If there's one simple detail that transforms the style of any bathroom, it's tile. Subway tile is always a classic choice; laying it in a vertical pattern gives it a modern edge. Square ceramic tiles are a bit retro, especially in pastel colors, like avocado green and robin's egg blue. Natural stone configurations, whether in floor-to-ceiling swathes or lain as accents in strategic spots, serve luxury elegance. And two different bathroom tile designs, executed side-by-side, within a single space, can be even more impactful than just the one. So whether you're planning to achieve a magazine-worthy bathroom overhaul, or simply giving one a pretty face-lift, then it's high time you get creative.
You could go simple and classic or bold and high-end, but kicking off your project by digging into tile colors and layouts is one of the best parts of the whole design process. These 20 bathroom tile ideas will galvanize and inform your next bathroom redesign—and are all the inspiration you need.
Vertically laid tiles are unexpected and modern. And the sleek, smoky, gray stone slabs alongside the irregular surfaces of the Moroccan rectangular zellige wall tiles (no two are alike) in this spa-like shower room is a striking juxtaposition.
The square, mint-green ceramic-tile walls (and ceiling) are giving us a high-end, communist-era, spa-slash-locker-room vibe.
Designing sans color is a timeless approach. Vertical white tile pops against the surrounding black bathroom walls, chrome fixtures, and provides an interesting line of demarcation (and cleaner feel) for the shower stall.
Triple The Tile
This traditional Art Deco-era tile design mimics those seen in many typical pre-war, New York City bathrooms. Here, three variously-sized tiles are mixed to create a wholly clean, comforting, and visually interesting bathroom.
Tiny squares in shimmering, mermaid's tail shades of green creatively dot the floor and travel up the wall, unifying a space that might otherwise look disjointed. A mosaic-style tile design was the perfect choice in this shower room—it's the right balance of dissimilar and varied. The white iridescent tiles pick up the white on the ceiling and that of the oversized, square tiles.
Elongated polygonal tiles (which could pass for natural stone) modernize a no-frills farmhouse bathroom. Not every tile you choose needs to be square- or rectangle-shaped: Look for those you wouldn't normally consider to pump up the volume and see you out of a boring bathroom design rut.
Yes, there's a lot going on here—but it's all working. Sticking with the same material (in this instance, Cararra marble) and simply varying tile sizes is a luxe, European trick. The tiny, rectangular, mosaic-tile pieces on the floor against the deeply-veined subway tiles are eye-catching, textural, and tres opulent.
This all-gray, earthy, monochrome bathroom is looking very Zen-like, with the wabi-sabi nature of the square zellige wall tiles set side-by-side with smooth concrete-tile surroundings.
A Study In Contrasts
It takes a skilled hand to master a transitional-style bath—a mixture of traditional and contemporary—that's so evenly balanced. The placement of contrasting glass (modern), ceramic (classic), and natural stone (earthy) tiles, in small, medium, and large sizes, really works in this bathroom and shower area.
The encaustic-tile floor is made up of largescale geometric shapes that echo the smaller-scale wallpaper pattern. It single-handedly makes this traditional bathroom look more engaging and modern.
Crisp and Clean
Interior designer, Katherine Carter kept things simple by choosing just two different white tiles to outfit Lauren Conrad's all-white bathroom. Zellige subway-tile walls provide a nice, organic contrast to the polygonal floor tiles, which also cleverly line the ceiling of the shower stall.
Kelly Wearstler's black-and-white guest bathroom is, naturally, as opulent as it gets. Marble may be the material of choice for any luxury bathroom design, but its application here takes it to new heights because it forces the eye to travel upward.
Instead of a straight-lay pattern (aka side-by-side, in a straight line), every piece is laid on a 45-degree diagonal (aka diamond pattern), which works very nicely in smaller bathrooms. Keep in mind, however, this type of tile design creates more waste (because of all the cuts needed) and requires precision in terms of its initial planning and execution.
We're not sure where else this unique insect wallpaper would be appropriate (a little boy's room, perhaps?). But Carter lets it do the work in this smaller bath while opting for marble penny-sized hex tiles underfoot (which create a pebbled, rocky look) and elevates them with thick, beveled baseboards in the same color and material.
Ho-hum white subway tile (with gray grout) takes a back seat to printed, Moroccan cement tiles—covered in triangles—that form a vaguely Southwestern design. The floor is bold, and the white walls very simply, chicly complement it.
Although this traditional bath by designer Catherine Kwong isn't spacious per se, she creates a dark, moody color story that sees the walls visually receding, and the shower stall really exemplifies her technique. Slate-gray tiles stretch to the ceiling in the stall while a bordered, intricate diamond pattern on the floor also pulls the smaller gray pieces into the neutral travertine tile for continuity.
Grout, too, plays a huge role in the design of this black, white, and gray bathroom. (If you want to take any bathroom tile design further, experiment with multicolored grout.) High-gloss black subway tile is super-chic with white grout, which highlights the neo-basket-weave pattern framing for the bathtub that's also echoed in the upper walls of the shower area. Super-tiny, mosaic-style Cararra-marble tiles line the floor, adding further contrast and texture.
Pale ceramic polygonal tiles, in three colors, form a pretty, honeycomb pattern on the floor of this sauna-cum-bathroom. It's a nice, affordable choice of materials that grounds the large space. Tiled walls, in both square and rectangle shapes, isn't an obvious choice here, but they still work—perhaps because they're white.
Before you start your next bathroom tile project, experiment by placing samples of varying shapes and sizes next to one another to better envision the final result—what you discover, and like, may very well surprise you.