• Complement the palette. The best tiles work within the room’s existing color palette, drawing from walls, cabinets, and furniture. High contrast within the same color family (think beige walls with chocolate floors) offers visual impact. Rooms that already have high contrast are better served by matching floors and walls.
  • Consider shade variation. The difference in color within a tile and across a field of tile will affect design needs. Low, moderate, and high shade variations equate to little, medium, and high color change, respectively. Random shade variation refers to the highest level of color change and distinct pattern differences.
  • Keep scale in mind. A good rule of thumb is to mirror the room’s size in your tile choice. Large rooms can accommodate large-format tile, while smaller tiles tend to get lost. Similarly, large tile can overwhelm a small room, making it seem even smaller. Consider mosaic tiles for tight spaces.

—Lauren Hunter, senior editor, REMODELING.