Whether you're planning a half bath makeover, a full-scale laundry room renovation or just designing an accent wall in your home, choosing between tiles and wallpaper often seems like a challenge! The right wall covering can transform any room, and these days there are countless options for a stunning accent to your interior - for any budget! If you’re not sure which to choose - tile or wallpaper - the answer just might be both!
To create this stunning basement bathroom, designers House of Jade combined Tile Club’s glazed ceramic La Riviera subway tiles in white with a customized checkerboard floor with two colors of marble. Check out the rest of their bathroom remodel reveal!
Tile wall coverings have so much to offer - durability, ease of maintenance, and design flexibility make them a sought-after choice for all tastes in residential spaces and commercial designs alike. On the other hand, wallpaper is no longer just for old-fashioned homes. These days, this adhesive wall covering is reinventing itself for modern design tastes with beautiful effects and newer textures like pearl and glitter, faux suede, raised inks, gels, beads, embossed silk textures, and many more. We don’t blame you if you get carried away by the myriad of design possibilities tiles and wallpapers offer and feel divided between the two.
Choosing between the two gets even more complicated when planning the design of a wet room or area that can get messy. Considering the possibility of spills in a busy kitchen, water splashes around a bathroom vanity, or the damp air in a laundry room, you might be wondering if wallpaper can actually hold up to certain environmental factors as well as tile does.
It’s a fact that tiled walls create a stunning design with a sturdy finish that is more long-lasting than a wallpaper. But because tile performs better in certain conditions doesn't mean you have to give up on your favorite wallpaper - it’s actually possible to incorporate both materials! With a few tricks, tiles and wallpaper can actually come together to play each other’s strengths and create a trendy treatment for your space to have an attractive new look!
You can pair wallpaper with your kitchen backsplash tiles, and still keep it away from all the grease and splatters! Get inspired by this airy white kitchen designed by interior stylist Ezz Wilson where pastel floral-patterned wallpaper is installed above the open shelving to punch up the visual interest of a neutral kitchen while keeping the wallpaper away from the busy working areas. Finally, pairing wallpaper with plain white subway tiles allows the lovely pattern to take the center stage!
This article will reveal the most stylish ways to use a tile and wallpaper combo you’ll love to see in your home! Before moving on to design possibilities, we have a few recommendations below to ensure you create a quality and long-lasting design.
- Always avoid wallpaper in the most splash-prone zones – Installing wallpaper next to a bathtub, sink basin, or shower, you’re just asking for trouble! Instead, opt for tiles in areas that are in direct contact with water and require frequent cleaning or scrubbing.
- Seal your wallpaper- Regardless of which wall you choose to install your wallpaper on, consider sealing porous wallpaper with polyurethane in high-moisture rooms as well as in places where walls come into contact with dirt and grime.
- Choose vinyl-coated or solid vinyl wallpaper – As the best options for rooms with heavy traffic (and children!), consider either vinyl or vinyl-coated wallpapers to avoid water damage on your wallpaper and to make the cleaning a lot easier. Check out the basic wallpaper categories before committing to a design and find out the best material that suits your environment!
To avoid wallpaper from getting wet, you should tile the most splash-prone zones up to the point where water may reach. This Protea-patterned wallpaper by Sanderson is kept clear of the backsplash area in this light neutral kitchen to avoid water damage to the paper. Kitchen prep areas can adobe in the line of fire for food and grease splatters, so choosing a backsplash surface that’s easy to wipe down - like these white bevel edge subway tiles - is a must to keep your kitchen fresh and clean!
Ready to see how you can bring tile and wallpaper together to dial up a designer style? Let’s start off with the basics of combining the two materials to give your design a balanced look.
4 Ways to Combine Tile and Wallpaper in your Home
1- Choose a Consistent Color Scheme
No matter the size or style of your space, finding the correct color combination is one of the most important steps in designing a balanced and stylish space. You can either match or contrast colors in your tile and wallpaper combo – this totally comes down to personal preference. Choosing dramatic colors both for your tile and wallpaper is one of our favorite ways to create a sense of flow and emphasize a moody yet bold look.
If you choose one specific color as the inspiration for the entire room, make sure to pick both materials in various shades of the same color to create interest. We love the way Deco Martini wallpaper by Divine Savages pairs with La Riviera Quetzal subway tile in a darker shade to create a unified and layered look for this jewel-toned vanity wall design. This Art Deco-inspired powder room brings gorgeous drama to a small bathroom thanks to the addition of brass finishes and fixtures to complement the jewel-toned green interior.
