Here are some basic but overlooked golden rules when designing with tile.

1. The Bigger the Better

The main goal of a bathroom is to make it look as big as possible. The way to do this is by using the biggest format til possible on the wall and floor. The idea of this is that if you use a small tile on the floor, you have a lot more grout lines, making the floor look much busier which in turn makes the floor look cramped and small. I have found that the ideal sizes generally are a 30X60CM tile for the wall and a 60X60CM tile for the floor.

2. Think twice before installing tiled counter tops

Tiled counter tops are good in the fact that they are inexpensive. Manmade materials such as Corian and natural material such as granite can be prohibitively expensive. By contrast, tile is a bargain. However, many cooks do not like the seams between the tiles, and they find the grout lines difficult to keep clean.

3. Do not choose a tile color to match your furnishings

While this may seem like common sense, many homeowners forget about this in their rush to install new tile. Furnishings, wall color, fabrics—all of these things are temporary. Tile is permanent.

The best thing to do is consider all factors at the time of tiling so that you can match all furnishing together.

4. Be careful with multiple colours

Multiple colours often become tiresome. Instead, consider using a generally neutral background color, and installing a few splashes of color here and there as accents. A perfect example is going for a plain tile and introducing colour with paint, towels, rugs etc.

5. Grout is an amazing design tool

This is a big secret that many homeowners do not even consider when designing with tile. While it seems boring—after all, it’s just that gritty stuff you put between the lines—grout can become almost as important as the tile itself from a design perspective. You can change the color of grout, space the tiles wider or narrower to emphasize or deemphasize the grout, and many other things. Do not ignore the design possibilities of grout.

6. Small tiles emphasize the grid

Sometimes, the design that you wish to achieve has as much to do with the grid pattern created by the tiles as it does with the tiles themselves. You can work miracles with grout. By using smaller tiles, you are emphasizing the grid pattern created by those tiles.

7. Tile need not be a cold material

Heated or radiant tile was, at one time, a speciality item reserved for the homes of rich people. Now, heated tile (friendly to bare feet!) can be found more and more in homes of ordinary folk.

8. Tile is not 100% waterproof

Even though tile has been used in wet applications ever since Roman times, water can still travel through the porous seams created by the grout. You need to apply grout sealer to the seams after the tile is first installed, and you need to keep applying the sealer periodically to keep the seams waterproof. Not only that, but some tile itself (granite, marble, quarry, etc.) is porous and needs to be sealed and polished on a regular basis.

9. The Tile is only as good as the adhesive you use

The most common problem with cracking tiles is that the adhesive used was not suitable for the tile or sub floor. Going for a 60X60CM porcelain you need a large format adhesive so that you get 100% coverage of the adhesive on the back of the tiles. By using a cheap or low quality adhesive, you are setting youself up for a disaster in years or even only months to come.