Not that many years ago, stone mosaic tile was out of reach for all but the most hefty-budgeted of renovations. I remember seeking a few small scraps of flair for shampoo niches only to be easily contemplating over $100 per square foot. My, how things have changed. I think the proliferation of the water laser for cutting large quantities of stone has really helped bring a new price point to mosaics, particularly stone. Two Dallas showrooms worth a look that sell direct to consumers are Floor and Décor and The Tile Shop – and we’re going to do just that.
I’m going to get into trouble almost immediately and make a broad statement. While both offer a very large selection of patterns to choose from, I’d say The Tile Store has more swirly, girly, deco-type options. Floor and Décor has more geometric designs that appeal to my boyishness. As I said, very broad statements that alert you to my bias towards boxy, straight lines being more masculine and circular lines with softer-colored materials being more feminine. Barf on me all you like in the comments. Bucking my own buckets, I personally like stronger lines but softer colors – go figure.
If you’re visiting their showrooms southwest of LBJ and I-35E, you can hit both as they’re within blocks.
Continuing out on that limb, I’d say that the examples above have two messages to deliver: First, don’t buy these types of tile unless you’re going for an ironic last-decade period re-do. Skinny stacked pencils of glass, stone or porcelain are dated (and no, having them go vertical won’t help). Travertine, beige, Mediterranean is similarly out, as is the Mondrian/Partridge Family bus look (ditto slate unless it’s a log cabin). Installing these designs today just tells visitors you’ve been binge-watching old HGTV reruns one lonely night. Second, great news! If you have these types of tile patterns in your home, it’s time to chisel them out.
Let’s begin with the more reasonable end of mosaics. Yes, there are some as low as $10 per square foot. These are often all one stone cut into different shapes for a tone-on-tone look. It’s a look that gives an interesting pattern without a shouty contrast (a safer choice). In my own home, I bought the same tiles in mildly different sizes and mixed them up. It’s subtle while still being a pinch away from boring. The other types of mosaics available in this price band tend to use less expensive materials – stone, glass, and porcelain.
Moving up to around $30 per square foot and you see slightly more visual patterning. The middle example is what I’d term more feminine because of the curved nature of the gold accents. I could definitely see using this in a powder room where a small space would be up-classed for not a ton of money.
Linear forms have multiple expressions. Upper left shows an example of larger blocks connected by thick stone lines. It’s a very classic design that riffs on early Greek and Roman designs. This type of design is available with multiple geometric main shapes – squares, hexagons, octagons, circles, etc.
The middle design is probably my favorite for a bathroom floor of this trio. It’s a mix of Calacatta marble broken by filets of gold marble. Laced together, it’s a modern take on a traditional basket weave pattern. Getting closer to a true basket weave is the right example. I could see using its hard-to-pin-down gray tones (a good thing to me) on a shower floor and matching shampoo niche – perhaps a feature wall in the shower.
I’m challenging myself with this grouping. When I first saw a sheet of the left tile, I thought it would be too floral for me. But seeing it on a wall combined with a complimentary stone subway tile, and I think it’s a great look. The crosses suit my geometric taste while the colors and floral motif softens it enough for me. The middle example is so girly, the maker put it in front of a make-up counter. The right is very deco/mod with its elongated stone “C” shapes and gold metallic fileting. I’d be afraid to use this tile unless I already had plans to replace it when I got tired of it (and the brass faucet that went with it). To me, it’s what you find three layers back when stripping wallpaper from an old house and have a laugh over.
This grouping of geometrics range from a surprisingly low $10 per square foot up to $40 per foot. Honestly, I like them all for different reasons. I think the center pattern has an M.C. Escher quality that is better in smaller doses (so don’t do a whole room in this). The outer examples I’d be happy to use on either a floor or wall, but again not too much (but more than the center).
Just because I said there were wood mosaics, here they are. While these are wall versus floor tiles, they have a dual purpose. Aside from looking quite interesting, they act as sound deadeners. Unlike traditional stone, glass, or porcelain tile that reflect sound, wood will absorb it. The “crinklier” it is, the more sound reflection it negates. From left there is a modern interpretation, a rustic reclaimed herringbone, and a wood “stacked-stone” effect.
Remember: High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with three Bronze (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards. Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make? Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.