Italian Tile Design

Oh to be back in Italy. Known for its outstanding food, old-world vibe, and friendly citizens (sometimes so friendly because they’re robbing you blind)…and, of course, it’s impeccable style.

I began my trip in Italy, visiting some of the oldest cities in Europe: Venice and Rome. These cities are amazing…juxtaposing ancient buildings with modern life. There’s really nothing like it.

After my first three cups of gelato, I began to pay attention to the tile. What I really noticed about Italian tile in real-life, day to day use, is that mosaics are the norm. Even second-rate hotels had full floor-to-ceiling mosaic in their bathrooms. I can’t explain the number of times I saw a random stone mosaic while I was just walking down a street. And don’t get me started on what started it all: the church mosaics.

Mosaic detailing at St. Mark's

The amazing mosaic floor at St. Mark's

Now, obviously there are many Italian-inspired ways to design with tile (Italian porcelain floors, Tuscan decorative 4″x4″ tiles, etc.), but I’m choosing to focus on mosaic because it is what I saw the most of throughout my trip, by a wide margin.

If you’re renovating a kitchen, consider a mosaic backsplash.

If a complete mosaic backsplash is out of the price range, try framing in a bit of mosaic over the stovetop. Run a mosaic border around the kitchen. Use some mosaic on the floor. Get creative.

Ann Sacks "Starburst"

Working on a bathroom? Perfect…because that’s where they really like to use the tile.

You can probably guess what I’m going to recommend…that’s right, mosaic.

Once again, if it’s too expensive to do a whole wall, use mosaic for the floor instead. Or just the shower. Or just the shower wall…or floor.

Walker Zanger - Imperium "Ambient White" Border

The nice thing about mosaic is that it’s very easy to incorporate into design. The trick is this: the mosaic is always, always the centerpiece of a room.

If you keep this in mind, and design accordingly (i.e. design to complement not to fight the mosaic), you have a foolproof design.

Here are some mosaics I particularly love:

Ann Sacks "Palatino"


Ann Sacks "Audrey"

Nella Vetrina Murano Glass...made with sheets of 24k gold or platinum between the glass layers!

If it's not enough to bring the Italian style...why not just bring Italy to a wall? Sicis - Skyline Series "Venice"

If you would like help bringing some Italian flair to your home, email me at for a free design consultation!


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