Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that can have the biggest impact, and the same can be said for your space. Take something like tile- you can easily (and yes, affordably) use some clever ideas to give your space a major makeover.
Most of us associate tile with being a major expense. Add in the cost of install (the national average for installing tile in a shower is almost $2000!) and you can be looking at a pricey improvement. But there are ways to keep costs down, and we are here to share ideas for using inexpensive and off the shelf tile options to get big results. And when we say inexpensive, we really do mean inexpensive.
Whether it’s the kitchen or bathroom, there are loads of ways to take a 99 cent tile and make it look like a million bucks. From using colorful options to unique patterns and grout colors to unexpected sizes, it doesn’t take a lot to go from totally ordinary to something extraordinary.
Ready to roll up your sleeves and start installing? Before you do, we’re helping you out with 5 of our favorite unique ways to use tile, as well as a roundup of super affordable options (including 9 tiles all under $1!) and some of Bobby’s favorites.
Looking for more ways to improve your space? Check out our posts on 7 Paint Treatments To Give Your Walls An Upgrade and How to Bring Nature into Your Space
While we love neutral tones, it can definitely be fun to mix it up and use tile in totally bright and unexpected colors. Maybe a pink bathroom isn’t for everyone, but more subtle green or blue tones will still give you a fun space (without shocking you every morning.) In the kitchen, a colorful backsplash tile can be a great focal point. Using just one color tile will also be more unifying, and not compete with other elements in the room. Rather than adding interest through different tiles or expensive tiles we instead bring interest through the color and the repetition of materials.
Shop Tile Under $1
If you have a little more to spend, here are a few of our favorite options that will give you major bang for the buck. While there are lots of different tile materials and styles, for this roundup we’ll be focusing on solid color ceramic tile and mosaics in different glazes. *Note that all the prices shown are per square foot.
1. Green 5″ x 5″ Ceramic Mosaic Tile | 2. Gray Glossy 4″ x 16 ” Glazed Ceramic Wall Tile | 3. Kale 3″ x 6″ Polished Wall Tile | 4. Black 3″ x 12″ Ceramic Wall Tile | 5. Off White 4″ x 4″ Talavera Mexican Tile | 6. Pink 3″ x 8″ Ceramic Subway Tile | 7. 11″ x 12″ Porcelain Mosaic Tile | 8. Sand Dune 2″ x 8″ Ceramic Wall Tile | 9. Olive Polished Porcelain Penny Mosaic | 10. Azul 4″x 8″ Polished Ceramic Tile | 11. Graphite 5″ x 5″ Zellige Ceramic Tiles | 12. Quad 2″ x 2″ Porcelain Tile
To give very average looking tile a totally new twist, try a grout in a bold color. Whether it’s simple white or a dark color tile, a super bright color grout (bright pink, orange, cobalt blue) will instantly modernize and change up the feel of a space. And it wont cost you any more than using standard grout colors! And if you aren’t ready to make the color commitment, then you can always go with a contrasting colored grout in a neutral color (white tile with black grout) to add some interest and mix it up.
PLAY WITH TILE PATTERNS
Simple shapes can become anything but when they are applied in new and interesting ways. Taking the same shape and size and laying it out in different ways totally changes how that tile looks in a room. Try stacking tile vertically instead of horizontally, using a chevron pattern or basketweave. Note that all of these versions use the same tile repeated over and over rather than adding in another tile or color for interest. Think of it as power in numbers.
TOP TO BOTTOM TILE
The same tile applied on floors, walls and countertops creates a super dramatic space. It will also give your space a more elevated and cohesive feel. And this doesn’t just apply to bathrooms- even a kitchen can be totally decked out in tile! (See the black kitchen below) Keep in mind that not all tile can be used for flooring, so make sure it’s not a glossy finish which would be slippery underfoot.
Try using sizes besides the standard 3″ x 6″ subway tile to change things up from the expected. Smaller scale mosaic patterns and penny tile are both simple solutions that will set your space apart from the rest. Mixing up different size tiles (4″ x 4″ with 2″ x 4″ or 2″ x 8″) is also a super fun and easy way to create visual interest and make your space totally yours.
Let us know if you have any questions below, and which space you’ll be using as inspiration for your next project!
Hello Bobby: Watched Queer Eye for the first time and binge-watched 4 seasons. Loved it and all of you bring real, unique, sincere qualities to the show. I love all of your designs and now your furniture. Wish more could be showcased. Any chance you might talk interior paint colors? Thank you and I look forward to more shows! You all are fantastic!
Thanks so much! We will definitely cover paint colors soon. In the meantime, check out our post on 7 Paint Treatments To Give Your Walls an Upgrade
Love this article! Gives me hope to update the tile in my home. We are a military family with not a lot of money for home improvements but these ideas give me hope and ideas to make our home ours! Thanks ❤️
So glad the post it was helpful to you! Thanks for reading.
What a wonderful article on tile and the fact that beauty comes at all price ranges spoke to me! We are retired and trying to update an old house at a reasonable price and your suggestions hit the spot!
God bless you!
Glad it was helpful to you. Thanks for reading!
Do you have a reference for an easy do it yourself regrouting video/tutorial?
Yes! This is a great video for getting started. Good luck! xx -B