Although there are alternatives to shower tile ideas, such as waterproof panels, tiles are still the most popular choice – with so many fantastic shapes and colours to choose from. What you choose largely depends on the size of the room and the look you want to achieve. Your tile of choice could be used across the whole bathroom, or to create a contrast, or to zone the space.
Try using a different shaped bathroom tile idea in the shower to the rest of the room to create a designer look. A stylish shower tile idea can transform an ordinary room into something extra glamorous or create a calming vibe for showering at the end of the day.
Shower Tile Ideas
From colourful, strong patterns to muted, classic marble or natural stone, it all depends on your individual style as to what you choose for your shower tile idea. A touch of gold for a luxurious feel, using your favourite colour, or a simple, no-nonsense approach, the right tiles can make or break your shower room. Just ensure you choose correctly so they stand the test of time.
Bathroom tiles can bring interest and texture to a neutral room or could give your shower room the wow-factor. Is it an en-suite shower? Or does all the family use it? This could affect which tile idea you opt for.
It also depends on whether the shower room is the only bathroom in the house or whether it is an en-suite to a master bedroom or a second bathroom. If it’s an en-suite or an adults-only space, you can choose exactly what you want, as only you will see it, so you can choose a design that is personal to you, or with colours that team with the bedroom. Need some inspiration? Then read on.
1. Go for an all over look
Marble tiles have been popular since Roman times for their good looks and durability. Marble is a natural stone, so each tile is different, but they are expensive as they have to be quarried, and they are heavy, so now there are lots of lookalikes available in hard-wearing composite materials such as quartz, which are pretty indestructible and look like the real thing.
Choosing the same tile for the whole bathroom and not just the shower gives a cohesive look and works especially well in small spaces. Here it has been used on the floor as well. It’s the perfect tile for a spa hotel-style bathroom idea.
‘Marble is the go-to when it comes to opulent finishes, but it does come with a pretty hefty price tag.’ says Abbas Youssefi, Director of Porcelain Superstore. 'Today’s faux marble alternatives are indistinguishable from their ‘real’ counterparts, emulating the same natural movement you’d expect in the real thing. They are the perfect choice for a luxury bathroom with the minimal amount of upkeep required.’
2. Disguise the floor level
If you have a step in your bathroom, disguise it by using the same tile on the whole floor and the step up. Using a patterned tile like these geometric floor tiless really helps with this. Add a simple glass screen which is barely noticeable and makes the shower seem much bigger than it is - perfect in a small space.
Then for the main shower tile idea, use simple, white metro tiles in a classic brick pattern to make the bathroom seem larger. Painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls pulls the whole scheme together.
3. Define the space
To differentiate the different zones within a bathroom, the area to the left of the window makes a natural break and is the perfect spot for the shower, which has been tiled in Carrara marble for a luxurious look.
The rest of the room is painted black to set it apart from the shower area. A star design black and white floor has been used to add pattern and interest to the floor.
4. Create an interesting shape
Who said tiles had to be square? Hexagon shapes have been big news recently so why not make the most of their shape and lay them in an irregular shape? It’s a great way to add a design feature. Continue them onto the floor to add even more wow factor.
5. Make a statement with patterned shower tiles
If you love a particular design, use it all over! This small shower room has been given the wow-factor with a star design tile which has been used in the shower area and also on the floor.
The small windowsill is useful for toiletries but is far enough away from the shower so that is doesn’t get waterlogged. Add black and white towels for the perfect finishing touch. The heated towel rail is within easy reach when you step out of the shower.
6. Maximise a small space
If you have an awkward-shaped room like this one under the eaves, make it into a wet room idea. Place the shower head on the wall with the most head height and use large size tiles on the floor making sure you have proper drainage for the water, especially on an upper floor like this with bedrooms beneath.
Tile the whole room in one colour, in this case longer white Metro tiles in a classic pattern, to make it look bigger. Research small shelving ideas that tuck neatly into a corner and don’t take up much space.
7. Go for colour
These deep emerald green tiles in the shower area are in a beautiful geometric shape with a mottled finish which gives a naturalistic, undulating look and have also been used on the floor to give a relaxing showering experience. The chevron tiles on the basin wall are in the same colour blended with black and white to create a contrast. The shaped mirror is the perfect finishing touch.
