Mother of pearl, the glossy interior of seashells, creates sparkling iridescent tiles perfect for a kitchen accent, or a bathroom mirror frame.
Homeowners making over a formal powder room or designing a kitchen backsplash may desire a tile with some color and depth, but feel that glass tiles may be too contemporary or too informal for their space. For these homeowners, mother of pearl tiles are the perfect accent for any kitchen or bathroom design.
What Are Mother of Pearl Tiles?
Mother of pearl tiles are created by artisans who remove the inner lining of various colored seashells. This lining is then either left in its original color, or dyed in a vivid shade.
The pieces of seashell are then cut up into small pieces in the shapes of squares or rectangles and glued onto an unglazed ceramic wall tile.
The result is shimmering, iridescent tiles with the glamour of glass, but with a formal, unique appearance. Artisans assembling these tiles are able to lay the pieces of shell into patterns such as checkerboards of two colors, herringbones, simple squares and spirals.
The tiles themselves generally range from 1” accents up to 4” tiles, with 2” x 8” liners, domed and pencil moldings, and even light switch covers.
25+ Bathroom Wall Tile Ideas Using Mother of Pearl
Design Suggestions for Mother of Pearl Tiles
Mother of pearl tiles should not be used in a wet area, or in an area which gets a great deal of moisture or steam, as this can cause the glue to loosen between the shell and the backing, causing the shell to peel away. Therefore, these accent tiles should only be used in dry, wall applications.
For use in a bathroom design, consider using them to as a bathroom mirror or medicine cabinet frame. Simply install a frameless mirror, or recessed medicine cabinet on a clean, dry wall.
Next, use liners, 2” tiles and pencil moldings to create a decorative tile frame. 2” x 8” liners can be used in a solid color with either 2” accent tiles in the corners of the same color, or in contrasting colors. Finish off the edges of the frame by using a 1/2″ x 8” pencil molding.
For a more eclectic look, consider using 2” accent tiles of the same or varying colors, with differing patterns of inlay. The result will have more movement and light catching effects.
The liners can also be paired with natural stone or ceramic tiles as a decorative border just below the chairrail of bathroom wainscoting.
For a kitchen backsplash, consider using the 2” decorative tiles as cut in accents with a larger field tile. Try setting the field tiles on a diagonal pattern, and cut in one, 2” tile for every four field tiles, moving through the center of the backsplash.
Finish the design by using the liners as a frame around an area behind the cooktop. Set the field tiles straight inside the frame, and cut the accent tiles in on the diagonal. Space the accent tiles out so that a total of five are used; two at the top corners, one in the center and two in the bottom corners. This will create a subtle effect with more movement than glass tile.
Mother of pearl tiles are available in several colors, styles and patterns. Use them as accents in any formal bathroom or kitchen design as a way to add color and decoration. Pair them with matte ceramic wall tiles or honed stone tiles to further set off their beauty.
Try designing with mother of pearl tiles today and watch the bathroom or kitchen design come to life.