Neal's Home Remodeling and Design Blog

5 Bathroom Tile Design Ideas

Posted by Frank Kuhlmeier on Tue, Apr 30, 2013

Tile is the perfect wall and floor surface for a bathroom because of its resistance to humidity and water. Tiled surfaces are generally easy to clean and maintain. When used as flooring, textured tiles can help prevent slips and falls.

If you are planning to remodel a bathroom, consider these five design ideas for tile:

1.   Selecting Bathroom Tile

When selecting wall tile for a bathroom, consider who will use the bathroom and how they will use the space. Tile selected for a children’s bathroom should be bright and easy to maintain. 4-by-4 inch ceramic tile might be the perfect choice. In a master suite spa, natural stone would set the mood. For a busy working couple with little time for cleaning the bathroom, subway tile would function well. For a small half guest bathroom, splurge a little and select a special tile.

selecting bathroom tile

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2.   The Most Popular Bathroom Tiles

There are many types of tile. Ceramic, porcelain, glass and natural stone are some of the most popular tiles used in bathrooms.

  • Ceramic Wall Tile. The most common tile for bathrooms is 4-by-4 inch square ceramic tile. For years, homeowners have selected these tiles because of the range of colors, utility and price.

ceramic bathroom wall tile

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  • Subway Tile. A classic tile commonly used in both baths and kitchens is 3-by-6 inch subway tile. In a small bathroom or shower, classic white subway tiles reflect light and create a feeling of space. Subway tile is also available in colors and in marble, which you will see featured in many design sources.

bathroom subway tile

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  • Easy-Care Tile. In a bathroom, fewer grout lines to clean is a plus. Grout in a 3-by-6 inch subway tile layout has about the same amount of grout lines as 4-by-4 inch tile. The real difference is seen when using bigger tiles such as 12-by-12 inch.

easy care bathroom tile

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  • Natural Stone Tile. Many people like the look of marble, travertine, slate or pebbled tile in a bathroom. Natural stone requires special care but that should not be a deterrent. The stone should be pre-treated with sealer then regularly sealed. Cleaning involves mixing a few drops of dish soap with water and using a scrub brush. If mildew is a problem, a professional steam cleaning will solve it.

natural stone bathroom tile

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  • Current Tile Trends. Two contemporary tile products that are growing in popularity are recycled glass tile and pebble tile. Mosaic glass tile is also being used to add sparkle to a bathroom as a full wall, backsplash, accent or for flooring.

mosaic glass tile border in shower

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3.   Use Slip-Resistant Floor Tiles

Give special consideration to the tile you select for a bathroom or shower stall floor. Bathroom floors can be hazardous when wet. Look for slip-resistant tile and be sure to check the manufacturer’s product literature to determine if a tile is slip-resistant.

There are many shapes, textures, colors and tile products available. Unglazed tile usually provides a good footing, as do many mosaics. Glazed tiles with texture, grit or a wavy profile can also provide adequate traction. Traditional bathrooms have used 1-inch octagon tile on floors because of durability and ease of maintenance. If you like the look of wood there are now porcelain tiles made to replicate wood that come in 2-, 3- and 4-inch planks.

slip resistant bathroom tile

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4.   Use Border Tiles to Accentuate Wall and Floor Tile

Border tile is often used to break up long stretches of wall tile and give architectural definition to a room. Typically, a border tile is a narrow strip of tile. Borders can be dimensional or a contrasting color. They also can be formed by using more than one type of tile to create a strong expressive design. Border tile can be used to accentuate doors, mirrors and sinks, or form a chair rail. Since they have visual appeal, they should be logical, coherent accents in the room.

bathroom border tile

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5.   Work With a Designer 

Selecting tile products and determining a layout for your room can be an arduous process. Tile design requires careful planning and measurement. Professional designers can be a great resource because of their knowledge of tile lines and families, applications and a variety of combinations that you may have never considered to produce the results you desire.

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Topics: Design Trends and Ideas, Bathrooms

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