When it comes to planning a new bathroom scheme, it can feel a little overwhelming. The amount of choice has grown considerably, and while that's great news, it can also make it harder to decide on the decor. This is particularly true when it comes to bathroom tile ideas. With so much colour and pattern on offer, white bathroom tile ideas can feel a little, well, boring.
But we beg to differ. White bathroom tiles can be the foundation to a host of bright and beautiful schemes.
There are so many white bathroom ideas that prove this. Not only is there versatility in the sizes, shapes and textures of the white bathroom tile ideas on offer, there are different grout colours available too. This makes it easy to create a look you love, as well as update your bathroom without unnecessary expense at a later date.
White bathroom tile ideas
'White is a wonderful shade for tiles as you can add lots of interesting details to make them stand out in a number of differing styles,' says Richard Fox, Senior Designer, Ripples. 'For a subtle look, white tiles with a texture give more dimension and interest than a standard matt or gloss tile. Alternatively, with smooth white tiles as a backdrop, you can introduce colour through brassware, grout or bold tiles elsewhere in the bathroom.'
1. Team with a patterned floor
There's no denying white bathroom tiles look clean, crisp and fresh. This is especially true when they're paired with white painted walls and window treatments such as white shutters or blinds.
The downside of white is that it can look a little cold and clinical. A great way to add warmth and personality is through pattern and texture, such as a patchwork floor. This can be achieved through tiles or luxury vinyl flooring, which can be softer underfoot. Bathroom furniture and accessories in natural materials, such as timber will also soften the effect.
2. Shimmer with glass mosaics
For a more feminine feel, use white mosaic tiles with an iridescent sheen as a decorative white bathroom tile idea. The pearlised shimmer will help to soften any hard edges and introduce a touch of luxe to your bathroom.
If you're one who enjoys a long hot soak under candle-light (and who doesn't), these will add a little extra sparkle. Iridescent mosaics can be a more eco-friendly option too, if you choose tiles that contain recycled glass.
'Paler colours will help in bathrooms where there is no natural light, and gloss finishes help reflect light,' Colin Lincoln-Evans, Buyer at Tile Mountain.
3. Pair white bathroom tiles with wallpaper
Choosing classic styles, colours and shapes for the fundamental (and more expensive) elements such as flooring, tiling and sanitaryware allows you to be more experimental elsewhere. It's far easier and cost effective to add or update colour and pattern through wallpaper, blinds and towels than it is with tiles.
'A popular trend that shows no sign of abating is that of the feature wall or floor,' says Colin Lincoln-Evans, Buyer at Tile Mountain. 'White tiles are generally deployed to create a blank 'canvas' if you will, that is then enhanced by a feature piece, usually patterned tiles or wallpaper to really draw the eye.'
4. Choose large scale tiles
When we think of white tiles, we often have a tendency to think of plain squares or metro tiles, but large scale tiles can be a good alternative option, even for small bathrooms.
'Larger sized tiles help to make a smaller room feel more spacious by not letting the grout lines break up the visual space,' says Richard Fox, Senior Designer, Ripples. 'The fewer elements to distract the eye, the better. Large format tiles are also a practical option, as the reduced grout lines make for easier cleaning. It's easy to prevent them looking clinical too by using colour or pattern on the different elements that go into the bathroom.'
5. Offset bold brassware
Opting for white tiles give you flexibility with the rest of your bathroom or shower fittings. With such a simple backdrop, it allows you to go bold with your brassware for instance.
A traditional-style bronze rain shower head will stand out beautifully against crackle glazed or gloss brick-shaped tiles in a soft off-white. Keep the look consistent with taps and a towel rail in the same rich finish.
6. Go floor to ceiling
When you're considering shower tile ideas, think about the size of the space, as well as the amount of natural light in the room. Going floor to ceiling with large white tiles in a shower room will keep the look simple, bright and modern.
