Tile and wall colours

Updated February 21, 2017

Matching tile and walls can be a challenge, particularly if your tiles are an unusual colour. Tiles are most frequently found in kitchens and bathrooms, on the floors and sometimes the walls. Picking the right paint colours to go with the tile can produce beautiful and attractive effects that will bring out the best qualities of your kitchen and bathroom.

Terracotta tiles

Terracotta is a very common colour for tiles. Many kitchens that are decorated in a Tuscan theme feature terracotta tiles on the floor. The deep red of terracotta is easily matched with a wide variety of colours. If you're using terracotta tiles in a small room, complement them with a peach-toned or deep yellow colour on the walls. These colours will complement the terracotta while making the room seem bigger and brighter at the same time. Peach and yellow fall along the same colour spectrum as terracotta, so the combination will naturally mesh within the room.

Complementary colours

Colour wheel theory suggests that complementary colours are those that fall opposite each other on the wheel. The three primary colours are red, blue and yellow. Red and blue combine to make purple, blue and yellow make green, while red and yellow make orange. The complementary pairs are red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple. You can create bold colour effects by using a complementary colour of your tile's shade. Be careful when employing this technique, because you can end up with a colour scheme that's so bold it becomes jarring.


Visually interesting and appealing rooms can combine complements and contrasts. If you have terracotta tiles on your floor, you can complement them with peach or yellow walls, while also adding green highlights for visual contrast. Experiment with contrasting trim colours. To test the effect, paint a scrap of wood with the colour you're considering and juxtapose it with your tiles. This will give you an idea of how it will look on the wall.


Slate and slate-coloured tiles feature an earth-toned grey as their dominant colour. Slate is frequently used on floors, and may sometimes be found on bathroom walls as well. Because it's a fairly dark colour, avoid painting the walls the same shade, as you'll end up with a dark and monochrome room. Try a light cream or ivory colour for walls situated above slate. This will create a variety of complementary earth tones within the room, and will nicely highlight the texture and surface of the slate.

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About the Author

Jagg Xaxx has been writing since 1983. His primary areas of writing include surrealism, Buddhist iconography and environmental issues. Xaxx worked as a cabinetmaker for 12 years, as well as building and renovating several houses. Xaxx holds a Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Manchester in the U.K.