The simple placement of an accent tile can add the interest and impact to any floor, especially key areas. To me, these areas include the foyer, entertainment areas and bathrooms. Each room needs to have a presence and the use of accent tile helps to create that presence, but it should still be simple and subtle. I believe in using accent tile as you would salt and pepper - at the right time and in the right amount.
These pictures are from a new home in Houston where we did the tile selections and designs, the project included the Kitchen/Utility areas and 5 -1/2 baths. Each bathroom utilizes specialty tiles in various applications and relates to the overall interior design of the home. Let's take a look - in the Master Bedroom, we used a antiqued Spanish Gold tile, with a honey-onyx in a fish scale pattern. This home is quite grand, so the Master Bath needed to be in line with the vision for the home. The slight contrast of materials with the green tones of the Spanish Gold and the yellow/golden tones of the onyx is very sophisticated.
This daughter's toile bedroom ensuite lent itself well to utilizing a fairly basic 6" matte glazed tile with a 2" gloss inset tile - reinforcing the black and white patterning of the toile. A dramatic look with a economic tile.
This bath was for the son of the family. We were concerned with allowing the bathroom to grow with the son's changing tastes. Here, the Jerusalem gold field tile borders the 2" tiles set on a bias. Notice that the tile in the threshold to the WC has been cut to reinforce the architecture, creating a stronger composition.
Another daughter's room had a bit of glamour to it. It was also one of the larger secondary bathrooms, so we had the ability to work a "rug" pattern, reinforcing the colors found in the granite selections. Again, the rug shape reinforces the basic shape of the room, helping to complete the interior.
Our last secondary bathroom we used a standard travertine tile. With an emphasis on patterning in this home, to walk away and leave this bath plain would not have made sense. Very simply, we created a bordered tile effect around 4 tiles. This accent tile comes on a 12" mesh sheet, so the tile setter merely had to cut the tile into strips and lay the strips in. As a note, using AutoCAD, we laid this pattern out several different ways, working the best possible layout for the entry axis, the axis side to side and the axis along the center of the toilet. Seem a bit crazy? I don't think so, ever notice a bad tile job where too main points don't align. I do, EVERY single on of them.
Don't be afraid to use accent tiles. These tiles are more expensive but you use so few of them that the benefit will out weight the cost. It is also important that while regular tile is often stocked, accent tile is often a special order and could take 4-6 weeks to be delivered.