene colors evoke flowing water.
- Energize a gym or playroom with stimulating red or orange tiles. Upbeat colors promote activity.
- Welcome guests to a front hall with friendly yellow or pink tiles. These cheerful hues say “hello.”
- Create a romantic sanctuary in the bedroom with affectionate red, purple, or pink tiles.
- Promote productivity in a home office with focused blue or green tiles. These concentrated colors aid concentration.
- Set a luxurious tone in a dining room with indulgent chocolate, gold, or burgundy tiles. Rich colors encourage celebration.
Complementary Colors for Contrast
Placing colors next to each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange or red and green, creates visual excitement. These complementary color combinations vibrantly play off each other. To make adjoining rooms feel cohesive, repeat one color in both spaces, then use its complement in accents. This creates lively contrast.
The Rainbow of Tile Colors
From pure whites to deep charcoals, vibrant jewel tones to muted pastels, tile offers colors to suit any design style. Consider the hues below to add pops of color to your home:
- Fiery reds like cherry or crimson bring heat and passion to a space. Use in moderation against neutral backdrops.
- Dark burgundy reds create an elegant, luxurious impression. Pair with creams or gold accents.
- Bright candy apple reds energize and revitalize. Use in whimsical kids’ bathrooms or game rooms.
- Pink-based reds, like rubies and cranberries, give off a romantic vibe. Ideal for bedrooms or spa-like baths.
- Vibrant oranges and tangerines inject fun and vitality. Perfect for playrooms, home gyms, or kitchen backsplashes.
- Warmer terra cottas or peaches work well with woods. Ideal for Mediterranean or Santa Fe style homes.
- Burnt oranges or pumpkins complement autumnal color schemes. Use in rustic cottages or transitional spaces.
- Sunny yellows bring joy and optimism. Use in moderation against gray or white backdrops.
- Soft buttery yellows offer a soothing effect. Lovely in bedrooms or bathrooms.
- Golden yellows create an elegant rustic look. Pair with cream tiles or wood laminates.
- Mustard yellows add earthy vibrancy. Consider for Tuscan, Spanish, or Southwestern design.
- Lime greens instantly perk up a space. Perfect to energize a bathroom or laundry room.
- Fresh, minty greens evoke spa-like serenity. Ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, or bedrooms.
- Nature greens like sage and olive reflect organic sophistication. Complement wood grain patterns.
- Deep emerald greens communicate wealth and luxury. Use as an accent against light backgrounds.
- Cool, sky blues create soothing, airy spaces. Use in bathrooms, bedrooms, or kitchens.
- Classic navy blues add crisp, nautical flair. Ideal for laundry rooms, kitchens, boys’ rooms.
- Denim blues offer laidback comfort. Pair with whites for a beach house vibe.
- Royal blues convey majesty and sophistication. Accent with gold or silvers.
- Light lilacs or lavenders provide a sweet, feminine presence. Charming in bedrooms or entryways.
- Regal purple shades bring out your inner royalty. Complement with gold accents and luxe materials.
- Eggplant purples offer an exotic, indulgent effect. Use against light neutrals.
- Warm beiges, tans, and earth tones add cozy, organic depth. Ideal as main backdrops.
- Cool grays create a clean, modern look. Use in contemporary, urban spaces.
- Crisp blacks and whites offer striking drama and contrast. Perfectly minimalist.
- Natural stones like marble and travertine provide texture. Work in any style space.
Creative Uses of Colorful Tile
Beyond just floors and walls, don’t be afraid to get creative with colorful tile in these unique applications:
Backsplashes provide the perfect canvas for playful tile designs. Consider a mosaic medley, geometric pattern, or artful listello. Or create a bold statement with a single popping color.
Stair risers offer another opportunity for eye-catching color. Use a complementary hue or whimsical pattern to liven things up.
Bold Bathroom Niches
Recessed bathroom niches gain unexpected personality with colorful tile. Consider one stunning hue or a vibrant pattern.
Kitchen and Bath Accents
Use color strategically in kitchens and baths. Bright tile inside a glass door cabinet, on the base of an island, or inside a shower niche draws the eye.
Vivid Fireplace Surrounds
Tile offers limitless options for fireplace surrounds. Try a mosaic motif in multiple colors or a solid hue that pops against neutrals.
Make a laundry or utility sink backsplash fun and functional with lively colors and geometric shapes. Durable porcelain works well in wet areas.
Concrete patios, garden pathways, and outdoor kitchens allow colorful tile to live outside. Opt for low-maintenance porcelain.
Mixing and Matching Tile Colors
While a monochromatic look has its advantages, don’t be afraid to get creative and mix colors. Contrasting tile colors in strategic locations can take your design to the next level.
Complimentary Color Combos
Pairing complementary colors creates visual tension and excitement. Green and red, blue and orange, or purple and yellow make lively partners.
- A bold red backsplash against earthy green walls
- A saturated orange bathroom accent wall paired with cool blue tiles
Analogous Color Schemes
Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel. Think sunny yellow, grassy green, and sky blue. This creates a cohesive look.
