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How to Choose Tile Colors

by Angela Tague

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Orange tile

The color and texture of tile helps set the tone of a room. A popular way to infuse color into kitchens, bathrooms and entryways, tile offers solid and variegated color choices, multiple patterns and diverse shapes. Use hand-painted tile for a custom touch or rely on the natural variance in multicolored and patterned tiles. Before deciding on a tile color for any surface, take note of existing colors in the room, the mood you want for the room and the amount of foot traffic the area receives. Here are a few steps to help you decide on the perfect tile color for your home improvement project.

Choosing Tile Colors:

  1. Consider the size of room before choosing a color. Floor tile colors in light hues, such as cream and pastels, can make a small room look larger. Light tile colors are good choices for a guest bathroom or narrow hallway. Dark floor tile colors, in rich chocolates, burnt sienna and variegated navy tones, look best in large areas like kitchens with an open floor plan and plenty of light.

  2. Decide on a tile type. Stain-resistant, glazed ceramic tiles work well on countertops or on bathroom and kitchen walls that are exposed to high humidity. Dense porcelain tile is scratch-resistant and works well for flooring.

  3. Consult a color wheel for combinations. Create a vibrant statement by choosing colors that are opposite on the color wheel. For example, in a room where you like to entertain, contrast a terra cotta tile with a rich blue wall color to give the room energy. In a room where you want to relax, choose colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. The tone-on-tone colors will create a more tranquil feeling.

  4. Think of texture for different surfaces. Select floor tile with a mottled pattern for high-traffic rooms. Dirt and scuff marks are less likely to show on tile with variegated colors. Terrazzo tile with embedded stone and marble chips creates a multicolored effect. Choose terrazzo tile with a blend of brown, tan and cream colors for a neutral option in high-traffic areas such as entryways, kitchens and bathrooms. A combination of varying shades of grey and white is another popular choice for busy areas of the home.

  5. Let the color take center stage. In a bathroom or kitchen, the countertop tile, backsplash tile and wall tile will become a central part of the decor. When you are using tile in a small area, you can choose the tile color in the same way you would choose a piece of art. Let it stand out.

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