Considering you don’t spend altogether that much time in the space (except of course for those glorious long bubble baths!), a bathroom is the ideal place to get experimenting with some new and exciting designs. Bathroom tile ideas are an easy – and often very affordable way – to change it up and create a trend-led, stylish space.
Tiled bathroom ideas can be simple but effective, providing he perfect opportunity to get creative with accent colour, pattern and texture. Plain, coloured tiles, either on the floor or on the bathroom walls, will look chic and sophisticated, while patterned tiles add character and interest.
Bathroom tile ideas
Whether you’re starting your bathroom from scratch, renovating an existing space, or simply looking for an easy update, one of these bathroom tile ideas is sure to work for you.
1. Play with scale
A great way to add interest with tiles in even the smallest of bathrooms is to mix and match with scale. Take whatever shape of tile you’re using on the floor and then find the identical shape in a smaller scale to act as a splashback behind the sinks.
Make sure that you choose two tiles with quite distinct size differences for the biggest impact. You can switch up colours, too, but keep it cohesive by keeping the two areas in the same general sector of the colour wheel.
2. Create colourful impact
Colour drenching is the go-to term right now for painting rooms. Take inspiration from this style by using colourful tiles to cover almost every (or go for it and do every!) surface in the bathroom. Don’t go too small with your individual tiles, as a multitude of tiny tiles in addition to a bright colour can feel overwhelming.
If you don’t want to cover absolutely everywhere, keep a section of the wall bare to paint in a complementary shade.
3. Attract the eye
Let’s face it, there are a lot of areas in a bathroom which just aren’t that exciting, but you need to have them out of necessity. Use tiles to direct the eye to one particular area of the room. This will be the main place guests will look at if you’re showing them around and, on a day to day basis, it’s where your eye will most naturally be drawn.
The area behind a vanity unit is the most natural space for this, mirrored surfaces tend to be a focal point anyway. Choose a patterned tile to make sure the gaze knows directly where to go.
4. Experiment with laying patterns
Even the most simple tiles can offer up a world of possibilities if you’re willing to think outside the box when laying them in patterns. If you love cool, geometrics, rather than buying tiles pre-made in those shapes, why not play around with other tiles and see what you can create.
This is a wonderful way to get a unique and striking look. For inspiration, many tile companies can show you innovative ways of mixing and matching tiles together to create beautiful patterns.
5. Zone with floor tiles
In a larger bathroom, you can actually use floor tiles to visually zone the space. Perhaps you have one style around the bathing area and another running from the shower to the sink. This is a great way to break up otherwise bland floor space when working out how to plan a bathroom.
There’s a multitude of ways to use tiles in this way. You could use one colour in two different shapes for a subtle approach, or two distinct tiling patterns for a more dramatic look. Contrasting grout will help draw the visual boundary even further.
6. Mix and match styles
There’s a time and a place for subtlety, and it’s up to you when that is. Since you don’t spend all day in a bathroom, why not use this opportunity to have a little fun and experiment in a way you might not in a space like a living room or a kitchen. Mix and match your favourite colours, shapes and patterns to give the room personality.
There are no rules if you’re taking this route – just whatever will bring you joy when you step in through that door each morning.
7. Take it from the floor
Beautifully simple floor tiles often get, for lack of a better phrase, swept under the rug. Make more of an impression with these classic additions by taking the same tiles right up onto the walls and built-in storage units.
Avoid taking the tiles all the wall up the wall, especially if they’re in a neutral tone, as it will make the room feel cold and uninviting. Paint the upper two thirds of the wall, or choose one of the bathroom wallpaper ideas.
8. Create pattern with veining
Pattern isn’t just what we find printed on tiles, you can take it straight from nature. Marbles and other stones have wonderful veining or other natural marking which create stylishly organic free flowing shapes.
While marble bathroom ideas already a form of pattern, up the ante a little more by choosing two contrasting colours of marble, like black and white, so that the veining mirrors each other.
9. Decorate insets
If you want to add a little extra subtle interest to your bathroom tiling, or just want a quick update to your space, decorate wall insets. Just as painting the cavities of shelving units is becoming a popular trick, by tiling the back of a nook in a different patten, you create an unexpected interest.
