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Over the top: Ideas for installing mosaic borders


A beautiful portrait or picture belongs within a frame. Similarly, the varying elements on a wall can appear more beautiful and attractive when neatly enclosed within a mosaic tile border. A charming mosaic tile border does its part to bring out the essence of the different elements on your walls, and all throughout your home.

In this blog post, we examine the process of installing a mosaic tile border, and how this can apply to different areas of your own private space.

Listello or Frieze borders


A mosaic tile border is composed of many Listellos. A listello is, simply put, a uniquely designed mosaic which is used to serve as a border. Listellos often have repeating patterns and are placed sequentially, to surround a designated surface or wall.

A mosaic tile border has the potential to bring out the finer details of the wall by highlighting the colors that are used. It also adds a pattern in the background, without having this pattern dominate over the entire space.

A listello mosaic pattern can bring out the beauty of your kitchen backsplash, but it can also be used along a stairway, on the stair risers for example, or to enshrine a family portrait in a living room.

You have the option of designing custom listellos or purchasing pre-designed ones.

Swimming pool

SWIMMING POOL mosaic border

When applying a mosaic tile border to a swimming pool, you have several options. You can install a single row at the water’s surface level. But you can also have a border extend across the entire pool’s walls, or across its floors.

A going trend these days is to use glass for your mosaic tile border. If you employ quality material, it can last for years at a stretch. It pays to have a unique design that will make the patterns of your pool’s tiles stand out.

There is a vast variety of tile borders which have been pre-designed, and which you can put into effect. You also have the option of custom designing the pattern yourself to better match the already pre-existing patterns on your swimming pools floors or walls.

If manipulated in a clever way, the mosaic tile border can achieve decorative accents that will lend a modernizing effect to the pool. Otherwise, you can apply a more conservative design for a classic effect, to give it more lustre.

You can add more liveliness by using vibrant colors or aim to achieve a shimmering pattern with reflective tiles. A single color pattern will hold the pool together, but a more eclectic mix will give it extra flair. It all comes back to what you’re aiming for – but it can also pay to use a color blending tool before you zone in on your decision.

modernizing effect mosaic border

Kitchen backsplash

Mosaic border designs can do very well to outline the length of a kitchen backsplash. Bear in mind that the backsplash is a prominent section of the kitchen which is the first thing you see when entering the kitchen. Similarly, a kitchen backsplash tends to occupy a large space. As seen from that perspective, it is a good space to manipulate and can be modified with decorative tiles to add a lively effect to your cooking area.

A mosaic pattern on or around the kitchen backsplash will boldly delineate an area, also serving to personalize a space by giving it more definition and presence.

The idea is to install a stunning design that will enhance the already pre-existing elements within a space. For example, glass mosaics have the benefit of adding reflective light to an area, and this can lend a lot of charm.

Assuming you feel that the kitchen backsplash has plain tiles, it pays to apply a multi-colored mosaic border to give it more character and punch. Then again, you can also yield an outdoorsy effect to the space, and effectively bring the outdoors back inside by including earth elements such as stones or pebbles.

One thing to bear in mind when using mosaic tiles to accent the borders is that you will have to match the thickness of the mosaics to that of the standard tiles.

If you’ve chosen to DIY the procedure, then be careful about not creating too much of a gap between each set of tiles.


Photo credit: House Beautiful

Bathroom walls and floors

There are numerous parts of the bathroom which could be beautified with a mosaic border. Whether you’ve chosen to extend the border to wrap around the floor, hover around the showering area, or to enclose your vanity mirror space, the options are limitless. But one thing to consider is to maintain a sense of unity with the colors that you have chosen.

You’ll want to complement any design that has already been installed within the tiling of the bathroom, not compete with it. The listello’s patterns might be beautiful as they are, but a noisy border will detract rather than adding to the overall effect.

It also helps to be choosy about which area to frame. If you’ve chosen to have a pattern on the bathroom floor’s tiles, then you’re best advised to keep a discreet pattern on the bathroom ceiling, and vice versa.


Picture credit: pinterest

Glass stones or tiles could lend a very flattering effect to the interior of your bathroom. They add a splash of vibrancy to an otherwise mundane setting and can be skewed in a way to reflect the light emanating through a window. It always pays to have a wide variety of colors as well.

A bright glass mosaic tile has the potential to add more color, and without overdoing it. There are many different elements to consider, such as glittering glass, or more industrial elements such as metal tiles. More natural choices such as stone, ceramic or porcelain can tone it down a little, to add a subtle effect to its surrounding.

A border will serve well to outline the taps, or even as a standalone element to give more attention to one section of the wall as a feature strip. If you’re aiming to have a border that is there to give a cohesive effect, then go for a thin border. There again, you can increase the border’s area to achieve more presence and further embolden the area that it frames.

Needless to say, if you’re installing mosaic tiles in a bathroom, use non-slip porcelain or alternative materials such as natural stone tiles.

Glass stones mosaic border

Horizontal vs. vertical feature strip

One common approach when it comes to including mosaic patterns is to improvise a feature strip that extends horizontally across a wall and wraps around the entire room. This is a clever manipulation if you’re aiming to break the monotony of the one solid-state color that has been used on the wall. If the wall tiles happen to be limited to one block of color, then including a horizontal feature strip will add a dash of life.

On the other hand, you can also include a vertical feature strip to enclose one section of the room’s interior design. This method does well to isolate the showering area in a bathroom for example, and using a vertical direction can highlight the water’s motion, if installed near the showering zone.

Vertical strips that extend down the length of a showering area are becoming very popular additions, owing to the fact that this touch up can add a modernizing effect to the bathroom altogether.

Fixtures and fittings

You can have your mosaic border encircle other fixtures within your interior space, such as a cabinet, the taps, showers or mirrors. If used correctly, the border will only bring out the beauty that already exists in the smaller details throughout the room, so be wise with your selections.

In being a very subjective area, choosing the right mosaic border is primarily a question of taste, and there are no real rules to going about installing a mosaic border. What is important is to maintain a sense of harmony and add to the going theme in a room, rather than take away from it.

Less can be more, but sometimes you might be pushed to break the monotony with even more detail.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post and it serves as food for thought for your mosaic needs.

For more flowing designs of all shapes and sizes, please visit Mozaico.

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