Homes & Design Photo Credit: Western Living

WL Design Challenge: How to Work With an Unusual Tile Pattern

The first in our summer tile challenge series! 3 interior designers + 3 bold tiles = 3 inspiring new room designs.

Anyone can design a beautiful room around a simple subway tile. But to make a crocodile-print leather number or psychedelic pattern work in an everyday home? That takes true style.

We’re challenging designers all summer long to imagine spaces that could complement and elevate wonderfully wacky tile designs, and your first batch of brave souls—Alykhan Velji, Oliver Simon and Angela Robinson—prove that breaking away from the neutrals can be an inspiring process.

Alykhan Velji’s Modern Pop Art Kids’ Room

Decora tile-imola ceramica pop CARTOON 1 MIX

The challenge tile: Imola Ceramica’s Pop collection, available at Decora Tile, Victoria,

The contender: Alykhan Velji, Calgary,

The design: “As soon as you see the graphic comic book prints of the new Imola pop collection, you’re brought back to childhood. So we decided to use the tile in an unexpected way—to cover an entire focal wall of a kid’s room! We paired it with minimal but modern furnishings and accessories. From the clean lines and contemporary finishes of the bunk bed and side table, to the bold print and colour of the area rug and chair, this room will be the perfect children’s space. Pairing these items with quirky lighting creates a great mix of fun and function. Last but not least, our go-to white paint, Benjamin Moore’s bright Ultra White, acts as a canvas for the punchy tiles and modern accessories.”

Angela Robinson’s Daring Dining Room

bold tile

The challenge tile: 41zero42 Paper 41 Lola Amb tile, available at Fontile Kitchen and Bath, Vancouver,

The contender: Angela Robinson, Vancouver,

The design: “The Lola tile brings colour and life into this dining room, installed as an accent wall treatment, running 1/3 up the walls. The top 3/4 if the walls are cladded in seared cedar planks. Andy Dixon’s ‘I’ll Have Another’ painting hangs on the main wall, adding movement and whimsey to the room. Three globe lights from Studio Vit are suspended at random heights above the round concrete Gather dining table from Barter Design. Light wood chairs surround the table and complement the tile pattern with their cross-cross designed backs. The table is set with Amanda Hamilton’s Spun In Neon linens and vintage silverware.”


Oliver Simon’s Cozy Camouflage Mud Room

camou tile

The challenge tile: Ornamenta Camou tile, available at Ames Tile and Stone, Vancouver,

The contender: Jaime Hamilton and Greer Nelson of Oliver Simon Design, Vancouver,

The design: “We love this camouflage tile! Picture it on a feature wall in the mudroom. A bold hit of colour welcomes you in from the cold—hang your coat on the industrial pipe hooks, and sit on the rustic bench while you take your shoes off. Schoolhouse lighting illuminates the scene. Throw your scarf and gloves in the basket and follow the cool arrow runner into the house. We like a warm grey for this space, like Benjamin Moore Grey Mist 962.”

mud room accessories

We’ll be challenging more designers throughout the summer to play with unusual tile patterns. Subscribe to the WL newsletter to keep up to date on all our design stories.

Which of these designs is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!



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