How To Choose Accent Tiles

Accent tiles are the simplest way to add interest to your bathroom or kitchen walls. We have the best tips for tile design, trends and materials for you.

Accent tiles are a simple way to add interest to your kitchen backsplash or bathroom. Using a straightforward design or smaller section for your accent tiles means that you can upgrade the space without overwhelming the overall design with colors or patterns.

In this post, we will cover:

  • What tile materials are best for both the kitchen and the bathroom
  • Design tips and how to style accent walls or tile runners
  • The best height for accent tiles in the bathroom

As well as some of the best accent tiles trends and designs to keep your space modern and cohesive.

The materials you use for your accent tiles will depend on where you put them. The most common places to include accent tiles and accent tile walls are in your kitchen and in the bathroom. Each room requires slightly different materials and designs in order to last.

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What Are the Best Materials for Accent Tiles in the Kitchen?

Accent tiles in the kitchen are a classic design feature as they draw the eye in and add interest, as well as protect the wall from cooking oils and dirt.

You can use accent tiles in a small space on the wall behind the stove as a backsplash. However, with a more subtle design you could also cover a whole wall with them.

  • For backsplashes, ceramic tiles are easy to tessellate and give you a large range of colors to tie in with the rest of the space. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are a good choice because they are easy to clean, however, dirt can still get stuck in the grout. If you want to avoid this issue, you could look for a sheet of colored glassor have a design printed on acrylic and cut to size for a unique and useful piece of art.

  • For a feature wall, covering the whole wall in ceramic tiles can become a messy job. If you want easy, clean-cut accent tiles, the best materials are stick-on sheets of tiles. You can buy these sheets at most hardware stores, and designs range from classic brick and stonework to modern geometric accent tiles.

Ceramic Palma Decorative Tile in Green
Ceramic Decorative Accent Tile in Orange
Mediterranean Ceramic Decorative Tile in Blue
Light Blue Peel & Stick Tile
Gel Peel & Stick Mosaic Tile
Black and Grey Peel & Stick Mosaic Tile

What Are the Best Materials for Accent Tiles in the Bathroom?

Bathroom accent tiles can be harder to design and install than kitchen tiles as they are exposed to a lot more moisture. There are many different materials you can choose for accent tiles in the bathroom, and it will depend on where you want to add the design.

  • For shower accent tiles, ceramic, porcelain or glass accent tiles will be good choices.

  • If you are using the accent tiles on the floor, you need to make sure you choose tiles with a "high coefficient of friction". The higher this is, the more slip-resistant it is which is an important safety standard in bathroom designs.

  • Ceramic is a low-maintenance choice if you want to DIY your accent wall tiles. White marble tiles are a popular choice; however, it can become expensive for large surface areas. If you crave a marble look, opt for a faux-marble porcelain tile to achieve the look.

  • Terracotta and stone are perfect for texture and color, but you should always check that they have the right glaze finish to stay water-resistant.

  • And don't forget - if you want to do mosaic shapes you will have more grout so the best grout materials will be similar colors to the tiles themselves.

Black and White Ceramic Bathroom Tiles
Vintage European Design Bathroom Tiles
Blue and Green Glass Mosaic Bathroom Tile
Navy Blue Straight Bathroom Tiles
Round Porcelain Bathroom Tiles
White and Gold Leaves Bathroom Tiles

Design Tips for Decorative Accent Tiles

If you need ideas for how to design your accent tiles, we have a few tips to make sure your tiles are cohesive and work well with the room.

  • Follow the rule of 3 - If you want to mix tile patterns (e.g. different on the floor and on the walls), make sure you don't combine more than three designs in the same color palette. It will make the bathroom look a lot smaller than it actually is, and distract the eye rather than focus it with one pattern.

  • Keep everything else neutral - To make the most of your decorative tiles, it is best to keep all other tiles and paint neutral - this will make the colors stand out. If you want to use more than one style, choose one accent color, one overall neutral, and then mix it up with texture instead of a third color.

  • Consider scale - If you have chosen a decorative tile, consider the scale before ordering enough to cover a whole wall. If it is an extremely "busy" design, it may be overwhelming to cover the whole wall or shower in a small room like the bathroom. If you are in love with the design, you may want to choose an accent tile that runs horizontally around the middle of the wall or keep them to a small section above the sink.

  • Keep it balanced - Wondering how high up the wall your accent tiles need to be in the bathroom? To keep the room balanced, most horizontal accent lines are at about 36" high. It is always better to put them slightly higher than slightly lower than this.

Need a bit of inspiration to design your accent tiles? Let us help with these ideas!

  • In the kitchen, backsplashes with a copper tone are in style. This is perfect if you want to incorporate industrial elements into your modern kitchen.

  • Playing with geometric shapes instead of colors is a great way to add a focal point using tiles. Hexagon and triangle tiles tessellate well, can be used as accents or to cover full sections.

  • For a majestic, "wet room" look, try choosing an accent tile that can go on the floors, walls and roof of the shower. This will create a centerpiece for the room that really wows!

  • One popular trend for both bathroom and kitchen accent tiles is using subway tiles. Subway tiles are smaller rectangle tiles made to look like brickwork. This is a classic, tidy way to add interest to your walls, and can also be altered to your own personal style. For example, you can add random "bricks" in an accent color or choose subway tiles with unique raised textures. If you want to create the classic "Wainscotting" look, where the lower half of the bathroom wall is covered in tiles, then these are a clean-cut style.

Ceramic and Natural Stone Accent Tiles
White Traditional Geometric Accent Tiles
Grey Handmade Cement Accent Tile
Black Geometric Lines Accent Tiles
White Simple Subway Accent Tile
Vintage Shaped Porcelain Accent Tile

Accent tiles are the perfect combination of color, design and interest and will add the finishing touch to any kitchen or bathroom design.