- A mottled blue, green, and aqua glass subway tile backsplash
- A mosaic shower floor blending teals, sea greens, and sky blues
Triadic Color Sets
Triadic color schemes use three equidistant colors on the color wheel, like vibrant purple, energetic orange, and grassy green. The contrast is electric.
- A laundry room with purple, orange, and green geometric floor tiles
- A kitchen backsplash mingling amethyst, pumpkin, and pear tiles
Use a bright, bold color strategically as an accent against neutral backdrops for dramatic impact.
- A fire engine red niche in a neutral bathroom
- A vivid turquoise accent wall contrasting warm beige tiles
Specialty Decorative Tile Styles
In addition to solid colored tiles, a multitude of painted, patterned, and textured decorative tile styles exist to take your design up a notch. Consider options like:
Intricate mosaic patterns and brilliant colors define the Moroccan tile look. Use as a backsplash, shower surround, or accent wall.
Available in a vast range of artistic designs, hand-painted tiles add artisanal, bespoke style. Feature them around fireplaces, on stair risers, or in bathrooms.
Encaustic Cement Tiles
Two-toned encaustic cement tiles have color all the way through, revealing a contrasting shade when worn. Their graphic look pairs well with vintage styles.
Patterned Ceramic or Porcelain
Mass-produced ceramic and porcelain tiles offer consistent quality and accessibility. Pick vibrant patterns for backsplashes, floors, and walls on a budget.
Smalti refers to shiny, handmade Italian tiles in deep tones like sapphire, emerald, and ruby. Their reflective quality emits luxury.
Poured terrazzo tiles contain stone or glass chips suspended in concrete, creating random patterns when polished. Their earthy mottling works in organic, Nordic, or industrial spaces.
Factors that Impact Tile Color
Tile color is affected by several factors to keep in mind during selection and installation:
The raw components of tile impact color. Lighter porcelain and ceramic tend to stay truer to their hue. Natural stones and terracotta changes over time when exposed to light and air.
Size and Shape
Small mosaic tiles show more grout lines, muting the vibrancy slightly. Larger tiles have fewer grout lines and reflect more color. Glossy tiles appear brighter than matte.
The light source in a space affects tile color. Natural daylight brings out subtle nuances while incandescent bulbs add warmth. Fluorescents can render colors flat and clinical. Opt for LEDs for accuracy.
Placement and Quantity
A small polished porcelain or glass accent tile delivers a brighter pop of color than a larger floor of the same tile due to light refraction. The more colored tiles used, the more saturated the look.
Sealer and Grout Color
Sealing tiles before grouting maintains truer color. White grout brightens tile hues; gray and colored grout mute them. Contrasting grout calls attention to tile color variation.
Porcelain and ceramic hold color better than natural stone when exposed to water. Stone develops a mellow patina over time. Using sealant minimizes excessive discoloration.
Caring for Colorful Tiles
Follow these tips to keep your vibrant tiles looking like new:
- Use sealant on porous natural stone before and after grouting to repel stains. Reapply yearly.
- Clean tiles regularly with pH neutral cleaners free of acids, alkalis, and harsh chemicals that can degrade color.
- Spot test cleaners on extras or inconspicuous areas first. Don’t use anything that could etch or discolor the tile surface.
- Wipe spills immediately to prevent staining, especially on stone and cement tile.
- Avoid excessive moisture buildup under rugs, potted plants, and bath mats to prevent uneven fading.
- Limit sun exposure on tiles vulnerable to fading, especially red and orange. Use window treatments to block excessive light.
- Consider sacrificial pieces for frequently used kitchen backsplashes. Remove and replace worn tiles as needed.
FAQs About Colorful Tile
What tile colors work best with natural light?
White and light colored tiles sparkle in natural light. Darker tones can feel heavy and absorptive if not balanced with ample windows and skylights.
How do I pick grout color?
Grout must be sealed properly to avoid staining porous tiles. White grout brightens and light grout blends with light tiles. Dark grout defines and charcoal grout grounds bold colors.
Can you put colorful tiles outside?
Yes, porcelain is very color stable outdoors. Avoid fragile hand-painted and cement tiles outside. Use slip-resistant porcelain on pool decks and patios.
What tile colors make a small bathroom look bigger?
Light, cool hues like white and soft blue or green widen small bathrooms. Glossy tiles also refract light to feel more expansive.
What tile color goes well with grey walls?
Grey’s versatility allows for many tile colors — bold hues like cobalt blue or marigold, naturals like brown and beige, and varying shades of grey.
Do colored tiles date kitchens and bathrooms?
Not if you use versatile classics. Subway tiles, penny rounds, and hexagons in greys, blues, greens, and whites work well long-term. Avoid overt trends.
Bringing Joy with Colorful Tile
A rainbow of tile awaits you, bursting with potential for personal expression. Mindfully chosen colors and textures unlock your interior design creativity and bring new vitality to your home. Let color inspire joyful spaces for connection and rejuvenation for many years to come. With limitless options and applications, the only limit is your imagination.