Boost Your Living Room with These Must-Know Tile Selection Tips

Adding new tile to your living room floor can completely transform the look and feel of the space. But with so many options for sizes, materials, colors and patterns, picking the right tiles can be overwhelming. Follow this guide to learn insider tips for selecting the ideal tiles to modernize your living room flooring.

Carefully Consider the Room Size

One of the most important factors when shopping for new living room tile is the size of the space. Large format tiles with dimensions like 12×24 inches can make a room appear more spacious and open. The larger tiles help continue the visual flow. Smaller tile sizes like 4×4 inches have the opposite effect, making a living room feel more intimate and cozy. If your living room is on the smaller side, opt for tiny mosaic tiles to give the illusion of more square footage. For larger, airier living rooms, go big with large rectangular or hexagon-shaped tiles.

how to select tiles for living room

Large Tile for Small Rooms

A common mistake is to assume that small rooms need small tiles, but this will only make the space look even tinier. Instead, choose larger tiles to create the appearance of more room. Just steer clear of gigantic tiles that might dwarf your modest living room. Aim for sizes in the 12×24 to 16×16 inch range for the best small room effect.

Cozy Up a Large Living Room

For cavernous living rooms, dial down the expansive atmosphere with smaller tile sizes like 4×4 or 6×6 inches. Tiny mosaic tiles are another option for large living rooms where you want to cultivate a welcoming ambiance. Limit larger format tiles to selective areas, like a tile rug.

Match Tile Style to Your Decor

Living room floor tiles should complement your existing furniture and design aesthetics. For traditional decor, look for tiles with classic patterns and neutral tones. Rustic rooms deserve natural stone tiles for an earthy, organic appearance. Contemporary spaces call for sleek, geometric tiles in bold colors or textures. Keep tile shapes in mind too – squares and rectangles for modern minimalism, hexagons to add visual interest and octagons for a retro flair.

Tile Patterns and Textures

Beyond just color and shape, tile patterns and surface textures influence the overall style. For farmhouse or craftsman spaces, try distressed wood-look tiles with an aged appearance. Moroccan-inspired patterns with intricate details can lend global flair. Choose reflective, glossy tiles for a glamorous Art Deco style. Textured tiles provide traction and visual depth.

Create Contrast with Tile Layout

The way your tiles are arranged also affects the living room aesthetic. Stick to basic horizontal or vertical stacking for seamless minimalism. Diagonal layouts add movement and interest. Patterns like herringbone infuse geometric style. Distinct tile borders, insets or rugs provide contrast within the flooring.

Set Your Budget and Stick to It

From as low as $1 per square foot for vinyl tiles to $15 or more for natural stone, living room flooring spans a wide range of price points. Set a firm tile budget beforehand and make sure to account for additional supplies like grout and underlayment. Shop sales to score discounts on tile materials. You can also find great deals buying overstock or surplus tiles.

Affordable Tile Options

You don’t need to splurge on expensive tiles to give your living room floor an upgraded look. Affordable vinyl and ceramic floor tiles offer tons of colors, patterns and textures at a fraction of the cost of stone or porcelain. Look for vinyl plank floors with realistic wood or stone finishes. Porcelain tiles strike a balance between durability and price.

Find Hidden Deals

Check home improvement stores for discounted or leftover stock of premium tile. Comb sales ads and promotional coupons from tile retailers. Shop online for tile closeouts and overstocks that offer dramatic savings off original prices. Patiently hunting for bargains helps stretch your tile budget.

Choose Durable, Rugged Tile Materials

Durability should be a top concern when selecting living room tiles, since the flooring endures heavy daily foot traffic. Look for tile with a PEI rating of 3 or higher. Ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles resist scratches, stains and wear. Cushioned vinyl flooring provides comfort underfoot. Always get a few extra tiles for future repairs.

Porcelain and Ceramic Strength

Glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles are excellent choices for durability thanks to their density, hardness and water-resistance. Made from clay fired at high temperatures, porcelain tiles rate a 5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Porcelain contains micro pore-free properties to better handle moisture. Pick matte finishes to minimize visible scratches or scuffs.

Natural Stone Character

For unmatched elegance and Old World charm, natural stone tiles like marble, travertine, slate and limestone bring timeless beauty to living rooms. Check hardness levels though, as softer sedimentary stones scratch easier. Sealing the tiles protects against stains. Regular maintenance preserves the stone’s lustrous finish.

Factor in Maintenance Requirements

How much time you’re willing to spend on regular cleaning and upkeep should guide your tile selection. Low maintenance living room tiles include glazed porcelain, unglazed ceramic and vinyl. These options resist moisture, stains and grime buildup between cleanings. Avoid unglazed natural stone and terracotta tiles prone to discoloration.

