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HomeWork: How to design with brick, even when you don’t have a brick house |

HomeWork: How to design with brick, even when you don’t have a brick house

Q: Most homes in my neighborhood have similar styles inside and out. I want a unique high-end interior design like a custom accent wall. Any advice?

A: Putting a unique stamp on a home is a common desire for people in planned communities, where interiors often repeat a handful of designs. While builders may offer custom interior features when you purchase during the construction stage, afterward it is all on the homeowners.

For unique accent walls, here are two options:

Paint. The simplest and most common upgrade is to paint a single wall as a statement feature using bold colors or faux-texture painting techniques. You can mark your own style by the color selection to match key elements of your furniture or other design accessories.

Brick tile. For a strong and trending element that makes a wow statement for the neighbors to envy, a hard-surface natural material such as natural clay brick tile is a good choice.

Have you noticed that brick acts as a décor statement in many modern restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores and chic building interiors? Thin brick tile, once the secret of interior designers looking to produce character-rich urban commercial design, is now more readily available to homeowners in tile format, making it a hot item in high-end residential homes.

Why the move to the residential sector? Because beyond upgrading our kitchen appliances to commercial grade, we can now mimic the décor and ambiance of a favorite restaurant or urban coffee shop inside our homes by bringing in foundational elements like wall treatments as well as the color palette.

Getting inspiration from your favorite coffee house is just the start; go online to find ideas galore at sites like Pinterest and Find a look that you like and use it as a blueprint for your home. From classic aged brick walls to painted brick or color glazed brick tile, and unique design styles from farmhouse and shabby chic to ultra-modern luxury, brick is back in a big way.

The good news is you don’t need to live in a brick house to add a designer brick wall inside. With natural clay brick now available in slim tile format, it’s easy to add the beauty of brick almost anywhere because it can be installed like a typical tile product using mortar or simply by attaching individually with construction glue directly on diverse surfaces.

Three areas in the home to add brick accent walls:

Kitchens and dining rooms. Want to turn a kitchen or dining area from ordinary to extraordinary? Historic urban and stylish farmhouse looks can be achieved with natural clay aged brick tile. Prefer modern contemporary? Colorful, glazed slim brick tile is a character-rich alternative to plain subway tile as a backsplash.

Bathrooms. Brick in the bathroom? Yes, with washable and waterproof glazed slim brick tile options, brick is finding its way both onto bathroom walls and walk-in showers.

Home office. Recreate the creative industrial-loft look of a downtown office in your home by adding a “used” style of brick tile as a foundational wall directly behind your office desk.


Laura Hoffman works for Mutual Materials and is a member of Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to

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