Eight Ways You Never Thought To Use Tile

hexagonal tile grayscale
Whether it’s ceramic, glass, metal, or stone, tile comes in every shape, size, and style, making it one of the most ubiquitous decorative elements in design today.

Other than four walls and a roof, there’s one thing that is nearly universal in a home: tile. Whether it’s ceramic, glass, metal, or stone, this material comes in every shape, size, and style. It is one of the most ubiquitous decorative elements in design today.

While tile is most often used for flooring, kitchen backsplashes, as well as in the bathroom, there’s no need to limit tile to these spaces. Tiles can make a major design impact in nearly every room of the home. I recently spoke with several experts and interior designers to learn some of the most interesting ways to use tile.

tiled fireplace

Tilework can make a major design impact in nearly every room of the home.

Tile The Ceiling

While tile floors are very common, tile ceilings are not. “Installing tile on the ceiling can offer both visual interest and functional benefits,” according to Georgie Smith and Hilary Gibb of Livden. “Tile is easy to clean and dust, and it can help reduce noise pollution in confined spaces. In addition, it can brighten up the room and give the illusion of a higher ceiling.”

Nancy Epstein, founder and chairman of the board at Artistic Tile, recommends using tile as an alternative to paint and wallpaper, which are far less durable materials. “Never neglect the fifth wall in the bathroom. Extend tile from floor to ceiling, continuing to cover the ceiling. It’s a beautiful look, but also extends the longevity of your design.”

Tile Can Turn A Functional Pet Water Station Into A Chic Spot

While dog and cat drinking stations aren’t usually known for their stylishness, Smith and Gibbs see this space as an opportunity for tile to shine. They tell me, “One of our favorite places to add patterned tile to is a small-scale location like a dog water station accent wall. This is such an easy and budget-friendly way to add more wow factor and style to a kitchen or laundry room. It only requires a few square feet of tile.”

tiled foyer with wood floors

Try mixing mediums for a bold look in the foyer.

Create A Tile Headboard

Most people would never think to use tile on a bedroom wall, but a tiled headboard is a great way to use this bold technique without covering an entire wall. “We recently collaborated with designer and actress, Lulu Brud who was renovating a home in Joshua Tree,” explain Smith and Gibbs.“She had the innovative idea of creating a headboard out of patterned tile. Utilizing patterned tile to create a playful headboard and accent wall is an easy way for you to be creative and really make a room unique to your personality and style.”

Tile The Mantle

Fireplace mantles present a prime design opportunity. Smith and Gibbs suggest heating up your living room’s style by adding patterned tile around your fireplace. “This is another space we recommend going bold with to really make an impact. There are so many unique options when utilizing tile on your fireplace. You can run the tile all the way up to the ceiling, or simply add a few tiles around the hearth. Not only is this idea budget-friendly, but it is also a simple and quick project that can be completed in a short amount of time.”

Tile The Entryway

Want to make a great first impression? Interior designer Kevin Francis O’Gara tells me tile is a smart way to do this. “Tile is a great way to distinguish a small entryway or foyer with a pop of color or pattern, and is a functional choice for clean-ability near exterior doors,” he says. “This is a fun place to play with a border pattern or pattern with the way you lay your tile. Use a piece of coordinating marble or wood at the threshold of the space to properly separate floor materials.”

outdoor bar with stone and tile

Tile can be integrated into outdoor spaces for a polished look and feel.

Add Tile To Your Bathroom Floor In An Entirely Different Way

While using tile on a bathroom floor is a pretty standard choice, O’Gara suggests switching it up to create an inlaid “rug,” pattern or border. “The bathroom floor is a wonderful way to add architectural detail to the space and define the room,” he says. “It’s also a good way to add in an accent color without committing to the whole area.”

Use Tile Outside

Gillian Segal of Gillian Segal Design suggests laying tile in outdoor spaces. She tells me, “I love European-inspired tile layouts in outdoor spaces like gardens and courtyards. It is so impactful, while still being practical.”

You can also tile an exterior wall of a home: “Tile is such a durable, versatile, and weather-resistant material it can really be used almost anywhere. So it really can hold up to wear and moisture in most situations,” says interior designer Matt Baran. “It can be strong, functional and protective or decorative and delicate.”

Tile A Kitchen Hood

Tiles are a fantastic way to instantly elevate a kitchen hood, especially because hoods are having a moment right now. “Rather than using a traditional hood vent, you can have a custom box made to house a hood insert and then tile the hood all the way up to the ceiling,” says Melanie Hay of Melanie Hay Design Studio. “I did this in a country kitchen recently and ran a creamy matte textured tile that resembled painted brick all around the hood and backsplash up to the ceiling. The result was a gorgeous, rustic French-inspired feel, but you could also do this with a high gloss ceramic or marble tile for a more refined look.”


I am a writer, design expert, host of the podcast Bougie Adjacent, and comedic performer. I am absolutely fascinated by all aspects of décor and design. It once took me six months to choose a soap dispenser and I can’t even remember what it looked like. I like bright prints, southern exposure and any location you can call a “village or town.” There are currently over 100 episodes of House Hunters on my DVR.

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