Step up your interior style with these renovation ideas.
A slab of this ancient stone always looks refined, but smaller blocks reveal its livelier side. We chose slim rectangular tiles for our fireplace surround; the format breaks up the rich taupe veining into a less-expected pattern. (And since they come as 12-inch-square mesh sheets, installing them is straightforward: Simply measure your space, cut the sheets to fit, and adhere them -- there’s no need to align, aka book-match, individual tiles.) The white Carrara hearth, dark firebox, and warm gray mantel bring out the surround’s earthy flecks.
This Venetian material has a party going on under its surface: confetti-like chips of marble, glass, granite, or quartz embedded in cement. Sealed terrazzo is practically impossible to damage, since it won’t stain, chip, or scuff; also, machine polishing can give even a decades-old surface brand-new luster. Factor in all the potential base and chip combinations, and you’ve got hundreds of happy ways to customize a floor.
Color-Block Your Counter
Soft stripes reminiscent of Neapolitan ice cream sweeten an all-white kitchen. Plus, they protect the front of this counter from kicking feet. We picked smaller-scale halfpenny porcelain tiles over standard-size ones to add more texture. (Their 12-inch square format makes getting even rows a no- brainer.) To emphasize the tonal colors, we used grouts in matching shades.
Like the public-transit system it’s named after, this utilitarian ceramic surface has mass appeal. We love how the neat rows of white rectangles lend a Victorian sensibility to this bathroom; when they’re paired with a classic marble countertop and brass finishes, the effect is clean but elegant.
These rectangles can go in lots of different directions. Here are six creative ways to work them.
Subtle variations in color and shine make this medium ideal for creating mod monochromatic installations. And though a glass surface may sound delicate, it’s quite sturdy: Small-scale tiles are less likely to break than a solid sheet.
The vibrant hues of cement tiles make them highly covetable. Don’t just take our word for it -- see the hundreds of thousands of Instagrammers who follow @ihavethisthingwithfloors. Each is hand-poured into molds, not painted, so a turquoise like this won’t chip or fade, and fewer grout joints mean there’s nothing to interrupt the bold patterns. (Speaking of joints, preseal these tiles before you grout, to avoid stains.) Indoors, they help your home stay both warm and cool. Outdoors, their smooth finish feels like silk on bare feet.