Looking to add mosaic tile to your home or business? You’ve come to the right place.
We have everything you need to know about why and how to use mosaic tile, including the best places to install it and the most creative designs. But let’s start with what makes a tile a “mosaic” tile in the first place.
What Is Mosaic Tile?
You probably think of mosaic tiles as smaller-than-average tiles, but there’s a little more to them than that.
While the textbook definition does focus on the tiles’ size — specifying that they should have a facial area of less than 9 in² —mosaic tiles are equally well known for their inherent creativity: Mosaics can be any combination of tile colors, shapes, sizes, and even textures. Whatever design you choose, the tiles can be set in a particular or repeated pattern or randomly set, and can be mounted on a mesh sheet for ease of installation.
Benefits of Mosaic Tile
Mosaic tiles of ceramic or glass offer low-maintenance care and health advantages. However, you might choose mosaic tile over larger tile sizes because of:
- Added traction: Smaller sizes mean more tiles are necessary to cover your floor space, and more tiles mean more grout lines. These numerous grout lines can provide added traction to your flooring. (Note, larger ceramic tile is also available in slip-resistant options.)
- Creativity: Mosaic tile’s endless options for combining tile colors, shapes, sizes, textures, looks, and patterns lend themselves to incredibly creative designs, including custom installations and murals.
- Versatility: Mosaic tile lends both functionality and style to a great number of applications, ranging from showers to pools to backsplashes. (Keep reading to see what we mean.)
What is mosaic tile used for? It can be installed just about anywhere, but these are some of our favorite options.
Mosaic Tile Murals
Mosaic tiles’ small size and numerous color options make them the perfect choice for creating murals. Mosaic tile artisans use different shapes, colors, and textures to create custom images that are both works of art and architectural features, often incorporating a theme or telling a story with the tiles. Murals are part of many of our most treasured historic buildings and help preserve our historical heritage.
Mosaic Tile Showers
Mosaic tiles are both lovely and funcional for showers: Smaller tile sizes tend to look better in smaller spaces, and the numerous grout lines can provide added traction for shower floors.
Plus, shower walls can be a focal point of the room and make a major design impact, such as the shower above!
[Related: Choose the Best Shower Tile in 10 Steps PLUS 40 of Our Favorite Design Ideas]
Mosaic Tile Flooring
The same reasons that make mosaic tile ideal for showers (added traction and a generally smaller area to be tiled), make them sought after for bathroom flooring, as well. Larger areas, as in the bathroom above, also benefit from the creativity mosaic tiles and a larger canvas allow.
[Related: The Complete Guide to Bathroom Tile]
Mosaic Tile Backsplashes
A backsplash is the perfect place to make a design impact but, moreover, is an important addition for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and anywhere tile can be used to protect a wall from moisture and/or staining. The wide variety of design options makes mosaic tile a popular choice for backsplashes. Whether you want a backsplash that harmonizes with your cabinetry and flooring or one that steals the show, mosaic tile has a design for you.
[Related: Bathroom and Kitchen Backsplash Tile: Your Comprehensive Guide]
Mosaic Tile Feature Walls
Tiled feature walls are the new and improved alternative to painted accent walls. In short, the craftsmanship of ceramic tile shapes, colors, and designs, grout color options, and installation patterns, make each use of tile in your home a work of art. Mosaic tiles offer endless variety to choose from for your unique creation.
[Related: Introducing You to the New Neutrals]
Mosaic Tile Fireplace Surrounds
Fireplace surrounds have typically been small surface areas surrounding the fireplace. However, when you find a tile you love, you can cover the entire wall (see feature walls above). Mosaic tiles offer advantages for fireplace surrounds, large or small. Most importantly, ceramic tile is fire-resistant and will not burn, melt, or give off toxic fumes when exposed to flame. Additionally, the design options with mosaic tile allow your fireplace (typically the focal point of the room) to get the attention it deserves.
[Related: Get Cozy With These Outdoor Tile Fireplaces]
Mosaic Tile Island
When designing kitchen islands, we tend to focus on details such as the countertop, the sink, and appliances. But the faces of the island are equally as important from a design perspective, and prime areas to showcase a beautiful mosaic design. Not just beauty for beauty’s sake, mosaic tile protects your island from foot kicks and the hustle of an active kitchen or bar area.
