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Does your Floor Tile Have to Match your Countertop or Surround?

By 05/22/2017December 15th, 202072 Comments

Should your floor tile coordinate with your countertop or tile surround? Avoid making THIS mistake and find out what works (and what doesn’t) when selecting tile for your next project.

Does your floor tile have to match your countertop or surround?

One of my long-time readers posted a comment recently, and it still haunts me.

Brace yourself today my lovelies, because my post today is a RANT.

Should floor tile match countertop

Here’s what happened to my reader:

 “I recently stopped at a big box store to pick up some info about kitchen countertops.

There was an older couple standing at the design table with a “kitchen designer” looking at samples for their kitchen. They had a cabinet sample that was probably from the white range but appeared to be a dingy beige which most likely had pink undertones, a very busy multi-colored brown granite, a too busy backsplash, as well as two samples of 12×24 floor tile, one somewhat mottled and busy as Maria hates (I do too), and one plain and somewhat striated.

They were trying to decide on the floor tile and the wife remarked that she liked the striated one best but she felt it didn’t match in color. She was right.

The “kitchen designer” said:

“The other pieces match; the floor tile doesn’t have to match.”

If I had any creds or maybe if I were you, Maria, I would have whacked him. The husband asked about going to the tile warehouse to see if they could find anything similar in pattern and in a more satisfactory color. To which the “kitchen designer” said,

“Well, you could, but why bother when you have the perfect tile right here.”

I couldn’t stay where I was so I stepped away out of sight and thought maybe if they walked off without making the final decision, I could speak to her. But when I walked back through a short time later, the couple were sitting in the guy’s office and it appeared as though he was writing up their order.

If so, I don’t know what they decided, but whatever, she is going to have a kitchen she hates forever because she didn’t follow these principles, trust her instinct, or have someone to guide her.”



This advice makes me so ANGRY. The fact that someone can make money at their job by giving people such bad advice is just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

Oh, and don’t miss this post: How to be Smart in a World of Dumb Designers

Yes, your floor tile must coordinate with the countertop

Your floor tile ABSOLUTELY MUST coordinate with the countertop and while we’re at it, everything else in the room as well.

When I started searching to see if there was any good advice out there specifically about this business of coordinating floor tile, the best I found was this statement in a blog post:

“Don’t be afraid to break the rules a little bit.”

Rule #1 for Selecting Tile – Stick to One Pattern

This is absolutely NOT the time to break the rules. 

The reason why most bathrooms and kitchens are a HOT MESS, is because the homeowner or designer most certainly did BREAK THE RULES.

No one needs to read a blog post for that kind of useless advice.

If you don’t believe me, just go online and start shopping for a new house. Tell me how many bathrooms and kitchens you absolutely love? Feel free to post a link in the comments, I would love to see that rare unicorn.

The rule for hard finishes in any room is you get one pattern and THAT’S IT.  After that, all other surfaces must be as close to SOLID as you can possibly find (I know sometimes it’s not easy to do this).

If you follow this rule, you will be happy with your kitchen or bathroom and not just want to MOVE OUT immediately, by the time all is said and done. Trust me.

white tile granite countertop

image via Made by Girl

It’s hard to find a tile floor that doesn’t have a LOT of pattern. And the problem with a completely solid tile in white or cream is it starts looking too modern for most kitchens. This one works (above) with the patterned granite countertop.

I am not a big fan of granite because I think I would get tired of it really fast but if I had a granite countertop in this colour, I would install the same gorgeous chandelier. It’s like they were made to be in the same room together. I love the way it so beautifully relates to the granite.

Do you have granite in your kitchen? Then, you’ll want to read my ultimate guide: How to work with Granite Countertops

does your floor tile have to match your countertop or surround

via Decor Pad

Marble-look tile floor with a solid countertop and surround. Perfect.

granite counter blue tiles

via BHG

Here we have a patterned grey countertop and the rest is solid with hits of blue. Couldn’t be prettier.

Rule #2 for Selecting Tile – How to work with more than one pattern

Refer to my advice above and stick to ONE PATTERN.

However, if you ended up selecting two PATTERNS for the same room, DO NOT install them until you find an INSPIRATION picture that you madly love with the exact same patterns.

