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Listello Tile (Border Designs & Patterns)

These listello tile designs showcase details such as what it is, different tile border designs, where it is used in a home, patterns, and styles of listello tile trims.
Bathroom with listello tile shower and showerhead Details do matter in creating a cohesive and interesting interior, and listello tiles are one of the timeless accents that make décor an exciting endeavor. Far from the notion of being outdated, listello tiles today have come with fresh and new designs that can effectively transcend the look and feel of a space.

Bathrooms and kitchens have enjoyed the traditional listello tile for many decades, but we’re now seeing stylish listello tile ensembles in social spaces as well. The newer materials, such as metallic tiles, open up a more modern design approach to the traditional patterned tiles with a sleeker and cleaner look. 

What Is A Listello Tile?

Bathroom with shower glass door, tub, travertine and listello tile, ceiling lights, and windows A listello tile is a type of tile insert that is arranged to create a strip or band. The listello tiles are installed along a tile installation with its main purpose as an accent element.

Listello tiles have smaller sizes, with the common size of 4” x 12” and around 3/8” in thickness. The small inserts can be installed on tile walling or flooring but are commonly found along bathroom walls, particularly the shower area. 

Listello is a term to describe the set of listello tiles that can be oriented horizontally or vertically. The term listello comes from the Italian word that translates as a lath, a horizontal strip made from metal or wood to carry a different material, such as plaster.  

Traditional listello tiles showcase elaborate designs and are usually made from quarried stone and ceramic. For this reason, it’s a common notion that listello tiles can make an interior look old-fashioned.

However, today’s advanced manufacturing process has brought about new materials and updated designs that can even be incorporated into a modern interior. 

Listello Border Tile Designs

Bathroom with shower, glass enclosure, tub, listello tile, skylight window, and ceiling lights The main function of border tiles is to create a clean transition between materials or edges of walls, countertops, and floor tiles, such as a listello border tile. The listello border can hide imperfections without looking too forward. The most common listello tile borders are:

 Radius Trim: The border has a rounded trim and creates a right-angled corner on the tile edge. 

 V-cap Edging: The V-cap edging is a common feature for traditional interiors where the L-shaped tile can hide away the outer edge of the tiled wall or flooring. 

 Rounded Tile Edge: This type of listello border has a soft profile creating a smooth lining along your accent. 

 Bullnose Trim: A popular edge trim, this listello border profile has a soft edging. The curved area flushes on the wall or floor edge, eliminating sharp or angled edges. 

Listello Shower

Bathroom shower with listello tile, fixtures, and window Listello has always been a favorite accent piece in showers because of the opportunity to add décor along the wall of tiles. The creative approach breaks the monotonous look of your typical bathroom interior. 

With the wide range of shower tile designs, listello inserts are no longer considered a dated décor. Modern tile shapes such as scallops, penny, and hexagonal tiles are trending materials that can create a stylish and exquisite visual for your shower area.

Take the scallop or fish scale tiles. Create a striking accent wall by adding a wave of glass scallop tiles layered in a single vertical or horizontal swoop among your larger shower tiles. 

Shower recesses need not be boring. Add sea shell inserts into your shower niche and match it with the similar tile material in your listello border that can run just a few inches above the niche. 

Listello Backsplash

Kitchen with listello tile backsplash, countertop, high chairs, pendant lights, cabinets, and window A backsplash is a perfect canvas for creativity, and there are numerous ways to give it a gorgeous update without overwhelming the space. Add a band of black penny tiles to dot along your white subway tiles for a modern two-tone look. 

If you’re on the traditional side, the classic basket weave and oriental tile patterns are eye-catching designs that can add dimension and richness to a kitchen backdrop. Vintage comic art prints on listello tiles are also available that create interesting scenes of the 1960s. 

The classic arabesque or Greek meander key can add an opulent display of patterns in your shower area for the shower backsplash. Pair the patterned listello tiles with color-rich tiles such as travertine tiles or with a crisp white marble wall cladding

Listello Floor Tile

Kitchen with listello floor tile, table, chairs, island, range hood, ceilings, door, windows, and curtains Adding a personal touch is one of the highlights of the interior design process, and a listello floor tile is the perfect accent piece to create that unique element to update a space. An entryway border rug, for instance, can be an impressive introduction to one’s home.

There are listello manufacturers who supply unique patterns and welcome customized designs by their in-house artisans. The accent pieces can continue as a border frame along a long hallway, adding personality and interest to a rather boring space. 

Choose eye-catching listello floor tiles to highlight a sculptural piece or create a grounding element for a freestanding bathtub. A listello insert can also be arranged to create a shower rug adding visual richness to the bathroom area. 

Listello floor tiles can also be incorporated into staircases that create an interesting border across each side of the stairs. Choose a material to match handrails and stair rails. 

Listello Wall Tile

Bathroom with listello wall tile, glass enclosure, tub, windows, and tile flooring With the expansive area, a wall cladding is a perfect space to explore the unique possibilities of the listello wall tile. Break down the continuous field of large format tiles by adding a horizontal strip of aluminum listellos.

Create equal intervals largely spaced between the listello. The result is a display of striking bands of shiny tiles that will complement a white or beige-colored wall. There are also three-dimensional listello wall tiles that have a textured surface.

Listello wall tiles can also break a large tiled wall avoiding that monotonous and bland look. A listello accent need not be horizontal in orientation as it can be an effective décor in a vertical placement. The vertical strip can be layered, creating rows of listello wall tiles framing a more elaborate field of wall tile, creating an interesting focal point. 

Listello Mosaic

Bathroom with listello mosaic wall, tub, vanity area, cabinets, mirror, countertop, ceiling lights, and window A listello mosaic tile layout can introduce interesting colors and designs into any blank tiled wall. With the smaller-sized tiles, one can create a unique and personalized accent, such as organic and geometric patterns. The listello mosaic can even spell out text or fonts to create that personalized element. 