Since these unsets are usually fairly small, to stop this from feeling jarring, stick to tiles in the same colour palette as the rest of your walls, then go wild with the shapes and laying patterns.
10. Create an ombre effect
Try this imaginative bathroom tile idea to create a sunset-effect. Mixing soft apricots and sunny yellows, blush pinks and berry tone tiles is a creative way to add colour and warmth to the space in style.
Founder of Otto Tiles & Design Damla Turgut shares her insight behind the design,’I love sunsets, who doesn’t, and the sunsets in my home country of Turkey are my favourite.I wanted to recreate the mix of vibrant colours and show how they blend together using tiles. Creating a stunning ombre effect, the idea is simple yet striking.’
11. Style a sink splashback
As you would do in the kitchen, use your bathroom tiles as a sink splashback. A small square of tiles behind the sink area is enough to add a decorative element to enhance a bathroom scheme.
The look can be as subtle or as bold as you desire. More than just looking good the tiles also help to protect walls, from the splashes of everyday sink use.
12. Tile over imperfections
There’s nothing worse than creating the perfect bathroom scheme only for exposed ugly pipes to let the look down. Where possible box pipework in to hide it out of sight (just ensure you can still access pipework for any maintenance).
A stylish way to disguise this clever concealment even further is by tiling the boxing in with the same tiles as used throughout the rest of the bathroom. This makes it feel like just any other wall – nothing to see here but a stylish tile!
13. Tile the bath
An effective bath panel idea to conceal the surround is to incorporate it into your tiling scheme. ‘Bath panel tiling is exactly what it says on the tin; it is adding tiles to the side of your bath,’ explains Barrie Cutchie, Design Director at BC Designs.
‘Whether in the same or contrasting style as the rest of your bathroom. The process involves using specialist tile backing board which won’t warp and requires a bit more effort than using standard bath panels, but it is often worth the extra effort.’
14. Take on the trends
Bathroom trends are a great place to start when considering your tiling, as they can help kickstart your inspiration for the space. There are a plethora of cool new trends already hitting the ground running for the year ahead, but once which isn’t going anywhere soon is this Insta-famous design.
These wonderfully inventive tiles can be rotated to make up to three entirely different designs. We particularly like this blush rose tile when paired with matt black furniture, white sanitary ware and grey accessories.
15. Wall tile to define zones
Let your tiles determine the different zones within a bathroom layout. Use a tiled wall signify the sink area, like here where the stylish black herringbone tiles create a feature wall from floor to ceiling to house the sink and all the elements to accompany it – taps and mirrors.
This works well as a small bathroom idea because it helps to create a sense of space, giving each zone more presence.
16. Match floors and walls with patchwork
If you decide to go with statement floor tiles you may wish to keep the rest of your tiling scheme plain, so as not to overpower the space. But to balance the look you can create a feature wall of matching patterned tiles to unify the designs, without using them all over.
In this bold bathroom the assorted colourful floor tiles are featured as a decorative panel within the shower enclosure, where the three-wide stripe is framed by plain white tiles.
17. Unite the elements
Bathrooms are a multifunctional space, where we tend to our everyday beauty regimes. The room is naturally zoned – the sink for washing hands and brushing teeth; the shower for our daily cleansing and the bath for an indulgent soak.
Using a decorative feature such as tiles to decorate these areas independently helps to unite them. This smart bathroom uses statement black square tiles to create a splashback for the sink, an enclosure for the shower and a decorative surround for the bath – giving equal purpose to each.
18. Break the mould with a unique layout
Use tiles to create a bespoke layout for your bedroom, one that feels right for you. There are no rules that just because you have a tiled floor it has to be the whole floor.
Likewise if using tiles on the wall you have the freedom to carve out your own style by using them in unique layout. Allow the placement of the tiles to zone the different areas within the space.
19. Fashion a feature wall
Use tiles in the same way as a statement wallpaper in a living room or bedroom, by creating a feature wall. Choose a more colourful or decorative tile to decorate just one wall to help to create a focal point. To keep the look balanced, tile your feature wall on the same wall as the sanitaryware.
