Bathroom tile ideas

For home

Tiles are great for hardwearing areas of your home like your kitchen or bathroom. They’re waterproof, robust, and available in so many colours and designs that you’re bound to find something you like.

There are advantages and disadvantages to big and small tiles.

In a small bathroom, too many small tiles (think mosaic style) can make the room feel busy and be overpowering.

Small tiles are a great way to introduce variety to your bathroom, and they give you the chance to be creative with your layout.

Larger tiles can create a feeling of calm in a room because there is less for your eye to be drawn to. If that’s the route you want to take, use natural colours like grey and white or stone finishes for a luxurious bathroom. They can also help a small bathroom feel bigger by having fewer joining points and distractions.

However large tiles can be limiting and not give you enough room to express your style. Large patterned tiles can be equally as overwhelming as smaller tiles but can also make a statement and become a feature.

Ultimately the choice is yours. If you’ve found a particular type of tile that you love then go for it.

Bathroom tiles design

There are plenty of different tile designs for you to choose from in your bathroom.

First off, you have a simple block colour tile. More often than not these are either metro tiles which are glossy brick-like tiles, or a natural stone-effect tile that will add texture over colour. Metro tiles are available in almost any colour you can think of and look good as a splashback in a kitchen, or a surround for a bath. 

Natural stone finishes like marble or porcelain add texture to your bathroom and are useful if you want to create a spa retreat. Textured tiles are also a way to introduce exciting style to your bathroom without having to use colour, so they’re great if you want a neutral palette. 

Mosaic tiles have the most variety of any style. Mosaic tiles are often made up of loads of individual tiles which can be circular, hexagonal, or square. You don’t have to spend hours laying each single tile as the mosaics tiles come in sheets, so you can lay them just as you would an ordinary tile. They give you the flexibility to create your patterns and arrangements. 

Some mosaic tiles come in large and unusual shapes like teardrops or fish scales.

You also need to consider the material your tiles are made from.

Ceramic is suitable for walls and splashbacks. It can be used on floors, but it’s not as hard-wearing as other floor tiles. Ceramic is often used for high gloss tiles like metro tiles and can be dyed any colour. 

Porcelain tiles are available glazed or unglazed and are commonly used to create natural-looking stone. It’s hard wearing and doesn’t require sealing either, so it’s effortless to lay.

Encaustic tiles were favoured during the Victoria period and are made up of coloured clays. If you’re lucky enough to have a Victoria-period home, you may have some of the original tiles in your hallway. Nowadays though its encaustic-effect tiles that you’ll find. These still stay true to the original patterns – think black and white diamonds or elaborate swirling fleur-de-lis-esque styles. 

Cement and encaustic tiles look similar, but they’re made with different materials. Unsurprisingly cement tiles are made of cement and are perfect for floors or if you want to add texture to your walls.

Natural stone tiles are the most luxurious and as a result, incredibly expensive. There are plenty of cheaper replica alternatives so you can get the same effect for half the price-tag.

Finally there’s terracotta. This is still a classic tile that can be used indoors if you want to cultivate a Mediterranean feel. It can be hard to maintain though, so if you want the same look, opt for a human-made alternative. 

Tile layout patterns

Once you’ve chosen your tiles, you can then think about how you want to arrange them. There are loads of different ways you can do this, each giving you a different affect.

1. Brick bond

This is one of the most common ways to lay tiles and works well with metro tiles. For the most effective pattern, the tiles need to be rectangular, and the height should be at least half the width of the tile when it’s laid horizontally.

To get the pattern, offset each tile by 50%; the end of the tile on the row above should sit halfway across the tile you’ve just laid.

2. Vertical brick bond

This style is the same as brick bond, but instead of laying tiles horizontally, you lay them vertically.
This helps to add the illusion of height to a room and lets you experiment with colours.

3. Herringbone

Herringbone is just a fancy way of saying diagonal.

The tiles are laid in an overlapping V shape, and the final effect looks like a zigzag from left to right.

To achieve this look, you need long and narrow tiles, similar to metro tiles but thinner.

4. Linear

A linear pattern is a very uniform, with all the tiles aligning perfectly. This works best with square tiles but is effective with any size or shape tile.

5. Hexagon

Hexagon patterns are great because they require very little thinking on your part. Many hexagonal tiles are mosaic patterned and are available in sheets, so you don’t have to lay thousands of individual tiny hexagonal tiles.

All you need to do is line up the sheets, so the hexagons fit snugly with each other.

If you’ve got larger hexagon tiles that have a pattern on them, the way you lay them depends on the design you want. There are loads and loads of options when it comes to this, so have a play around to find the layout you like most.

6. Basket weave

This is an unusual layout that adds a little interest to a room and is most effective when used in smaller spaces. It looks particularly great as a splashback in a kitchen or as the backdrop to your shower cubicle.

To create this look, you need to group tiles in twos or threes. Lay stack the tiles vertically and then place the same number horizontally next to the vertical ones. The final look will alternate vertical and horizontal tiles in a square.

7. Modular

For a modular pattern you need several different sizes of tiles. It’s great if you’re using several different styles and want to do something different. This style doesn’t really work in smaller bathrooms as you may find you’re only able to repeat the pattern a couple of times.

There are loads of different ways you can create a modular pattern, so once you have your tiles experiment with a style you like.

When you’ve settled on a layout, repeat it several times until you’ve covered the area. This does look particularly good on floors.

8. Chevron

Chevron patterns are a lot like herringbone, but the narrow ends meet to create a zigzag.

By using contrasting colours, you can create an eye-catching and bold look. If you’d prefer something a little more subtle, choose tiles in similar tints or shades to create an almost shabby-chic gradient.

This pattern requires tiles specifically designed for this formation, otherwise you’ll have to cut them to size which could be wasteful.