Mosaic listello comes with a wide range of design possibilities. Since they can be harder to install because of the tile size, they are considered an exquisite accent that adds value to any property. 

Listello Tile Patterns

Bathroom with listello tile shower wall, glass door cabinets, toilet, countertop, and mirror Patterns and textures add visual richness to a space. They also provide an area where the line of sight can rest and focus on. Patterns can also tie elements together and even be a source of inspiration when designing.

There are a wide assortment of listello tile patterns in the market, and one can choose for a more personalized décor with customized patterns injecting a one-of-a-kind element into one’s built environment. Here are some popular tile patterns to inspire your next renovation or newly built home:

Stretcher Bond: Also known as the running bond, rectangular-shaped mosaic tiles are stacked on one another with the stretcher (longer side of the tile) laid out lengthwise, with the next row overlapping midway. 

Vertical Rectangles: The pattern is simply made by arranging small rectangular tiles in a row. The pattern is great in showcasing random stone tiles with different veining and color tones. 

Greek Key Double Row: The geometric squares create a dimensional pattern of a continuous interlocking pattern. The listello tile is perfect for traditional and classical interiors. 

Diamond Pattern: A strip of diamond-shaped listello tiles is arranged side by side, and smaller triangle tiles fill in-between spaces. Sometimes a band of small rectangle tiles frames the diamond ensemble. 

Elongated Hexagon: A row of elongated hexagon tiles is the perfect accent for modern or transitional interiors. Choose an elongated hexagon tile in glass material bordered in black. Another version of an elongated hexagon is the picket tiles. 

Types Of Listello Tile Trim

Kitchen with applied translucent film frosted glass cabinets, listello tile countertop, backsplash, sink, faucet, and glass doorOne of the interesting things about adding listello tiles is the visual effects that can come about between materials, and the listello tile insert provides a smooth transition.  

Ceramic Listello: Installing listello tiles is an added cost and can go up with the type of material used. A listello made from ceramic is cost-effective without compromising aesthetic value and durability. There are numerous ceramic listello designs to choose from, and ceramic listello tiles are readily available from most tile suppliers.

From designs that simulate the look of natural stone or embossed ceramic listello to customized patterns, there’s just that perfect accent to complement an existing or newly built interior. Ceramic listello is a practical choice when adding listello trims to an expansive wall or flooring area. 

Aluminum Listello: For a more modern listello accent, aluminum listello has those minimalistic qualities that can enhance sleeker and updated designs. The advantage of aluminum listello borders over traditional listello tiles is that they are easier to install and can conceal installation imperfections. The metallic sheen creates an elegant touch between tiles or as a finishing edge. 

Aside from its natural silver coating, aluminum listello can come in different colors and finishes, such as gold, glossy black, matte silver, and bright silver. Aluminum does corrode but does not rust easily, and most aluminum listello suppliers offer products that have an anti-corrosion finish.  

Copper Listello: The copper tone on tile cladding walls can look exquisite and create a modern touch to any interior. Copper listello matches well with traditional designs, especially for warm-toned natural stones.

With copper’s workability, intricate designs can also be made with the material making it a great option for customized accents. Copper listello can be a perfect inset or outline border for stone listello tiles creating a rich accent.  

Glass Listello: Layer textures with an iridescent glass listello. The gorgeous colors are appreciated when light hits the translucent tiles creating a visual spectacle. Glass listello can also come with simple opaque colors but with the same crystal-like appearance. 

Create a striking accent with mosaic glass tiles with a listello design. Glass tiles are a practical option for wet areas as the material does not stain or corrode and can last for many years with easy maintenance.  

Marble Listello: Marble is a gorgeous material in itself, and when inlaid in the field of tile can transcend the look effortlessly. From the crisp white of Carrara marble to the gray tones of Statuario marble, the luxurious natural stone will surely add value to any interior. Do note, though, that listello marble falls into the high-end material and can be more expensive than most listello tiles. 

Slate Listello: A listello made of slate is a durable material that can last longer than most natural stones because it doesn’t get affected easily by extreme temperatures making it a great option in kitchen backsplashes or bathroom walls.

Slate listello usually comes with thinner profiles making it a suitable material to tile over existing tiles. When installing a slate listello over an existing tile, it is recommended to wipe away grime or any other surface particulates that might prevent the slate listello from adhering. 

Travertine Listello: While not as hard as listello tiles made from marble, travertine listello is still very durable and the warm and rich colors. What makes travertine tiles unique are the natural patina that forms over time. This darkening of the stone creates a rustic and vintage look making it a lovely accent piece for transitional and classical-themed interiors. 

How Big Are The Listello And Border Tiles?

Bathroom with shower enclosure, tub, listello tile wall, wood flooring, window, and vanity area The common size for listello and border tiles is 4” x 12”, but they come in many variations and can also be customized to suit one’s preference. Suppliers of listello will also have standard sizes of: 

 2” x 4”

 2” x 6”

 3” x 6” 

 4” x 8” 

 6” x 12” 

When looking for listello and border tiles, always consider proportion, as not all patterns look good in a certain listello tile size. For instance, a Greek key pattern looks better in a 3” x 6” tile than in a 2” x 6” size. 

See more related content in our article about fully tiled bathroom walls on this page.

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Written by Ellen - Architect, Design Consultant

Ellen Siloy is a passionate designer with a Bachelors in Architecture from Saint Louis University. She has extensive experience writing about interior design and green architecture projects. As an architect she is also skilled in the use of Revit, Skethup and CAD software. She is a certified LEED Green Associate and has worked as a LEED Coordinator for LEED Certification of Buildings.

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