20. Make it monochrome
Monochrome is a popular colour combination for bathrooms, largely because it’s so versatile and easy to live with. The best tile idea for monochrome bathrooms is to use bright white for walls and statement black tiles for flooring.
This look is especially good for small bathrooms, where the scheme injects plenty of personality without overwhelming the space. Try mixing different tiles shapes and sizes to add further design kudos.
21. Be bold with pattern
Be brave with pattern when tiling the floor first and foremost, because you can keep the rest of the room pared back to accommodate the presence of pattern. If you’re feeling really brave why not continue the same pattern into the shower cubicle to really add the wow factor.
22. Create interest with contrasting tiles
Can’t decide on one tile? Mix things up to add interest and texture to different surfaces. Use a different but coordinating tile for different purposes throughout the space.
Fun, hexagon tiles add a fresh and modern feel to any bathroom. Allow a larger hexagon tile to take centre stage by using this on a focal wall. When mixing tiles try sticking to a neutral colour palette such as white, pale grey and soft neutrals to prevent them from jarring.
23. Tile up to window height
If you want to immerse the room in colour but don’t want to make it feel overwhelming, simply take the tiling up to a mid-level height. In this traditional country-style bathroom sage green tiles inject enough colour without saturating the space.
The mid height trick works especially well when the floor features a busy floor tile. When using colour tiles on the bottom half we suggest sticking to a neutral paint shade for the top half of the wall, as not to draw too much attention away from the tiles below.
24. Form a pattern by mixing colours
Using the same tile in two different colours allows you the freedom to create your own pattern by mixing and matching. Create borders, alternate different sized stripes or work vertically, the choice is yours. Read how to grout wall tiles or regrout tiles – a step-by-step guide for decorating your own bathrooms.
25. Keep it simple with white tiles throughout
If you’re looking for a timeless look, tile all the walls in white to keep it clean and simple. Industrial style bathrooms are on trend for 2021 and a key part of the industrial look is stark white tiles and metal fittings. Contrast simple metro tiles with a bold black fixtures and fittings and a concrete look sink to add depth to the scheme.
26. Embrace a bold accent colour
Use tiles to welcome a vibrant splash of colour to an otherwise all-white bathroom. Take the tone of the tile as inspiration to paint the woodwork in a matching shade – as seen here in this blue bathroom. A sea of aqua accessories help to tie in the splashes of blue.
27. Get creative with mosaic tiles
For an opulent bathroom, mosaic-style tiles are perfect for creating a statement splashback. You can invest in individual mosaic style and be creative with the pattern. However, many stores sell mosaic tiles as sheets that are easier and quicker to use.
28. Choose a characterful geometric tiled floor
Geometric floor tiles add a contemporary and colourful element to this predominantly white bathroom scheme. They give the room a dynamic edge and the bold design makes the room look wider. The wall tiles are kept simple in white to allow the floor tile to be the hero.
29. Pick one shade to coordinate different finishes
Go for gleaming metallic tones and shimmering greys for a bathroom with glamour. Choose a single tile colour and look for designs in two contrasting textures or finishes.
Here, a grey textured design at the head and foot of the bath adds sparkle to the room, while the larger format version elsewhere provides a streamlined low-sheen, matt-finish contrast.
30. Say it with chevrons
For a truly contemporary look, explore alternative methods of tiling in unusual contrasting colours. Drop linear rows of tiles in favour of a chevron style to give your bathroom a unique and quirky appearance. If you don’t want to do a whole room, try a panel of blush pink, teal green and black tiles – the perfect chic backdrop for a large steel bath and ladder towel rail.
31. Show sparkle with mirrors
Wow! How glamorous is this? There’s no doubt that your bathroom would become a talking point with these mirrored and bevelled metro tiles that have more than a hint of Hollywood about them. Fit at a corner on two adjoining walls so they bounce reflections and light off each other and back into the room.
32. Make a feature of the fittings
Create a designer feel in your bathroom by using tiles to place emphasis on a statement item of furniture or a particular area. Assign mid grey tiles to your floor, plain cream to three walls and a mix of pebble tones to the fourth. The alternative tile treatment on the single wall creates a feature backdrop for a statement bath or basin.
