Whatever size or style your bathroom may be, there’s a floor tile out there to suit. Finding your perfect bathroom tile idea is just the beginning. You’ll also need to consider the best installation style, grout colours, how to work it with the rest of your scheme, and much more. Our bathroom floor tile ideas cover all the different ways to enjoy this hardwearing, low maintenance option. Plus we’ve got plenty of tips from the experts along the way.
Installed correctly, bathroom floor tiles are completely waterproof, stain resistant and a breeze to keep clean. Ceramic and porcelain are the top material choices for low-fuss bathroom floors that won’t break the bank. But if you insist on encaustic or stone tiles, make sure they are very well sealed, and periodically re-sealed. This will keep them looking their best.
Bathroom floor tile ideas
When it comes to bathroom tile ideas, the good news is the availability of designs, colours and shapes is huge. And there are plenty of stunning tiles to suit tight budgets, too. The most successful bathrooms take advantage of the wide range of options now on offer.
‘With so many gorgeous tiles out there, choosing just one is sacrilege. It’s no longer unusual to see bathrooms with two or three different tile designs, and don’t be afraid to mix up surface texture and formats as well,’ says Mandarin Stone’s creative director Louisa Morgan.
Get inspired by these fabulous bathroom floor tile ideas and enjoy a fresh new look underfoot…
1. Embrace marvellous mosaics
Mosaics look gorgeous – that’s a given – but did you know they’re also a very practical choice, especially for shower tile ideas? ‘The increase in grout lines gives mosaics extra slip resistance compared to large format tiles and the added texture will help keep you safely up-right,’ says Grazzie Wilson, creative lead, Ca’ Pietra.
‘Look for tiles with high slip resistance – R10 or higher – especially in wet rooms designed for family use. Underfloor heating will make the experience more luxurious and can also aid the drying process, which again boosts safety underfoot. Do check floor tiles are compatible with underfloor heating before you buy,’ adds Grazzie.
2. Maximise the impact
Make the most of high impact bathroom floor tile ideas by selecting sanitaryware and furniture that is wall hung or on raised legs. ‘Wall hung toilets and vanity units are hugely effective in opening up floor space to pave the way for eye-catching tiles,’ says Emma Joyce, brand manager at House of Rohl.
‘Opting for a freestanding bath can also be an intelligent design decision. Unlike built-in baths, the flooring, and daylight, flows underneath,’ she adds. Here, the bath’s ball and claw feet are painted black, in line with the tiles beneath, which creates a floating effect that prevents the generous tub from dominating the room.
3. Explore unusual shapes
When thinking about how to tile a bathroom floor, consider tile shape. Interesting shapes can be used to create dynamic patterns, even on plain coloured tiles. Think hexagons, fish-scales, penny mosaics and chevron shape tiles. Bring the shape into sharp relief by using grout in contrasting tones.
In this bathroom, the grout switches from white against black on the floor, to black against white on the walls, lending a modern twist to classic monochrome décor. Simple, but incredibly effective.
4. Enjoy natural warmth
Nothing beats natural wood for introducing warmth and character but it’s not 100% practical in the bathroom. The good news is, thanks to advances in photographic and print technology, porcelain floor tiles now come in incredibly realistic wood-effect designs. Look for products with a textural finish – essentially a raised grain effect – to really fool the senses.
Porcelain tiles are readily available in authentic plank-like shapes in varied widths that are designed to be installed in a similar way to a planked floor, which again boosts realism. Real wood is naturally warm so the shock of a cold tile underfoot can be quite disconcerting – underfloor heating in a bathroom is the solution.
5. Keep colour on the down-low
Ready to embrace the patterned tile trend but afraid your smallest room might feel too busy? Experts recommend restricting pattern use to below eye level and leaving plenty of negative space to give the eye a chance to rest, while really making your statement tiles pop.
‘Brightly patterned tiles add colour, energy and character to the bathroom but if you don’t want to overdo it, keep the bold tile underfoot and leave the rest of the décor neutral so the floor is the main feature,’ says interior designer Fiona Duke.
6. Make the pattern flow
Placing tiles in an unstructured format is a brilliant way to achieve a softer, more fluid injection of colour. Here, the patterned tiles appear to flow, like water, around the bath and up for a bathroom wall tile idea, serving to highlight this bathroom’s key features.
