Everything You Need to Know About Trendy Cement Tile
Cement tile is definitely having a moment. But, we're not going to lie: There are some pros/cons to using these trendy tiles in your space. Keep reading for all the facts — the good, the bad and the ugly (Spoiler alert: there's not really much ugly). We've also included loads of style secrets you can steal for your own home.
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Cement Tiles 101
Though they’ve been around for hundreds of years, cement tiles have become super trendy again in the design world. The process for making these tiles is no joke: Pigmented cement is hand poured into molds (similar to cookie cutters), molds are removed, then the tiles are compressed under 2,000 pounds of pressure. Cement tiles are available in a ton of different colors, patterns and sizes, though 8x8 tiles are probably the most common. Prices range anywhere from $15/sf to $30/sf (and up!). Image courtesy of Popham Design.
Pros + Cons of Cement Tiles
First created in the south of France in the 1870s, cement tiles quickly became popular in many other countries. This Moroccan courtyard is blinged out with cement tiles from top to bottom, and wowza, it's stunning! Cement tiles have some major benefits: they're environmentally friendly as they are produced with natural components (and are not fired in a kiln); they are not slippery — even when wet; and they are easily customizable as each one is produced by hand. However, cement tiles are also significantly thicker than standard tiles at 5/8 inches thick. This means they are not quite as versatile as other tiles, and often require trim when abutting them next to other types of materials. Another downside is cost — these tiles don't work very well for low-budget projects.
Mix-n-Match to the Max
The bold patterns and colors of cement tiles might scare some people away, but we love the idea of embracing the pattern with gusto and truly going for it like this homeowner did. Cement tiles work both on the floor and on your walls, and even crazy patterns and different colors can somehow work well together. This homeowner played with her tiles and mapped out a pattern/color combo on the floor before having them installed around her banquette.
Bathrooms are the perfect spot to use cement tiles, and one of our fave ways to feature these babies is on the bathroom floor. The simple white subway tile walls and bright white paint in this bath are the perfect balance to the boldly patterned floor. With a crisp black-and-white color palette, the patterned cement tile floor really takes this modern bathroom to the next level.
Here's another example of a bold, fun cement tile used on a bathroom floor. But we love the way the homeowner used the same tile in a coordinating niche in their shower. If you want to give cement tile a try but don't have the budget to cover the floor, try simply using it in a shower niche like this one for a little pop of color and pattern.
Cement Tile + ______ Tile
Another brilliant idea for incorporating cement tile into your bathroom design is to use it as an accent with another more budget-friendly tile. In this example, the patterned tile is used just as a focal point. This is a great way to get the most bang for your buck while still showcasing cement tile's uniquely intricate patterns. Just make sure you pow-wow with your tile installer before installation begins to confirm that the cement tile you choose will work with your other tile picks for the space.
If you want to create a jaw-dropper moment in your bathroom, steal this idea and use the same patterned cement tiles on both your floor and walls. This is definitely a bold move but the result is always va-va-voom. Keep in mind that depending on the size of your bathroom, this project could end up being pretty darn pricey.
Texture For Days
If you'd love to use cement tiles in your home but you're not a big fan of pattern, you can also find a textured tile like this. This type of tile would work great as a backsplash, on the front of a bar, as pictured here, or a kitchen island. This sculptural surface would also look gorg on a fireplace feature wall.
A Recipe for the Perfect Kitchen
This zesty mint-green kitchen gets a much needed pattern punch with a fun cement tile floor. The rest of the elements in the kitchen are serene and calm, allowing the graphic tile to stand out as the true superstar in the space.
Bold Floor, Bold Cabinets, Don't Care
This kitchen is another great example of how bold + bold = FAB. The bright blue cabinets might make you feel like you should choose a simple floor — but the repeating pattern in the stylish cement tiles actually makes the unexpected blue color even more of a standout in the space.
Yep, You Can Find Traditional Cement Tile Too
In case you're wondering if you can make more traditional cement tiles work in a space, the answer is a definitive YES. While many of the cement tile options do tend toward the bold and busy, you can still find calmer and more reserved cement tiles like these. Create a wow moment in your kitchen by using embossed cement tiles behind your range. Pair them with a secondary tile throughout the rest of your kitchen, or use the same bold beauties as a backsplash option everywhere.
And the Coolest Kitchen Backsplash Award Goes to...
...this kitchen right here! Whoa. Here's another entry in the bold and beautiful category of unforgettable cement tiles. Try using a super graphic pattern like this as a backsplash and taking it all the way up to your ceiling. With open shelving, the overall effect is truly stunning. Image courtesy of Popham Design.
Cement tile is a smart choice for both indoor and outdoor areas. Another idea for a space where you may be able to get away with using a smaller amount of tile is your home's entry. Don't be afraid to get creative and pair a modern tile with a more traditional door as seen here. Image courtesy of Cle Tile.
No Mud Allowed in This Mudroom
Ok, look: You can make the final decision about the mud, but we're so in love with this space we just wouldn't want to get it dirty. Because cement tile is not slippery, and easy to clean, it's actually a great choice for a mudroom. If your budget doesn't allow for covering the entire floor with cement tile, try using it on the wall or in one or two of the storage niches.
A Super Fresh Laundry Room
Laundry rooms are another killer spot in your home to rock cement tiles. In fact, if you're itching to try bold tile in your home, the laundry room is a great place to start as it's usually tucked away from the rest of the house. Add jazzy cement tile to the floor or walls, and if you love them as much as we think you will, you can then spread this oh-so-trendy surface out to the rest of your house.
Liven Up the Living Room Floor
Your living room floor might not be the first thing you think of when choosing to add cement tiles to your home, but after seeing this beautiful space, you might want to rethink things fast. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of pattern on your floor with the tile, pair it with calmer, more neutral rugs. But, also, as you can see with the patterned curtains and pillow — pattern + pattern + more pattern works great too.
Fire Me Up
Small project cement tile alert: Don't forget about your fireplace surround! Most fireplaces won't require a ton of tile, so this is another great area to tackle for smaller budgets. This moody, dark cement tile is the perfect contrast to the bright white modern living room.
Light My Fire
Here's a fab example of a more traditional cement tile fireplace surround. This space is a great reminder that this type of tile can really work well in both modern and traditional style homes. For a more finished look, create a cement tile hearth directly in front of the firebox as well.
Sweet Cement Tile Dreams
Yes, yes, yes. You can even use a fun patterned cement tile like this inky blue option as flooring in a bedroom. This would be a great choice for a kid's or teen's bedroom or a guest bedroom. Add some area rugs to warm up the space, especially in cooler climates. Image courtesy of Popham Design.
Walk This Way
In traditional Mexican homes, tile is sometimes used on the floor to look like a rug. In this spectacular walk-in closet, they do something similar with a classic cement tile pattern. In smaller walk-in closets, you could use cement tile to cover the entire floor. Image courtesy of Popham Design.