Sometimes it works. It’s rare, and the undertones need to be identical, but it can be done. For the best results, I recommend that you stick to Rule #1 but if you find yourself here, make sure that you have found an inspiration photo on the web that you can live with.

There’s really nothing out there now that you can’t find within seconds. Take some extra time and do that. Then if you don’t love it, go back to Rule #1.

marble bathroom tiles

via Decor Pad

Notice that both the floor tile and the surround tile in this shower are basically identical. Which is why it works (just like the first image in this post). Before you go ahead and install marble that looks like this, make sure you are okay with the overall business of the pattern.

Some people find this kind of surround too busy (above).

multi tiled bathroom

I’m not even going to talk about the many ways this bathroom is just WRONG. A picture is worth a thousand words.

marble shower with textured tiles

Via Pinterest

Love the way this very small scale pattern on the shower floor relates to the black windows. This combination works well. If you want to decorate with black in your bathroom, I’ve got some light reading for you here. 😉

Notice I have not posted any photos using Encaustic Tile.  The more photos I see of badly installed kitchens and bathrooms using this tile (especially in the wrong scale because the patterns are generally too large) the more I dislike it.  So I’m not posting any photos because it’s not a tile I would specify or use in my own home. Keep in mind, you will most likely get bored of this look within 10 minutes of installing it.

Stick to wallpaper in a similar pattern if you are in love with Encaustic Tile, because wallpaper is much easier to change out later.

If you MUST use it, DO NOT break the rule of one pattern and the rest SOLID. Don’t even do a marble countertop with it. Go with a solid quartz countertop, period. The end.

The same goes for skinny horizontal backsplash tile. You won’t see it here either. That tile is even worse because I have NEVER seen an installation that I like. I mentioned it once in 2011 when I really started noticing this tile fad here and that was the last time I talked about it.

Rant over and out.

Seriously, I really do want to save you from one unnecessary renovation after another. So if you’ve already done it, disregard this advice. It’s for the person who is about to buy their tiles and is waffling on their decision.

Stick to these rules and you will love your bathroom and kitchen for a very long time.

And one last thing. Before you start posting comments like, Maria I don’t want the same kitchen as everyone else, trust me, your neighbour is NOT installing a subway tile backsplash or a subway tile surround in their bathroom.  They don’t know that is the most timeless way to love your hard finishes.

In fact, they are probably at the tile store, as we speak, overwhelmed by all the trendy tile and automatically assuming that the accent tile strip in their shower or kitchen is a very important decision they have to make.

But you know better. Because you are here.

PS. If you need help making sure your bathroom or kitchen fills you with happiness when you walk in the door, check out our eDesign services here.

Related posts:

The Best White Bathrooms

The Best Cream Bathrooms

Ask Maria: What’s Next After Subway Tile?

1554 pins


  • Venetta says:

    Yes, yes, yes.

  • carolanne says:

    great blog post ! love your rants ! the ” what not to do picture ” I see all the time, so sad… but truly people love it and do that on purpose ! The worse part of that story to me is that a salesperson cared more for their paycheck than the kitchen design… and that’s sad…

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Hi Maria,
    This morning I saw a bathroom reveal from a very popular blogger/designer who also writes for Domino. She has a very fun, elclectic vibe in her home & in her portfolio. Very pretty IMHO.
    But her latest bathroom reveal had me concerned. She did a small, white tile laid in a herringbone pattern on the floor. Then she had white subway tile on the bottom half of the walls.
    And she did white ship lap on the top half of the walls. (Don’t get me started on that trend. ?)
    Everything was the same white but it still looked “off”. It looked like a lot of pattern.
    I don’t know…maybe I’m wrong about this. But when you’re laying white tiles in different patterns it comes off as busy.
    Should the wall & floor tiles be a different scale in size also?

    • Mary-Illinois says:

      Sorry. Maybe tile sizes is for a different post/day.

      • Kim says:

        Mary-Illinois, all those different tile patterns would certainly bother me even if the same color! Just too busy.

