The art of mosaic tiling is thousands of years old. Today, modern mosaic tiles are produced in a range of materials from ceramic to porcelain to glass. Whether used in a single color or in patterns that vary from simple to highly intricate, mosaic tiles can be used everywhere from floors to backsplashes to shower walls to outdoor areas. These smaller-scale tiles of generally 2 inches or less come pre-glued and perfectly spaced on mesh sheets that help cut some of the time and work out of installing individual tiles by hand.
“Mosaic tiles can bring so much interest to any design and up the intensity of a space, whether used as a backsplash or on the floors,” says Maureen Stevens, an interior designer who splits her time between Austin, TX and New Orleans, LA. “They can also bring a lot of texture through lively patterns that are otherwise unachievable with non-mosaic tiles.”
While mosaic tiles are relatively straightforward to work with and do not require much in the way of cutting, keep in mind that installing mosaic tile sheets nevertheless requires care, including making sure that grout is sealed and the tiles are laid out correctly.
“Mosaic tile requires good craftsmanship,” says Austin-based interior designer Erin Williamson. “If the tiles aren't straight on the sheet, grout will highlight any imperfections. Another thing to consider is grout color, since there is so much of it. Some mosaics look best with a grout that blends with the tile, while other mosaics really need contrasting grout to highlight the shape.”
Check out these 15 examples of mosaic tiles in a range of styles and used in different rooms to help inspire you to incorporate them in your own space.
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Sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman at A Beautiful Mess chose mint green porcelain mosaic tile for a Mediterranean-inspired garden tub niche in their office bathroom. Why do they have a bathtub in their office bathroom, you might ask? It’s located in a mixed-use building, so they chose to preserve and renovate the spacious bathtub corner to keep their options open should the next tenant want to use the space as a residence.
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The mosaic tile floor in this period bathroom from interior designer Maureen Stevens is a supporting player that doesn’t detract from the star of the show: a pretty stained-glass window with a delicate design. The subtle choice of mosaic tile floor is both fresh and timeless: an expanse of white to match the pristine white walls with scattered black dots to add rhythm to the space.
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The word “fresh” spelled out in pale gray mosaic tiles on the bathroom of this Upper East Side residence in New York designed by Studio DB is playful and a subtle echo of the mosaic tile station names sometimes found on the walls of the NYC subway.
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Floor to Ceiling
Austin-based interior designer Erin Williamson used mosaic tiles from floor to ceiling on the wall of this kitchen design to add color and warmth.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
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In the bathroom of a turn-of-the-20th-century home in Austin, interior designer Maureen Stevens chose vibrant cobalt blue mosaic tile as a bathtub surround that is carried from wall to floor to create a striking ode to water.
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Have a Heart
Sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman at A Beautiful Mess renovated this light-flooded upstairs bathroom with white subway tiles on the walls and a white mosaic tile floor complete with a giant black heart in the center of the room. “The heart-shaped penny tile floor was a big part of our vision for the room,” Larson writes on their blog. “It’s one of my favorite updates we’ve ever tried. Even though, yes, it’s very, veryyyyy specific I have no regrets whatsoever.”
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In this bold geometric black-and-white bathroom design by OreStudios, white penny tile with black grout cover the shower floor and niche shelf, juxtaposed with black wall tile and white grout laid out in an asymmetrical pattern for an overall graphic punch.
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Manhattan-based Studio DB created a custom mosaic pattern in the guest bathroom of a Tribeca loft “to bring in some old New York charm to the floors,” the designers write on their website. They added modern plumbing fixtures in unlacquered brass to enhance the vintage feel.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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A Permanent Welcome
This personalized mosaic tile welcome mat outside the home of a Brooklyn Heights residence designed by Manhattan-based Studio DB lets visitors know they’ve got the right house, and adds a sense of permanence and a personal touch to the front entry.
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Pale gray marble mosaic tiles create a pebbled effect in this bathroom design by OreStudios. The timeless floor tiles work beautifully with the sophisticated modern farmhouse elements like painted wood-paneled walls, a vintage-style pedestal sink, a freestanding modern garden tub, industrial-inspired lighting fixtures, and black accents. A rustic wooden bench and mid-century modern chair with walnut legs adds warmth and balance.
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This holiday house bathroom renovation from sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman at A Beautiful Mess has a classic black-and-white mosaic floor with a cheerful twist: a subtle flower mosaic pattern that is a fun and unexpected take on the original.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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In this California historic-home renovation, Austin-based interior designer Erin Williamson lined the shower with white mosaic tiles that have a subtle pattern and iridescence, providing interest and texture without overwhelming the period character of the bathroom.
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A pristine floor of white mosaic tiles adds subtle pattern to an all-white minimalist bathroom in this mid-century modern home bathroom designed by Seattle-based OreStudios.
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A shower wall lined with triangular-shaped mosaic tiles in shades of blue creates a striking pop of color in an otherwise neutral bathroom design by OreStudios.