[Houzz Ideabook] Accent Tile Design Ideas

Contemporary bathroom

Handmade Tile:

It can be expensive – that’s the bad news. Good news is that there are so many ways to use handmade tile as an accent alongside less expensive, machine-made field tile or stone. This is a great way for handmade tile to fit into nearly every budget.

For example, take a look at this gorgeous tile combo pictured to the right by San Francisco interior designerNiche Interiors.  The red handmade ceramic border, installed low on the wall and paired with natural stone & brass details is warm, fun and completely unexpected!

Below is a Houzz Ideabook showing even more examples how  to add color & interest with accent tile.

What do you think of the following design ideas?  Leave a comment with your favorite!


Herringbone Classico Goes Retro

Since we’ve been on the subject of herringbone patterns lately with our release of Herringbone Classico and a week later, our inspired Herringbone Zig Zag, we have just one more for you:

Herringbone Classico goes retro with a 3-color random mix of #77 Café, #73 Butter and #92 Mist Crackle. The herringbone layout is paired here with a 1/2″ x 6″ border of #75 Curry and a 3″x3″ field tile in #73 Butter, placed in a vertical running bond pattern.

We were inspired to show this fun interpretation of Herringbone Classico today thanks to Spacial Adaptation posting a wonderfully kitchy retro photo from Grassrootsmodern.com:

If you want to kick up the contrast of this pattern a little, consider replacing the subtle Mist Crackle with the darker (and matte) #95 Lichen.

See this pattern and several other of our conceptual layouts on our Design Ideas page, all featuring our spectacular handmade, made to order ceramic wall tile.


The Rift

#92-Mist/#61-Sky Rift, #84 Siren Solid, #95-Lichen/#68-Twilight Rift

What is the Rift Series and how did it get its name?

The Rift series is laNeva’s signature design that brings two colors of glaze onto one tile for a contemporary-bold or tone-on-tone look. Why is “Rift”, which has usually means “division”, used when we are instead bringing two glazes together rather than pulling them apart?

Our response? There is more than one definition of the word, and we are using it as “A space, an interval”.

The Rift Series Tiles are greater than the sum of its parts. Sure each tile has two glazes, but the magic happens in the center- where the two colors overlap. That is the point of the chemical reaction between the glazes. With some color combinations, this line of delineation becomes a series of beautiful bubbles, in others, it is a third color entirely, in even other color combinations, it is a subtle overlay of one color with a shadow line below. Each combination is completely unique and each tile within that combo has a character all its own.

On a micro scale, our Rift tiles are the grand canyon, with the drama being at the center, with the mountain ranges on each side playing a slightly less dramatic, yet integral role. As such, we are focusing on the drama in center, knowing that it cannot be achieved without the colors on the sides. Thus, the Rift.


Not Another Boring Subway Tile

Subway tile. The rectangular tiles that were common at the turn of the century only to go out of style through the 1950′s-90′s (replaced by squares) are back in a BIG way. You see them everywhere. Kitchens, Bathrooms, traditional and contemporary. Wha-what? Contemporary subway tile? Absolutely.

#1 Vertical Tile/Vertical Running Bond

You’re used to seeing subway tile in the traditional running bond pattern (sometimes called a brick pattern) shown in the photo to the left. One row is laid lengthwise and the next row is offset by a half tile length to create an offset pattern that resembles a brick pattern. Most often in white, it is a classic pattern.

If you’re sick of the standard layout, or just want to consider some fresh new subway tile ideas, consider the following:

#2 Horizontal Tile/Straight Stack

What if you turn traditional running bond pattern 90 degrees right or left? You have a vertical running bond as shown in drawing #1. Traditional, yes but a little edgier and unexpected than the standard horizontal layout. The focus is the strong vertical line that this pattern creates. It is perfect for those transitional spaces or more contemporary spaces in a dramatic color or unusual size tile.

We can go even further as in drawing #2 with a straight stack of subway tile, either vertical or horizontal. This pattern has been done frequently in more commercial setting such as…subway stations! In a restaurant or home, this is a simple way to bring a bit of funk into your space.

#3 Vertical Tile/Horizontal Running Bond

Even lesser known is drawing #3, a unique subway tile layout that is also a running bond pattern. Here the tiles are vertical, while the slightly different offset layout creates a line of strong horizontal banding. This is my favorite of the subway patterns and one that is completely underutilized.

Check our design boards under Design Ideas for more examples of how to use subway tiles in a pattern. laNeva offers two sizes of the traditional “subway” shape tile- in 2″ x 4″ and 3″ x 6″- with lots of different color combinations to fit your life.

laNeva Tile can also be mesh-mounted for your order in any of these stunning patterns. It makes your life (and your installers) simpler with fewer details left to interpretation!


Weekend Creativity Challenge #4

Combinations of Color

This weekend’s creativity challenge is to think of color in various and unusual combinations. Which colors feel good together and which feel dissonant?

The basic color wheel is made up of  three primary colors, three secondary colors and six tertiary colors.  It gets better though:  If you draw a line straight across the wheel, you get complimentary colors that seem to make each other stronger and more vibrant.  Think red and green for example.