Hexagonal tiles are your six-sided friend when connecting two materials in an undulating manner. Pair dark patterned tiles with plain field tiles to really emphasize shapeliness but make sure the tile joints are neatly cut. A crisp, neat connection is essential. ‘I love to see honeycomb tiles fuse in an irregular way, as if they are creeping across and melding together,’ says Kia Stanford, creative director of Kia Designs.
This is also a great installation technique when looking at how much does it cost to tile a bathroom to keep your budget on track as plain tiles are generally less expensive than patterned.
7. Size-up for sleekness
‘If you’re seeking a sleek, modern look, go for large format tiles; fewer grout lines will provide a more seamless finish,’ says Jane Addis, New Products & Design Manager at Original Style. Go for concrete-effect porcelain tiles in out-sized formats to mimic the contemporary look of poured concrete, without the maintenance issues.
When buying large format bathroom floor tile ideas, think about weight and the access route to your bathroom. It’s possible to buy porcelain tiles that measure 1.6m x 3.2m but they require at least two people to lift and can cause access issues, especially if there is a turn in your staircase. Large format tiles that range between 60cm x 90cm to 60cm x 120cm are better suited in domestic spaces.
8. Take it up the walls
Using the same tiles on both the floor and walls can increase the illusion of depth, making it a popular space-boosting technique for small bathroom tile ideas. Choose a tile in subtle colours to avoid an oppressive atmosphere and don’t be afraid to leave areas that won’t come into direct contact with water untiled.
An over-tiled bathroom will feel cold, echoey and sterile, even in the most enticing designs. Be sure to check your chosen tiles are suitable for both floor and wall use – it should be clearly indicated on the box or website but ask if you’re unsure.
9. Get onboard block tiling
In the same way that colour blocking with paint can boost the drama in your bedroom or living room, tile blocking in the bathroom is a simple but effective technique for dialling up design interest.
There are several ways to approach tile blocking, including switching colours, materials and textures but the key is to make the positioning of ‘block’ sections look purposeful. A block of tile framing a bath or basin works well, or you could go for a modern off-set installation, like Architects EAT have in this bathroom.
10. Switch your bath panel for mirror
Make a small area of bathroom floor tiles go a long way by installing a mirrored bath panel, as interior designer Clare Gaskin demonstrates here, in her own family bathroom.
‘We had the existing bath panel refitted with mirrored panels that are removable for access to plumbing. Not only does it make an even bigger feature of the vibrant patchwork floor tiles but it’s also a really practical surface in the bathroom – easy to clean and splashproof,’ enthuses Clare.
11. Coordinate colour
Use your floor tiles to lead the overall colour scheme for a cohesive bathroom that looks professionally put together. Concentrate the main colour hit on the floor, and then use border tiles, accessories and window treatments to bring the colour up the walls.
The secret to swerving an overly contrived, matchy-matchy bathroom is to avoid precise colour coordination. Mix up similar, but not exact, tones of the same colour for a relaxed, laidback vibe that’s more liveable.
12. Think about finishes
Colour, size and shape are all important considerations when choosing bathroom floor tile ideas, but smart designers also think about the surface finish when specifying tiles. Combining flat matt and high gloss tiles in the same project, like this shower room by Bert & May, brings an extra tactile twist to the design.
Installing matt tiles on the floor helps prevent slippage (gloss tiles are not recommended for use on bathroom floors), while the glossy wall tiles really open-up and brighten the dark green bathroom idea in this colour scheme.
13. Have fun with 3D
Graphic tiles with three-dimensional pattern are not for everyone; those who suffer from seasickness may find them particularly hard to stomach! But if they float your boat, the rewards in terms of impact are huge.
As the optical illusion is so commanding, 3D-effect tiles are an excellent choice if you’re trying to disguise awkward architecture, like sloping ceilings, in the bathroom. They can also help to make bathrooms appear larger, as long as you ensure clear views of the floor’s full footprint from front-to-back and side-to-side.
14. Stay chic with monochrome
Done well, black and white bathroom ideas are sophisticated, and add style to any bathroom floor. ‘Monochrome palettes are endlessly versatile, with the ability to look timelessly classic. Think simple checkerboard designs – or bold and modern,’ says Colin Roby-Welford, creative director of Fired Earth.
