Bathroom flooring ideas need to be both durable and beautiful. It must be able to withstand the testing conditions of high moisture and humidity levels without these affecting its appearance or performance.
When it comes to a bathroom, slip resistance is also key. ‘A high slip-resistant tile (at least R11) is essential. Layouts with more grout lines also help to maximise grip,’ says Grazzie Wilson, head of creative at Ca’ Pietra. ‘Ensure that you seek advice from suppliers about tanking in a wet room, too.’
From elegant stone and colourful tiles to warm wood, there is a flooring option to suit every style of bathroom and age of home.
Grazzie has worked in the interior industry for over a decade. Now at Ca’ Pietra – one of the UK’s leading stone and tile brands – she heads up creative, overseeing product collections as much as its distinctive brand look and feel.
From forming its in-house paint brand, Proper Good Paint and shaping everything from tone of voice and trend-led shoots to bestselling collabs with all the names-to-know – not to mention seeing fashion powerhouse Rixo line its flagship store with Ca’ Pietra tiles.
Bathroom flooring ideas
When it comes to flooring, bathroom tile ideas lead the way. Porcelain and stone tiles are highly durable, waterproof and available in a colourway and pattern to suit every style of interior. However, these are not the only options.
Rubber, vinyl, linoleum, cork and marmoleum are warm underfoot, affordable, waterproof and easy to keep clean. And if you love wood flooring ideas, then wood-look porcelain and engineered wood offer the perfect solution.
Hardwood and laminate are not ideal in a bathroom, as they are susceptible to warping when frequently exposed to water.
1. Combine durability and warmth with wood-look porcelain
If you love the warmth of wood flooring but want to install it in a busy family bathroom or a wetroom, then wood-look tiles offer a more durable bathroom flooring. Crafted from porcelain, they can also be paired with underfloor heating. For a more authentic look, opt for a design that features tactile graining rather than just displaying a printed image. Pictured is Porcelain Superstore’s timber oak wood-effect tile with the BC Designs copper boat bath with enamel interior.
Installing wood-look porcelain tile is not any different from installing any other bathroom tiles - however, knowing how to tile a bathroom floor is a must.
2. Create a statement with an intricate pattern
When balanced correctly, bold bathroom floor tile ideas can create an eye-catching statement. Here, dark bathroom wall ideas lets the bright Eltham tiles from Original Style shine. White sanitaryware, gold brassware and houseplants all draw on accents in the tiles for a harmonious scheme.
3. Use different tiles to create zones
In a large bathroom, flooring can be used to define zones. Here, striking chequerboard tiles on the floors and walls – Maroc in Aquamarine and Bianco from Ca’Pietra – create a cocooning area for bathing. The bold pattern is perfectly balanced by the stone-look Tisbury porcelain bathroom flooring, elsewhere in the room and offers is a simple room divider idea.
4. Embrace the warmth of terracotta
Terracotta has been used underfoot for centuries and is famed for its impressive durability. A perfect bathroom flooring, terracotta tiles are naturally impervious to mould; however, they need sealing every few years to ensure they remain waterproof and prevent decay. Alternatively, these porcelain anti-slip Marrakesh bricks in Light Matt from The Baked Tile Co, emulate the look and are also mould-resistant but require no sealing.
5. Get the look with durable and affordable LVT
Luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, offers an affordable alternative to traditional tiles. A popular utility room flooring, it is warm underfoot, highly durable and the lack of grout makes it an easier-to-clean bathroom flooring. This Larkspur pattern draws on the designs of handpainted Moroccan tiles from Harvey Maria.
6. Add history with reclaimed flooring
Oozing with many years of history, reclaimed flooring will instantly ground your bathroom design.
‘Vintage tiles all have slight variations, wonderful depths of colour, and an aged patina gained over the decades – it is these qualities that immediately add a sense of heritage charm to any room,’ says Chris Brooke, owner-founder at Maitland & Poate, who can also recreate antique designs. ‘Reclaimed encaustic cement tiles don’t demand any special care – a simple wipe down with a non-acidic flooring cleaner is all that is required,’ he adds.