Pro Tip: While a tile and wallpaper combo in matching colors can support a monochrome room’s design, it can also become the centerpiece when combined with lighter shades around the rest of the space.
2- Choose Contrasting Colors
If you prefer to create a contrasting interior palette, you can mix and match the shades in your tile and wallpaper selections. To make this style a success, choose whether your tile or wallpaper will dominate to balance patterns with plain surfaces. Finally, make sure that there is only one strong color to avoid these two materials clashing instead of complementing each other.
With this principle in mind, CK Homestyle laid soft La Riviera Rose subway tile that pair naturally with muted green foliage wallpaper by Cole & Son where both materials shine without clashing with each other. Tiles serve both as a protection against water splashes and a spot for eyes to rest, providing a quiet background for the pop of pattern in the green botanical wallpaper!The combination is an elevated version of the jungalow style trend, with organic elements and chic colors paired together!
3- Choose a Dominating Pattern
Besides choosing one dominating color in your tile and wallpaper combination, your design should also feature one master pattern. If your wallpaper plays the lead with classic florals, modern abstracts, or a bold graphic pattern, cover the remaining parts of your walls with solid tiles to bring a sense of equilibrium to your design. Busy wallpapers would better blend with clean and simple tiles whilst simple patterns can pair nicely with patterned tile designs to balance out your decorative details.
This laundry room designed by Home with Ashley demonstrates a beautiful example of how to pair vintage-inspired wallpaper with classic tiles. This pink palm frond pattern is a fabulous pick for a tropical vacation rental, or perfect for a Florida vacation in your own home! If you’re interested in creating a similar look, get inspired by the floral wallpapers by Anthropologie and find the perfect marble subway tile that will pair your design.
4- Pick a Decorative Theme
A decorative theme is a great way to tie together individual design elements, and it helps when selecting your tiles and wallpaper to support the overall direction of your space. You can consider pairing nautical-themed wallpaper in a bathroom with blue and white sea glass tiles for an airy reminder of the sea, for example. To create a vintage-inspired kitchen, a floral-patterned wallpaper can make a powerful impact when combined with a white marble mosaic tile backsplash for a gorgeously shabby chic combination.
Palm beach style has inspired interiors all over, and pink palm frond bathroom proves La Riviera Rose pink vintage tile and palm paper can easily set the mood for this currently on-trend look! The combination of palm frond print and dreamy pink color may not have a direct correlation, but the combination immediately evokes a specific design aesthetic.
7 Stylish Interiors with Wallpaper and Tile
Now that you’re confident in pairing your tiles and wallpaper together, we’ll dive into the ways you can use this powerful combo for your next bathroom remodel project!
1- Pairing Bathroom Tile Wainscotting with Wallpaper
In a marriage of form and function, this style is among the most popular ways to incorporate both tiles and wallpaper into a bathroom. Because any potential ‘splash area’ is fully protected with tiles, there’s no need to worry about the bottom half of your walls suffering dirt or water damage. You can easily enhance the look of your bathroom using this style behind the vanity, around the tub or all around the entire space!
Instead of painting the upper half of your wall in a pink shade, get inspired by this bathroom designed by Dina Bandman that features a stylish flamingo wallpaper by Cole & Son. She decided to balance the vivacious splashes of pink with upscale Calacatta Subway Tiles on the bottom half of the wall and complete the look with a classic basketweave mosaic tile pattern to add some timeless flair.
Pro Tip: Use chair moldings or pencil tiles in your tile wainscot design as a natural dividing line between your tile and wallpaper, and achieve a layered effect. These tile trim pieces can make a dividing line feel finished and chic!
2- An Artistic Kitchen Wall
Using a patterned wallpaper on a single kitchen wall can add character, charm and individuality — as an original painting would! Featuring wallpaper on an accent wall helps you avoid the possibility of a pattern overkill while you ensure that the rest of your kitchen is protected with a tile backsplash. The key here is to add that feature wall away from the busy working areas that might be prone to water and splashes.
What's more appealing than bountiful baskets of freshly picked produce in the kitchen? This feature wall packs a playful punch with lemon-printed wallpaper to bring farm-fresh beauty to your kitchen decor. The cheery yellows bring the fun with just a hint of nostalgia and does not overwhelm the space when combined with a crisp white tile backsplash. You can also consider adding wood-look floor porcelain tiles to enhance nature’s touch while bringing an unexpected contemporary spin to space.