[Related: Post-Pandemic Dream Kitchen Guide]
Mosaic Tile Pools
Mosaic tiles are a popular option for pools:
- Installed correctly, they create a waterproof barrier
- Increased traction both within and surrounding the pool
- Unique patterns or mural possibilities
- Many shimmery and iridescent styles (such as the one above) look great in pools because they reflect light
- Stain- and fade-resistance (from sun exposure or pool chemicals)
- Won’t puncture or tear (as vinyl liners can) or need the repair that cement pool surfaces require
[Related: Not Your Typical Pool Tile]
Mosaic Tile Design Ideas
Now that you have an idea of where you want to put your mosaic tile, it’s time to choose a design.
Mosaics come in just about any look you can imagine.
Retro Mosaic Tile
For an iconic look, you can’t beat black and white mosaic hexagon tile. These mosaic hexagon tiles were popularized during the hygiene movement of the Victorian period and are still a favorite today thanks to their retro (but timeless) style.
Colorful Mosaic Tile
We most often see tile mosaics in colorful designs such as the backsplash above. Choose as many colors as you want to make a creative, one-of-a-kind design.
[Related: Tile Color Psychology: How Your Tile Color Affects Your Mood]
Monochromatic Mosaic Tile
While mosaic tile gives you the creative freedom to combine numerous colors, you can also make a significant design impact by sticking with just one color and allowing the shape of the tile to create texture and visual interest.
Mosaic Tile Grid
There’s nothing square about mosaic tile grids. Choose to use just one tile color to create inspired orderliness, arrange different colors strategically to create a pattern, or incorporate different colors at random to create a more casual look, as in the bathroom above.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Mixed Geometric Tile]
Mosaic Interlocking Patterns
Mosaics that form a larger pattern are equally useful in small or larger areas. The example above was inspired by zellige tiles, which have their origin in Islamic designs. Zellige tiles are multicolored mosaics, usually featuring complex geometric patterns.
Mosaic Tile in Irregular Shapes
Mosaic tiles come in just about any shape you can imagine, from circles to fish scales. However, you can also choose an irregular shape or combine shapes to create a truly original design.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Think Outside the Box]
Penny Round Tile
We tend to think of tile as having sides and angles, but penny round tile flips that expectation on its head with tiny circular tiles. This is another mosaic tile classic hailing from the Victorian era.
Mosaic Hexagon Tile
We love hexagon tiles in all sizes, colors, and patterns, and mosaic hexagon tiles are especially fun in that they draw focused attention to the design’s playful honeycomb pattern.
[Related: Unleash the Creativity of Hexagon Tile: Hexagon Tile Uses and Design Ideas]
Just how small are mosaic tiles?
Mosaic tile sizes vary, of course, but these backsplash tiles come in on the smaller side of the spectrum — in fact, mosaic tiles don’t get much smaller than these! These small tiles are called micro mosaics and are measured in millimeters.
Tiny tiles are a great choice when you want to create a pixelated effect.
Iridescent Mosaic Tile
For a shimmery look, choose mosaic tiles with an iridescent finish, preferably in light colors, and you’ll have a design that catches both light and the eye.
Textured Mosaic Tile
Mosaic tile is available in numerous textures and even three-dimensional options, enabling you to add another level of creativity to your design.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Textured Tile]
Mosaic Subway Tile
While subway tile originally appeared in a monochromatic white design, modern interpretations of subway tile have incorporated numerous tile colors, patterns, textures, layouts — all that evokes the classic subway style.
[Related: Everything You Need to Know About Subway Tile]
Marble-Look Mosaic Tile
Those opting for a marble look often choose mosaic tiles if they want the marble color palette, but the visual interest smaller mosaic shapes can provide.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Modernized Marble]
Wood-Look Mosaic Tile
Wood-look tiles typically appear in long, thin planks, but any shape and size of tile can sport a wood look, including mosaics. Mosaic wood-look tiles are a great choice for backsplashes, showers, and bathroom floors — all areas where actual wood couldn’t be used because of the risk of water damage.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Refined Natural Wood Looks]
Chevron Mosaic Tile
You can’t go wrong with a fun, V-shaped chevron tile layout, and this backsplash shows that the design works beautifully in mosaic tile.
Enjoy the Small Things
Sometimes, the smallest things make the biggest difference. That’s certainly the case with mosaic tiles!
If you’ve decided to “go small” with mosaic tiles, we have even more inspiration for you to explore: Visit our Design Gallery and Pinterest for more examples of stunning mosaic designs.
In the meantime, keep enjoying the little things!