4 simple rules for kitchen and bathroom tiling | homify

4 simple rules for kitchen and bathroom tiling

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally
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During the process of building or renovating a home, most homeowners look at kitchen and bathroom tiling as a mere functional feature that doesn’t require too much attention. The fact is that the way the tiles are installed can make a difference in the overall look of a room, especially if they are not cut to the right size. An installation that mixes small and big tiles in a haphazard pattern can make the room look messy, taking away from the style of the room.

It might seem like something that is left to common sense as one would think that any experienced tiler would know the best way to cut and install bathroom tiles to minimize wastage and to ensure that they cover the floor perfectly. However, the reality is that most often the area of the floor and the format of the tiles don’t match, requiring them to be cut to size. The presence of too many small slivers of tiles in the corners or near the wall can completely ruin the look of the kitchen or bathroom. Similarly, symmetry in the pattern is important as it will minimize the visual chaos in the room.

Professional interior designers follow a set of 4 basic rules when they are installing bathroom and kitchen tiles. In this ideabook, we’ve outlined these tricks that can be used to execute any kitchen and bathroom tiling project to perfection. Whether you hire a contractor or work with a designer, being aware of these rules will help to get the tiling right without being left with unappealing strips or joints on the floors and walls.

Rule 1 for kitchen and bathroom tiling – avoid using tiles cut to less than half their original size

In any kitchen or bathroom, nothing looks uglier than thin strips of tiles in the corners or joints, especially when they have larger tiles surrounding them. They present a visible flaw that automatically draws attention to them. While cutting kitchen or bathroom wall tiles or floor tiles is practically unavoidable, one can avoid using tiles that are too skinny by planning the installation efficiently.

When executing kitchen or bathroom tile ideas, by measuring the area and planning the placement of tiles from one end to the other, one can ensure that all the tiles are between half and full size. For example, if one of the sides doesn’t reach up to the end of the wall without having to cut a strip of tile that is less than half size, one can adjust the layout either by increasing the gap in the joints between the tiles or by cutting the tiles near both walls to ensure that neither side uses tiles that are less than half size.

Rule 2: Ensure the tiles are installed in a symmetric arrangement

Sometimes, a kitchen or bathroom has gorgeous tiles, and yet, something about the overall look doesn’t seem right. It’s not always easy to ascertain what’s wrong, but often, it’s the asymmetry in the area where the bathroom floor tiles and shower wall tiles meet. Similarly, in a kitchen, it could be the distortion of a tile pattern on either side of the kitchen sink.

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When looking at bathroom or kitchen floor tile ideas, it’s essential to ensure that the pattern of the tile looks symmetrical around fittings or at the opposite end of the wall. Otherwise, it disrupts the visual symmetry of the floor and takes away from the style of the room. Similarly, pay special attention to the areas around doors and windows to ensure that the tiles appear the same size on either side.

As mentioned earlier, one can ensure that there is symmetry in the kitchen and bathroom tiling by measuring the space and ensuring that the opposite ends of the room have tiles in the same width even if they need to be cut to size.

Rule 3: Try to eliminate tile cutting as far as possible

Let’s face it! A cut tile doesn’t have the perfect finish of an uncut one. Therefore, when choosing bathroom and kitchen tiles, one should try to avoid a size that requires multiple cuts to fit into the area. This usually happens when one chooses a format that is too large for the size of the room, resulting in many uneven or asymmetric edges near the walls and fixtures.

Additionally, cutting tiles is a cumbersome job, and a lot of material can be wasted during the process of cutting the tiles to the required size. A simple solution for solving this problem is to pick a smaller size of tile that limits the need for cutting and reduces the possibility of a chaotic installation of the kitchen or bathroom tiles.

Rule 4: Pay attention to the kitchen and bathroom tiling in visible areas

While attention to detail is important to ensure that the tiling in kitchens and bathrooms are visually appealing, one needn’t waste time and effort by stressing about size and symmetry in areas that can’t be seen. For instance, using smaller-than-half kitchen wall tiles towards the ceiling won’t take away from the aesthetics if the area will be hidden by a cabinet or a false ceiling.

In areas that are in full view, one should ensure that full tiles are used. Since it’s almost impossible not to use cut strips for kitchen and bathroom tiling, the smaller pieces of tiles can be used in areas that are out of sight. These include the area under the overhang of the kitchen cabinets, borders under the cabinets or in the far corners that aren’t noticeable as soon as one walks into the room.

If one doesn’t want to waste material, then using up the smaller pieces of cut tiles in bathroom niches in an artistic pattern, or laying the tiles diagonally, are other options for ensuring that the tile pattern is consistent throughout the room. For example, the tiles can be laid in a diagonal pattern in the shower stall to provide visual relief through a contrast pattern. Similarly, smaller pieces of the kitchen wall tile can be fixed in the pantry area or store room where their asymmetry is out of sight.

As can be seen, there’s a lot more to kitchen and bathroom tiling than just cutting tiles to size so that they cover the walls and floor. Besides staying away from using skinny strips of tiles where they interfere with the visual beauty of the area, one needs to ensure that prints and patterns maintain symmetry so that they don’t take away from the room’s style. While one can hire a contractor or a tiler to install kitchen or bathroom tiles for a quick DIY renovation, we recommend consulting experienced interior designers, kitchen planners or bathroom designers who can advise you on the correct way that the tiles should be installed. Besides measuring the area and calculating the number of tiles that will fit on the floor, they will go into the minor details such as the spacing between the tiles and the symmetry at both ends of the room to ensure that you have a perfectly executed bathroom or kitchen.

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