By Hebe Hatton
The most stylish bathroom tile ideas can completely change the look and feel of your space. Let's be honest, choosing bathroom tiles is the most exciting part of designing a bathroom as it's where you can get really creative, adding color, pattern and texture. And for 2021, the tile trends and bathroom ideas in general have never been bolder or braver.
'Today’s bathrooms are brimming with character, and you’re just as likely to find things like pot plants, framed pictures and soft furnishings in the bathroom as anywhere else in the home.' explains Fired Earth’s Creative Director, Colin Roby-Welford. 'Beautiful tiles in eye-catching designs, finishes and layouts are a key element of a bathroom’s design, and there’s a noticeable trend towards using more color.'
Gone are the days of all-white bathrooms, playing it safe with subway tiles or monochrome marble slabs. Tiles can be so much more interesting, with a rainbow of colors to choose from and a huge array of shapes and sizes, from scalloped, hexagonal, chevron, pencil and more.
And edges no longer have to be straight either, use these unusual shapes to create an uneven edge, adding instant texture and interest to your space. And when it comes to materials, porcelain, stone and ceramic have been joined by encaustic, terrazzo and concrete. So there's plenty of choice whatever style you are going for...
1. Get creative with colorful bathroom tile ideas
The retro-style minty blue floor tiles, the baby pink hexagonal splashback, the arched mirrors, the statement lighting, need we go on? Everything in this playful pink bathroom is a total dream. It's a lesson in how to bring colorful bathroom tiles into your space without totally overwhelming it. By going halfway up one wall with pink tiling, the room doesn't look too saccharine and adding in a healthy dose of white on the walls and with the cabinetry, the space still feels fresh and modern.
2. Keep it simple with and mix tile shapes
Because why settle for one bathroom tile design when you can have two? Combine tiles of the same color but different layouts or finishes can really add all the interest you need to a monochrome space.
'When using all white tiles, it can be fun to play with the layout; lay tiles in horizontal lines, or in a mix of horizontal and vertical or in classic chevrons.' saysLee Thornley, founder of Bert & May says. 'We like to mix different whites, we have 4 or 5 white or grey tones and they make whites more interesting. Playing with subtle differences and chalky finishes highlights the variation. Look at glazed tiles, no two tiles are the same, slight wavy edges will always showcase the perfectly imperfect nature of our tiles and will add something extra than the standard metro tile.'
3. Add vintage vibes with a tiled mural
Give a modern bathroom a vintage twist with a tiled mural. In this gorgeous blue and white bathroom, the traditional design adds an elegance and depth to the otherwise quite minimalist space. By keeping the rest of the bathroom simple and paired back there's still a chic, contemporary feel to the bathroom – just that pop of yellow in the sleek wall light and the simple silhouette of the stool is enough of a nod towards modern design.
4. Clash patterned bathroom tile ideas
Gold, deep emerald green and marble are always going to look gorgeous when paired together, as this bathroom proves. But there's more to take from this space than its inspiring bathroom color ideas. See how the green runs through both tiles creating a cohesive feel, but the patterns create a glorious clash?
5. Go half and half
Loving the vintage, quirky feel of this small powder room, the decor really packs a punch, despite the tiny dimensions.
Be inspired by this bathroom tile idea and add some extra height to a small bathroom by splitting the room with different tiles. In this space for example, to go all over with that gorgeous rustic subtle patterned tile may risk the room feeling small, but by bringing in that simple white tile, those darker colors are lifted and the space isn't overwhelmed.
6. Opt for larger tiles in a small bathroom
Small bathroom, small tiles, right? Wrong, small, fussy tiles with lots of grout lines can actually make your space feel smaller. Instead, opt for larger tiles that won't visually break up the space. And if you have fallen for small tiles, just choose a grout that's a close match so you'll still get that lovely texture but your wall tiles won't be so busy they totally overwhelm the bathroom.
7. Combine tiles with wallpaper
Excuse us while we go and copy this exact bathroom tile idea in our own bathrooms. Wallpapering ceilings is nothing new, it's been a popular trend for years now, but there's something about the meeting of those glossy green subway tiles and palm print bathroom wallpaper that we cannot resist. Pair all those lovely lush greens with white floor tiles to create the perfect amount of contrast and choose brass or gold sanitaryware to add a touch of warmth.
8. Embrace the trend for mosaic bathroom tile ideas
Between the cute monochrome penny tiles, the rustic marble subway tiles and the addition of greenery and wooden accent, what this bathroom lacks in color it's more than making up for in texture. The intricacy of the mosaic bathroom flooring adds the perfect amount of interest to this minimalist bathroom – and while we are loving the hotel vibe of the flower print, you can create so many shapes with these tiny tiles from dramatic stripes to letters.
9. Expand a small bathroom with wall to wall tiles
Floor to ceiling tiling might sound a bit... clinical but in smaller space, using the same tile on all four walls can stretch space visually, plus it's of course the most practical choice for a wet room or walk in shower.
As this bathroom proves, you can't go wrong with a metro tile if you are tiling all over. Pick a glossy finish over matte, as they will help bounce more light around the room and combine them with a bold patterned floor tile to give the room some depth.
10. Create drama with shiny black tiles
Nothing adds drama like a glossy black tile. Keep it simple and let the finish be the focus by choosing a simple square tile and grid layout. If you want the tiles to appear more like one continuous, shimmering wall, opt for a black grout and for a more statement look try a contrasting white grout.
