Our Tips for Designing with Tile
06/11 Design Tips

Our Tips for Designing with Tile

All of your tile questions answered!

It may surprise you to hear that we get a lot of questions about designing with tile, but with so many options to choose from and so much to consider, it's hard to know where to start! 

Today, we're partnering with our friends at Clé tile to answer all of your tile questions as we walk you through our process in The McGee Home. Clé is known for their outstanding artisanship and passion for the craft of tile, but we’re in love with their unique, hand-formed selections they are known for. Their approach aligns with our vision and aesthetic so well, and we couldn't be more grateful to have them as an option in our selections! 

For a quick rundown on our tile process, watch our webisode below, or keep reading for even more. 

If you're in the middle of a tile project or you're looking to take one on in the future, be sure to bookmark this post for reference! 

Here are a few tips on designing a home with tile:

Start with a color palette 

Cle tile 2.jpg

When we are in the beginning stages of designing a home with tile, the first thing we do is choose our color palette. Compiling images you are drawn to on Pinterest, Instagram, or even from your favorite coffee table books is a good place to start.

Once you narrow down your favorites, start looking for consistent colors in each of them. Sometimes you'll surprise yourself with what you find, and once you lock the colors you want to use, you can start looking for tile!


When we were designing Wren's bathroom in The McGee Home, (full tour coming soon!) she let us know she wanted white and pink, so we went with a white tile with rosy pink accents. In our master bathroom, we chose all white, textured tile for a more sophisticated look.

No matter which color we choose, we love that Clé tiles have so much character, texture, and interest from their hand-formed construction.

Pay attention to the flow 

Designing a Home With Cle Tile

When we're thinking about the tile from room-to-room, we want it to feel unique in each space but also flow together.

In The McGee Home, we did the same, Zellige White Subway Tile from Clé on a section of our backsplash in our kitchen as we did in our pantry. This added continuity to the look and tied the two different spaces together.

In our shower, we chose a Clé’s Architect’s Palette Matte White Tile that reminded us of the matte brick on our exterior and in our entryway. We love that the look of imperfection carries into different areas of the home to create a flow that doesn't feel to one-note.

Diversify scale

Designing a Home With Cle Tile

When it comes to picking your scale, we have a few suggestions. Firstly, we always try to vary our scale in some way to create interest. In our guest room, we changed the scale of the tile on the walls and floor by cutting them down in the 4/4 squares and laying them down in the pattern we wanted. If the tile on the walls and floor were all the same scale and size, it wouldn't have that same thoughtful and custom look, and we love the result!

Consider your layout

Designing a Home With Cle Tile

Another way to add a thoughtful, custom look to your tile is by playing with the layout. We like to cut our tile down and see if we can make different patterns to create interest. In the girl's bathrooms, we wanted to make them different enough but also bring in similarities for a more cohesive look.

In Wren's room, we made a herringbone pattern in her tile, and in Ivy's, we created a fun mosaic pattern using Clé’s Carrara Hex Tiles.

Clé’s       Liberty Brick Tile    in Wren’s bathroom (tour coming soon!)

Clé’s Liberty Brick Tile in Wren’s bathroom (tour coming soon!)

Tip from our contractor: Make sure you plan when you're creating your tile layout. Pay attention to where the tile stops and make sure it looks clean. It can take a long time to get it right, but you can't just re-use the material, so it's important to pre-plan your layouts when it comes to custom patterns. - Tyler, Killowen Construction

Don’t forget the grout

Designing a Home With Cle Tile

There's not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to grout colors, but we have some tips to make things more simple! Going to the hardware store and buying samples in grout sticks is a great way to visualize the result. Like you would do with a paint sample, hold it up to your tile and see what feels best.

Grout is one of those things that really impact how the tile looks and how it's installed. In The McGee Home, we didn't go dark with most of our grout but chose to keep it light so that the tile stands out. However, in some of our homes, we do contrast our tile with the grout! It's easy to forget about experimenting with your grout, but it's a great way to make a home feel more custom, especially if you're already ordering custom tile.

No matter how you choose to design your home with tile, be sure to check our Clé tile's selections. Their timeless, hand-made pieces are perfect for adding character and interest to your home that makes a statement for years to come. To learn more about Clé tile's offerings, visit cletile.com today!

Show Comments
Studio McGee
  1. I just purchased the White Zellige for our kitchen backsplash. What do you use on the rough edges of the white zellige tiles….like where there isn’t a wall or cupboard it’s butting up to?

    1. You could try a schluter edge – the Hommeboys recently did their bathroom using square blue zellige and a schluter edge and it looks great!

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  3. How do you handle using a thick handmade/zellige tile on the floor? It’s so much taller than hardwoods, so how do you bridge that gap? Is there a way without an ugly wood transition strip? Thanks!!

  4. How easy is it to change the grout color? I have a black herringbone tile in a bathroom and I matched the grout to the tile. I’m now thinking I should have done a lighter color to make the pattern stand out better. Wondering if that’s easy to do.

  5. Thank you for all the tips!! How do you keep white grout on the floor clean and white? Is there a sealant or something special you mix into your grout for white floor grouting?

  6. This was so informative as are all of your posts. Thank you so much for sharing!! I just ordered the same tile you have in your kitchen and pantry. It’s gorgeous! Would you mind sharing the brand and color grout you used? I’m in love with the way yours looks!

  7. This is kind of related… question re: slabs that I would love to hear your thoughts on. Do you have recommendations on polished vs. honed in various parts of the house or based on tile that is matte/honed or polished?

  8. Hi! Any tips on care and maintenance for the marble shower floors? There is so much information out there and makes it unclear how to best seal or care for the tile. Would love some expert experience on this.

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