Thinking of adding some pizzazz to your lackluster walls?
If so, you may be considering wallpaper. That’s right — a century after the 1920s wallpaper obsession, wallpaper is coming back into style, with options ranging from the traditional to the ultra modern. But before you roll out paper wallpaper, let us introduce you to the advantages of ceramic wallpaper.
Wallpaper vs. Ceramic Tile: Which Is Best?
When it comes to the ceramic wall tiles vs. wallpaper question, there’s not much of a competition.
When you choose wallpaper, you may have to contend with any or all of the following issues:
- Bubbles: Installing wallpaper can be a DIY project — but only if you do it correctly. One common problem is air can become trapped under the wallpaper during hanging and cause unsightly bubbles.
- Gaps between sheets: If you don’t prepare the surface or align the sheets properly, it may result in unsightly gaps between the sheets of the wallpaper.
- Lifting and peeling: Over time, the corners and edges of your wallpaper may begin to lift and peel off, requiring you to reapply an adhesive. You may see this issue more in damp or humid environments, or in ultra-dry environments, or simply due to the age of the installation.
- Staining: Stains, marks and daily dirt are inevitable in any living space. Cleaning, if possible, may affect the surface quality of some wallpaper.
- Tears: If you accidentally hit the wall when moving furniture, or your kids are a little too rough with their toys, your wallpaper is susceptible to tears.
- Fading: Wallpaper may fade over time, especially if exposed to the sun.
- Water damage: Water and paper obviously don’t mix, so using wallpaper in areas that will see humidity or water splashes may lead to water stains and discoloration or — even worse — mold can begin to grow behind your wallpaper.
Ceramic tile, on the other hand, enables you to achieve the look and even the texture of wallpaper without these concerns. For example, ceramic tile that looks like wallpaper provides the following advantages:
- Water-resistance: Tile is water-resistant, so you can use ceramic wallpaper tiles in your bathroom, kitchen and any water-prone area without worrying about damage from splashes or humidity.
- Bacteria-resistance: Ceramic tile is inhospitable to the growth of bacteria and other microbes such as mold. Additionally, options are available with antimicrobial properties that can suppress and even destroy harmful microorganisms, such as mold, fungi, bacteria and viruses.
- Stain-resistance: Stains, marks and other messes are easy to clean from ceramic wallpaper. Whether you’re cleaning up messes or just spring cleaning, wiping with water is typically all that’s required.
- Scratch-resistance: Unlike wallpaper, ceramic tile that looks like wallpaper won’t scratch (or scuff, rip, or tear).
- Fade-resistance: The colors of ceramic tile are baked into the surface of ceramic tile to make it fade-resistant. Open the curtains and let the sun in!
And did we mention that ceramic tile can create the exact look of wallpaper — in just about any design you can imagine? More on that below.
[Related: Low-Maintenance Benefits of Ceramic and Porcelain Tile]
Ceramic Wallpaper Options
Because of the large variety of sizes, shapes, designs, textures, and colors of ceramic tile, there are many options with which to create a wallpaper look.
You may be wondering: Mosaic tiles are tiny — how can they create the look of wallpaper?
Mosaic tiles can create design repetition similar to designs that you might see on wallpaper. The mosaics can incorporate different shades of the same tile shape to create a pattern repeated the full length and height of the wall.
You can use a single tile shape and color, as in the example above, or combine multiple colors and shapes to create a one-of-a-kind look.
[Related: Mosaic Tile Ideas: Your Big Guide to Little Tiles]
Ceramic Tiles With a Surface Pattern
A surface pattern repeated on tiles creates a ceramic tile wallpaper look. With ceramic tile, the pattern can be created using color, texture, and/or shape.
Choose a tile with a pattern contained on one tile’s surface or a pattern that continues and connects across multiple tiles. You can extend your wallpaper look to areas paper wouldn’t dare to go, such as the floor or areas exposed to moisture.
You can use tiles with mismatched patterns, monochromatic designs, and different shapes to achieve your preferred look. (And you wouldn’t dream of using wallpaper in a shower!)
