We're all looking for the perfect bathroom ideas to ensure we can relax and unwind in style, but that doesn't mean we have to stick to boring white across the board.
In fact, bathroom tile ideas can give us the freedom to create a space that is full of colour, pattern and personality, as well as the break up the room into different zones.
Diane Hyde, Marketing Manager at Craven Dunnill says, 'Tiles are beautiful pieces of art on their own and have the power to utterly transform a room. If you’re looking to experiment with bold colours and decors and inspired layouts and patterns, the bathroom is the perfect space to make a distinctive design statement that is uniquely individual.'
'Bringing texture up onto the walls through tiles adds tactility and allows light to beautifully reflect off the glazes, bringing vitality to a space. Whether you’re looking to go bright and bold or simple and classic, tile offerings come in a whole range of elegant designs to suit all types of homes.'
Design enthusiast Thea loves writing about all aspects of interior design, and is a font of knowledge when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms. As well as her own design know-how and keen eye for a great idea, Thea interviewed key industry experts including Damla Turgut from Otto Tiles, Barrie Cutchie, Design Director at BC Designs and Diane Hyde, Marketing Manager at Craven Dunnill for this article.
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. Pair simple subway tiles with luxe marble
The pairing of a simple dark green subway tile, with the more luxurious material of marble, makes for a winning look in a bathroom. Positioning the subway tiles in a zig-zag formation, a contemporary tile layout pattern, adds interest and using a white grout links them to the cool shade of the marble.
Louisa Swannell, head of creative design at Walls & Floors explains one of the trends they are currently seeing in their client's bathrooms. 'Cool jewel hues such as teal and blue, in varying forms of subway-style tiles, are often paired with luxurious marble notes to create a boutique hotel aesthetic. The wide choice now available offers a variety of finishes including chic matt finish bricks and even more traditional zellige styles. The beauty of subway styles is they can be reinvented across different interior trends due to the versatility in laying patterns allowing them to stay as an iconic bathroom feature for 2024 and beyond.'
2. Opt for rectangular shapes in a shower
If you're looking for shower tile ideas, think about mixing up the shapes of your tiles from square or classic metro.
Diane Hyde at Craven Dunnill says, 'The current trend for small rectangular tiles laid vertically or in a brick effect can be particularly striking and very effective in a shower enclosure. Patterned tiles and decors are also perfect for creating a statement shower enclosure that makes any bathroom stand out. While I wouldn't recommend textured tiles or natural stone in this space, slip-resistant tiles are a perfect alternative to a shower tray or wet room.'
3. Lean towards large-scale tiles
While smaller-scale tiles are great for creating pattern and adding personality to your bathroom, large-scale tiles are your go-to for making a space seem larger.
Colin Lincoln-Evans, buyer at Tile Mountain explains, 'There’s a rise in the popularity for large format tiles being installed in bathrooms regardless of the room’s size. These tiles create real impact, and due to the fewer number of grout lines necessary for their installation, they create an air of space and a seamless aesthetic especially when the same tiles are used on both walls and floors.”
Here the homeowner has opted for large-scale tiles for their bathroom floor tile idea, which works well paired with the smaller hexagon tiles used on the wall.
4. Plump for pink
When looking at different colour bathroom tile ideas, it's good to know what's currently popular to aid your own choice for your bathroom. Grey bathroom ideas have been popular for some time but adding in a little more warmth might be the way to go this year.
Abbas Youssefi, director of Porcelain Superstore says, 'We are seeing a real surge in demand for pink tiles, in particular lighter blush pinks.'
'Terracotta is also enjoying a massive comeback when it comes to floor tiles, perhaps as it is warm and comforting. Marble-effect tiles remain huge, but we’ll see slightly different takes to make them stand out from the crowd, including veining in distinctive colours.'
5. Turn to terrazzo
Terrazzo is a trend that pops up in all areas of interiors, so it's no surprise that it would be a popular choice for bathrooms too. While some may feel its print is a little overwhelming, you can opt to use it sparingly (or not!) so it's a fairly versatile pattern.