In the upper midwest of the United States (and in other geographical areas I am sure) we tend to shy away from color.  I have seen it numerous times in my Interior Design business where a homeowner will “love” color, but yet is only comfortable using vibrant colors in kids room, or when combining as an accent against a more neutral backdrop.

This weeks challenge is to consider some different combinations of color within interiors: orange/blue (complimentary), primary colors, tertiary combinations. Think outside the box and BE CREATIVE! Do you like the following photos?  Why or why not?

Photo from ecohomeresource.com

Photo by Wesley Rose for Elle Decor

Photo by Wesley Rose for Elle Decor

Photo from traditionalhome.com


Tile Designs Around Town #2

WHAT: Exterior Entryway of a 1960′s modern Apartment Building

TILE USED: 1″x 1″ glass, multi-colored and frosted.

Always on the lookout for interesting tile designs and applications, this is one found on a recent travel adventure. Tucked under a wide entry overhang, this large-scale tile design is an unexpected treat considering the building is a mere 5 units.  Using 8 total colors of glass tile  with a few small areas of surprise contrast, the wall design reminds me of a flat, simplistic version of an avant garde El Lissitzky (Russian Constructivist) painting circa the 1920′s.

That’s my BA in Art History paying off right there…

Well, I am not about to get into an in-depth comparison of the two artists, as they are very different, with incredibly different mediums, but it is a fun comparison nonetheless.  My introduction to the works of El Lissitzky came through an Interior Design Studio class and the discussion of Constructivist Architecture.

What inspires you?  What do you see in your everyday environment that strikes a chord with you? Sometimes people have a hard time recognizing what they like but can easily identify what they DON’T like. Today, you are hereby challenged to look more closely at your everyday environment and find one unexpected art object, pattern, color or complex shape that really appeals to you.

Notes: Click any of the pics for a closer look. Also, I really don’t like using wiki links, but there is some great background info.  If you know of a better source, leave a comment.


So Simple, So Mondrian

What is not to love? Piet Mondrian: A Dutch painter, part of the DeStijl movement who worked in rectilinear color blocks… and whose work is so beautifully translated into tile. Take the following Piet Mondrian painting for example:

Using laNeva tile, we could create something like this conceptual tile design:

We used Siren #84, Twilight #68, Butter#73, Steel #24 and Snow #31, all in our standard sizes of 4×4, 2×2, 1×2 and 1×6. A decent interpretation, huh?

If you want to read more about Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl movement in the Netherlands, or related artists, please see today’s amusing article in the UK Telegraph or the exhibition information for Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde at the Tate Modern in London running now through May 16, 2010.

January 2011 update: We are happy to announce that laNeva’s interpretation of Mondrian’s painting is now available using our handmade tile. Please take a look at our Lineal Collection Border  ”Composition Six”, available as a border pattern or a mesh mounted panel suitable for tiling or grouting/framing. Shown here with dark gray grout. Please contact us for pricing & purchasing  information.


White tile. White grout?

We love the crisp, clean  look of white tile but upon installation, you inevitably go through the process of choosing a grout color.

While grout choice is crucial in getting the final result you desire, white can even be more difficult. White tile with true white grout is beautifully contemporary and a gorgeous, monochromatic look, but it can be difficult to maintain while grout, even after it is sealed.  You’ll inevitably end up with a light beige, and in many cases, a spotty light beige.  Sure, you can get out your bleach and scrub, but you also have options other than white on white in the first place.

Consider a tan or creme colored grout from the start. It can look more retro, but if this is what it will end up looking like anyway, beat it to the punch! It will make the space feel warmer, too.  Here is white tile (photographed under slightly different lighting conditions) with two different grout colors:

If you really want the crisp contemporary look, go to the extreme. Choose gray, charcoal, black or even navy grout.  These colors provide a great contrast and will emphasize the grid pattern of the white tiles.  Dark grout looks GREAT with white tiles!


Tile Designs Around Town-Part 1: Outlets


A tragic outlet location

Do you ever pay attention to the tile designs you see around town or in the magazines? There is a lot to learn- both good and bad.

One of the main design details that we urge you to consider is the placement of your electrical outlets and switches. You’re investing in gorgeous handmade tile, only to have a poorly placed outlet spoil the whole look.

Not only does that outlet impact the tile design, it also is unsightly with its plain plastic cover.

May we suggest alternatives:

A plug strip that is mounted underneath the upper cabinets (often called plug-mould). This is great if you only need to plug things in occasionally. If it is an item that remains plugged in for a long time, a constantly exposed cord may be as ugly as an outlet itself.

A pop-up plug. This is perfect for work spaces and even certain areas in a kitchen. It is barely noticeable when not in use.

Strategically placed plugs. Plan where your small appliances will be and plan the outlets accordingly. If you don’t know for sure, p the outlets at the perimeter of the space. That will allow a gorgeous tile design and still plenty of space for your small appliances.

We try to use a combination of the tricks above, but sometimes, that unsightly plug can’t be avoided. That’s why we have switchplates and outlet covers available to match all of our glaze colors. You can also design your own outlet or switch cover with more than one color. Yes, we really have thought of everything!