'Light colours, such as white, are perfect for making a space feel and look bigger,' says Louisa Swannell, Head of Creative Design, Walls & Floors. 'A glossy tile finish will enhance this even more as it helps to reflect light around the room. In terms of size, we’d recommend a large format tile for small spaces as they have fewer grout lines which gives a more seamless appearance.'
7. Add a border
White wall tiles look stunning teamed with patterned floor tiles. If you're a fan of this look, you can take things up a notch with a tiled border on the walls. By repeating the colours in the pattern on the border tiles you will tie the scheme together in a subtle and stylish way.
'Borders are an effective way of adding decorative detail to a wall of white tiles,' says Colin Roby-Welford, Creative Director, Fired Earth. 'They can also help to frame the scheme too.'
8. Create a grid with dark grout
It's possible to completely change the look of plain white square tiles, just by choosing a different colour for your grout. Going for black grout will create a dramatic grid style, which can be further enhanced with black brassware and accessories.
'When choosing the grout colour to pair with your white tiles, be mindful of the different effects each colour can achieve,' says Louisa Swannell, Head of Creative Design, Walls & Floors. 'If you’re looking to create a uniform, seamless aesthetic, opt for a white grout; this will look really chic and minimal. If you’d prefer a more contemporary, graphic feel, opt for a black grout.'
9. Add interest through texture
Most people add interest to a scheme with colour and pattern. But an often overlooked way to do this is through texture. This can work wonders in a bathroom, where white is often the preferred choice.
'White tiles are a stunning choice for bathrooms as they create a clean and tranquil space,' says Louisa Swannell, Head of Creative Design, Walls & Floors. 'However, if you’re looking to add your own unique twist to a classic white tile, we’d recommend playing around with the surface texture, or even the shape.'
10. Soften with natural tones
White tiles in a bathroom or shower room look gorgeous when combined with natural materials, such as wooden flooring and timber vanity surfaces. Even using an off-white putty-coloured grout will prevent the room from looking too stark. These honey tones will make the space feel comfortable and inviting, while the white tiles will feel clean and fresh.
'Personally, I love mixing natural colours and materials with white tiles,' says Richard Fox, Ripples. 'Particularly materials such as wood, bamboo or rattan, plus plants to add a sense of calm and relaxation.'
What colour grout goes with white tiles?
'It's such a neutral base, any colour of grout will go with white tiles,' says Richard Fox, Ripples. 'For a clean, minimalist feel, use a white grout to match the tiles. Or if you're looking for something bolder, choose a colour. Grey grout works well in contemporary spaces. Some suppliers offer over 50 different grout colours which you can colour match to other elements of your room.'
Are white bathroom tiles hard to keep clean?
'Porcelain and ceramic tiles are really easy to keep clean,' says Louisa Swannell, Walls & Floors. 'They're sealed so they are a lot more resistant to stains than natural materials.'
The grout can be harder to keep looking pristine, so make sure you know how to clean grout in tiles. Alternatively, consider grout protectors or even epoxy grout. 'Epoxy grout is used in swimming pools,' explains Richard Fox, Ripples. 'It will keep
light-coloured grout, the same colour for a long time.'
Are white bathroom floor tiles a good idea?
'I would usually advise against using a plain white tile on the floor,' says Richard Fox, Ripples. 'Any stray strand of hair, footprint or split bathroom product will
immediately be seen and will cause annoyance as you'll be constantly cleaning. Choosing a white marble floor tile is a good alternative as the coloured veins within the marble do a good job of masking anything that drops on it.'
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Jacky Parker is a freelance interiors & lifestyle journalist, specialising in modern interiors, design and eco living. She has written for Future’s interior magazines and websites including Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home for over fifteen years, both as a freelance contributor and inhouse, with stints as Acting Digital Editor, Livingetc and Acting Style Content Editor, Country Homes & Interiors. Her work also features in national and international publications including Sunday Times Style, Telegraph Stella, The Guardian, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and more. With years of experience in the industry Jacky is privy to the insider view and the go-to places for interior inspiration and design-savvy décor.
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