Ideas for Transitioning with Tile from One Room to Another

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Tile transitions serve both stylistic and functional purposes.

The flow of a home is greatly influenced by the layout of the flooring. Successful floor transitions from one room to the next are essential to creating a smooth, seamless floor design. Between two tiled rooms, transitions are especially important, not only for design, but also for ensuring that the tiles are protected from warping and cracking. However, the variety of transitions available means that you do not have to sacrifice style for function.

Transition Strips

One common and inexpensive option for transitioning between tiled rooms is a transition strip. A transition strip is a thin section of wood or vinyl that fit between two sections of flooring to create a threshold. Though there are several types of transition strips designed to suit a variety of flooring combinations, most strips include a hook that fits beneath the floor and a lip that curves over the floor to create a clean edge. Transition strips are largely functional over stylish; they are available in a limited number of styles and colors, typically catering to wood flooring. They are convenient and inexpensive, but they may interrupt the visual flow between tiled floors.

Color Blocking

If the tile in each room is different, create a visual transition by employing a color blocking technique. To create a basic color block, lay a row of smaller, horizontal tiles in a distinct color at the joint between the two rooms. One approach is to select a transitional color; if the tiles in each room are different shades of the same color, select a transition tile that is a hue between each tile color for a seamless transition from room to room. Another option is to select complementary colors; if your tiles are either neutral colors or matching colors, select a transitional tile in a color that complements the room tiles. For example, an olive green tile transitions between two cream colored tile rooms while a beige tile offers transition between a cream tiled room and a mocha tiled room. If you want a more contemporary twist, select a contrasting transitional tile. For example, glass amethyst or emerald tiles are a striking option between neutral colored tiles, while red tiles are a bright option between green tiled rooms.

Tile Patterns

Use a tile pattern to signify a transition from one room to another; tile patterns are especially effective if the tiles in each room are matching or similar in color and style. One option is to create a threshold using leftover pieces of matching tile. Cut small triangles from larger sections of matching tile and lay the triangles in an alternating pattern so that they create a simple threshold between spaces. For a more artistic layout, smash the extra tiles into small pieces and lay them in a simple mosaic; fill the spaces with a darker grout to create more visual contrast. If the tiles in each room do not match, choose a neutral color tile in gray, cream or tan to create a simple tile pattern. Small 2-inch square tiles stacked in two rows are a simple option for transitioning between rooms.


Hannah Wahlig

Hannah Wahlig began writing and editing professionally in 2001. Her experience includes copy for newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as book editing. She is also a certified lactation counselor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Holyoke College, and Master's degrees in education and community psychology from the University of Massachusetts.