It also works well with light wood tones for a Scandi-inspired look.
6. Max out on floor and wall tiles
You don't have to play it safe in a bathroom just because it's a practical room, in fact actually when it comes to bathroom tile ideas, you can get as creative as you like! Whether you use small or large tiles and just how you use them, is totally up to you so throw out the rule book and be brave!
Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs explains, 'There is no hard and fast rule as to whether small or large tiles are more popular in bathroom design. Instead, homeowners are choosing tiles they love and are being very creative in their use of them, including using different sizes and styles within the same space.'
Here the homeowner has opted for a wet room style design with square green tiles lining the walls, contrasted with on-trend geometric floor tiles - an excellent modern bathroom tile idea.
7. 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 tiles, as a multitude of tiny tiles in addition to a bright colour can feel overwhelming.
If you don't want to cover everywhere, keep a section of the wall bare to paint in a complementary shade.
8. 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, or on, a unit is the most natural space for this. Choose a patterned tile to make sure the gaze knows directly where to go.
9. 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.
10. Extend floor tiles up the wall
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 way 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.
11. 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 a trending tone, like pink, to make even more of a statement.
12. 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.
13. 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.'
14. 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.
15. 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!
16. 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.'
17. 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.
18. Define zones with wall tiles
Let your tiles determine the different zones within a bathroom layout. Use a tiled wall signify the sink area, like here where the playful green and white tiles define the shower area while the pared-back white subway tiles line the rest of the room.
This works well as a small bathroom idea because it helps to create a sense of space, giving each zone more presence.
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. 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.
What is the most popular tile for bathrooms in 2024?
Key bathroom tile trends are emerging as homeowners search to inject personality to their homes. So what to look for? Firstly the trend for earthy colour palettes and geometric shapes is growing in popularity as we look to more energetic ways of achieving a zen-like space.
'Bathrooms in 2024 will not be confined to clinical white tiles, instead you’ll see designs that boast confidence and are decorated in vibrant tones. Primary colours are back, and here to brighten your day,' advises Ashley Cooper, marketing director at Triton Showers.
'Funky tile layouts, pops of colour, geometric towels and rainbow accessories create a technicoloured bathroom delight. If you’re feeling bold, introduce murals to your walls, such as a door lip in a bright hue – adding this wave design will test the creative boundaries of the bathroom.'
Which colour tiles are best for a bathroom?
Pink and green have been massively popular colours for bathroom tiles in recent years, and we don't see this slowing down. However, there's a new trend for earth-toned shades emerging, with terracotta creating a warm and inviting modern bathroom design. It's a new way of bringing nature into the bathroom and it's easy to style.
'Earth-inspired hues have a natural appeal in the bathroom as they create an inviting and serene atmosphere while providing a neutral colour base that avoids being one-dimensional. Don’t shy away from experimenting with textures and materials with this trend, as it will help add interest,' Ashley adds.
'Depending on personal preference you can work with either a warm or cool palette to achieve an earthy look. Consider traditional warm colours like terracotta and hickory or delve into the other end of the colour wheel with muted tones like sage green, cashmere, taupe and stone grey.'
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
Are large or small tiles best for a bathroom?
There's no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a tile size, it's all about personal preference, how much grout you want to see and what space you're working with.
Grazzie advises large tiles as the way to go. 'Larger tiles are certainly having a real moment in bathrooms, think mesmerising coloured porcelain like the jade green marble effect in our California and Marble Luxe collections. Super low maintenance and they open up a small space effortlessly.'
Laura agrees. 'Clients are more and more interested in larger format tiles as they can create real drama in the room and the fewer grout lines you have, the easier your bathroom is to maintain and keep clean. Large format tiles look particularly stunning when bookmatched as they draw the eye in and create a focal point within the room.'
But Ruth is leaning towards small. 'Small scale tiles are currently proving popular for use within a bathroom. Sizes around the 20x20/10 x10 cm mark alway gives a considered layered look.'
Which tile idea is top of your wishlist? Do you want to go bold with colourful geometric patterns or stick to simple subway tiles for a super chic look?
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Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years.
She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.
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