        • Richard Casserino says:

          I believe I just made a major mistake my granite countertops have been in a year I picked out a floor tile for the whole open concept space which I love but it’s just not right with the granite so I’m going to try bring it together with rugs and furnishings. I had a hard time with the granite install and the stone company damaged the fist tops and I had to pick a replacement in a timely manner now I regret my choice. The floors are honed light beige travertine in the French pattern with chiseled edge and the granite is a light background with taupe,black,tan with a slight grayish tone to it not good against the creamyness of the travertine. The cabinets are white shaker with black hardware and white subway tile. Looks like the future will have me redo the granite if I can’t live with it. I love the floors with all the traditional furniture.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Not necessarily, it’s a case by case basis. . . sometimes it’s all the same like 12×12 nothing wrong with that! Maria

  • Judy says:

    Love this post Maria, so important!

  • Sandra B says:

    one of your best posts yet, Maria…
    should be a pubic service announcement right before the weather report!
    thank you.

  • Claire says:

    I found Maria’s blog after I had made some of my hard finish decisions while restoring my home after a serious hurricane/superstorm. I have a herringbone 12×24 porcelain tile that is patterned but reads as white to me while also having an Alaskan white granite countertop. I decided on a light gray quarter sawn oak perimeter cabs with a medium brown quartersawn oak island. None of these choices reflect Maria’s design aesthetic. My saving grace was that I picked my backsplash after I started reading her blog so I knew to install a creamy white subway tile with a herringbone bordered inlay over my range. I have simple cabinets and the floor and granite don’t seem busy to me. It is an open space so maybe that helps it out. Whenever I read her blog I am confronted with my trendy decisions that at the time seemed classic to me. It is over 4 years later and I still think it looks good. It is helpful that it is a coastal community where I think the driftwood color wood fits the surroundings. To me her very best advice is about updating something and not having it make your old stuff look dated. I followed her advice when I updated my vanity in a 20 year old bathroom. I made sure it related to what was already there in style and color and material. Her color theory with undertones is also great. Someday when I win the lottery and retire somewhere I will have her consult on my design decisions. Keep up the good work!

  • Christie says:

    The wall behind the stove …. I love to hang a trendy tray ! I’d go crazy with tile on the tray, knowing that I could remove it and change it out.

  • Levie says:

    Oh :(, if only I would have discovered your blog sooner things would be different! You need to have your own HGTV show!

  • Susie says:

    Most of my neighbors all have subway tile showers and back splashes, but we all have the same builder who knows it’s a timeless (and economical) solution! The one couple that didn’t follow the builders lead chose all very trendy surfaces – gray hardwood, reclaimed wood walls, striated floor tiles…I’m sure you get the picture.

    Too bad the designer in this story had no design sense, but I think that’s pretty common at a big box store. Sadly, a lot of people depend on these “designers” for advice when making very expensive decisions. Big box doesn’t care, because customers will be back sooner for a remodel when they tire of the hideous mess they created.

    I love that white kitchen with blue…gorgeous!

  • AK says:

    “Feel free to post a link in the comments, I would love to see that rare unicorn.”
    Goodness, this made me laugh. Good post!

  • Amy says:

    Yes! So very true. So glad you are saving the world from ugly tile installations one blog post at a time! 🙂

  • Love this post. Especially love the WHAT NOT TO DO EVER caption!

    Soooo many bad tiles and tile combinations are out there in the world…such a sad waste of money and materials!

    The last picture is beautiful…also love that pale blue and white kitchen.

  • Yup. Yup. Yup. Not only do the big box stores give bad advise on aesthetics, they give bad advice regarding safety. I recently spoke to a client who had purchased large polished marble tile for her master bath floor. POLISHED MARBLE TILE FOR A BATH FLOOR?! Are you kidding? That’s a serious accident waiting to happen. Step on the slightest moisture on that floor and you’re a goner. So upsetting. Thank you for your sharing your story.

  • Jo says:

    I do love this blog. This is spot on.. even all the way to the UK. This definitely keeps me updated with what is going on in the USA and Canada… you guys!

