43 Incredible Bathroom Tile Ideas to Inspire Your Next Remodel

Like a showstopping necklace on a comparatively functional outfit, creative bathroom tile ideas have the power to elevate and transform one of the most utilitarian spaces in the house. Picture heiress Doris Duke’s jaw-dropping Honolulu powder room without its Taj Mahal–inspired bathroom tile. Meh, right? Or Marie Antoinette’s Versailles checkerboard floor of marble tiles without the checkerboard. Not exactly luxe. It’s no wonder that this seemingly innocuous design choice holds the keys to the style castle. 

Indeed, bathroom tile ideas and trends have veered all over the map during the last several decades—everywhere from Art Deco–themed to fancified subway tile. And though it’s true that even the simplest white, square tiles can look good in a bathroom, you can upgrade even the teensiest powder rooms with unexpected tile work.

Whatever you do, don’t be blah. “Why pigeonhole yourself?” says San Francisco designer Regan Baker. “The beauty of tile and its many colors is that it offers a wonderful way to showcase your unique personality” Currently trending tiles she sees on the horizon: veined marble and custom ceramic tiles that have a lot of movement, as well as delft tiles adorned with charming vignettes. Adds Roy Marcus, Artistic Tile brand ambassador: “The world of design has embraced natural stone in a vibrant palette, with blue, green, rose, even lilac marbles and quartzites.”

In other words, it’s time to rev your decor engines. Whether you’re looking for inspo to revamp your bath on a budget or planning on a major renovation, we’ve rounded up 43 of our favorite bathroom tile ideas to spark your new lewk. Here, bathroom tile ideas that may help kick off a full-on cinematic makeover, from white subway tiles paired with colorful grout to richly patterned tiles in unexpected configurations. 

What is the most popular tile for bathrooms? 

To add visual interest to shower walls, “most of our clients lean toward rectangular, brick-shaped tile in a solid color,” says Audrey Scheck, founder and CEO of Austin-based Audrey Scheck Design. “The wide variety of installation options—including straight stack, offset brick pattern, chevron, and herringbone—allows for even a solid-colored tile to bring interest to the space.” Scheck’s noticed a rise in using graphic and unique bathroom tile design in moderation in spots where they’ll have a big impact, such as shower niches and shower floor tiles. “Using a more striking tile in smaller doses is a great opportunity to infuse a space with character and personality,” she says. Baker notes Fez tile surging in popularity “because it has a glazed, handmade look that allows more variance in color, which creates a visual feeling similar to that of a heather blanket,” and she prefers the eye-catching choice applied with thinner grout. 

What color tile is best for the bathroom?

“Lighter-colored tiles are always a wonderful option to keep things airy, but if it’s a moody bathroom, you’re aiming for, dark, saturated colors, which will work just as well—so long as they’re paired with great lighting,” says Megan Prime, principal of Brooklyn-based architecture and interiors firm JAM. Can’t decide whether to embrace natural light or go for a pop of color? Scheck has a fun approach: “We love the contrast of mixing dark and light tiles in the same room. We’ll often use a darker tile on the bathroom floor and go lighter on the walls to draw the eye up.” Call it the best of both tile worlds. 

Is it better to use small or large tiles in a small bathroom?

Smaller tiles are often best for a smaller bathroom to maintain an appropriate sense of scale, Baker says. “They also create more texture that doesn’t feel cheap.” Prime looks to the architectural scale of the room to tip off tile size. “For instance, for larger bathrooms, we suggest tiles with a slightly larger scale; for smaller bathrooms, we may choose a mosaic or a smaller subway tile to give the illusion of more space,” she says. And small tiles offer more than just visual perks, especially when it comes to floor tiles. Says Scheck: “For shower floors specifically, we use a smaller mosaic tile so that there are ample grout joints to prevent slipping.”

1. Punch up penny tile

“A rectangular cabinet would have felt out of place,” Mckenzie says. His curvy custom design, on the other hand, is the perfect complement to the rounded walls. “The curves create a gentleness in the bathroom while using a contemporary architectural language that is informed by the arches, ornament, and details of the heritage house.”

Photo: Sean Fennessy

Rather than your typical sharp-angled corners, Mckenzie chose rounded edges. “We used a standard 90-degree plaster cornice to finish the corners, then wrapped them in round penny tiles,” he says. “The result is quite fluid and softens the feel of the room.” Another benefit? Less waste—there was no need to cut the tiles to fit as you would with regular corners. 

Photo: Sean Fennessy

This bathroom in a 19th century home by Melbourne, Australia-based architect Thomas Mckenzie—director of the firm Winwood Mckenzie—is splashed with various shades of pink underfoot for a pop of color, but it’s the curves that really provide visual interest. “We used a standard 90-degree plaster cornice to finish the corners, then wrapped them in round penny tiles,” Mckenzie says. “The result is quite fluid and softens the feel of the room.” Another benefit? Less waste—there was no need to cut the tiles to fit as you would with regular corners. 

2. Bring on midcentury graphics

In the pink bathroom, the lighting is by Nuura, the sinks are by Bathco, the tiles are bespoke, and the mirrors were designed by Noé Prades Studio.

Photo: Elton Rocha

In the blue bathroom, the geometric tiles were made to measure and contrast with the curved mirror by Kave Home.

Photo: Elton Rocha

Visually bold, the geometric tile-wall bathrooms in this modernist residence by Barcelona designer Noé Prades are filled with color—blue in one (where a wicker mirror adds texture) and pink in the primary (where Noé designed two midcentury-inspired mirrors flanking a Nuura wall lamp). Geometric tiles adorn the walls for a dynamic, contemporary, and surprising look.

3. Color with grout

The red and green is a killer combination.

Photo: Virginie Garnier

The bathroom adds the right dose of quirk.

Photo: Virginie Garnier

Red and green is a killer color palette combo, as any crimson-hued garden rose will attest. This bathroom, reimagined by Parisian interior designer Céline Poulfort, received a bold transformation via a floor-to-ceiling renovation. The white-tile bathroom walls were spiced up with red grout, which gives it “a more playful and graphic character,” Poulfort says. Green walls also lend an edge, but unlike with green tiles, if the homeowners tire of the color, it can be easily changed.

4. Indulge with black-and-white color palette

The black Clé tiles cover three fourths of the wall, while the hand-applied plaster above is a nod to the building’s history. The ledge creates a strong line and is a great place to store things, whether it’s on the vanity or in the shower.

Photo: Sean Litchfield 

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