8. Introduce subtle colour
The window is the deciding factor in this bathrooms tiling scheme. Grey Metro tiles have been used in a brick pattern up to just above half height on the window wall and continued on the far wall before being tiled to full height in the shower area.
Grey is the perfect colour for a period look with vintage-style sanitaryware and a wooden floor, then add pops of colour with a yellow stool, towel and accessories.
9. Tile in two tones
In a fully tiled shower area why not use contrasting colours and a geometric design tile? These square, porcelain tiles come in different colours - black and white and pink and white complement each other perfectly and make a striking design that is easy to live with.
10. Change layout direction
Another shower room under the eaves but this time with a black frame shower enclosure that tucks neatly into the highest part of the roof. To accentuate the shape of the angle, long metro tiles have been used diagonally up into the corner and then down into the corner.
It’s a great way to make the shape a feature rather than trying to disguise it. A black and white tiled floor has a smaller tile design to suit the size of the room and to add pattern.
11. Go for a stone effect
Natural stone is lovely but can be heavy, especially if used upstairs, whereas porcelain tiles are so easy to work with, they make a good, and cheaper alternative. They look like the real thing and work better with underfloor heating as they are thinner.
This bathroom has been divided into two to make the best use of the space, with the shower on one side and the loo and washbasin on the other side of a partition wall. The same tiles have been used on the walls and floor but the floor tiles are in a slightly darker shade, and check out that basin!
12. Mix it up
Terrazzo tiles are big news right now and look great in bathrooms of all sizes. This corner wall has been covered in a small chip terrazzo with a pink tone which has been picked up in the gloss floor and the wall. For contrast, the other shower wall is in small mosaic tiles in white, the glass finish gives a lustre effect to reflect the light.
What is the most popular tile for showers?
'Large-format tiles have grown in popularity for shower spaces in recent years, as they make for easier cleaning than smaller formats with lots of grout lines.’ says Louisa Swannell, Head of Creative Design at Walls and Floors. ‘Not only are they practical, but larger tiles also offer a sleek, seamless look that's perfect for opening up a space! Go for a bold design, such as a marble effect, to create a real feature of the shower space'
What is the best colour for bathroom tiles?
‘White still remains a popular colour choice and it’s easy to see why, as it works well in a small space and if you choose a tile with a polished/gloss finish it will also help reflect natural light.’ says Colin Lincoln-Evans, buyer at Tile Mountain.
‘However, if that’s not for you then we’d suggest going for a neutral colour such as grey, or a natural stone effect such as marble. These will provide longevity and you can easily update the look with complementing colourful accessories.’
What can I use instead of tiles in my shower?
‘Wall panelling has become hugely popular within walk-in shower ideas. You can create a luxurious statement look, without the cost and hassle of tiling, plus it’s much easier to keep clean.’ says Steph Harris, Product Manager of Showerwall. ‘No grout means less build-up of mould and soap residue.
'And there’s no need to re-seal or re-grout over time, so they are really low maintenance. Simply wipe the panels clean to keep them looking fresh. Showerwall panels create a fully watertight system, with a seamless, solid and durable surface. If you’re confident at DIY, you can fit the panels yourself or ask a bathroom installer, builder or Showerwall fitter.'
'They can be installed on either a clean plastered wall or over existing tiles,' Steph explains. 'Plus its up to six times faster than tiling, which keeps labour costs down and speeds up your bathroom renovation. You can choose from tile-effects like Subway, Herringbone and Marble, or be bold with wallpaper-inspired designs including Botanicals and Vintage Birds. There is even the option of custom bespoke panels, featuring your own photo, design or artwork for a unique bathroom look that’s personal to you.’
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Alison Davidson has been working as an interiors and lifestyle journalist for over 30 years. She has been Homes and Gardens Editor of Woman & Home magazine and Interiors Editor of House Beautiful magazine, she has also freelanced and worked for most of the interiors magazines at one time or another. She is currently embracing the move to digital using the same knowledge and expertise to produce high quality features.
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