7. Introduce warmth with engineered wood flooring
Wood flooring is loved for the warm atmosphere that it brings to a room; however, it is also vulnerable to swell in hot and humid climates.
If you are set on bringing authentic wood onto your bathroom flooring, then opt for an engineered design. ‘Its multi-layered construction means it is less likely to shrink or swell in high-moisture rooms,’ says Edward Eagle, global sales director, at Havwoods. ‘However, only use timber in well-ventilated rooms and avoid standing water to ensure longevity.'
From joining Havwoods in 2012, Edward has taken up the mantle co-leading the rapidly growing residential sales team who works with architects, designers, contractors, installers and, of course, homeowners ensuring all clients receive the very best experience when choosing their floor finishes. His passion for interiors shines through in his work, and is a firm believer that "home is where the heart is".
8. Opt for marble for added luxury
Marble bathroom ideas are renowned for their luxurious appearance and a marble bathroom flooring will instantly elevate the look of the other elements in the room.
‘Marble is a highly durable floor choice so long as it is sealed every three years,’ says Isabel Fernandez, director at Quorn Stone. Seen are its Parisian marble tiles. Due to its high cost, marble is particularly well-suited to en-suite bathroom ideas.
9. Embrace the beauty of handmade tiles
Handmade tiles are beautifully unique and while more expensive than machine-made designs, a bathroom’s smaller floor plan means it will be less of a strain on your budget. They are also incredibly durable and will last for generations – perfect for your forever home. These tiles were crafted by Aldershaw and are laid in the IX Broad Lattice pattern.
10. Select durable flooring for a wetroom
Wet room flooring plays by different rules to that of a conventional bathroom as the whole room needs to be totally watertight. ‘So long as you are working with an experienced installer, you shouldn’t have problems,’ explains Fae Young, senior designer at Ripples, who designed this space.
‘I always advise installing underfloor heating in the walk-in shower area, too – it is both lovely underfoot and will help to dry out the grout lines.’ When it comes to wetroom bathroom flooring, porcelain tiles are ideal – they can tolerate standing water, are highly durable and are compatible with underfloor heating. Ensure your tiles have a rating of at least R11 to reduce slip risk. For similar chequerboard tiles as seen here try Artisans of Devizes.
11. Try on trend cork
For a truly unique bathroom flooring, try cork.
Popular in the 1960s and 1970s, cork is back in a big way and is one of the most eco-friendly floor options around. This had led to it being one of the most extremely popular modern bathroom flooring ideas.
An interesting or unusual floor can give your bathroom personality without overpowering the space. There are many options available to choose from that are appropriate – waterproof, durable, and attractive. When teamed with a white bathroom suite, a statement floor can add style points for a relatively small outlay
12. Be bold with pattern
Patterned tiles aren't just for walls, they are the perfect way to make a statement on bathroom flooring too. This bold green flooring is the star of this bedroom (pun intended). Complement a large bold pattern on the floor with paired-back wall tiles that mimic the design. Play with different tile shapes and sizes to add interest and texture.
13. Work wonders in a small bathroom
There are lots of different schools of thought when it comes to small bathroom tile ideas. Small mosaics are often believed to be an easy way to make your bathroom feel bigger – such as in this beautiful space designed by Laura Stephens.
However, large format tiles can also have an enlargening effect. Large format tiles with fewer grout lines can make a space feel bigger, especially when in a light colour. 'Light-coloured tiles can make a small room look bigger as they reflect more light than darker colours, giving an airy and spacious feel,' says Jo Oliver-Singh, Director of Stone & Ceramic Warehouse.
14. Pair with underfloor heating
Underfloor heating is fast becoming the most popular choice for bathroom flooring. There's nothing worse than stepping onto a cold floor in winter - plus, a wet floor dries quicker with underfloor heating, and you don't need radiators if you have heated floors.
There are two systems to choose from: 'wet', where the floor is heated by hot water pipes under the floor. And 'dry', where electric cable is laid down. Both systems need to be installed by a professional. Speak to your bathroom designer or builder about which is best for your home.
