What are Mosaics?
Part of the joy of owning a house is finding ways to make it your own. Lighting, flooring, landscaping, and color are all ways to individualize your space. A mosaic can incorporate any one of these, while also standing on its own as a piece of art.
Mosaics, an arrangement of materials to produce a pattern, motif, or picture, are an ancient craft. Interestingly, decorating with mosaics is now considered a modern look for homes, as well as a form of self-expression for homeowners. Designs can be laid on walls, ceilings, or floors, as well as used in hardscaping elements like pools and fountains.
Why Use Mosaics in Your Home?
Among several compelling reasons to choose to use mosaics in your home, the first is that they are one of the best ways to create a unique space. Playing around with color and scale allows you to set a certain ambiance for a room. It is art that envelops the people looking at it.
Another reason is that certain types of materials let you capture and control light to your advantage. Marble, granite, stone, and glass can all reflect and refract natural light to produce a shimmering, lively space. They also have various textures that convey slightly different styles in a space.
You can also use mosaics to highlight your home’s best features. A sweeping tile inlay in the entry, a motif framing the fireplace, or as a surround for vanity mirrors all serve to draw attention to those places in your home you are most excited to show off.
Finally, mosaics are one way to repurpose and recycle materials. If you collect seashells, stones, glass, or have leftover tile from a tear-down project, they can find new life in a mosaic design. And although you are saving money by reusing existing materials, a well-designed mosaic can increase your home’s overall value.
Project and Design Ideas
Designs can be patterns, pictures, or freestyle. A geometric pattern would include a series of repeated shapes and colors. A picture or motif would be formed from an array of pieces that may or may not be similar in size, color, or material. A freestyle mosaic can be particularly whimsical if you include a number of seemingly different elements that, when put together, are meant to be a cohesive piece. In other words, mosaics are customizable to your style preferences.
There are some obvious places for mosaics: a kitchen backsplash, the bottom of a pool, or in bathroom floors. But you can get even more creative by doing a customized tiled sink basin, patio furniture, or including a large mosaic at the top of an entry-way staircase.
Fortunately, there are a number of excellent quality materials for mosaics that are both beautiful and functional. Glass tiles are available in a number of price and quality points and are typically durable enough for outdoor projects as well. You can use household tiles, but be aware that if you are repurposing secondhand tiles, you might have to work a little harder to remove the adhesive off the tiles’ back. Granite, stone, marble, and composite tiles are also hardy and elegant materials, although they may be more expensive. You can always make a mosaic out of what you have on hand: buttons, coins, bottle caps. Shells are a fun and easy alternative to tile and readily available, as are crockery pieces (broken or intact).
DIY or Call the Contractor?
If you are up for learning how to grout and lay tile, there are plenty of tutorials, books, and classes available. You may want to design the piece and then have someone else lay it for you if it’s a particularly complex arrangement. Or, if you are stumped on mosaic motif ideas, call a contractor from the beginning. Responsible Contractors has a directory of professionals who can help you accomplish your mosaic project from design to laying the last tile.