I am fully aware that the title of this post sounds VERY high-end, but I promise, it’s more approachable than you think! Today, I’m going to take you on a quick creative journey, and prove to you that it’s worthwhile to overthink…I mean…customize your own tile pattern, too. Whether you do it with marble, ceramic, concrete, or something else, you too can create a custom tile pattern—and it’s fun, too!
You may have already seen our marble tile pattern in the mood boards for the powder bathroom and the laundry room, or in the wallpaper update post that features both of those rooms. But I am really interested in the way ideas are formed and shaped, so today I thought I’d explore the journey to our tile pattern.
The foundation of my inspiration was actually a room that doesn’t exist yet. We have plans to turn our back mudroom into a breakfast nook in a future addition, and I really found inspiration for that room (already) in this pantry by Melanie Turner interiors:
And, while this room may not yet exist, it is ideal to choose the flooring for it now, because it will connect to spaces that do currently exist—our laundry room, powder bath, pantry and a closet.
So I needed to decide on tile, with the above inspiration. Of course, I did a reverse image search and ordered a sample of that same tile, but honestly, I didn’t want to copy exactly, and I wasn’t sure I wanted a mostly black floor in each of these rooms. I did want black, but I almost wanted the inverse of the image above, and I had a bit of a marble craving going on.
Trendy Marble Checkered Tile
The natural next option (according to the inspiration around me anyway) was marble checkerboard tile. The marble checker situation is huge right now, and I’m seeing it absolutely everywhere. It makes sense, as it feels so historic and classic, and I think a lot of people are thinking it will be a timeless choice (I’m not so sure).
Of course, it’s beautiful! Here is one great example from Studio McGee:
And my favorite, from Jeremiah Brent. I love the softness of the gray and white here, just a little less stark than that black and white that makes you think of a diner. There’s no diner in sight here, we’re full on chateau:
In the end, historic and classic wasn’t exactly what I was going for—most of our house is contemporary and cool. And, while this tile could have definitely worked, I was also slightly worried that it would look *so 2021* in a few years, since I’d really seen it a lot. But the main reason I didn’t reach for this pattern is that it was missing some of the geometric quality I was really looking for.
Buffalo Check Tile Inspiration
Up next, I started seriously considering buffalo check tile—this can be a really cool look depending on the space you’re looking at. I ordered a sample of Cle checkmate tile (which seems to be discontinued), and very seriously ran the numbers on this plaid tile.
This is a really great looking mudroom with buffalo check tile:
And, since this pattern is just squares in different shades, it’s really easy to do at any scale, like this larger check:
And here is a softer example:
I was really committed to this plan for a while, and it’s how I started experimenting with customization—since, obviously, it’s easy enough to order the same size but different color tiles.
Ultimately, I thought the buffalo check felt a little too farmhouse—plus, we had just gotten plaid carpet upstairs and I didn’t know if that would feel like too much plaid.
While we could have gone with this and probably loved it, I also felt like it was missing that certain geometric quality that my initial inspiration had. In the end, what we ended up with was pretty close to this though!
Experimenting with Tile Patterns
As I mentioned, it was actually in the course of looking at buffalo check tile that I started thinking about customizing my own pattern. Initially, it was because I couldn’t find a buffalo check pattern in the scale I wanted, so I started thinking about finding equal-size tiles in a few shades. And, of course, I spiraled from there.
I started playing around with squares and rectangles in Photoshop. Eventually I took screenshots of the tiles on the Marble Online website, adding them to my Photoshop mockups to really get a sense for it.
Was this a little crazy? Maybe! But when I ultimately had the tile installed, I was thankful to be able just to print the final mockup and tape it to the wall for our contractors, just to be sure they knew the plan.
The Finished Result: Our Custom Tile Floors
The final custom tile pattern was a combination of White, Black and Grey tiles from Marble Online. I ordered enough to cover the someday-breakfast nook as well, just to be sure everything would match. The exact tiles I used were:
- Carrara White Marble 12×12 Tile Honed
- Nero Marquina Black Marble 4×12 Tile Honed
- Bardiglio Gray Marble 4×4 Tile Honed
In the end, I think it turned out really nice! I like the scale of this pattern in these smaller spaces—it’s a bit unexpected. And the strong black lines give us that geometric look I was looking for, though on the whole it isn’t too much black.
Don’t Fear the Custom Tile Pattern
Would you customize your own tile pattern? You don’t have to—there are a lot of beautiful looks out there. But if you’re interested and willing to experiment a little (I even bought black, white, and gray paper and started cutting at one point!), it can be really fun, and you might end up with something that is so perfectly you—and unique to your home.
If you want to try customizing your tile, have some fun, don’t be afraid, and let me know in the comments how it turns out!
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