3- Add a Corner of Interest
Wallpapering one feature wall is a proven way to make a statement in the bathroom with an added advantage targeting a wall furthest away from water if you want. It's also a great way to style small spaces and add coziness to corners of a bathroom. Plus, the smaller the area, the less wallpaper you’ll need so you may be able to afford that high-end tile you’ve been coveting for your bathroom floor or shower!
We love the way an unexpected punch of patterned wallpaper in this small full bathroom creates a corner of interest behind the toilet area. The timeless Thassos Octagon with Azul Cielo marble mosaic tiles in a blue and white mosaic pattern also pair effortlessly with the cherry blossom patterned wallpaper to enhance the floral allure in this bathroom without stealing the show.
4- Dress up your laundry room
In addition to your kitchens and bathrooms, the laundry room is the workhorse of your home so the flooring must be strong, durable and, preferably, water-resistant. Once you’ve picked tile for your floors to guarantee your room will always be safe and in style, guess what’s next?
If you’ve selected neutral colors and solid finishes for the floor tiles, your laundry room wallpaper can become the centerpiece in your overall design scheme. Pretty and classic, this white and blue laundry room by Nashville interior designer Tori Alexander is crisp and timeless thanks to the white marble hexagon floor tiles that allows the blue and white French toile wallpaper to pop and play the lead role!
5- Beauty in the Details
Some odd spaces call for creative design solutions, and wallpaper can be a great way of turning tiny, or unconventional corners into a stunning space. Do you have an empty closet, a shallow ceiling or an oddly-shaped nook that needs a little style? Satisfy your cravings for a vibrant wallpaper on small surfaces without making a big commitment and still benefit from the advantages of a tile in the much-needed areas.
We love how The Pink House beautified the drab corners in their master bath with wallpaper to make the space more noteworthy without sacrificing waterproof white ceramic tiles in areas prone to getting wet. The gray and gold koi patterned Derwent wallpaper was a stylish and playful detail that made an unusual angle into an eye-catching focal point!
6- Create a Stylish Storage Space
It’s not just a statement wall that can really change your kitchen’s look and feel. There’s a lot you can achieve by transforming your storage units too! Consider giving your open shelving or cabinets an easy—and inexpensive! —style upgrade by adding a charming pattern that is out of the way of your cooking zone.
Use wallpaper to dress up the interior of your cabinets, pantry or shelf backs without disturbing your backsplash area in a kitchen or wet bar. Peel and stick wallpaper is a great way to redecorate as often as you need, and spice up subway tiles to make your room appear more personal! HGTV shows how bright wallpaper in measured doses can instantly generate a retro vibe inside the kitchen cabinets contrasting with white-hued cabinetry and serveware. This design by Swati Goorha adds floral patterned paper inside the lighted cabinets to add a bright and cheerful backdrop to display china and dishes.
Unlike the adhesive tile equivalent, peel and stick wallpaper should be kept well away from heat sources and not used on your backsplash or near a sink. This colorful cabinet interior is a great place to use the delicate adhesive wallpaper.
Be honest: How many of you considered wallpapering your ceiling before? As the farthest point away from splashes and spills, ceilings provide a great opportunity to add character to any room without upstaging the rest of the décor. If you have a fear of commitment to this new trend, try peel-and-stick tiles or patterns on the ceiling that will allow you to try something new each time you tire of your design!
No color combination is more beloved than blue and white in a tile and wallpaper combination. To create a Mediterranean style in a mudroom just like in this summer home in Ludington, Michigan, we can imagine our Moroccan White Star & Blue Cross Etched Marble Mosaic Tile pairing with a same tone floral wallpaper on the ceiling for a high dose of drama. In this style, we recommend considering smaller scale floor tile patterns with a larger scale pattern on the wallpaper to achieve a cozy feel and balanced look.
Whichever style you lean towards, the powerful combination of tiles and wallpaper brings a trendy treatment that upgrades your space in no time. Whether you’re looking to design an upscale vanity wall, bring an added dimension to your kitchen backsplash area or create an unexpected burst of visual drama for a laundry room, wet bar or kitchen nook, a nice combo of tiles and wallpaper can do wonders to bring more energy to the room than a single material would.
A balanced combination of two materials will help get the best of both worlds and take the room to a whole new magnificent level. If you're ready to stretch your design wings, you'll mix and match tiles and wallpaper like a pro in your next design renovation project. If you feel inspired already, let us know your favorite ideas!