    I see you have an edesign service now… when will you have a live stream colour course…MARIA! Im still waiting. 🙂

  • mrsben says:

    Excellent advice Maria! Re the photo of ‘what not to do ever’ I would be curious how the owner dresses …. ☺. That said; I’m not claiming to be a fashionista but would they wear a small geometric printed skirt with a large polka dot or buffalo-check top? Hope not! -Brenda-

  • Kay says:

    Aside from the sad truth that many people care more about their paychecks than about the advice they give, I think that relatively few people, even among designers, have an eye for color and design. You can learn all the rules and principles, but if you weren’t born with that eye, you will make messes. The training you give, Maria, helps people understand what they’re seeing but cannot give them the ability to see it in the first place. If a person thinks a yellow finished hardwood floor looks just fine with pickled oak furniture (and I know someone who thinks exactly that), what hope is there for teaching them?

  • Courtney says:

    I love the advice of “you get one pattern only.” Thank you for this post!

  • Connie says:

    agree about the encaustic tiles!

  • Tracy says:

    I don’t understand how the orange-brown hardwood floor matches the icy blue kitchen. I have seen this used in Maria’s past blog posts as a “do”, but I don’t get it – at – all. I understand that this flooring is classic and warms up the space, but it also seems to break her undertone rules on the most basic level.

    • Maria Killam says:

      The floor doesn’t bother me overall. . . it could be a better colour for sure but in this context it’s like jeans. Wood floors are not a place to look for undertones unless they are a tile floor that is supposed to look like a wood floor but doesn’t, then it’s back in the mix.
      Thanks for your comment!

  • sandyc says:

    Maria, I’ve learned so very much from you on this subject that I have to laugh at myself. Hoping to get my new flooring throughout the house by the end of this year as well as get my kitchen cabinets painted white and the stuff that goes with it – new countertop and backsplash. Struggling with the backsplash because of seeming short distance between countertop and cabinets, frameless windows at corner sink and open wall space where I removed an upper cabinet to the right of the sink over the dishwasher (all in a small kitchen and all on a small budget). Looking at tons of photos for inspiration but I’ve gotten to the point that even white subway tile with white grout often looks too busy to me. Ha ha!

    This is such a good rant! The sad thing is that, although a picture speaks a thousand words, many people’s eyes don’t communicate with their brains so they don’t hear the words, and inspiration pics are not really useful unless you look at them regularly, even daily, analyze them carefully and attempt to visualize those elements in your own space. So many people don’t do that or even know how to do that. For those of us who follow your blog, Maria, post such as this with examples and analytical comments are so extremely useful. I didn’t need your comments to understand the BAD bathroom ( my every sense was immediately assaulted), but I found myself making mental notes on every other photo you used. Just wish there were some way to mass distribute this information to the general populace short of standing outside the door of the big box store and surveying for people who are going in for kitchen or bath reno help and handing them a copy. At most, one would probably only reach one person before one got arrested.

    • Mid America Mom says:

      Just a painted wall is fine in a kitchen! You can go with a smaller lip up the wall from counter right? My parents always put in beadboard that match cabs or paint

  • Lucy Haines says:

    Hi Maria,. Speaking about designers who still put the wrong colors, wrong patterns and scale together, I just toured a beautiful 100 year old home furnished by many designers at the Pasadena House of Design. For the most part it was well done! However when it came to several bathroom’s they looked like “what not to do”. So much going on made me dizzy! Not only the patterns were different but even the undertones were different. Yet people came in and raved how beautiful it all was and would love to do it in their home. If only everyone could take your course they would see things with different eyes!

  • Stephanie says:

    What about the floor matching your cabinets and backsplash? I’m looking to refresh my traditional kitchen on a budget by painting my golden oak cabinets and installing a subway tile backsplash but keeping the existing floor and countertop. The only pattern in the kitchen is the granite countertop (New Venetian Gold). My floor is a matte white tile and matches the trim color (SW Swiss Coffee). The subway tile is white matte and matches the trim too. Maria, if I paint the cabinets the same SW Swiss Coffee is that too much white in the kitchen? Would black be a better choice? I haven’t selected a wall color yet. I’ll do that once I figure out the cabinets.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Eeeek, paint the kitchen black? No, and all you have to do is look at a bunch if inspiration pics of white kitchens and you’ll see that it’s not too much at all.
      Thanks for your comment,

  • Mid America Mom says:

    Thanks for sharing this. We need to be reminded. When looking for homes/ places to live ( we have moved like 9 times in the past 14 years or so) I was relieved when i encountered wood floors or solid cream or beige. We could live with it 😉 . Thing is I dislike standing on hardwood in the kitchen so this remodel we went with wood look vinyl plank… floating and not that expensive so easy to change!

