How to Choose the Perfect Feature Wall Tile

Designing a space is no easy task. A kitchen may just be a bunch of cabinets fitted to a room, and a bathroom may just be a room with bathroom fixtures, but it’s the design of these spaces that make them something truly magical and memorable; a space that is the envy of others. Beyond the cabinetry and fixtures, cohesive design is required to tie everything together, and this is where it becomes difficult for many.

Interior design involves designing and styling a space to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. When styling a space like a kitchen or a bathroom, the stakes are even higher. They need to not only look great but be highly functional as well. Feature tiles help such spaces adhere to this.

Feature tiles play a vital role in the design and styling of a kitchen and a bathroom. They have a way of setting the style more so than any other material and are highly functional in their application.

For a kitchen, splashback tiles and wall tiles protect the walls behind kitchen benchtops, including cooktops. For a bathroom, feature tiles are used behind the vanity to protect the walls but can also be used on other walls for visual impact alone.

Today, we take a closer look at feature tiles. I will provide you with valuable tips on how to choose the perfect feature wall time for your home, so you can create a space that others will envy.


The first thing to consider when choosing a feature wall tile is less about the tile and more about the space to which it will be installed. In order to choose the perfect feature wall tile, you need to know what design style you want to achieve.

There are heaps of design styles to consider, and there is no right or wrong choice here. It’s purely personal taste. Some of the most popular design styles of 2020 include Hamptons, contemporary, mid-century modern, coastal, Scandinavian, minimalistic, industrial, traditional, and urban.

Once you have decided on a design style, you can then base your tile choice on this style. We discuss this further in the Tile Design section of this article.

Colour Palette

The next thing to turn your attention to is the colour palette, and personally, I find this to be the most challenging part of the decision-making process.

With areas like kitchens and bathrooms, your colour choice is final. It’s not like a bedroom where you can paint over it or buy a new quilt cover. Cabinetry, wall tiles, and benchtops are intended to remain for the duration of the area’s lifespan – so, no pressure!

For this reason, many choose to play it safe by selecting white and adding colour through other means, towels, for example. Subway tiles are the perfect choice in this respect. They are white and timeless, so you won’t have to worry about the tiles going out of trend, and you can change your colour scheme by merely replacing accessories.

Opting for white feature tiles is one option; however, you won’t create a stunning space by playing it safe. If you are looking to wow with colour, then following the current colour trends is a good option. I recommend you look at Dulux Colour Forecast for 2021 for inspiration. Much research has gone behind these colours, and they have their finger on the pulse in this respect.

You can then base your tile selection on one of these trending colours to create an instant wow factor.

Tile Size & Shape

Now that you have a style and colour in mind, you can start narrowing down your selection by thinking about size. Tiles come in a plethora of sizes, and shapes for that matter.

There are large-format tiles, standard 60cmx30cm wall tiles, and then subway tiles and mosaics, which can be very small. There are square tiles, rectangular tiles, round tiles (mosaics), hexagon tiles, and more.

Now, the size and shape of tile you choose is entirely up to you; however, there are a few things to consider, such as;

  • Larger tiles make small rooms appear bigger. This can be an advantage for smaller kitchens and ensuite bathrooms; however, you don’t want the wall tile to be bigger than the floor tile. Doing so will upset the proportional balance of the space. Choose a tile relative to the space for the best finish.
  • Smaller tiles are better suited for smaller areas. Thus, for splashbacks, and especially laundry and vanity splashbacks, a smaller tile such as a subway tile or mosaic will provide better visual appeal than a large format tile.
  • Linear tiles, such as subway tiles laid horizontally, will add depth to a space, making it appear larger.
  • Smaller tiles have more grout, which means more cleaning requirements. Larger tiles have fewer grout joints and therefore offer lower maintenance requirements. If you intend to run the feature wall tile into the shower, then you also have to consider the cleaning requirements.

Tile Finish & Edging

Next, you can turn your attention to the finish and edging of the tile. Let’s look at the finish first.

Tiles come in an array of finish options.

  • Glazed Tiles: are those that have undergone an additional stage in the firing procedure, whereby a liquid glass layer is added to the tile.
  • Gloss Tiles: are sinny tiles that have a gloss finish in the glaze. They are light-reflecting and ideal for small spaces such as bathrooms.
  • Honed & Filled Tiles: are rough, usually, stone tiles, whereby the surface is filled, then ground down to provide a flat, uniform finish.
  • Honed Tiles: are those that have been ground down to provide a smooth uniform texture and flat, matte finish.
  • Matt Tiles: are tiles with a rough, slip-resistant, non-reflective surface.
  • Polished Tiles: are tiles with a highly polished surface, whereby a diamond disk grounds the surface smooth.
  • Satin Tiles: sit between polished and honed tiles. They undergo the same process as polished tiles, but use fewer polishing wheels.
  • Structured Tiles: are those that change surface textures before firing, whereby the surface changes from flat to textured.
  • Tumbled Tiles: are tiles that are buffed rather than polished to form a weathered, but smooth finish.
  • Lappato Tiles: sit between polished and matt tiles. They have a soft semi-polished finished, similar to honed tiles.

