Creating Patterns with Plain Tiles
Designing with tiles
A vast area of plain tiles in the same colour can appear cold and boring, and simply breaking up the space with a few ‘drop-ins’ in a vague abstract pattern always looks very static. Instead try to be bold and create an original look.
Patterning with plain tiles
You can achieve amazing results using just plain square tiles:
• Hang them diagonally for a more interesting, diamond-quilted look.
• Create bold stripes with two or more colours; these could run either horizontally or vertically.
• Cut in half diagonally, a square tile becomes a triangle. Use these to form a zig-zag border, perhaps in two alternating colours.
• Create a patchwork effect with tiles of the same size and thickness but using different colours.
It is often difficult to judge how tiles will look when covering a large expanse. Some retailers have comprehensive catalogues showing room sets, others have samples mounted on display boards. Avoid eye-boggling effects or trendy colours of which you might tire easily and take care how you use strong geometric effects: these will only work where all walls and corners are straight and true.
Plan a complex design by first drawing the area on a squared grid — if you are using square tiles, one square can equal one tile.
Plot the pattern on the grid and colour in to suggest the finished design. This will enable you to see the effect and help you to work out accurate quantities.
Centre your design on any feature it relates to, such as a window or sink, and use your plan to foresee and avoid awkward cuts. Whether you choose the middle of a tile or the meeting of two tiles as the mid-point (design permitting) may make a big difference to the amount of cutting you have to do.
Whether or not you have planned the design on paper, lay out your tiles in a ‘dry run’ on the floor or a table. Make a rough sketch that shows where the tiles go, and if necessary number the tiles so you fix them in the right sequence.
Where to use tiles
In addition to the conventional places — the ‘wet’ areas of the bathroom and kitchen — think about tiles for:
• The dining room, as an integral part of a food-serving surface.
• The lower part of a hall wall, to create a hard-wearing area impervious to knocks.
• Recesses or alcoves — perhaps mirror tiles as a background to glass shelving.
• A dark area, where mirror tiles might suggest a window.
• The bedroom, for example you could tile the back of the door or wardrobe doors with mirror or metallic tiles.
• Tops of tables and other items of furniture. This can be a good way of giving a new lease of life to an old item or a junk shop find.
• Kitchen worktops. You can buy special tiles for worktops, although you can also use ordinary tiles. Don’t choose very highly glazed tiles, since you don’t want hot pans sliding about. Sudden heat can also shatter ordinary tiles.