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Colour in Tiles

Ask Maria: Which Tile is Best for Multiple Rooms?

By 10/07/2012February 25th, 201812 Comments

One of my lovely readers Sian Morgan Kirk posted a question on my Facebook page about floor tile:

“I know you don’t love it, but it’s very practical and common in Florida. So I’d love to know what you recommend if you’re choosing one tile for many rooms, entry, kitchen, hallways, bathrooms.”

That is such a great question. One of the reasons I suggest installing wood floors through your kitchen, entry and powder room is because tile (just like carpet) is never neutral.


Even mostly white tile (like this image above) is not neutral. Remember my post ‘White is a Snob?‘ Well white floors fall right into that same category.

Install this colour if you are decorating your house in grays, blacks, whites and fresher colours.

If you are installing tile throughout your entire house, choose the largest tile you can find, 18″ x 18″, 12″ x 24″ or 24″ x 24″.


If your furniture and decor is earth tones, browns, beiges and creams then a tile with green beige and creams like the above tile is what I would suggest. Even less busy would be my preference.

The tile that is NOT neutral at all is pink beige tile. However, when you look at a small sample it looks warm and neutral. Do not be fooled. Choose this colour specifically because it will work with your furniture and finishings, not because you think it’s neutral.

Have a wonderful week!

Related posts:

Which Tile is Best for your Kitchen? Tile or Hardwood

How Important is the Colour of Wood vs. Wall Colour?

Which Hardwood Floor is the Most Timeless?

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones to learn how to get colour to do what you want.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.


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  • Ginger says:

    I think almost all the tile in my house is pink beige. What’s sadder? We bought it. Why? It is inexpensive and readily available. I could not find white floor tile anywhere near me. It was all special order and out of my budget. It actually does not look too bad, because it is only in the laundry and baths, and is next to hardwood, but I don’t love it.

  • Mary says:

    There are great new tiles, widely available in Florida, that look just like wood floors. Seriously, you have to put a bare foot on the tile to convince yourself it’s not wood.

  • Bonnie says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Maria!

  • Louise says:

    Now that beige tile pic is my kind of house – Wow! Unfortunately, the tile that runs throughout my foyer, kitchen and downstairs bath is also a pinky beige for the same reason as previously mentioned (readily available and wiithin my budget). I recently visited a lottery dream home and the floor was in a similar tile as the beige picture and what a difference it would have made! Wish now we’d spent the money but I don’t recall seeing this type of tile at the time either. Oh well…….

  • AnneElise says:

    Vacationed in Venice this summer, and stayed in a ground floor apartment tucked away in a courtyard not far from the Frari. The entire apartment floor was @ 24×24 old stone (tile?), creamy white and not shiny – felt like tumbled stone – and laid on the diagonal..with white plaster walls and modern fittings, all shiny white, including melamine funiture and cabinets. GORGEOUS!! and quiet…not bossy. Nice and cool on the feet in the summer heat…not sure what it would be like in the winter.

  • Sara Smith says:

    I actually love the tile in the first photo, just for me personally. It’s not at all neutral, but if I ever get my dream house, I want to install gorgeous, even more colorful, cement tiles in a few places ;)!

    But, from a design perspective, you make such a good point, Maria! Another example of choosing everything in context, like you always advise.

    I have a client for whom we recently chose the most gorgeous travertine tile. We chose a warmer, more yellow beige tone for the foyer and office in her current house and had it laid on the diagonal. For their new beach house that it is progress, we chose this stunning gray color that I haven’t seen elsewhere. We ordered it from

  • Lisa says:

    Tile is wonderful in hot climates and the beach. Here in the Pacific NW wood floors are warmer underfoot and beautiful. I do prefer heated tile in bathrooms. Thx for your post Maria!

  • SandyCGC says:

    Maria, I feel for your reader Sian. Here in Arizona just as in Florida, tile floors are also practical and common and in fact often expected. I love hardwoods (though I’ve never had them) and it seems that over the last few years hardwoods have been “developed” to withstand our harsh, dry climate here in the desert, but they are still apparently not expected in desert homes. In fact my realtors told me of a home in Sun City West where the owners installed gorgeous, very expensive hardwoods throughout the entire house except for the tiled entry foyer, but they couldn’t get a bite on their beautiful home because every potential buyer expected tile on the floors in Arizona. I think choosing flooring can be even more paralyzing then choosing the granite countertop or kitchen backsplash – just as permanent, even more so, and probablyh a whole lot more expensive. Good starting point blog for picking out your tile in the first place, Maria. Making your choice at least RELATIVELY “timeless” may be a bit trickier if and when your favorite color palette changes in 2 or 3 or 5 or even 10 years and your budget doesn’t. However, I’m totally with you on “pinky beige” not being neutral ever.

  • Beth says:

    Tile that looks like wood is an option; it even comes in wider rectangular planks or narrower pieces, like wood. i put it in a showroom; customers bend over and touch it when told it’s not wood. We also have some in our enclosed exterior entryway and guests have asked how we managed to keep our “wood” floor looking good despite dirt and weather. This tile has come a long way since it first came out. One example:

    I also loved Crossville’s matte, one-color (no variation/shading/blothces) 18×18″ tile for contemporary settings, but they’ve stopped manufacturing it.

  • Sian says:


    Thank you so much for choosing my question! I had a feeling you’d recommend white floor tile, and while it’s beautiful, it’s not something I could choose with 2 little kids. I’d be cleaning it every day because I can’t stand a dirty looking floor.

    So I’m thinking about going with a light gray instead of beige (my house is currently ruled by pink-beige tile). Would you recommend a gray tile with a green undertone like you do for the beige? I’m looking to choose the most versatile gray. I haven’t made a lot of decisions regarding decor & paint yet, so my options are pretty open.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Sian, Yes green grey is your only other option if you want to keep it as neutral as possible. Maria

  • jon anne says:

    In 1994 we put true Mexican tile in the downstairs except for 2 rooms. Recently we have changed those 2 rooms to hardwood. now the tile is in the living area, kitchen, dining room, utility room and guest bathroom. We are redoing paint colors and all in whole house, taken carpet out of upstairs, stairs and putting down hardwood. Should I worry about the downstairs area that has the Mexican tile? Thanks so much!!

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