  • jeannine says:

    Amen! Last fall I was practically on my knees begging a couple not to put encaustic tile on the floor of a tiny powder room in which they already installed a cream and charcoal toile wall paper. Oh did I ever beg. The wife told me that she loved encaustic tile and that my advice was coming from a person (me!) who didn’t love it. I had to tell her that I loved everything in it’s proper place but encaustic tile next to toile was going to be a big mistake. She didn’t believe me. I told them to go home and look online at all the bathrooms they could find with encaustic tile on the floor and note what the walls look like. The funny thing is the husband understood my point the entire time and trusted me but the wife took my advice personally as if my difference of opinion was an insult. Good grief!!

  • Connie Lawson says:

    I wish I could up load a photo to this comment section! I work for a designer for whom I make custom curtains. We work well together but I do not agree for some of her hard finish choices that she suggests to her clients. The last home we went to measure and I had asked about the backsplash which was only partially done. My friend said the client didn’t like what they had first picked -4×4 multi squares -and they were finding something else. I suggested simple white subway tile since the white marble countertop was quite busy & with a leather texture. My friend laughed. So, I did my job and made the curtains. A few weeks later I received the photo of the finished product and just about cried. Busy counter top/ busy skinny horizontal tiled backsplash – and just not pleasing at all.

  • Kathi says:

    This a post to keep forever- what great advice and I hope everyone reads it-My friend recently updated her kitchen and I helped her pick out a simple non busy, granite countertop in beige (she didn’t want to paint the Hickory cabinets) I preferred the plain quartz, but hey, its not my money- I got her on board with a pretty plain beige subway tile and when I went to see it finished, she had added an accent tile, because she thought it would be too boring-yuk- she hated her accent tile, but it was too late-I always think WWMD?- you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink! The good news is, it still looked lovely and she sold her house for asking price in 1 day recently. She is building a new house at the beach, and going with my Maria inspired theme of white counters,white backsplash, white cabinets and beautiful wood floors. So thank you Maria for all of the good tips, that we can pass on to our friends that are too cheap to hire a designer, like they should be doing for the kind of money they are already spending( and wasting, by making expensive mistakes).

  • M S says:

    I have a comment to make about the kitchen with the blue subway tile and ceiling. For me, the island and wall cabinets are an example of mixing different hard surfaces in a “what never to do” way. The island countertop is different than the wall unit countertop not only in color and pattern but also in the profile of the edge. Additionally, the “hard surface” hardware is distinctly different between the island and wall cabinets, again mixing styles and designs. I think it could be a lot prettier if there were not so much mixing of materials and designs.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Haha I was so distracted by the blue in that kitchen I didn’t notice that the island was different. I agree with you that it should all be the same. Don’t love the hardware either but I wasn’t really talking about hardware, that’s another post!
      Thanks for your comment, Maria

  • Tanya says:

    Haha to your last point. Avid Pinterest and blog readers (me!!) get the impression that all their friends and family, and neighbors and acquaintances, etc. are doing white subway tile, corresponding countertops, etc. but it just isn’t the case. Some of it is dictated by home style and some just by what people bought that was built in the 80s and 90s and what they’ve stuck with. After reading your blog, I thought Tuscan was dead, but nope, people are picking it in my area! Or at least, dirtier yellow-y undertone colors, and doing treatments to make their ivory cabinets “rustic,” rustic in the Tuscan vain.

  • Phyllis E says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that this bad advice was coming from a “designer” in a big box store! I used to work in a big box store (in the tile dept., no less.) I was hoping to eventually be trained to be a kitchen designer, as I used to be an architect. This big box store (the orange one) usually promotes from within, and will send someone off to kitchen design school for a few weeks, who may or may not have a design background! In another big box store (the blue one), I once asked one of the kitchen “designers” a design question, and he told me, “I am not a designer, I am just a contractor who knows how to use a (kitchen design) computer program!”

