Whether you are remodeling or building from scratch, tile in the bathrooms and kitchen is a good choice. While solid surface countertops still reign superior in most homeowner’s minds, the backsplash is another thing entirely. Tile and stone pieces are a great option. Stone pieces and mosaic tiles are usually mounted on a mesh backing, making installation much easier than was the decades ago fashion of placing the pieces one piece at a time.
In showers, more often than not, I am seeing tile or mosaic stone being used from floor to ceiling for a continuous look. This process eliminates peeling paint in very moist environments. It is also a cleaner look from a design aspect. Allowing tile to reach the ceiling, gives you some more options for adding a design element, such as running subway tile in a vertical pattern, or alternating colors into vertical bands to give the room a greater appearance of height. Running several contrasting horizontal bands is another design option. In small spaces use less contrast, but enough to add interest in what might be a dull and uninteresting space.
In kitchens, where you use tile as a backsplash behind a cooktop, you can create again a greater sense of height and you can highlight a fancy hood vent. If you have a sink that does not overlook a window, adding an attractive tile with open shelves will feel less closed in than having cabinets above the sink. This area can become a focal point for displaying some of your favorite decorative pieces or most-often used dishes and bowls; if they are colorful or unusual, they are not only useful, but pretty additions to the kitchen decor.
Open shelving in kitchens over a counter-to-ceiling wall of interesting tile can add special interest while allowing for storage and display options. In an eating area, where the kids sit, might be a great place to store materials that they can access easily, especially in a space-saving banquet area.
There are so many choices when it comes to wall tile. Stone, glass, porcelain, and ceramic tiles are available in smooth, metallic, clear, solid and tumbled finishes. I like to remind clients to consider the relationship between the counter and the backsplash choices, which need to be coordinated in both color and patterns. Too often, clients choose a speckled countertop that may have a lot of color contrast, which they love, but then choose an equally busy backsplash over the counters; and are not usually very happy with the finished look. It is best to choose one or the other to be the big splash of design or color contrast which is not to say you cannot have a dash of contrast in both places; but you need to use some restraint in one place or another.