Be colour savvy when it comes to choosing the right colour tiles for your home

Have you ever been in a home where the furniture and the flooring don’t match? Or maybe the tiles were better suited to a 1970’s palette?

Colours also evolve with time and choosing the right colour for your floor is important to ensure that it not only matches the soft furnishings, but also creates a suitable backdrop from which to decorate the rest of the room.

Although elements such as furniture, décor and soft furnishings play an important role in creating a good impression, so too does the choice of tile colour says Tharien Smith, Product Designer at Johnson Tiles.

“As is the case in any setting, colour can make or break a room and it’s important to choose the correct colour tile from the outset,” says Smith.

There are a few basic guidelines home owners need to keep in mind when selecting tile colours. Firstly, it is important to consider the purpose of the room to be tiled. Every room is unique and has a different purpose and colours that work in one room might not work in another.

Another useful point is that small, dark coloured tiles tend to make a space feel small while large, lightly coloured tiles open up spaces and make them feel bigger. Light, natural hues also act as a neutral backdrop for furniture and décor and appeal to a larger segment of the market which is an important consideration when thinking about selling.

With this in mind, Smith advises opting for natural, light coloured tiles. Current light on trend colours include warm grey, cream and off-white. “Brushed cement, sandstone, porcelain and white marble are also currently very much in vogue, and if your budget doesn’t allow for natural marble and stone opt for inkjet tiles that imitate these natural products but at a fraction of the cost and considerably lower maintenance requirements,” she says.

The colour grey has been a constant feature over the past five years and concrete-looking inkjet tiles provide a durable alternative to concrete flooring. They form a neutral base colour to which bold coloured soft furnishings can be added or they can offer depth to a modern industrial look.

In terms of bathrooms, specifically small bathrooms, Smith explains that light coloured bathroom tiles are ideal as they reflect the light more than darker colours and create an airy, spacious feel. Using the same colour wall tiles as the floor tiles can enhance the feeling of spaciousness. To further bolster this effect, Smith advocates using a similar coloured grout or purchasing custom cut tiles that allow them to be laid closer together which creates a seamless look.

The kitchen is another room in which tile colour selection is important – particularly as it is effectively the heart of the home.

When deliberating over what tile colour to use in the kitchen, consider the colour of your kitchen units and surroundings. Depending on the look you are after. Colours such as cream,  beige and brown as floor colour options can contribute to creating an impression of warmth whereas colours such as blue and green against the walls, achieved through glass mosaics or wall tiles, will make the room feel cool. A red, auburn or orange palette against the walls will create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Patios are another commonly tiled area in the home. As these areas are typically used for entertaining and frequently lead to other rooms in the house such as the lounge, it’s important that the colour scheme complements the accompanying areas as well as the overall style of the property and creates a flowing feeling says Smith. 

“Again, in this setting, neutral colours work best as they can be blended with a number of décor styles and colour combinations and don’t show up dirt too much. Home owners may also want to consider carrying the same tiles through from the interior of the home through to the exterior areas. This visually binds the interior and exterior and makes them appear larger than they actually are.”

Wood look tiles are a perfect colour and design option for the kitchen and patio as they imitate the natural beauty of wood, mimic decking when placed on the patio. “Choose tiles with a textured finish for areas that may become wet, such as the patio,” she says.

As popular and practical as neutral colours are, Smith says that bright and bold colours also have their place and can be used to great effect. “If you are slightly nervous about using colour but want to make a statement, keep it simple and use colourful splash backs, accent walls, borders and insets. Crystal and glass bead inlaid tiles can also create an elegant, sophisticated look,” says Smith.

For those seeking trendy, durable and cost-effective options, why not select inkjet printed tiles? They’re neutral, natural looking, easy to maintain and come in a range of wood, concrete and stone designs. “Ultimately, just remember to think long term when selecting tile colours. You have to love it and it has to last,” she says.

Johnson Tiles inkjet tiles are available from Tile Africa and independent tile retailers nationwide, in a range of designs, sizes and finishes.

For more information on Johnson Tiles contact 011 206 9700 or visit  


DesignMind is an on-line market place for South Africans to find inspiring home building and decorating ideas and the suppliers best able to make home improvement dreams a reality.

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