    I think the kitchen displays in those big box stores often show the worst possible taste and combinations of tile, countertops, paint colors, etc. A few times I’ve actually thought about taking some photos and sending them to Maria to use as “don’t do this” photos! you would think that as much money as they have invested in those kitchen displays, they would hire some real talent to select the finishes, but I guess it was somebody who used to be in charge of the hardware dept. now promoted to run the kitchen and bath dept. who approved the selections!

  • Joni Webb says:

    GREAT GREAT GREAT article!!!!! love this! the simpler the better, always.
    One trend you didn’t mention that I absolutely LOATHE is VERTICAL application of horizontal tile – like running subway tile up and down instead of sideways.



  • beyondbeige says:

    Is wood flooring considered a pattern?

  • loni says:

    Hello! I need help. I am doing a patterned floor in my master bath. It’s cream, not white, gray and black design. I truely love it. The person at the tile store helped me match gray subway tile with it. White did not go in her opinion. I really want the rest of the bathroom to be white everything. Would this work?

  • Heather Sebest says:

    Dear Maria, I am remodeling my laundry room and need a little advice. The floor tile isn’t changing but we are changing everything else, the counter tops, cabinetry, sink woodwork color and wall color. My floor is a busy 24″ tile in the brown, sandstone, gray, & golden hues that I am trying to work with. I ordered the cabinets in a “Painted Silk” color, which is a creamy white. The woodwork got painted a creamy white color called “Alt White” by Benjamin Moore. I need to choose the granite counter tops and wall paint color. My husband wants to pick a granite counter top called “Exotic Tobacco”. The floor tile and the counter top look like they have the same undertone and pattern. After reading your post I wasn’t sure if you were saying that would work. I know you don’t like granite. Also, we ordered a natural birch butcher block counter top for above the washer and dryer that can be stained on another wall. Not sure what color stain. Also, we were going to order an undermount Silgranite sink either in the color “Biscuit, Biscotti, or Cinder”. My husband is rushing me on my decisions due to items needing to be ordered. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you, Heather

    • Maria Killam says:

      You have already met your pattern quota and this means you must now do a solid (Plain, no pattern) on your countertops. Anything else and it will look like every other laundry room with mismatched countertop and floor.

      Whether I ‘like’ granite or not is not important here. What is important is coordinating your colours and that is impossible to do with a patterned countertop and a patterned floor tile.

      Go to the countertop store with a sample of your tile and plunk them down one after the other until you can see there’s one that looks the best over all the others.

      There will ONLY BE ONE if you’re lucky.

      If you don’t have a sample of the tile, bring home every solid countertop that looks like it would match. This will not ACCIDENTALLY and MAGICALLY ‘work out’ if you don’t do this. It’s painful, but necessary, it will look like every other pedestrian laundry room if you do not follow these instructions.

      If you need help, you can purchase a hard finish consultation here:

      Hope that helps,

  • Keith McLellan says:

    Building new house – overall satisfied so far except 1 bathroom. Installed a porcelain tile floor that looks like marble with a brown grain for the marble. Bought the brown vanity online and it came with a marble top (with a gray grain). My gut tells me the brown grain marble looking floor clashes with the gray grain marble countertop, Please tell me this is acceptable or can be worked around cause I spent everything on the new house and we’ll have to live with what we have for a few years.

    • Maria Killam says:

      If it doesn’t work before you install it, it won’t look better once it’s installed. You will be cranky every time you walk into this bathroom. Hope this helps, Maria

  • Linda says:

    what great advice! i
    I am building a house and to the point of final decisions on the flooring, counters, etc. I think I’m follwing your rules. I agree with timeless and classic.
    One question: I found a tile that is neutral ( taupey grey with a tiny bit of movement) and works with the counter choices for various rooms (master bath, back entry & drop station, office bath, laundry room) would it be boring to use it in all these spaces??? The rest of the house will be white oak. I need to order next week! *panic*

  • michelle says:

    Maria, I have a small 1960’s bathroom that I’m gutting and remodeling. Is it too much to use marble or marble-look tile on the shower walls floor and countertop for the vanity?
    Should I just use it on the countertop and floor and use a plain tile in the shower? I’m so torn because I love the look of marble showers but I’m afraid it’s going to be too much.