In this chic bathroom, the floor tiles (Patisserie by Fired Earth), provide geometric pattern that keeps the look modern. ‘The floor tiles beautifully complement the complex tones in the marble wall tiles, really bringing the monochrome palette together,’ adds Colin.
15. Link to the wall and ceiling colour
Colour matching bathroom floor tile ideas to the wall and then up to the ceiling is a bold move. If your bathroom has very high ceilings, which is often the case in period homes, bringing the ceiling colour down to picture rail height can make the space feel cosier and more inviting.
The dreamy grey-blue in this striking blue bathroom idea (Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra is similar) has also been used on the bath exterior, creating a sophisticated blue and white scheme enlivened by the iconic Lilypad pattern on the floor.
16. Design a tiled rug
Use tiles to create a rug-effect pattern and bring the comfort of the living room into the bathroom. ‘Sometimes a bathroom with a tiled floor can feel a little clinical. However, using contrasting colours to create a rug effect can add interest to the space,’ says Jo Sangster, senior designer, Ripples London.
‘We recommend mosaic tiles on a sheet, which will allow you to easily create a rug effect within the room. This could be taken further by creating a more intricate pattern with dotted black tiles in the centre of the ‘rug’ or even positioning the tiles to spell out words. The possibilities are almost endless.’
17. Change direction
A diagonal floor tile layout, where the tiles are aligned at a 45-degree angle to the wall, can yield big rewards in terms of first impressions. Laying tiles on the diagonal is a tried-and-tested technique for making small bathrooms appear larger by blurring the overall outline of the room. You can also use a diagonally tiled floor to disguise a bathroom where walls are out of square. This is because the tiles don’t need to run in a straight line at the edges so irregular walls are less obvious.
One downside of installing tiles at an angle is it’s considered much tougher to achieve smart results compared to working in straight lines, which could put off keen DIYers. If this is you, consider square tiles with a diagonal pattern, like these (Bert & May stocks similar) to ‘get-the-look’ without the stress.
18. Tap into terrazzo
Terrazzo is the style-led bathroom tile trend that burst back onto the interiors scene in 2018 and is still going strong. Its distinctive speckled design and pretty colours are eye-catching yet understated. Trend-watchers even predict terrazzo is set to become the next marble when it comes to enduring appeal. This makes it a go-to choice for modern bathroom tile ideas.
Climb aboard the terrazzo train for less with lookalike porcelain for your bathroom floor tile ideas. These are around half the price of traditional terrazzo per square metre and are easy to care for, too. ‘Traditional terrazzo often has limitations associated with cost and also the thickness of the tiles which can affect their usage,’ explains Louisa Morgan, creative director, Mandarin Stone. ‘Terrazzo inspired porcelain tiles are the perfect way to enjoy the visual impact of traditional terrazzo but with all the practicalities of a porcelain tile. Cleverly printed graphics on porcelain creates a very durable material, available in minimal thicknesses and with no maintenance.’
19. Add a border
Completing the edges of your tiled floor with a border provides a really neat finish and extra design interest. Many tile patterns come with a matching border tile, which is usually a design twist on the main tile but in the same colours. If a tile collection comes in various colour options, you can also use the border as an opportunity to change shades for a more impactful finish.
While you shouldn’t feel obliged to stick to the border designed to match your main tiles, if you go too far off track in terms of design or shape, the border can look misplaced, like you ran out of tiles! If in doubt, choose a plain border tile, which will have a smart, frame-like effect.
What are the best floor tiles for a bathroom?
Sure, you can use wood, laminate and even carpet (hello, 1980s) for your bathroom floors, but ceramic or porcelain tiles are the top choice when it comes to low-stress use and durability.
Next up, we’d recommend Luxury Vinyl Tiles, which have the added advantage of feeling warmer underfoot. Natural stone and encaustic tiles can also be used in bathrooms, but they usually require a little more maintenance. Many people find an annual brush of sealant worth the effort if they’ve fallen in love with a particular look.
What is better for bathrooms, ceramic or porcelain?
Although they often look similar, and both come in floor-friendly variants (do check before you buy), porcelain tiles are denser and less porous than ceramic so will be more hardwearing.
On the other hand, ceramic tiles are usually more affordable than porcelain and can prove easier to cut without the need to buy expensive power tools, making them popular with DIYers. Whichever you choose, look for a Porcelain Enamel Institute rating (PEI rating) of at least two; three is preferable on floors and is classified as ‘suitable for average domestic use’.