Let’s Discuss: Patterned Cement Tile

I’ve noticed a lot of kitchens and baths lately boldly employing patterned tile floors, walls and backsplashes. These tiles, mostly examples of Moroccan cement tile, are both contemporary and vintage and when mixed with modern cabinetry and details, can result in a truly showstopping look. But I have to wonder, will this look be timeless? Is it a risk worth taking in main space like a kitchen? Lets take a look at some examples and talk it through.

This room just uses the patterned tile behind the range, which I love in combination with he rustic beams, brick and the sleek counter and cabinetry.

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Tom Scheerer does SUCH a wonderful job using this style of tile- this kitchen forgoes upper cabinets completely and allows the pattern to really take over. I personally NEED upper cabinets or shelves, so I would love some white floating shelves with this kind of look.

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This floor looks so fabulous, especially with the beams, shiplap walls and modern concrete sink. I really adore this and find it perfect for a beach house.

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Hmm, I’m noticing a beam theme here…. :)  This floor has the popular tumbling blocks pattern which is kept from looking busy by simple subway on the walls and open shelving.

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I adore this bathroom by Amber Interiors. The dark painted vanity paired with the patterned floor tile looks sleek- and the rug on top is a bonus!

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DRA-MA!  Lacquered green modern cabinetry looks so cool paired with the more traditional tile run right to the ceiling!  Note the wood floor too- I prefer this to more tile on the floor.

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A simpler play on this style in a small bathroom.  It gives a tiny space big personality.

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Another killer Tom Scheerer kitchen- this one from a spread probably 9-10 years old (or more!). And it looks TOTALLY modern today, right down to the cabinets- so here is one argument against the “trendy” stance on this look!

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An Emily Henderson designed kitchen- here is an example of when a mix of the floor tile and wall tile works, mostly because the counters are butcher block which softens that surface a bit.

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Two bathrooms employing a patterned floor, black clawfoot tub and white subway walls.  Both look super cool.

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There is a more modern pattern on this tile and paired with muted green cabinets it’s awesome. Quite stunning, actually.

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I posted this kitchen recently and I’ll posit it again because it’s SO damn good. I love everything about this space.

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DYING to use this tile on the left in a bathroom soon. Especially in a blue- like the shot on the right.

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The patterned tile gives this super modern kitchen more warmth and personality than if it were just marble or plain tile.

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Bold color limited just to the floor makes this bathroom bold but also totally serene at the same time.

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Black, white and yep, more beams! Classic meets statement!

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For tiles in this style check out Exquisite Surfaces, Popham Design, Mosaic House and Cement Tile ShopOverstock.com even has an interesting selection!

So what do you guys think? Are you into this look?

 

 

 

58 comments

  1. Love these tiles, especially the Tom Scheerer w blue print! And love that you always give so many examples of whatever theme you’re talking about!

  2. Love it on floors, but not on walls. On the walls, it is too busy, distracting and I can definitely see myself getting tired of the look. I don’t think it’s timeless at all.

  3. The practical and the “despises demo” part of me would never allow it in my own house. I’ve redone kitchen backslashes and they suck. These are probably a different depth then most tiles and that would make it a tiny nightmare to redo if you ever wanted to change it. I would tire of it visually on a daily basis. It’s too much stimulation for me. I love love them for someone else though. Especially the black and white. Editorially they are sick.

  4. I like it. The image of the bathroom with the white shiplap walls is so pretty in its simplicity, but I love the way many of these rooms embrace color in combination with the tiles. Colorful kitchens that aren’t Poggenpohl-colorful are such a nice departure from the white-on-grey-on-hardwood look that is so popular right now. I suppose white kitchens are timeless (and let’s face it—way better than those horrible woody 80’s kitchens) but it’s refreshing to see designs that have some personality and aren’t so cookie-cutter. White can be so vanilla sometimes. Color is fun!