Gauged Porcelain Tile
Gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs are extra-large porcelain tiles that come in sizes up to 10 by 15 feet. Because they are so large, they have minimal grout lines. This means that whatever pattern or design you choose is uninterrupted across a large span of space — just like with wallpaper.
Gauged porcelain tile creates the most impressive wallpaper looks to cover your entire wall or just a portion for a mural effect.
Customizable options with gauged porcelain panels/slabs allow you to create a custom “wallpaper” to decorate your space with specific images and/or branding.
[Related: Porcelain Tile: Your Complete Guide]
Ceramic Wallpaper Designs
Now that you know your options when it comes to tile that looks like wallpaper, what design will you choose? Here are some of our favorite choices.
White Ceramic Wallpaper
If you want to maintain a bright, clean and minimalist look while still incorporating an attractive design, white ceramic wallpaper may be for you.
Groovy meets glamorous in this textured white-and-gold ceramic tile wallpaper pattern.
This white ceramic wallpaper features a silver lotus design that spans across multiple tiles.
A pattern with partially faded shapes in blue and brown adds both softness and a unique feature wall to this modern bathroom.
Floral Ceramic Wallpaper
If you ask us, you can never go wrong with floral ceramic wallpaper. And your options are truly as diverse as the flowers in the world.
“Chic” is the first word that comes to mind to describe this ornate gray floral pattern — so appropriate with the white marble-look ceramic tile flooring.
Who said ceramic tile wallpaper has to cover the entire wall? The inset on this bathroom wall proves that sometimes a little goes a long way.
Less of a floral motif and more of a floor-to-ceiling painting, this gauged porcelain tile wallpaper is a piece of art.
Graphic and Geometric Ceramic Wallpaper
If florals aren’t your thing, you also have graphic and geometric patterns to choose from.
Take inspiration from Moorish and Islamic tile with a colorful and bold pattern incorporating numerous geometric shapes and intricate patterns, such as this feature wall.
This simple but effective pattern utilizes a neutral ombre and a flame motif to draw your eye upward toward the gorgeous chandelier.
This custom maze-like mosaic tile wallpaper design is a superb example of quality installation craftsmanship.
Honeycomb, anyone? Overlapping hexagon outlines in multiple colors give this gauged porcelain tile a distinctly contemporary vibe.
Rich blue and brown shades combine with diamond shapes in this wallpaper-look tile to create an embellished yet orderly design.
Opulent Ceramic Wallpaper
Some wallpaper designs have a regal touch — decorated with metallic and gemstone looks. If you want to create a majestic impression, these ceramic tile wallpaper designs are for you.
Can you think of anything more luxurious than this gold chandelier-like ceramic wallpaper motif?
Ceramic wallpaper can be grand and simple at the same time. Metallic interlocking rectangles span this marble-look ceramic tile for a contemporary, luxurious design.
Wallpaper-look ceramic tile with a silver entwining circle pattern is all this bathroom needs for a striking décor.
Funky Ceramic Wallpaper
Why not have a little fun with your wallpaper-look tile? These funky ceramic tile designs transport us back to the ’70s yet are right at home in modern décor.
This wallpaper-look feature wall gives a new meaning to coloring outside of the lines, with wavy yellow lines running up and across the black-brown ceramic tile.
Who knew tortoiseshell wasn’t just for sunglasses? This design pops by contrasting the mosaic tiles with a crisp white grout.
Flower power is at its finest with this simple black-and-white ceramic tile bathroom feature wall.
Textured Ceramic Wallpaper
In addition to design variation, ceramic wallpaper offers a variety of surface finishes, from high sheen to fabric textures and dimensional surfaces.
Linen texture adds interest and softness to this clothing retail environment without distracting from the merchandise.
The three examples above illustrate the variety of texture options available with ceramic tile. Texture can be achieved with one continuous texture or can be a shape or series of shapes with one or more textures.
Paper Your Walls With Ceramic Tile
So, have you thrown out that roll of wallpaper yet?
We certainly hope you’re well on your way to making the best design decision — and finding the best ceramic wallpaper tiles — for your home. And if you still need a little more inspiration, we have even more ceramic wallpaper ideas for you on Pinterest.