Like a striking necklace paired with a practical look, innovative bathroom tile designs can transform and change what is one of the more functional areas in your home. Imagine the stunning Doris Duke Honolulu bathroom without its Taj Mahal-inspired ceramic tiles. Meh, right? Or Marie-Antoinette’s Versailles checkerboard flooring of marble tiles without any checkerboard. Not exactly luxurious. Unsurprisingly, this seemingly simple design option holds the key to the castle’s design.
Bathroom tile ideas and styles have changed around the globe during the past decade, ranging from art deco-inspired to fancified subway tiles. While it’s true that even the most basic tile in white and square can look great in a bathroom, you can make the most of even the most modest powder rooms by using surprising tile designs.
No matter what you’re doing, do not feel uninterested. “Why pigeonhole yourself?” says San Francisco designer Regan Baker. “The beauty of tile and its many colors is that it offers a wonderful way to showcase your unique personality” Tiles that are currently trending she sees in the future: veined marble and custom-designed ceramic tiles with lots of movement, and delft tiles decorated with beautiful scenes. In addition, Roy Marcus, Artistic Tile brand ambassador: “The world of design has embraced natural stone in a vibrant palette, with blue, green, rose, even lilac marbles and quartzites.”
Also, it’s the perfect time to rev up your design engines. If you’re looking for inspiration to update your bathroom on a tight budget or are planning for an extensive renovation, we’ve rounded up 43 of our most-loved bathroom tile ideas to spark your creative look. Here are bathroom tile ideas that could help you kick off an entire cinematic transformation, including white subway tiles paired with vibrant grout to a variety of pattern tiles in a variety of unexpected ways.
The most well-known bathroom tile?
To give visual interest to the walls of your shower, “most of our clients lean toward rectangular, brick-shaped tile in a solid color,” says Audrey Scheck, founder and CEO of Austin-based Audrey Scheck Design. “The wide variety of installation options–including straight stack, offset brick pattern, chevron, and herringbone–allows for even a solid-colored tile to bring interest to the space.” Scheck has noticed an increase in graphic and distinctive bathroom tiles, but only in areas where they can significantly impact, like shower niches and shower floor tiles. “Using a more striking tile in smaller doses is a great opportunity to infuse a space with character and personality,” she explains. Baker mentions Fez tile’s popularity is growing “because it has a glazed, handmade look that allows more variance in color, which creates a visual feeling similar to that of a heather blanket.” She likes the striking look crafted with a thinner grout.
Which color of the tile is the best for your bathroom?
“Lighter-colored tiles are always a wonderful option to keep things airy, but if it’s a moody bathroom, you’re aiming for dark, saturated colors, which will work just as well–so long as they’re paired with great lighting,” says Megan Prime, principal of JAM, a Brooklyn-based interior and architecture firm. JAM. Are you unsure whether to use natural light or an accent color? Scheck’s approach is fun: “We love the contrast of mixing light and dark tiles within the same room. We often choose a darker tile for the bathroom floor and lighter wall tiles to draw the eye upwards.” Consider it one of the most beautiful worlds.
Are there advantages to using big or small tiles for a bathroom with a small?
Baker adds that tiles with smaller sizes are usually ideal for bathrooms with smaller spaces to ensure a perception of scale. “They also create more texture that doesn’t feel cheap.” Prime considers the architectural dimensions of the area to determine the size of the tile. “For instance, for larger bathrooms, we suggest tiles with a slightly larger scale; for smaller bathrooms, we may choose a mosaic or a smaller subway tile to give the illusion of more space,” she states. Small tiles provide more than just aesthetic benefits, particularly for flooring tiles. Scheck says: “For shower floors specifically, we use a smaller mosaic tile so that there are ample grout joints to prevent slipping.”
Punch on penny tile
“A rectangular cabinet would have felt out of place,” Mckenzie states. However, the curvy design of his custom-designed bathroom perfectly matches the smooth walls. “The curves create a gentleness in the bathroom while using a contemporary architectural language informed by the arches, ornament, and details of the heritage house.”
Instead of the typical sharp-angled corners, Mckenzie picked the rounded edges. “We used a standard 90-degree plaster cornice to finish the corners, then wrapped them in round penny tiles,” Mckenzie says. “The result is quite fluid and softens the feel of the room.” Another benefit? There was less waste – there was the need not to cut tiles like you would for regular corners.
The bathroom in this 19th-century house, designed and built by Melbourne-based architect Thomas Mckenzie who is the director of his firm Winwood Mckenzie–is decorated with a variety of shades of pink underfoot to add a splash of color; however, it’s the curves that create visual interest. “We used a standard 90-degree plaster cornice to finish the corners, then wrapped them in round penny tiles,” Mckenzie states. “The result is quite fluid and softens the feel of the room.” Another benefit? It’s less waste, as there’s the need not to cut tiles like the usual corners.
If you’re among those who believe in more is more, look at this chinoiserie pattern created by New Ravenna: It’s an essential dose of spring all year round with the intricate bird and flower designs that make the perfect accent wall. The creative director of New Ravenna, Cean Irminger: “We reinterpreted our popular chinoiserie in new jewel colors for a fresh pastel fantasy version of the design.”
Soak with fashion
To get a different approach to the checkerboard, consider the slick black-and-white hand-chopped stone mosaic from New Ravenna The Heritage Collection.
Paging Venus goddesses. If you’ve always wanted to recreate the baths of old Rome in a contemporary way, you should think about New Ravenna’s Palatium, made of hand-cut mosaic stones. “The ancient patterns of Rome inspired Platinum,” Irminger claims. “This pattern is a two-color mosaic version to represent the ancient textures and inspiration.”