15. Durable and decorative porcelain
A cheaper alternative to stone, porcelain is easy to maintain and comes in a wide range of colours and finishes. You can buy packs of tiles in bulk and you won't need to worry about sealing after grouting, like you do with stone. Ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles can also imitate the look of natural stone. Porcelain is more hardwearing than ceramic tiles and better for high traffic areas.
16. Take to durable Tadelakt
Tadelakt is a decorative, water-resistant plaster originally made in Marrakech. Its seamless, subtly marbled surface is perfect for bathrooms and it sets off the clean angles of this white vanity unit beautifully. The muted shade creates a simple, yet sophisticated look.
17. Style a bathroom floor with slate
Traditional slate can create a smart surface for a contemporary bathroom. Slate will need cleaning and resealing when it shows signs of wear - always use cleaning products recommended by your floor's manufacturer.
What is the best type of flooring for a bathroom?
Porcelain or ceramic tiles are the best type of flooring for a bathroom.
'If you’re the sort who wants to make life as easy on yourself as possible when it comes to upkeep, then the best bathroom tiles for you will be porcelain or ceramic. Tough as old boots, these man-made alternatives to natural stone are as easy as pie to live with and suit bathrooms to a tee. Robust, hardwearing, and most importantly, water-resistant (especially porcelain with its low absorption properties), both porcelain and ceramic tiles come in a huge range of colours and shapes so there’s plenty to choose from,' says Grazzie.
Does bathroom flooring go under toilet?
If possible bathroom flooring should go under the toilet, this will result in a slick finish and will be easier to clean as you won't have gaps where the toilet meets the tiles.
What is the current trend in bathroom floors?
When it comes to bathroom tile trends, Grazzie Wilson says it's all about maximalism. 'Maximalist pattern, whether that’s through the shape your tiles are cutting – think hexagons on repeat – or the pattern they’re forming when pieced together. Now take that visual interest and go large, choosing tiles that can run from floor to wall so that pattern envelops your room and anybody who’s in it,' says Grazzie.
What flooring is best for a family bathroom?
Durability is key in a family bathroom and nothing can compete with porcelain tiles.
'Wood-effect porcelain floor tiles are a popular choice for family homes as they create a warm welcoming feel, whilst being safe underfoot. Many of our wood-effect floor tiles have a textured surface with a very high anti-slip rating which is essential in a family bathroom,' advises Jo Oliver-Singh, Director of Stone & Ceramic Warehouse. 'For a practical family bathroom, with a high-end feel, consider combining a classic wood-effect floor with a statement wall tile.'
What is the easiest flooring to install in a small bathroom?
'When it comes to laying a floor in a small bathroom, you definitely have options. If you love a mosaic, then make sure you buy one that comes on a pre-arranged mesh sheet for ease of installation. Larger format tiles will mean less grouting (which is always a plus) – but you will need to consider the layout of tiles, as well as the size of tiles, to determine which size to go for – if you can find a tile that requires fewer cuts, that’s always helpful,' says Grazzie.
Get the Ideal Home Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house makeovers, project advice and more.
Holly is one of Ideal Home’s content editors. Starting her career in 2018 as a feature writer and sub-editor for Period Living magazine, she has continued this role also adding regular features for Country Homes & Interiors and the Ideal Home website to her roster. Holly has a passion for traditional and country-inspired interiors – especially kitchen design – and is happiest when exploring the countryside and hills of the Lake District. A keen gardener, she is a strong believer that you can never have too many houseplants.
- Jennifer EbertDeputy Editor
5 plants to prune in December to start the New Year with a healthy and happy garden
Give your plants some TLC this winter
By Lauren Bradbury
5 mistakes experts say to avoid when squeezing a Christmas tree into a small space
Say hello to the mistakes you’re making if your Christmas tree is in a small room
By Kayleigh Dray
Argos is having a huge sale on festive bedding – and prices start from just under £20!
Bundle up this Christmas for less
By Jullia Joson