By Kate De Palma
Chances are, there’s tile somewhere in one of your bathrooms. Whether it’s on the floor or walls, in the shower or around the tub, tile is an ideal choice of materials for any bathroom thanks to its durability, affordability, and versatility. But what if the tile you have in your bathroom is a little outdated, or isn’t quite the look you’re going for? You may find yourself wondering, “What are unique bathroom tile ideas?” Or even just, “How do you make bathroom tile look good? “
While there’s no one answer to using tile to create the bathroom of your dreams, there are plenty of options of what you can do with tile to upgrade your space. With so many colors, styles, and finishes available to you in tile — not to mention all the different designs you can create to enhance your space — changing it up may be just the thing your bathroom remodel needs. Here are some bathroom tile design ideas to get you started.
1. Keep It Traditional
There are plenty of ways to add some pizzazz to your powder room without doing anything too unusual or crazy with your tile. If you want to keep it classic, bathroom floor tile arranged in a simple geometric pattern is always in style. Choose a uniform color and shape for most of the floor with an accent tile in a different color or shape. Play off of this color with the rest of your bathroom décor. The same principle can be applied to your bathtub or shower tile, with a simple design achieved through the use of colored and plain ceramic tiles.
For a 1950s flair, easily go retro with tiles in pinks, pale greens, and turquoise. A red gingham shower curtain completes the look.
2. Add Something Unexpected
A beautiful tile design doesn’t always have to be in a regular pattern or in perfect squares and lines. If you’re looking for a little something beyond the norm, go ahead--get a little crazy with your bathroom wall tile and shower tile designs. For a modern touch, lay out different colored tiles to create interesting stripes, a bold herringbone pattern, or abstract shapes. Let loose with an accent wall or a detail that really stands out, like this slanted stripe going all the way down the shower wall.
3. Enhance Your Vanity
Your bathroom tile design doesn’t have to be limited to your floor or shower. You can also use tile to dress up your bathroom’s vanity. A beautiful mosaic border can be added around your mirror to add interest to the wall and provide contrast to your cabinetry and counters. Or, go all out with an entire tiled wall as the backdrop to your vanity. A gray or cream tile is beautiful for a farmhouse look, while seafoam green fits coastal décor perfectly.
To keep things from looking too busy, keep either the vanity or the wall one color. In other words, if you want a colorfully tiled wall with lots of texture and a variety of hues, opt for a simple vanity without a lot of color variation. You’ll end up with an eye-catching ceramic tile wall that’s the perfect backdrop for a stylish vanity piece to match your chosen type of décor.
4. Make a Bathroom Backsplash
The kitchen isn’t the only area of your house that benefits from the look and function of a backsplash. Use bathroom wall tile to create one for behind your bathroom sink to catch all the splashes and keep the water off your wall. Plus, you’ll love the look of a narrow strip of tile creating a neat, stylish divide between the countertop and wall. For a beautifully updated look, opt for a small square mosaic pattern for some easy added texture and color. Or, keep it simple with smooth, monochromatic subway tiles that give your bathroom clean lines and a sophisticated finish.
5. Go Old-School
Tile doesn’t have to be modern to be beautiful. In fact, some of the most beautiful bathroom tilework out there dates back to the 1920s. Just keep in mind that there’s a difference between outdated and vintage, so you may need to spruce up old bathroom tile if it’s chipped or yellowing. To reclaim that period look — with or without vintage tile pieces — opt for simple subway tiles paired with black-and-white details. (Reflective pieces like subway tiles are also great for making a small bathroom feel larger.) Complete the look with old-fashioned fixtures, a claw-foot tub, and some Josephine Baker on the phonograph.
6. Bring in Some Cottage Charm
Tile may not be the first material you think of when you think of country cottage décor, but it’s a great way to add some charm to your bathroom design without sacrificing durability of materials. Hand-painted bathroom tiles can imbue a space with some old-fashioned country charm, particularly when paired up with airy colors, wicker baskets, and plenty of light. A bright bouquet — real or otherwise — will complete your country cottage look.
Love the look and durability of tile and want to bring it to other rooms? Here are more ways to use ceramic tile in your home.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Kate De Palma