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My top tips for selecting tiles

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Whether it's a bathroom or a splashback, tiles are one of my favourite things to select. However, when selecting tiles, there are a lot of things that you need to take into consideration. The look and feel of the tile, the location of the tile, the lay pattern, grout colour, and trim colour, can all make a huge difference to how the space will feel. If you are unsure about your tile selection, then read on to see my top tips for selecting tiles:

Size & shape

Most tiles come in a range of standard sizes which makes it easier to combine if having more than one tile in each space. Over the past years, large format tiles have become very popular with the most common size for floor tiles being 600x600 and 300x600. I love using large format tiles on the floor to create a seamless and contemporary look. Plus having less grout to clean is always a bonus! However, for a more traditional home, I may go with smaller 200x200 patterned tiles.

If using a large format tile on the floor, I generally either use the same tile or a more decorative tile on the walls - or a combination of both. For decorative wall tiles, there are endless options but my favourite is a subway tile. They are a really versatile option with many colours to select from, and are generally a fraction of the cost of mosaics. Subway tiles come in many sizes between 150x75 and 400x100, and their rectangle shape allows you to lay them in different ways to create completely different looks.

Lay pattern

Once you have decided on a size and shape, you need to think about how the tiles will be laid. As I mentioned above, subway tiles are a great option to be able to play with lay patterns. My go to patterns are straight stacked, brickbond, herringbone, double herringbone, and box weave. You can also lay these patterns horizontally, vertically or on a diagonal to add even more character. One thing to consider when deciding on a lay pattern is the scale. It's important to think about the size of your tile and the scale of the pattern in comparison to the tile area so that your pattern isn't too small or too big for the space.

bathroom design, grey stone tiles, black tapware, shower, wall niche


The most common finishes are either matt or gloss, however, there are also more specialised finishes available like a pearlescent or metallic finish as well as external grade tiles with a rough finish. If we are having a tiled shower base, I always opt for a matt finish to ensure they are safe when wet. On walls, the finish that I select will depend on the look we are going for. For a more contemporary or industrial style, a matt finish is often best, whereas in a more traditional home or a very small bathroom, gloss finishes work beautifully.


When selecting grout, you need to decide if you want the grout lines to be a feature or not. Unless you have a decorative tile or lay pattern that you want to emphasise, I always try to match the grout as closely as possible to the base colour of the tile. To create a really seamless look where the grout lines almost fade away, I would also suggest to go with a tile that has a rectified edge (perfect square edge).


Where possible, I always suggest to have mitred edges in niches/ledges and bath hobs to create a seamless look. If using trims, match them either to the tapware finish or to the colour of the tiles (I always use a white trim with plain white tiles!).

bathroom design, grey stone tiles, black tapware, shower, wall niche


The height at which I would recommend tiling your walls will depend on the height of your ceiling. If your ceiling is 2400-2700mm high, I always recommend tiling to the ceiling for a really luxurious look. Above 2700mm, I recommend to tile to the top of your door/window architraves only. An extra tip if tiling only to the top of your door/window is to match all your heights - have the shower screen and mirror/shaving cabinet finish at that height as well so that it all follows the same line around the room!

Wastage and batches

When ordering tiles, always make sure that you have added a decent wastage on top of your required amount. Tiles come in batches so if you try to order the same tile a few weeks later, you may not get the exact same colour! A general rule I follow is 20% wastage for larger tiles and 10% for smaller/subway tiles.

I hope these tips have been helpful! If you want to find out more about selecting the right finishes for your project, get in contact with us below:

Have a wonderful week!

Nina xx

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