Photo: Scott Sheridan
Tin fireplace tiles make for a unique design that adds vintage panache and elegant style to the entire room. It can set the tone and guide your other design choices. There’s one very important thing you need to make sure you don’t overlook: the pattern size and scale of your tin fireplace tiles.
Tin tiles come in one size, 2’ x 2’. But the way the pattern is arranged on the tin tile can make a huge difference in the outcome of your tin tile fireplace surround. Read on to find out how the size of the pattern can make all the difference.
Photo: Lindsay Chambers
Within each 2’ x 2’ tin tile panel is a pattern of varying size. Here's a breakdown on how patterns appear on a panel (and how it looks across an entire wall):
- A pattern that takes up the entire panel is a 24” pattern
- Apattern that takes up one quarter of the panel (12” wide, 12” tall) and is repeated four times across the panel is a 12” repeating pattern
- A pattern that is 6” wide and 6” tall and repeats 16 times over the panel is a 6” repeating pattern
- On the flip side, our largest pattern requires four full-size panels fit together to make a 48” pattern.
While any of these patterns are suitable to use on any ceiling and most walls, smaller spaces like backsplashes and fireplaces need something a bit different.
Smaller spaces can be made to feel even smaller by adding too large of items to the space. For instance, a powder room floor covered with 24” x 48” ceramic tiles can overwhelm the space and make it feel even smaller.
This same pattern issue also applies to tin tiles. A 48” pattern on a powder room ceiling won’t have the space it needs to make a full impact. It will likely be cut off without ever showing the entire pattern. Fireplaces have a similar issue.
What Size Pattern on Your Tin Tile Fireplace?
All of that leaves you with a big question. Which size is right for your fireplace? That really depends on the size of your fireplace. Here’s the breakdown.
Tin Tile Fireplace Surround
The fireplace surround goes immediately around your firebox. If you have a mantel or other trim, the tin tile is generally inside that trim. This is a very small space that requires a very small pattern. For a tin tile fireplace surround, consider a 6” repeating pattern, but only if your surround is at least 6” high.
If the surround is less than 6”, you might take a look at a filler pattern. Filler patterns are a much smaller scale and are designed to fill gaps where larger patterns end up short or to offset tin tile patterns used like medallions.
You could also try tin molding as a trim piece to get the aesthetic even when you don’t have much space.
Photo: Leopoldo Delannoy
Tin Tile Fireplace Wall
Making a show of the fireplace is a hot trend in design right now. The wall where the fireplace is installed may be used as a feature wall that is decorated differently than the rest of the walls in the room. Other designs might take a stripe of tin tile just behind the fireplace creating a mantel type feel. Some may even take that same concept all the way to the ceiling.
Feature walls or even portions of walls used as accents for the fireplace can use 6” repeating patterns or 12” repeating patterns. Larger walls can support a 24” repeating pattern. Use trims and moldings to create a finished edge.
Tin Tile Fireplace Backs
Another popular way to use tin tile on the fireplace is to cover the back of the firebox. This trend started when homeowners had existing historic fireplaces that they didn’t want to use for fires but wanted to keep the look of the fireplace.
With the backdrop of distressed tin tile, this style of fireplace decoration caught on quickly. This space is fairly small so a 6” or 12” repeating pattern is appropriate.
Keep in mind that tin tiles achieve an excellent fire rating that makes them an outstanding material for the fireplace. Read more about that qualification.
Tin fireplace tiles make your fireplace stand out in all the best ways. Whether you go with the 6” repeating tile or something a bit larger, the drama of tin tiles can’t be beat.
Want to learn more about the size and scale of tin tiles on different applications? Read our blog.