Ask any decent designer and they'll tell you that it's not just the main focus that matters; you need to get the backdrop right too. That is why a beautiful – and probably expensive - work of art or piece of furniture can look fantastic when set against walls papered or painted in certain colours, and absolutely ghastly when set off against other colours.
And nowhere is this more obvious than when redesigning your home kitchen or bathroom. Take something as basic as the tile splashback. Given the right choice of material, shape and colour and you can radically transform and improve the room's overall design and feel.
It really is remarkable that a homeowner's tiling choice for something as basic as the splashback to the kitchen sink or bathroom washbasin can have such a huge impact on the tone and atmosphere of the room. Choose a tile that is bold and vibrant and the splashback will come to the fore and stand out in your overall scheme, creating a huge wow factor. On the other hand, go for a more subtle and complementary colour that harmonises with your cabinets and the focus can be on another feature of your bathroom or kitchen such as those exquisitely-designed taps or the stunning marble worktops.
Traditionalists of course will prefer to go for pastel shades, muted tones, neutral colours and matt finishes.
A somewhat surprising trend in backsplashes is the distressed look. Immensely popular in the fashion clothing industry, the distressed look is making a huge impact in the tiling industry too - although it's more challenging to get it right for kitchen and bathroom tiles. The aim of course is to create an atmosphere that has the feel of bygone ages combined with warmth and a well-worn appearance. For this trend, worn-down terracotta tiles are possibly the best solution, especially if you can get them in smaller classical sizes and shapes. If that proves difficult, why not explore the range of porcelain tiles? They have the added advantage of being easier to maintain.
Whatever your choice, it's worth remembering that splashbacks cover a relatively small area so it's well worth investing in high quality tiles to achieve the finish that you seek.