    • Maria Killam says:

      If it’s all the same I think it can work well. It depends on how busy the marble is! I am not a fan of really busy looking marble surrounds, but I have seen many that are beautiful. I think you have to be there when it’s being installed (unless it really is a soft veining) Hope that helps! Maria

  • KATHY M. says:

    Thank you for such a great explanation on pattern choices. I am redoing our kitchen and you just saved me from making a not so good choice. Tile Floors are installed and I am looking for a counter and backsplash to coordinate with the floor. Based on your post, my hesitation to move forward with the ones I picked was probably due from too many patterns. I am looking at granite but now think Quartz would look so much better with a more soft and muted color. Just don’t know about resale and if Quartz would be as desirable as granite. Well back to the stores for another selection. Thanks again for your post.

  • Bonnie Grace says:

    Hello Maria

    I am re-doing one of my bathrooms and want to use wood-look tile on the floor. Can I use the same tile (not just the same look – but exact same tile) for the vanity countertops? I have an L shaped vanity that’s 7 feet long on one part of the L and 4 feet long on the other.

    I want the bathroom to have a breezy Bahama feel, with sunny ocean blue walls, white ceiling and trim, and I will probably paint the cabinets white as well. I am thinking about wood-look tiles that look weathered and have browns and blues in them.

    Is it too much for the floor tiles to also be on the countertops? Or should I go with a smaller countertop tile in a solid that compliments the floor colors?

  • Shannon says:

    I have 18″ porcelain tiles that are a travertine look. I am redoing the room but leaving the floors. I am using a white subway tile in the shower and was thinking of a pebble shower floor. I am getting white cabinets and trying to find a countertop has been a struggle. I know you say only one patter, but I found a granite, Blue Dunes, and was wondering if that would be too much? I currently have white countertops in builder grade and I am wanting to do something different. I am looking for the country/farmhouse feel. Any advice?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes the only way to make white work with travertine (which should go with cream) is to introduce a stained cabinet that ties into the floor, then you can have a white countertop and white subway tile, etc. Hope that helps, Maria

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi Maria, so i understand it….
    If my 24 x 24 kitchen tile is a grey shade with suttle movement, my counter top should match ? My cabinets are white shakers, and i was going for a white back splash ?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Well a white marble countertop in this case would work great and yes make sure the greys match. Maria

  • baybay says:

    I just bought a white vanity with a grey/white marble top. I would like install a marble floor (similar grey/white as the countertop) & subway tiles around the shower wall the ½ wall around other walls in my guest bathroom. Do I need to have a border/accent/mosaic marble tile to go horizontally across the white subway tile wall and shower wall? bring everything together? Please advise. Thank you.

  • T says:

    BORING! That’s what you like Maria…..
    not what maybe someone else likes!

    Ever hear of different strokes for different folks??

    You still need to listen to your clients and when they say they love something that you don’t like

    Remember that
    (signed I’ve been a commercial and residential designer for decades)

    • Maria Killam says:

      I agree with you completely! And, if you had seen as many mismatched bathrooms and kitchens as I have in literally thousands of home visits in the past two decades, you might feel the same way. Boring is exactly how I like it! Thanks for your comment. Maria

  • Rachel says:

    Hey! So my countertops look basically identical to the photo of the kitchen with the chandelier. Our cabinets are a cream color, and I plan on putting in subway tile. I am guessing the cream cabinets won’t look good with the white backsplash? We also pulled up the floor (4 layers), and won’t be able to use the hardwoods we found under. We are hoping to put down this whiteish/gray tile that I think will make the whole kitchen look bright and clean (with the subway tile, and maybe white cabinets). Thanks so much

  • Karen says:

    This is a great post! Very helpful. I am in the midst of choosing a counter, floor, and cabinet wood for a little powder room and devouring your whole blog at the same time. Great stuff. The very instructional “what not to do, ever” is the kind of tough love that is especially useful. Off to gawk at your other tile posts.

