Given that tiles are one of the most expensive and time-consuming parts of a bathroom renovation, you want to choose something that is going to stand the test of time. Knowing what bathroom tile colors will never go out of style is key to creating a space you'll feel happy with for years to come, and could even save money in the long run.
Of course, interior design trends always swing on a pendulum, which we saw last year with the surprising resurgence of avocado bathrooms. If you're updating a powder bathroom or using tiles to cover a small surface area, then the stakes are a little lower and you can afford to be more playful and bold, but it's safer to opt for timeless bathroom colors for a main bathroom used day in day out.
'My biggest piece of advice for a bathroom that never goes out of style is to make sure the larger parts of the space, like the countertops and flooring are classic and clean,' says LA-based interior designer and TV host Breegan Jane. 'Have fun and experiment with things like handles, lighting, and storage, but keep your foundation timeless. This way, you can get a thousand different styles out of your space down through the years.'
If you want a bathroom color that will stand the test of time but don't want to limit yourself to an entirely neutral palette, consider some earth tones, such as terracotta. Go all over with a herringbone pattern as pictured above, or ground the space with terracotta floor tiles in hexagonal shapes. Naturally occurring colors are timeless and terracotta will pair beautifully with earthy paint colors, such as taupe and earthy green.
'Tuscan terracotta tiles bring warmth with their earthy tones, creating a rustic allure reminiscent of Italian countryside villas,' says interior designer Kati Curtis. So they're a brilliant way to visually warm up the space – even if the bathroom is feeling chilly, it will feel a little warmer as you step out of the shower than if it were decorated in a cooler palette.
Adding some tiles in a soothing green tone to a bathroom backsplash or shower tile is a great way to bring color that will never date, again because of its associations with mother nature. 'While one might consider white subway tiles timeless, in my opinion, it’s colorful tiles that never go out of style,' continues Kati Curtis.
'Vibrant tiles in emerald green carry a classic charm that transcends trends,' she says. Pair green with white for a space that feels refreshing, or zone a shower area in a light and bright wet room with some darker green tiles in a vertical formation.
3. Crisp whites
For a bathroom tile that will truly never date, there is no safer option than white, and to prevent it from feeling like a 'white box' you can always choose a warmer white tone, and look at ways to add color to a white bathroom that can be swapped in and out.
New York-based interior designer Kathy Kuo agrees that white bathrooms are a failsafe option: 'You can never go wrong with a classic shade of white when it comes to bathroom tile. White tiles — be they ecru, eggshell, or alabaster — always look so crisp and clean and they offer a fresh palette to frame just about any color combination you may want to bring in via towels, bath rugs, or wall art.' Some green cotton bath towels, at Anthropologie or a rose-shaped bath mat, at Anthropologie will bring in some color.
Many interior designers will also recommend opting for something safe, such as white or a neutral for tiles, and going bolder with bathroom paint, as this is easier and less expensive to change at a later date.
If you're going for white, consider black and white instead, to create contrast and pattern. You can use black and white to create zones, as in interior designer Breegan Jane's bathroom project pictured above, or arrange them in a pattern. 'Black and white will always feel both trendy and classic. You can never go wrong with this timeless combination in a bathroom,' says Breegan Jane.
And depending on how you arrange them, they can be a brilliant opportunity to create a more graphic, modern bathroom look. This might be a fun way to make an ensuite feel special without having to redecorate a few years down the line. Amanda Oninski, interior designer at FLOOR360 has a few tips in terms of size and layout:
'Timeless designs in hexagons, penny rounds, and basket weave are some of your most popular,' Amanda shares. 'You can go for a big statement with large format black and white tile installed in a checkerboard pattern and add even more interest in a marble-look tile. The pairing ideas and design styles are limitless.'
5. Grays and beiges
Alternatively, you can opt for classic in-between tones of gray and beige, safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely to get old. As well as creating a real statement and a sense of luxury, marble bathroom flooring or tiles give a regal impression and a feeling that it's always been there.
'Lighter-toned tiles are timeless,' echoes Lauren Czarniecki of Czar Interiors in Palm Beach, Florida. 'Carrara and Calcutta marbles have been used in Italy for hundreds of years and still to this day have an elegant, timeless feel in any application.'
Should tiles be lighter or darker than the walls?
One key thing to consider is whether you want your tiles to be lighter or darker than the walls. There is no right or wrong, and it just depends on how you want the space to feel, as designer Amanda Oninski explains. 'If your design goal is to create a light spa-like feeling in your bathroom then the floors and walls should be monochromatic,' she says. 'If you want your space to be bold and dramatic go with a dark floor and a light wall or vice versa to make your space stand out.'
What is the most timeless vanity color?
If you are planning a bathroom remodel, consider the color of your vanity, and whether you want it to stand out as a statement or blend with the overall aesthetic. Interior designer Amanda Oninski says natural wood tones are the way to go. 'Natural wood tones are very versatile and timeless for a bathroom vanity. It provides a soothing contrast to any color palette in your tile and paint choices. These neutral cabinet tones will fit into any space and design scheme.'
What are the most timeless bathroom tile patterns?
'Moroccan tiles, with their intricate patterns and vivid color palettes, infuse spaces with a bold aesthetic that is as magical as it is timeless. These culturally rich tile colors not only enhance the visual appeal of our homes but also weave the essence of their origins into our daily lives,' says Kati Curtis.
'Delft tiles, with their iconic blue and white imagery, can introduce a narrative of Dutch elegance to any living space, evoking a sense of old-world charm that is both sophisticated and cozy.'
Where can I buy tiles from online?
Everyone's favorite DIY store has a surprisingly broad tile choice to consider for your bathroom reno.
You might not expect to be able to find tiles on Wayfair, but there's plenty of innovative options if you don't mind not seeing samples before buying.
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Millie is a homes writer and journalist renting in North London. She contributes regularly to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Real Homes. As well as covering shopping trends online, she loves vintage furniture, candles, Interior Design Masters and a Facebook Marketplace bargain. She has previously written for Fabulous, Stylist and Marie Claire.
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