This a wonderful and fun article from Sunset Magazine. This might help you get a little more creative in your designs.
Hand-painting adds an artistic flair to each tile that’s impossible to match via industrialized manufacturing. The slight variations in texture—and, depending on the type of tile, sometimes even color or patina—add a tactile quality to the wall. This tile’s mountain-inspired shape was turned on end to create a subtle wave-like pattern across the wall.
Get the Look: Luscious Texture
We’re in love with the versatility of this Japanese-inspired pattern from Bay Area-based Fireclay Tile. The soft, organic lines fit a modern interior just as well as they do a traditional one.
A herringbone-style installation is a surefire way to jazz up standard field tiles. This bathroom one-ups that already stylish look by scattering shades of neutral and white tiles throughout for an effect that’s almost like the tide coming in and out. Feel even bolder? A floor-to-ceiling application gets the most out of the design and protects the walls and floor around the tub.
Faux wood tile has come a long way in the last few years: The grain is more varied, the finishes more real-to-life, and the “planks” come in a variety of widths that more properly mimic a wood floor (with none of the rotting concern). This gray-washed style doesn’t steal the spotlight from the large hexagonal tiles on the wall above the bathtub, grouted in charcoal gray to draw attention to their groovy outline.
Out in the Dark
There’s that stunning herringbone pattern again, made all the more elegant by matte black tiles. Think of dark tiles as the cat-eye liner of a room—concentrate on one big flourish and keep the rest muted. Here, the ceiling-height installation makes the tub the star (though the brass fixtures are a close second).
High Gloss, High Style
Sky-high shine levels are a great way to make a neutral color sing. Field tiles (meaning, the primary tile used to cover wide expanses of a floor or ceiling, often in standard rectangle shapes and sizes) have lots to gain from luster: Gloss gives them character and texture.
Better with Age
Chalk up another win for hand-crafted tiles. These have a natural variation in color that give them a pleasing patina and, all together, add some visual movement to the backsplash. In an open-plan area, an intricate tile provides a natural focal point for the kitchen.
The hottest trend in tile right now, geometric patterns turn forgotten floors into the centerpiece of a room. We love the look in small applications like bathrooms or fireplaces, where it’s contained enough to be energizing, not overwhelming. And even though this style has skyrocketed to fame, the simplicity of the shapes gives it staying power.
Get the Look: Geometric Perfection
Geometrics draw on lots of source material: Southwestern, Moroccan, or mid-century modern. There’s no getting it wrong with this bold X pattern, especially in classic black and white.
“Charming” is the adjective often used for penny tile and while that’s apt, this wee standard has a lot more range. In a matte finish, it’s contemporary. Multicolor versions are whimsical and so much fun in a child’s bathroom. On the floor or the wall, penny tile is a classic worth experimenting with.
Tile for Miles
This red Heath tile can’t stop, won’t stop—and that’s a good thing. With four walls of upright linear field tile, walking into this windowless powder room feels like stepping inside a giant ruby. In a small space, you have license to go bold; in a large space, a high-gloss white would be heavenly.
Whether you use them sparingly as accent tile or go all out, figurative tiles and patterns with some whimsy are making a comeback. The entire Fauna collection from Los Angeles-based Vidal Design Collaborative is chock full of delightful animal figures in 100% livable colors.