Installation & Cleaning and Maintenance

Two-Faced Tile? Why Tiles Look Different On-Screen vs. Reality

Two-Faced Tile? Why Tiles Look Different On-Screen vs. Reality

So you’ve found the perfect tile for your project, but suddenly the sample doesn’t match your expectations. Much like the controversial dress debate of 2015, images can often play tricks on our eyes. At Island Stone, we do our best to ensure our photos capture the authenticity of our products. Here are some considerations to keep in mind while you peruse Island Stone products online:

Finish and texture

Gloss. Matte. Honed. Tumbled. All of these variables absorb light and create shadows in different ways - and each finish appears differently in photographs. Make sure to visit your local showrooms to see how Island Stone tile varies finish-by-finish. To find an Island Stone showroom or locate resources for samples, click here.  

Lighting and reflectivity

Based on the finish you choose, tiles can absorb and reflect light, making certain hues appear lighter and darker. Always take your Island Stone sample and look at it under different lighting sources - indoor, outdoor, cool and warm lights - to get the best idea of your finished project. 

Angles and environment

Our wide breadth of tile products can typically be used both indoors and outdoors. But artificial and natural light can make tiles colors shift, not only in their environment, but based on the time of day. The colors surrounding your tile installation will play a role too. From paint colors to furnishings, the appearance of your tile project is highly dependent on the details of the space.

Tiles can also shift based on the angle, particularly our glass tiles where transparency is more apparent when viewing from a side angle. Take your time to view samples at multiple times of the day, from different angles.

Screen variances

With so much of our shopping happening online during the pandemic, it is key to keep in mind that tile colors will shift screen-by-screen. Differences in brightness, contrast, and clarity can make jumps from your phone to your laptop. We always encourage checking out tile in one of partner showrooms or ordering samples to see tile in-person. 


Grout colors, sealants and installment areas (in wet vs. dry spaces, for example) will also affect tile color. This is important to keep in mind as an installed product will always look different than what it is in the showroom or sample.

Best practices

To avoid the two-faced tile issue, Island Stone recommends to always create a large sample (we recommend at least 3-square feet) that is grouted, sealed, and placed in the installation area so you can get the full picture of your final outcome. Make sure that your tile installer uses the same brand and type of grout and sealer for the official installation. For more information about tile installation, be sure to tune in for Tile Tuesdays with our tile expert, David Fatula!