Can we also acknowledge those floor tiles too? You just can't go wrong with a black and white chevron.
11. Add warmth with natural stone bathroom tiles
Bathroom tile ideas don't always have to be about creating a bold feature in your bathroom. In this bathroom, the orange-tined stone wall tiles aren't the focal point but they do add a lovely warmth to the space and work perfectly with the brown tones of the bath, rug and brass accessories. There's a really cozy, cocooning feel here that you don't often find in modern bathrooms, but it's a scheme that would be perfect if you are after ensuite ideas.
12. Match tiles to bold paint colors
Use bathroom tiles to add vibrancy to a simple sleek bathroom by opting for color on the walls, while keeping it simple on the floors. And rather go all over with bold tiles, create some contrast with all that texture by painting a wall or a section of a wall to match the tile.
We love the deep sea-green hue of these tiles, and how that same hue is brought onto the adjacent wall using paint rather than more tiles. It makes the wall of tiles stand out as a feature, complimenting it but not drawing away attention.
13. Choose brick tiles to create a rustic
Brick tiles or brick slips are wonderful things, they mean you can achieve that lovely textured, rustic effect of exposed brick without having to pull away layers of plaster. And brick isn't just reserved for walls, in this bathroom brick tiles arranged in a herringbone pattern complete the rustic feel going on in the rest of this bathroom. But, that's not to say brick tiles wouldn't work in a more modern space, we can so imagine how gorgeous they would look in an all-white bathroom paired with large marble tiles.
14. Go for a twist on traditional
A total classic, the checkerboard floor has a long, varying history in the world of interiors, gracing the floors of everything from elegant Victorian hallways to American diners. And while they may have had a bit of rap when they went through the vinyl phrase, checkerboard flooring can be a stylish additional to ant style of bathroom.
Just look at this bathroom. Paired with simple white metro tiles and a leafy wallpaper, the black and white colorway adds the perfect amount of pattern.
15. Take floor tiles up to dado height
Fallen hard for a patterned tile that you just don't think your bathroom can cope with on all four walls? Try out this bathroom tile idea and just tile a third or halfway up your wall. Keep the upper half neutral so the tiles are still the focus and keep the floor tiles simple too.
16. Pick metro tiles for a classic look
There's a reason metro tile ideas are so popular, they are so versatile, work with any style and are endlessly fashionable.
As Colin Roby-Welford, creative director of Fired Earth says, 'Brick-shaped metro tiles never go out of fashion but you can ensure that they look fresh and modern by using layouts such as basketweave designs or herringbone patterns as alternatives to a more traditional brickbond format. Think about using the tiles across countertops and bath surrounds too – as well as walls and floors – to create a seamless and contemporary wet-room effect.'
How to choose the best bathroom tiles for a bathroom
One of the most exciting things about a bathroom renovation is picking out tiles, but with so many to choose from, it can be daunting to decide.
'When choosing bathroom tiles, think about the experience you want to create in your bathroom.' advises Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe of 2LG Studio. 'For example, whether you want to have a spa-like setting or a practical space that sets you up for the day in a positive mood.'
Colors have a big effect on your mood – and while subdued hues are a safe option as they are easier to live with, brighter colors create impact and can leave us feeling energized. Explore tiles in different shades, formats and finishes to find the perfect combination for your bathroom vision.
To see if the tiles you’re drawn towards work for your space, bring home several full-size samples and set them out in your bathroom, against your chosen paints and other testers, so you can judge how the format works in your room as well as appreciate the finish and color under your bathroom lights. If you have enough, you can also play with the layout to find the best pattern for your space.
On a practical note, don’t forget to check that the walls will take the weight of the tiles and enquire with your retailer about weather sealing is required and the tile’s suitability with regards to slip rating and underfloor heating.
Trends-wise, although we’re seeing an increase in the use of coloured tiles, light, neutral and muted shades are still the most popular choices. Amanda Telford, marketing manager at CTD Tiles advises, 'As we enter 2021, we will continue to see lots of unusual textures and patterned tile designs making bold feature walls and floors. Wood and stone effect tiles are popular, with the latest designs perfecting the look of the original material while experimenting with a more decorative approach. Texture is a also big trend with textile-like woven finishes and nature-inspired grains and concrete-effect surfaces.'
What is the most popular tile for bathrooms?
Recent data shows that metro tiles remain the number one searched for a keyword when it comes to bathroom tiles, and it’s hardly a surprise. They are a real multifunctional choice, and can add a stylish touch to bathrooms or kitchens.
What are the bathroom tile trends for 2021?
The most popular bathroom tile looks for 2021 include rectangular tiles in herringbone or chevron formations, hexagonal tiles with geometric patterns, mini hexagonal tiles to create a honeycomb effect, classic marble tiles, and unusual shapes as seen here.
What is an affordable but chic bathroom tile option?
Porcelain tiles are the perfect affordable alternative to expensive marble looks and on-trend concrete. Thanks to advantages in technology, digital printing has allowed porcelain tiles to be produced with a 'natural’ variation from tile to tile; just as you would see on the actual stone.
This reproduction is so accurate that these imitation porcelain tiles are now often indistinguishable from the real thing. This makes it possible to achieve the look you want at a lower cost and without the challenges and maintenance issues that come with materials such as marble, limestone and polished concrete.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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