With wall tiles, the finish is less important than it is with floor tiles where you have to consider slip resistance etc. The finish really only comes into play in regards to cleaning. Tiles that don’t have a smooth surface, such as satin and matt tiles, will be more challenging to clean than those with a smooth surface.

In terms of edging, there are also various options.

  • Pressed Tiles: are also known as cushion-edged or soft-edged tiles. They have slightly rounded edges, which can differ in calibre.
  • Rectified Tiles: are those with sharp, square edges, with no calibres. They allow for minimal grout lines and are the more modern choice.

Tile Design

Now that you know what design style, tile finish and edging, colours, and tile size and shape you want, you will be left with a pool of suitable options. The only thing left to do is to select a design.

When selecting a tile design, as with other stages of the selection process, there are certain considerations to be made.

Start by going back to your chosen design style. It’s essential that your tile design matched your chosen design style.

Hamptons tile designs

Hamptons style kitchens and bathrooms have a fair bit of flexibility in terms of tile selection depending on how modern or traditional you want to go. Generally speaking, you’re best to stick to whites, and light greys, in terms of colour, and subway, or mosaic tiles, laid in a traditional or herringbone pattern.

A few suitable tiles for Hamptons design styles would be our Boundary tile, Tuscany Wood Light Grey 75mm Hexagon tile, Tuscany Wood Light Grey Short Herringbone tile, and Iran Grey Penny 20mm tile.

The same tiles would work with a Coastal design style.

Traditional tile designs

If you have chosen to go with a traditional design style, then a patterned feature wall tile would be a suitable choice as they are traditional in design.

A few viable options for traditional design styles would be our Daphne Grey tile, Esty Brown tile. Isla Navy tile, Orleans Black tile, or Susan Navy tile, just to name a few.

Mid-century modern tile designs

The mid-century modern design style mixes the old with the new, which offers lots of flexibility in terms of tile choice. The key is getting the right mix of new and old. Tile with splashes of colour, matte finishes, and retro designs are ideal.

Some of the most popular mid-century modern tile designs in our collection include our Cameron Grey tile, Luxello Black tile, and Richmond Victoria tile.

Contemporary tile designs

A contemporary design style lets you have a little fun with your tile selection. You can opt for a trending tile, such as a subway laid in a herringbone pattern, or you can go outside the box and choose a tile with a modern design pattern.

A few sound options for contemporary tile designs include our Hexia Rothko and Hexia Rapsodia tiles, Garden Green Feature Tile, and Tribal tile.

Industrial tile designs

If you’ve chosen an industrial design style, you will want your tile choice to reflect this. Opt for tiles that are aged, distressed, or grungy in appearance.

Some popular industrial tile designs at Ross’s Discount Home Centre include our Scraped Wall Tile Motley tile, Scraped Wall Tile Rust tile, and Aged Wood Natural tile.

Minimalistic tile designs

Choosing tiles to match a minimalistic design style is straightforward; the plainer, the better. Opt for large tiles with minimal pattern. Whites, beiges, and light greys all work very well.

A few choice tiles for this design style include our Charm Sabbia, Arabescato Grey, and Pianura White.

Urban tile designs

Urban tile designs are those that offer an unfinished or raw material appearance. Concrete-look tiles are an excellent example.

To acheive this design style, consider the following tiles from our feature wall tile selection: Matang Mid-Grey and Scraped Wall Tile Rust.


Choosing the perfect feature wall time takes time. It can’t be achieved rashly. Many things need to be considered.

First and foremost is the design style of the space the tiles will be featured in. Thought also needs to be given to the colour palette; will you be colouring from your tiles or through other materials? The shape and size of the tile also need to be considered; if it’s a small space, then smaller tiles are preferred; visa versa, opt for larger tiles in larger spaces. Additionally, the finish and edging of the tile is also a factor to consider; non-smooth tiles may be more challenging to clean. Finally, once everything else has been considered, you can settle on a tile design that matches your overall design style.

Follow these tips, and you will have chosen the perfect feature wall tile for your kitchen, bathroom, or other space.

If you’re still searching for the perfect feature wall tile, then be sure to look through our massive tile collection. We have hundreds of splashback tiles, subway tiles, wall tiles, feature wall tiles, and mosaic tiles, so you’re bound to find the perfect match – and at a great price!

Shop with us online or head into our Guildford showroom to view our massive tile selection today.

View Our Online Feature Tile Range

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