Here’s the Secret to Not Spending Too Much on Expensive Tile

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

It is a good time to love tile. Beautiful patterns and shapes abound. But unfortunately for those us on a budget, a lot of the most beautiful tiles are just way too expensive to use for a whole wall, a floor, or even a backsplash. So we’ve come up with some creative ways you can incorporate just a little bit of that amazing tile you love, so you can enjoy its loveliness without breaking the bank.

Above: In their London home, Caroline and Simon tiled just a tiny bib above the pedestal sink, an area of only a few square feet.

(Image credit: Hannah Wessman)

A recessed shower shelf is a great place to put your stuff — and also a great place to put a little bit of tile that’s too costly for the entire shower. Bathroom by Hannah Wessman.

(Image credit: House Tweaking)

When it comes to floor tile, if doing an entire room isn’t in the cards, you can create a small inset, like this threshold from House Tweaking. (Word to the wise: if you are planning on doing this, you will have to pay special attention to the various thicknesses and underlayment requirements of your different flooring materials. In some cases it may require changes to the subfloor, which can definitely add cost.)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Here’s another instance of tile-floor-meets-wood, in Sam and Anne’s Austin home. Once again: check with your contractor, as this can sometimes be a look that’s tricky to pull off.

(Image credit: Rum Hemma)

A tile apron behind the stove is both beautiful and practical, as seen on Rum Hemma, via Apartment Therapy.

(Image credit: Leva & Bo)

In this kitchen from Leva & Bo, inexpensive square tile covers the walls, while a more expensive patterned cement tile makes a splash in a small niche.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Tiling just the side of the tub will make a big impact in the bathroom, as seen in Ron’s Hollywood home.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

We love the look of a tiled hearth, as seen in this petite New York apartment — and it requires only a few square feet of material.

If you’re willing to shell out for slightly more for tile, you can also tile the inside of your fireplace, as seen on Elle Decoration via Bright Bazaar.

(Image credit: The Room Edit)

Colorful fish scale tile covers a recessed niche in a kitchen from The Room Edit.

(Image credit: Dedujes)

In this kitchen from Dedujes, a bit of colorful tile peeks out from under the island.

(Image credit: Faithfull Travels)

Another way to use only a little bit of floor tile is to tile just a stair landing, as seen on Faithfull Travels.