tile selection

Tile Selection, Patterns, and Contractors – What You Need to Know

Are you looking to build a new kitchen or bathroom or remodel your existing room? If so, you’re likely going to do some tile selection and have it installed in your space. However, if you’ve ever walked into a tile store or design studio, you know it can easily get overwhelming. Just looking at all the shapes, sizes and designs from which to choose from can make your head spin.

How do you find the tile that will work well with your space? And how to find the one that can age as gracefully as you do and not have to be replaced in 10 years? We’ll walk you through the process.

Tile Selection Process

Measure your space carefully. Square footage can add up. The total cost of that seemingly affordable individual tile can surprise you when you calculate the cost of the entire space. It’s not a cliché to measure twice. It’s smart business. Once you have your numbers, there are several good tile calculators online to help you translate your measurements into the number of tiles you’ll need.

Determine how much you have to spend on tiles. It’s frustrating to fall in love with a tile that’s simply out of your budget. By knowing the measurements and your budget, you can quickly eliminate any tile patterns that are simply too expensive.

Envision the other elements of the room where the tile is going to be installed. Do you want the tile to be the focal point? Or do you want it to subtly complement the furnishings, flooring and/or window treatments? The principles of good interior design recommend limiting your tile choices to one or two complementary colors and/or patterns to avoid making the room look too “busy”.

Think about how this room might be used in the future. Tile lasts much longer than paint. That’ why it’s important to choose a tile pattern that’s not too trendy and will adapt well as the room changes over the coming years.

tile selection

Patterned Floors for a Polished Look

More and more homeowners are using tile to create unique, durable and beautiful floors. This practice has always been popular in Western European countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece. American homeowners are just recently finding the many benefits of tile flooring.

The most common way to lay tile is side by side in a grid pattern, but it’s arguably the least interesting way. Diagonal, on-point, offset, running bond, brick pattern, pinwheel, hopscotch, and other pattern options add more visual interest. They also make your floor a beautiful art piece that will last for generations.

tile selection

Choosing Your Tile Pattern

Once you’ve decided your measurements, budget and overall room design, it’s time to choose a tile pattern. Tile stores understand that this process can be somewhat overwhelming, given all the choices on the market. It can also be difficult for many people to envision how the tile will look once it’s installed. That’s why most tile and home improvement stores have software available that allows you to visualize how the tile will look before you purchase it.

Hiring Your Tile Contractor

The last piece to installing a great tile floor, backsplash or shower surround is having the tile installed. Reputation is key here. If you know or work with a general contractor, they likely have a single tile person they use for your type of project. Failing that, ask your friends, co-workers, church members, or family for a recommendation. 

If your tile pattern is intricate, make sure that your contractor has experience in this type of design before choosing them for on your project. Some contractors just don’t have the skill for many modern patterns.

Vet Your Top Choices of Contractors

Read reviews online and ask for references from satisfied  customers. Do you see any safety lawsuits, reviews from unsatisfied customers, or other red flags? A single negative review is not necessarily a reason to pass on a particular tile contractor. But  if there’s a pattern of sloppy or unfinished work, you’re better off choosing another contractor.

Get It in Writing

Protect your work by insisting on a formal contract that includes:

  • what work you expect from the contractor
  • when the work will be completed 
  • what the total payment and payment schedule will be.

Few reputable contractors will have a problem with such a contract. After all, it protects them also.

To learn more about designing a home that showcases your beautiful tile choices, contact Drafting Cafe. We’ve been helping homeowners like you build or remodel their homes for more than a decade. We’re proud to be considered one of the top architectural firms in the Bay Area.


Get in touch with us. We would love to help you get your project off the ground