  • Janny Zavakos says:

    I am researching for my master bath renovation. I have chosen a classic Calcutta gold marble 18″ x 18″ floor with black corners every other one. Repeating but in different sizes for the shower walls and then same marble but hexagon on the shower floor. Walls are white wood panels with white wall above. So my question is do I repeat the same marble in a slab form for my vanity counter top? I do not want a sold black counter top

  • 예스벳88 says:

    Best view i have ever seen !

  • Jeanne says:

    Maria, I just found this posting from 2017 searching your blog. It’s so helpful. I am about to install a quartz bathroom countertop with a soft white and grey pattern, low on movement according to the sample. Can I do a marble hex floor or is that too much marble? Another option is all white hex porcelain tile, and I worry that’s too much white with white subway tile in tub shower and white vanity. Is there such a thing as too much white?Thank you for any validation you can offer

  • Sue says:

    Hello, I have a white engineered stone vanity top with flecks of sparkle and subtle non-descript colours. I need to replace the floor tiles and was originally going for a pattern ENCAUSTIC LOOK with black, off type white and grey tones. However, i think this is going to look too busy in the small space – 3 x way bathroom with the stone bench. I’m hoping you can please point me in the right direction for a complimentary tile. Many many thanks

  • Martha says:

    I love reading your comments. You are a fountain of knowledge about what to do and what not to do. It’s so much better to know what to do going in than regret when you see everything together. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  • Linda says:

    Hi Maria, I am currently in the midst of choosing cabinets and tile for our kitchen. I would love to have antique white cabinets with a gray or mocha glaze and thought that would look good with Pisa gold matte marble floors with gold veining. However, I have run into a wall as to what color counter tops. I was thinking a dark color (Quartz) for contrast, but nothing too busy. What are your thoughts??
    Thank you,

  • Morvino says:


    Hope you are well….

    I upgraded my one sink in the master bathroom to a Butcher Block with two Travertine Vessel Sinks. Please don’t laugh at the question. My daughter told me the only match I’m successful at is the match I use when I light a barbecue pit!.

    My new floor tile is an exact match to my vessel sinks. The tile is called Matte Beige from Lowe’s. And the Vessel sink is from Laguna Marble (GA031). I see the GA032 is darker.

    Is that good, or should I get a darker Vessel Sink?



  • Marge says:

    This makes a lot of sense but I’m a bit confused. I love some of the encaustic tiles for bathroom floors. I am just thinking of doing one or two with them but was thinking of a small patterned veined quartz countertop but now I’m second guessing it. You’re saying if you have a marble looking countertop, the rest of the entire surfaces should be completely solid unless you do a matching marble type floor? That will end up looking too formal. I like the kind of cracked rustic look of the encaustic tiles. But I’m glad to report I’m doing the shower and shower pan standard plain white tiles.

    On another note, now I’m wondering if I will have too little pattern in the kitchen as I’m doing a really subtle veined honed countertop and that’s basically the only pattern (matte subway tiles and a washed wood plank floor. I’m fine with simple though, I’ll put some cool pendant lights in. Thanks for any feedback.

  • Jen Erbil says:

    I would love to know yo thoughts. I am installing Calcutta gold 12×24 tiles for the floor in my bathroom and on the shower walls also. Would it look ok to have a Calcutta Borghini countertop? There will be very little movement or veining in the countertop and we will be using mostly the white parts of the stone. I am very afraid of making a mistake and keep thinking I should just pick the Taj Mahal for the countertop. I would love your advice

  • Anne-Marie Hamilton says:

    Love this article! I am planning a full bathroom reno for early next year and saw a pic on Pinterest that I fell madly in love with. The shower surround was tiled in Calacatta Gold in a chevron pattern and the entire bathroom floor was also done in Calacatta Gold but in penny hex tiles. The effect is stunning. The shapes and sizes are different which adds texture and variation but the color is obviously the same so it all ties together. I know it will be expensive but after seeing this pic I know I have to have it. I would love to hear your thoughts, Maria. Thanks! 😊

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