Our Top Ten Tips When Choosing Tiles.

September 23, 2022

There are so many cautionary tales about climbing headlong into a tile purchase after falling in love with the first range you see. As the fairy story world tells us, you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince. Kind of thing. We’ve got the online tile trial equivalent of a frog-kisser – our easy-to-use uView – which will help you try out as many tiles as you like before you narrow your choices down.

At the same time, consider the following ten top tips before you make your final selection of tiles that are absolutely, completely, utterly perfect for you.

#1 Before you begin

Take a long, hard look at your home space. Without knowing it, you’ll have created a cocoon that reflects your unique personality. When hunting around on Pinterest or paging through your interiors mags for inspo ... try to stick with looks that vibe with your style and don’t work against it. You may long for cool Urban sophistication but it simply won’t gel with your graciously Classic environment. No, no. No need to panic. We’ve divvied up the world of style to help you channel your search: Classic, Modern, Natural and Urban are the four pillars of the Italtile Style Guide.

#2 The correct tile type for the correct space

Select high quality slip-resistant tiles for external areas, e.g. pool decking, patios, outdoor showers. Also install them indoors in wet rooms, on bathroom floors and shower stalls. Italtile has just unpacked an exquizz range of Spanish INOUT tiles, with pioneering slip-resistance technology that creates an unusually smooth feel underfoot which gets really grippy in the wet. Go for Rockstone INOUT or wood-look Civic INOUT. With that velvety surface, you’ve also got yourself a low-maintenance and easy-to-wipe tile.

#3 Setting the tone with cool or warm

Floor tiles are the base canvas for your reno moodboard. Now’s the time to decide on a warm palette or a cool-toned palette when choosing your floor colour, as this will determine the look and feel of the space. Only a very, very dazzlingly talented interior designer has the confidence and savvy to pull off a mixed neutral palette of warms and cools – most of the top names will guide you away from this kind of quicksand! If you’re uncertain, #justask our design-certified sales assistants to  guide you through the cools and warms.

#4 Gloss or matt?

There’s a big trend towards matt tiles, but don’t be led by fashion if you’re dead set on a high gloss tile – hollywood glamour which reflects natural light and creates a glowing effect throughout the day. But caveat emptor (buyer beware)! We caution our high-gloss lovers who lust after those Modern Marbles (like our darkly divine new Lemooriano) to install a dirt trap at entrances. We weep at the thought of a considerable investment in the world’s best quality glossies being ground down by dirt and sand carried in underfoot.

#5 Tile size

While logic seems to dictate that big tiles are great in large spaces and small tiles suit a compact area, we beg to differ. Smaller tiles require a great deal more grout and that network of grout lines can really cut a room up. XXL tiles, on the other hand, mean fewer grout lines, and create a near seamless surface which can help to open a room up.

#6 Wall tiles vs floor tiles

Floor tiles can be used with confidence on walls; but wall tiles cannot be used on floors. Floor tiles are made of a harder glaze and tougher materials for durability.

You’ll note when selecting Italtile porcelain and ceramic floor tiles that we specify ‘heavy traffic’ or ‘medium traffic’ or ‘light traffic’. Where we say ‘wall tiles’ (like our gorgeous Spanish Wall Tiles) we mean just that.

#7 Consider your natural light

A darker room can really do with a lighter-toned tile with a gloss surface to reflect as much of the limited natural light. Of course, if a more masculine, moody space is your desire, keep your floors dark by all means – charcoal hues are trending, but lighten up a bit on the wallspaces.

#8 Go with the flow

Letting a tile-lover loose among our myriad collections without a guide could result in a multiplicity of tile purchases – something exciting for every room. We try to guide our Italstylistas toward a look that creates a look in one space that flows with the rest of your home’s style. We’d go so far as to say our favourite look is one that flows from the inside to the outside to pull everything together cohesively. Perfect for our inside-outside lifestyle. One tile to rule over them all. For example, you could go full-fat wood-look from the living room to the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom to the patio with our golden Exence, available in both matt and slip-resistant.

#9 Colour palette

More a rule than a tip – and we can’t emphasise this enough – pick a colour palette and STICK TO IT. (Yes, we raised our voices.) Rule of thumb is between 2 - 3 colours although

3 – 4 is very doable with professional help. More than that and the whole ‘gedoente’ will screech. Exhausting. You’re aiming for sanctuary-style living, so keep things beautifully simple. Two colours = complementary, colours on opposing sides of the colour wheel, e.g. turquoises and tangerines. Three = triadic, e.g. blue-red-yellow. Then you’re looking at monochromatic = all the shades of a single hue, achromatic = the black-white-grey vibe, and analogous = three hues that sit side-by-side on the colour wheel, e.g. blue, blue-green, green.

# 10 Scale and Pattern

Once you’ve selected your colour palette, play with size and shape a bit to create dimension and layers. Think large and small together, e.g. large format Marble Look Tiles harmonising with slinky little Kit-Kat Tiles. Or Subway Tiles, laid in a sassy herringbone pattern. Break up a screed look with a ‘carpet’ of patterned tiles, like our delicious Howard Blue. But a word of caution, once again, stick to 2 – 3 tile combinations.


A final word. Tile selection should be playful and fun. Please, please, please, the moment you feel overwhelmed, overburdened with choices, or stuck between a cool and a warm space, come to us. #justask

Now go out, get playful, have fun ... and live beautifully.