retro tile pattern

If there’s one piece of advice that’s true for fashion and interior design, it’s that if you hold onto something long enough, it’s probably going to come back in style! We’ve seen it every time a specific decade of fashion is hip again, and we’ve certainly seen mid-century modern tile colors and design thrive once more. Whether you call these timeless tile styles retro, classic, or vintage, you can achieve a blast-from-the-past design that will infuse your home with performance and flair:

Chic Shades – If you are committing to a retro tile design, make sure to indulge in your favorite shade from a cherished memory or place! Classic black or white tiles are still hip, either as a solid color or especially black-and-white patterned tile. You can go with a single hue – remember the pastel pink tile bathrooms of the 1950s – or bring in one or two contrasting colors. For example, try two-tone ombre green tile contrasted with black tiles as a liner tile or trim.

Delightful Designs – Half the fun of decorating with tile is creating patterns and unique layouts, especially when you have the bonus of playing with color. Striking 3-D patterns created by multiple tile colors add exquisite detail to the room’s walls, trim, and features. Keep the size of your space in mind – the design should remain simple if you’re using tile on the bathroom wall, for example. A checkboard tile design will look familiar and eye-catching for your floor, all while providing durability and moisture resistance.

retro wall tile
(Image Credit: House Beautiful)

Prized Tile Size – Even with retro styles, it’s always wise to keep the scale of your room in mind when selecting your tile. Smaller spaces don’t necessarily require tiny tile, but large rooms often lend themselves to large format tiles. A popular look includes neutral large format tiles for the floor with mid-sized subway tiles as a backsplash or wall in either a kitchen or bathroom. Also, large format tiles look outstanding for walls!  Here’s a handy guide to give you an idea of generally recommended tile sizes:

  • Small shower floor – 1-inch square
  • Small shower walls – 1-inch square to 4-inch square
  • Mid-sized or large shower walls – 4-inch to 15-inch by 30-inch
  • Bathroom floor 1-inch square to 12-inch square, or up to large-format
  • Bathroom walls 4-inch square up to 12-inch by 24-inch

Finish It Off – The finish of your favorite tile selections is the icing on the cake and can completely transform the way a finished tile installation looks. You can achieve a modern feel with a retro design simply by choosing the finish of your preference! Tile with a glossy finish is smooth and shiny, while a matte finish is flat, muted, and won’t reflect light. A tumbled finish gives stone tiles a rough surface with rounded edges. Consider the amount and type of light a room receives, as well as your other furnishings and fixtures when deciding on the winning tile finish.

If you have a retro-inspired tile design in mind but you’re not sure how to get started, contact us online or give one of our experts a call at your nearby Dolphin Carpet & Tile retail location. We’re always here to help!