  5. Love the vintage looking patterns on the floors. Especially love Amber Interiors bathroom. She’s fabulous! I really only like the accent walls – like behind a stove, but small areas. Not crazy about the full walls with tiles. Love the softer muted patterns vs bold. Those are my two cents!

  6. Post idea for you! My new house has a few bathrooms that need shower curtains (my last house had a glass panel instead, which I prefer). After looking for good options for the past month, I really can’t seem to find good options. Any advice? I know you’ll know exactly what to do!

    1. I second that request. I have had the same powder blue PB toile shower curtain for 8 years because I just can’t seem to find anything that I like better.

      1. Consider shopping for a fabric you love. There are infinitely more possibilities that way. Sewing up a shower curtain is a simple project to DIY or hire it out.

  7. It’ s a major investment for a trend. That is exactly how I think of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look! However, I remember Tuscan tiles and glass tiles and so many others in the past few years that now look passe’. Proceed with caution!

  8. Personally I find them to be beautiful when placed on a floor in the bathroom and keeping all vertical elements simple & neutral. Plus it should be an extension of the rest of the house. Not separate. Tiling walls in a kitchen to me is a BIG investment that is risky in a resell value kind of way. I’d tire of it pretty quickly and keep in mind it’s not for everyone. Editorially it looks great when doctored but in real life it might not read the same.

  9. I personally love cement tile. It has been around since the 19th century and offers a look of history and interest in many spaces. I think the trick to keeping it a timeless look is by carefully choosing a pattern. Looking back at historic patterns that have been around for years and years is a helpful way of staying away from the trendy patterns of today that often date spaces.

    1. Totally agree with you, Kat! Because this tile is so firmly rooted in history it is classic. Plus, anything artisan-made is not trendy, imho.

  10. Oh my goodness, thank you for publishing this post! I am so into this look. Saving this post now for when I start building my dream home! I LOVE the extra-special look of all the tile – it just adds that extra loved-on, lived-in personality that everyone would want for their home, am I right? Loveeeee it.

  11. I really like the look of these tiles, but then my practical side kicks in and I get concerned (like you) about their longevity style-wise. It almost seems smarter to use pattern in easily-changeable elements (like rugs, linens, even dishes) and keep the more permanent decor as classic as possible. Maybe doing a small inset of really graphic tile in a more neutral layout would work too, and then it would be easier to take it out and replace it down the line if it started looking dated. At any rate… thanks for sharing these gorgeous tile photos! I love the inspiration.

  12. I really love the look of fabulous tiles installed as shown. I’m drawn to every picture. They have such great style and character, but I’m also kind of fickle. Perhaps if the tile is timeless to the individual and they know they’d never tire of it, but I tire easily! I think the practical part of me would use it as an accent or relegate it to a small powder room floor. Then you get a taste of the look with a more classic backdrop. I wish I was that gutsy though!

  13. I for one LOVE this style. I think my dream kitchen would look like the one in the last photo. I agree that it can be timeless and not trendy because patterned tile has been used in Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, etc. for hundreds of years! My only fear is hurting the resale value of a home (because some people just expect builder-grade everything…ugh), so maybe I wouldn’t use it in a home that I’m only living in for a few years. But if I plan to stick around a long time, I would totally add tile like this to my kitchen and bathroom.

    1. Totally agree, Meg. My first thought when I saw this post was of Morocco. And def Spain! I def like it on the floors. But, case by case basis on the walls. Some I like; some I don’t.

  14. NO NO NO if you plan to sell your house anytime soon. Maybe the first one but the rest – no. Especially the floor.

  15. Yes to floors. No to walls. The exception would be a small or specialized room like a laundry room. My husband, of Spanish origin, would love to have a modernized take on Alhambra in a place like a laundry room but in small doses. We are going to have to clean up such tiling in our new home when we gut our kitchen. The previous owners matched very small tiling in kitchen work spaces to match tiling on mud room floor. It’s not horrible from a distance but it drives us nuts when we are in the kitchen. The technical execution was not great and appears to be a project that they took on themselves. We have been holding off on changing because we may roll the kitchen into a larger project (still deciding). In the mean time, we are going nuts. It wasn’t a deal breaker when we decided to buy the house because it was so obvious we were going to have to change things in the kitchen anyhow.