Glossy vs Matte Tile

Glossy, reflective tiles showcase bold colors and patterns beautifully. But they quickly reveal scuffs, smudges and footprints. Matte or textured surfaces better disguise everyday dirt and spills. If easy maintenance is key, matte and textured tiles are your best options.

DIY Cleaning Tips

For DIY cleaning, mix mild dish soap and warm water to safely clean most tile floors. Vinegar and water removes buildup and hard water stains. Always wring mops well to prevent excess moisture seeping into tile joints. Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners that can etch, fade or scratch tiles.

Pick Colors That Set the Right Mood

Living room tiles in soft neutral, earthy and pastel shades evoke a calm, relaxed vibe. Warm beiges, taupes and tans create cozy, welcoming spaces. Cool grays, blues and greens cultivate a tranquil, airy atmosphere. Rich navy, emerald and wine-hued tiles make dramatic style statements. Bold geometric designs in glossy black, bright white and vivid colors energize contemporary rooms.

Light, Reflective Colors

For rooms starved for natural light, choose light and bright tile colors and glossy or metallic finishes to maximize light reflection. Whites, creams, pearls and silver reflect the most light to combat dark, gloomy spaces. Even bold or deep hues feel brighter in high-gloss tiles.

Moody, Dramatic Dark Colors

In living rooms flooded with natural light, deeply saturated tile colors help create an intimate, moody ambiance. Dark browns, charcoals, navies and burgundies feel enveloping and cave-like. Contrast with light furniture and accessories to keep the space visually balanced.

Compare Tile Materials Like Ceramic, Porcelain and More

Living room floor tiles come in a diverse range of materials, from natural stone to manufactured products like ceramic and porcelain. Compare pros and cons to pick the best option for your needs and budget.

Durable, Versatile Porcelain Tiles

Made from fine clay and feldspar fired at high heat, porcelain tiles are dense, durable, stain-resistant and easy to maintain. Their refined production process creates a smooth, glass-like surface. Choose porcelain for heavy traffic areas like living rooms. Pricier than ceramic but less costly than natural stone.

Classic Appeal of Natural Stone Tiles

For a timeless, elegant look, natural stone tiles crafted from marble, travertine, slate and granite exude luxury. Each stone has distinct veining, shading and fossil patterns. Softer sedimentary stones scratch and stain easier. Regular sealing is a must. Natural stone tiles come at a premium price.

Decide On DIY or Professional Installation

Installing tile flooring requires some skill and labor. For experienced DIYers, rectangular ceramic or porcelain tiles are relatively straightforward. Watch tutorials to learn proper thinset application and grouting techniques. But for intricate patterns or natural stone, it’s best to hire a professional tiler for flawless results.

DIY Tile Installation Tips

With patience and preparation, installing basic tile designs can be a doable DIY project. Clean and level the subfloor thoroughly. Apply thinset adhesive evenly across small sections. Use tile spacers for consistent grout lines. Allow tiles to set 24 hours before grouting. Seal grout and tiles after install. Renting a tile cutter saves time and money.

When to Call a Pro

For specialty tiles like natural stone, irregular shapes or intricate patterns, leave it to the experts. Professionals have the skills to cut tricky tiles and properly prep surfaces. They’ll also finish the job faster with specialized tools. If the subfloor requires extensive work or your layout is complex, hiring a tile installer removes the hassle.

Shop Smart to Get the Best Deals on Tile

Scoring savings on tile for your living room makeover takes a bit of research and comparison shopping. Search tile retailer ads and websites for coupons, closeouts and sales. Check inventory clearance sections in home stores for discounted tile stock. Shop online outlets for overstock and surplus tiles at a fraction of regular retail pricing.

Buy Tile Online or In-Store

Online tile retailers offer huge inventories of styles at low prices, but cannot see product variations in person. Brick-and-mortar tile showrooms allow you to view tiles firsthand, but stock fewer options. Comb through clearance sections and touch display samples. For the best value, look for sales both online and at local stores.

Purchase Extra Tiles

Plan to buy 5-10% more floor tiles than the room measurements recommend. Having spare tiles allows for future repairs if some crack, chip or stain. Storing extra tile prevents having to source matching tiles later. Just keep the manufacturer, style name and date of purchase.

It’s time to relax and enjoy your new living room. Keep the tiles looking like new with prompt cleaning of spills and regular sweeping/mopping. Use furniture pads under heavy pieces to prevent scratches. Protect high traffic areas with washable area rugs. Your tile living room now provides a stylish gathering space for family and friends.

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