33. Tile to the top
Why stop at dado height? Floor-to-ceiling tiling can turn a functional bathroom space into something far more appealing. Choose a colour all the family can live with and that will stand the test of time.
The pale green metro tiles in this bathroom are calming and a natural complement to wooden cabinetry. When tiling whole walls stick to a pale grout to prevent the space closing in.
34. Brave it with black
Use tiling to emphasise and accentuate the shape of a room. Put together a monochrome scheme using white fittings and black tiles and transform a compact space into a bathroom with a real sense of luxury.
Create a distinctive break between the two colours, and a low slanted ceiling becomes a feature rather than a problem element of the room.
35. Add invigorating accents
Tiles don’t have to be the main feature of a bathroom. Use them to introduce a touch of interest or a splash of colour. A bright white modern bathroom can run the risk of appearing too clinical, so fit a splashback of green mosaic tiles to introduce a shot of welcome colour that softens the overall look. Pick out the green in accessories too to create a cohesive feel.
Don’t make the most common tiling mistakes that can prove costly. as we show you how to avoid them.
36. Go high and low
Try metro-style tiles in mid grey for a modern bathroom with an industrial edge. Alternate tiles between dado and full ceiling height to match the different splashback and shower functions around the room. Keep the look co-ordinated by painting untiled sections of wall to match your grout. Pick a contrasting accent shade like zesty yellow for accessories.
37. Bring in the texture
As well as adding colour and pattern to a bathroom, tiles can also provide texture. Look for rough-finish designs in natural shades. These are perfect for creating a chic, spa-like feel in a neutral bathroom that might otherwise be too bland or clinical.
Enhance the impact of textured tiles by limiting their use to specific areas, such as around a bath or shower.
38. Create tiled feature walls
You don’t need to commit to just one style of tile in your bathroom. Here bright patterned tiles have been used to create a bold feature wall in the shower. The pattern has been teamed with sleek white tiles in the rest of the room for a striking finish.
39. Create a sanctuary with mosaics
Mosaic tiles will add interest to any bathroom, whether made up of different shades or one block colour. Try iridescent designs – their shimmering finish will add a sense of luxury to a one-shade bathroom colour scheme. Use behind a basin with a mirror and lighting to create a focal point. Choose earth tones to set a spa-like vibe.
40. Match tiles through materials
New technology has led to ultra-thin tiles that can be laid directly over existing flooring and wall tiles. Inkjet technology is used to faithfully replicate stone patterning, which means it is easy to have the classic look of stone without the drawbacks of weight, size limitations and cost. Large-format tiles are now available in sizes measuring up to 3m by 1m, and can be butted against each other to give a seamless finish.
What is the most popular tile for bathrooms in 2022?
Key bathroom tile trends are emerging as homeowners search to inject personality to their homes. So what to look for? Firstly the trend for alternative shapes is growing in popularity as tiles break away from standard field or rectangular shapes.
From mermaid-style scales to honeycomb and bamboo many of the most popular alternative shapes are inspired by nature. And on that note we also see the shades of mother nature playing a huge role in predicting the trends – with green being THE shade to look out for in 2022.
Which colour tiles are best for a bathroom?
The most popular colour bathroom tile remains white. Thanks to its timeless, inoffensive and clean looking aesthetic it lends itself to many different decor styles. This classic bathroom colour is a staple for bathrooms of all sizes, helping to make small spaces feel bigger and creating a blank canvas for larger bathrooms.
However, this year there are two other big trends coming through for bathroom colourways. The first is green. Inspired by nature, this will add a calming and restorative feel to the space. Ultra-dark colours are also having a moment, like onyx black and navy blue. This is an easy way to create drama and impact – just make sure you can light the space well.
What are the best tiles to use in a bathroom?
Many different tile materials work really well in a bathroom setting. LVT (luxury vinyl tiles) are very popular as they are at a lower price point than traditional tiles, but are warm underfoot and deal well with moisture. Ceramic and porcelains are still very common, although you do need to coat them properly to avoid chipping from occurring.
Other natural stones can be used to, but make sure you find either a non-porous type, or get a proper sealant involved. Glass tiles have a lovely appearance, but can be slippy, so are best used on splashbacks