  16. I like the look, to me it’s very European and you find it pretty often over there. I’d limit it to a bathroom or even as a cool feature in a laundry room. I have a huge kitchen at the moment, and while I really hate my granite, it would totally overwhelm my craftsman Pacific Northwest house. If I were starting from scratch though….swoon.

  17. I am absolutely positively and completely on #teampatterened tiles. I can completely understand how some would question their staying power and wonder if they would tire of them after a week or two, BUT, as someone who’s a bit of a maximalist, I think they are such a fabulous addition to a kitchen, bath, outdoor space, stair risers, etc. In many many European, Carribean, South American, Middle Eastern, and Asian nations patterned tiles are the norm, and simple subway tiles are regarded as “questionable”. I think the idea of whether something is timeless falls on each of us individually. I think this look is definitely for someone who is grounded in their sense of style. Our kitchen has been under construction for months and my backsplash has been the one element Ive been hesitant on. Going with a classic subway tile would surely look great and be “timeless”. But, I couldnt pull the trigger because it didnt feel so for me. I am convicted in the fact that id get bored within a day. Ive really really been wanting patterned tiles and i keep going back to it so thats the way im going. I discovered Cement Tile Shop recently and love their selection and how surprisingly affordable the options are. Im so excited about it and i know 5 years from now when i walk into my kitchen it will still make my heart sing. Great post Erin. Loved all the examples.

  18. I would put in a patterned tile if it was muted. My first house had a 70s patterned tile in the entryway that still haunts me. The flooring people couldn’t even get it up. It was literally the tile that would not die.

  19. I absolutely love this look, and have been dying to use it in my house. I’ve been considering ripping out my backsplash (Home Depot-style glass mosaic tile that came with the house) and installing something like this, so it’s very interesting to hear everyone’s comments that they’d tire of it and that it would affect resale value. I’ve loved the look for years and don’t think I’d tire of it, so maybe I’ll do it anyway!

    My local tile shop just got a shipment of porcelain tiles with this sane look. Up to now, I’ve hesitated to use them because I’ve always heard that the concrete tiles are difficult to install and maintain… but porcelain is cheaper and easier, so that changes everything.

    Interestingly, my MIL is Spanish and doesn’t like this look. She thinks of it as “old,” like we think of worn out 1950s laminate!

  20. I’m with the floors-not-walls camp. I did like a few of the kitchen backsplashes, particularly when it’s in a limited area. but I do not like the whole wall of tiles at all. I think this look, if not done extremely carefully, will look dated very quickly. I keep thinking of brown 70’s-esque tiling in kitchens when looking at the kitchens with tons of pattern everywhere. But, I also seek a calming refuge at home and prefer to bring color and pattern in through more easily changed means:)

  21. Your timing is always perfect! I’m collecting snaps to possibly redo my bathroom or kitchen with some bold tile, possible a Moroccan print. I’m usually an all-white person, but absolutely love this look for a pop of color. I want to pin so many of these images!

  22. I’ve noticed patterned tile being used as well and I like it. I’ve been thinking about retiling the backsplash in my kitchen. I think when choosing it you just have to be careful what color you choose. Don’t choose a trendy color unless you really love it and think you will love it for a while. Personally I would avoid orangey/golden yellow, avocado greens, peach, pink or purple. I would choose more neutral colors like black and white, blue and white, or brown and white. I moderately skilled DYIyer can retile a backsplash. If you don’t have huge backsplash area then there is less risk using a patterned tile.

