Faux Stone Everywhere
June 18, 2012 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Wifey and I are looking for bathroom and kitchen tile, and we're frustrated by the amount of 'earth tone' colors -- yellows and browns and tans, which are generally the color of the things you want to flush away in the bathroom, if you get my drift. Where do we find bright, clean color tile these days?

We've gone to the big-box stores and talked to the helpful design department people, who have basically told us that, yes, everything is earth tone, although there's this bluish one that's only sort of brown. Going to the local professional floorcovering stores is on our to-do list, but they don't have as convenient hours as Menard's and aren't as condusive to the just-browsing stage we're in now. The best thing we've seen thus far are industrial floorcoverings with similar patterns as generic "old grocery store" 1950s asbestos tile, but it's not quite what we're looking for.

We're fans of a more retro style: bright, solid colors, particularly turquoise for the bathroom, and something akin to the white and red enameled cookware of the twenties for the kitchen. Neither of which go with the "pretend you're pooping on the patio" faux raw stone that they expect us to decorate our bathroom with these days. Does anybody still make this kind of tile today, are we looking in the wrong place, or is it possible to do custom dye batches without being prohibitively expensive, or is there a special name for the styles we're looking for that Lowe's doesn't understand?
posted by AzraelBrown to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Modwalls has some bright, interesting stuff. I ordered small glass tiles from them for a bathroom backsplash, but they have ceramic, etc.
posted by acanthous at 12:16 PM on June 18, 2012

We used Mannington tiles and were very happy with the selection they had. You could contact them and see if they carry any specialty tiles. They were very helpful with us.

Did you consider perhaps trying glass tiles and using color on the wall behind them to control the look?

Alternatively: Color Glass Tile
posted by poolsidemuse at 12:18 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

you could go custom
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:21 PM on June 18, 2012

A great site for resources is Retro Renovation. You can get white tiles at bit box stores and do colors in your accessories.

Another option is to peel everything up and stain your concrete, then polish. I also like Floor & Decor as a place, especially to browse. They all kinds of stuff.

Check around to see if there's a Builder's Surplus store about, deals abound there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:22 PM on June 18, 2012

Can you please clarify: are you looking for tiles for the floors?
posted by mareli at 12:32 PM on June 18, 2012

Response by poster: Floor and wall, both.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:34 PM on June 18, 2012

Heath Ceramics makes awesome, awesomely expensive tile.

I had the same problem. I eventually found a seafoam green tile from Daltile and a purple border from American Olean. They were both pretty inexpensive ($4-8/sq ft, IIRC). In another bathroom I used Daltile aqua blue penny tile for about $9/sq ft.

I ordered them through a specialty tile/flooring store (a big generic one) after walking through a bunch of fancy tile stores saying, "Do you have anything that looks less artisanal and handmade?"

Also, I used a 1.5x1.5 shiny ceramic tile as the floor in one bathroom and it's been totally fine, despite its not being technically floor tile.
posted by purpleclover at 12:37 PM on June 18, 2012

When my husband and i wanted to redo the bathroom in our 1930s house a few years ago, we had the same problem. There was no way we were going to put a dark travertine bathroom into a '30s bungalow, but at first glance that was all there was available in the tile stores.

We had to work a little longer looking for sources. Our tile is all white, with a colored stringer, and we ended up with a combination of Dal subway tile and baseboards from Home Depot, fancy special order hexagonal floor tile and chair rail from the local fancy tile store, and for the stringer, small glass tiles intended for a back splash or wall, purchased from a run-of-the-mill tile store.

Sounds like you need a flooring store that will work with you / special order for you. Daltile is one of the big manufacturers sold at Home Depot and Lowe's and browsing their web site, I see tons of faux stone, but I also see some good turquoise and red options under Ceramic-Natural Hues.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:44 PM on June 18, 2012

purpleclover: "Also, I used a 1.5x1.5 shiny ceramic tile as the floor in one bathroom and it's been totally fine, despite its not being technically floor tile."

Yes! I did this, too. Just because something is labelled bathroom/kitchen or wall/floor tile doesn't mean you can't think outside the box. I have light blue wall tile on the floor in my guest bathroom.
posted by misha at 12:46 PM on June 18, 2012

You might also like the terrazzo tile at Daltile - retro and colorful.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:53 PM on June 18, 2012

Squeak Attack, Be still my heart, that Terrazo is gorgeous!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:30 PM on June 18, 2012

Lowe's actually has these hand-painted (!) blue tiles. They come ten to a case. Works out to a price of $11.20/square foot.

I haven't personally used them, but Wayfair seems to have a number of positive reviews and reasonably priced tile in the bright colors you are looking for; maybe other Mefites have tried them?

Anyway, they have Cancun Blue tile, also by Solstice, priced at $9.80/sq ft.

They also have these blue Daltile tiles. Looks like Daltile is going to run you ~$14+/sq ft.

As for red and white and a bright clean look, they've got you covered there, too.
posted by misha at 1:47 PM on June 18, 2012

granada tile and fireclay tile also have some great options.
posted by logic vs love at 1:47 PM on June 18, 2012

Retro tile, you say? All about it.
posted by lakeroon at 6:32 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Be careful if you use wall tiles on floors. I lived in a place where someone had done that and the floor got so slippery when it was wet that bad falls were frequent.
posted by mareli at 11:08 AM on June 19, 2012

Just as a data point, for the love all that's holy, do NOT do white tile on the floor. Our bright, all-white bathroom floor appears clean for about 15 minutes or so, and then just looks like a dirt/hair emporium until next cleaning. Not looking dirty all the time is, I'm guessing, part of the reason that most tile designs for floors are patterned/mottled/etc.
posted by liquado at 1:30 PM on June 19, 2012

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