Interior designer Emma Sims Hilditch reveals imaginative ways with wall tiles

Adept at adding character to country interiors, the designer shows how wall tiles can lift your schemes further

Kitchen backsplash with range in foreground and countertop of island in foreground
(Image credit: Sims Hilditch x Marlborough Tiles)

'There is such an array of wonderful designs available when it comes to wall tiles, but pattern and color aren’t the only ways to be creative,' says Emma. 'In a recent photoshoot at my home we saw an opportunity to be playful with where we positioned the tiles, creating characterful and unique spaces throughout the interior.'

Here, Emma shares her ideas for tiling a wall – and other surfaces – imaginatively.

Interior Designer
Emma Sims Hilditch
Interior Designer
Emma Sims-Hilditch

Founded in 2009, the Sims Hilditch design practice has become one of the most trusted and respected in the industry. Its couture approach combines interior architecture, interior design and procurement management within one concept-to-completion, fully bespoke service. Creative Founder, Emma Sims-Hilditch is passionate about her belief that good design can transform not only how people live but also how they feel. By creating characterful, beautiful and intelligent interiors, Emma and the Sims Hilditch team empowers clients to radically improve the quality of their lives.

1. Using tiles on an outdoor dining table

Table outdoors with tiled top

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch x Marlborough Tiles)

Outdoor dining ideas need a pep up? 

'One of the most intriguing ways to be creative with tiles is to style a table top using a chequerboard pattern. This is a great way to add color to a home whilst keeping it practical for cleaning,' says Emma.

'Alternatively, for outdoor spaces, tiling a table can be an unexpected addition to an English garden. Here, we used the Marlborough Tiles Ana tile in a muted green colorway, paired with a plain white design. This pleasingly gentle scheme is soft and natural, meaning that it doesn’t jar with the surrounding landscape.'

2. Using tiles to create cohesion in a bathroom

Bathroom with rolltop bath and tiled windowsill

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch x Marlborough Tiles)

Bathroom tile ideas needn't be limited to expected surfaces.

'When considering the tiling of an ensuite, the mind immediately jumps to a shower or the backsplash of the bath. To me, thinking about other more practical spaces such as windowsills can be a good opportunity to use wall tiles within a home – particularly for mullion windows with deep sills,' says Emma. 

'To thread the color scheme from one space to another, try tiling a vanity or console using the same colorway. These are simple additions which make a big difference to an interior. When you insert something into a room which is unexpected or not usually there, it naturally draws the eye and in this case – brings a welcoming warmth to the space.'

Bathroom basin with tiled countertop

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch x Marlborough Tiles)

3. Using tile pattern to create a statement backsplash

Hob and backsplash next to range cooker

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch x Marlborough Tiles)

Kitchen tile ideas usually include the kitchen backsplash, but how can you create one that really draws the eye?

'Within a kitchen, one would often tile a backsplash behind a cooker to protect the space from spillages. In a recent photoshoot, we played with pattern behind the cooker to create an interesting layout that would become a statement within the room,' says Emma. 

'The first was a powder blue block design, framed by a plain border. In my Wiltshire home, we chose a column style in charcoal. This is a more cost effective option (using more plain tiles than patterned) which still creates impact.'

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.

With contributions from