  23. Yup, timeless. This is a very old concept, and while certain patterns may make my eyes swim, my general reaction almost every time is ‘love.’ Marble is pretty–but blandly safe and a wee bit du jour. These tiles convey personality that, in my opinion, wouldn’t date.

  24. Erin,
    I really like your blog and really want to check this post out more thoroughly but can’t because of the structure of your blog. One picture will not fit on the screen because the heading is to big. Can you make your heading smaller so when I scroll I read/see more than a tiny section at a time?

    Stacy

  25. As someone who lives in a cookie cutter home I absolutely love this look. Not everyone is bold enough to take the chance on something that isn’t cut and dry like subway tile (which is also beautiful in its’ own way). If you took a chance on installing a classic but also out of the box tile like any of these in your home it would be a true reflection of you and your taste and it probably wouldn’t look like anyone else’s home.

  26. I love it on the floors, definitely! I do love it on the walls in the kitchens, but know in a couple of years (probably just months–very fickle) I’d be very, very tired of it. Yet I could get behind this just on floors, for some reason. All in all, a beautiful look.

  27. I totally agree that this look is stunning but might not be timeless! I think that is why the two bathrooms employing a patterned floor, black clawfoot tub and white subway walls are my favorites. :)

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  28. I love this look in smaller doses, like behind the hood in the kitchen. In a smaller dose, I don’t think I’d get tired of it. I also love it on the bathroom floor.

  29. I adore this post! I have been looking for a perfect cement tile for my tiny first floor powder room in my 1935 french provincial house. Can you tell me where I can find the black and white tile pictured in the black claw foot tub photo? Many thanks!

  30. I adore most of these! I never would have thought of using patterned tiles, but wow! Can you provide more detail on the green lacquered cabinet photo? I would love to see more/know more.

  31. love the idea of pattern on entry way floors and stair risers, with so many hard surfaces in these areas its hard to get a wow factor going, or if you are really brave copy Erins stair runner, real wow factor there

  32. Hi Erin, I do love this look! On the floor, it has an old world, sort of Mexican feel to it, and on the walls, it look s totally modern. I especially love it in the super-modern kitchen with dark gray/black cabinets. Amazing! Thanks for sharing,
    Holly

  33. LOVE! I just redid my kitchen (in Newton Highlands, Erin!) and used Tabarka tiles on the backspash behind the cooktop. http://tabarkastudio.com (My sister-in-law is an interior designer in Portland, Maine and she helped me find these.) They look fantastic and give so much character to kitchen, especially since we went with [painted] Ikea cabinets just so we could free up budget to spend on the accents.

    1. I have been drooling over this look for several months now. I have a few different patterns picked out for my (tiny) kitchen backsplash and just can not decide. I used subway tile when I did my bath remodel and think now how boring it is….everyone has it too.

      I am curious Danielle what Tabarka tile you used and how it was to install as it is a thick tile. I have a Paris Metro pattern that I am seriously considering.

      Julie

  34. Such beautiful cement tiles used throughout the various installations! Handmade cement tile is timeless and durable. Thanks for the inspiring design post showcasing the allure of cement tiles!

  35. Great photos of many unique cement tiles. The picture of the kitchen with tiles on the floor as well on the walls is fabulous! Thank you for sharing.

  36. Erin! It’s like you are reading my mind recently with many of your posts, particularly this one. I’ve been considering tiles like this for our powder room remodel. Thanks for the inspiration and pointers!

  37. Great on the floors, but not so much on the walls — too busy, noisy, distracting, nowhere for the eye to settle…just too much. But I don’t mind it on the bathroom floors, in a basic, easy pattern.

  38. I’m not sure if anyone has already mentioned this but Home Depot has some fabulous looking tiles that have the look of the more expensive cement tiles. They are printed (not painted) but for the price it is hard to argue with the look, especially if you are on a budget. Just search for “Merola Tile” and you’ll see them!

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