Bathroom flooring ideas – from classic ceramic tiles to modern colored concrete
When it comes to bathroom flooring ideas to choices really are endless, so we asked designers for their favorite looks to help you make some decisions...
We ask a lot of our bathroom flooring ideas. As a base for one of the hardest working and most frequently used rooms in the home, they need to be practical, hardwearing, and safe. But of course, being one of the largest surfaces in the space, they also need to look good. They need to add something to the room beyond being waterproof and non-slip.
And of course, there are endless options for bathroom flooring, even just within the realm of tiles you have so much choice. You've also got the likes of vinyl (we promise it's had a glow up), rubber, concrete, solid wood, all of which have different pros and cons depending on the style, size, and situ of your bathroom. Yes, it can be overwhelming, so we've pulled together all our favorite bathroom flooring examples as well as asked the experts for their advice and what choices they like using in their projects.
1. Create an on trend look with concrete flooring
Bathroom floor tiles may be the perennial favorite, but we are keen to prove that there are plenty of other options out there that are practical, stylish, and bang on-trend. Exhibit number one, concrete. This award-winning bathroom designed by Studio Ben Allen, uses concrete panels created by Concreations, rather than the much heavier alternative of poured concrete.
'Our technical concrete in panels can be used as flooring for bathrooms and offers huge creative potential. It can be pigmented a multitude of colors and shades and can be textured in many ways both for aesthetics and practicalities eg. in order to increase grip.' explains Gus Colley, founder of Concreations.
'The panels themselves can be made to a particular design or shape or can be simple rectangles or squares. For upstairs bathrooms or bathrooms with wooden floors, these panels are less likely to cause weight issues for the building. Whilst considerably lighter than poured in place concrete, the weight of a concrete panel is similar to a stone tile of the same size and thickness, so it is important to ensure the subfloor is suitable (they normally are). Concrete panels are similar to stone tiles so should follow similar fitting processes.'
However, there are some drawbacks or things to be considered let's say, to using concrete. As Gus explains, 'The slip resistance of a concrete floor should be considered particularly in a wet environment. So do consider a patterned/textured finish.' He also adds to 'be aware some cleaning chemicals and products can damage or stain the concrete as they do with stone.'
2. Go bold with stripes
It's such a myth that you should play it safe in small spaces, choosing lighter hues and subtle pattern, we say that in fact, small bathrooms are the perfect places to be bold with design. This powder room, designed by Olga Hanono only further proves the point that smaller dimensions lend themselves to big statements – the stripes taken across all the surfaces act as an optical allusion, blurring the edges of the room and making this small bathroom feel bigger.
'This bathroom was designed to create a high-impact visual statement since it is the guest bathroom. My priority is to always create a one-of-a-kind art space with bold elements.' explains Olga. 'The black and white pattern was made with epoxy material and handmade all the way to the ceiling and walls to create a boxed one-piece space contained within the color lines. I love to create an unexpected atmosphere, designing unique and original projects is the way I communicate my art perspective.'
Epoxy or resin flooring is a great choice for bathrooms as it's known for its slip-resistant qualities. It can also create that really seamless look – zero grout lines which is a good look in a small space.
3. Bring in warmth with real wood flooring
Now solid wood flooring can look so gorgeous in a bathroom, it adds a soft rustic touch and gives a bathroom that... unbathroomy feel that's so on-trend. However, there are practicalities to be considered and this isn't going to work in every space. If you are considering wood flooring in your bathroom, ensure that it's finished and sealed, and be quick mopping up any splashes of water – never let water sit on the surfaces. You also want to ensure your room is well ventilated as steam will damage the wood too, so you'll need a good exhaust fan and ideally a window that can be opened.
This gorgeous rustic bathroom, designed by White Arrow, does make wood flooring very tempting but as Keren Richter Co-Founder and Principal Designer, explains, 'The bathroom has great ventilation, and given the usage, we were not concerned with moisture and warping when selecting wood flooring in a bath. To tie in with the distinctive cast iron tub, we chose an adjacent historic cast-iron clawfoot shower pan. Eliminating tile throughout the bath was an economic decision but resulted in a room suffused with warmth.'
'We salvaged the home’s original kitchen flooring and repurposed the boards for the home’s new Primary Bath. The antique pine flooring wood brings in a real sense of warmth underfoot and adds to the feel of ease and comfort in this countryside escape.'
4. Blend classic style checkerboard flooring with contemporary style
Mixing and matching styles is what gives rooms character, depth and interest. This is what prevents a space from being one-dimensional, or like it's been carbon copied from a home store catalog. And this bathroom designed by reDesign home is the perfect example of how your choice of bathroom flooring is a really easy way to begin to blend looks.
See how at vanity level, everything is very sleek and modern, with the marble backsplash and simple lines of the cabinetry. Then at both floor level and eye level there are touches of the more traditional. The softly hued checkerboard flooring, the vintage mirrors, and the elegant lighting come together to create a room that feels suitable for a modern bathroom with nods to old-world charm.
As Alessia explains 'a soft color palette finishes with patina and honed surfaces were my preferred choice to create a relaxing atmosphere in the English cottage primary bathroom.'
5. Create instant texture with Zellige tiles
Zellige tiles are everywhere at the moment, we'd say they are the tile choice de jour. And it's hardly surprising this bathroom tile trend is taking off, they are stunning, adding gorgeous texture, character and that artisan edge to a bathroom. Again, coming back to that trend for bathrooms that don't feel like bathrooms. Zellige tiles and a softness that you just don't get with the ever-popular subway tile.
In this space designed by White Arrow, 'The bathroom's Moroccan Zellige floor tile defines the wet room through an intricate star pattern and complimentary border tile. The design follows the divided-light shower enclosure.' explains Keren Richter.
'The adjacent vanity and toilet have a secondary border. We love how the tile creates a bordered “rug” that defines each area within the larger bath. We also love how the light bounces and reflects the slight irregularities and imperfections within the Zellige tile. These handmade characteristics are complemented by the similarly handmade subway tile and wavy glass window panes.'
6. Be creative (and practical) with mosaics
Penny tiles, once only found in the powder rooms of our favorite bars and restaurants, are now seeping into our homes. Fun, playful, personizable and practical, and affordable they are such a versatile bathroom flooring idea. You could keep it monochrome and go all over with one shade, and match the grout color perfectly for this minimalist, but textured look.
Or create fun patterns with a retro cafe vibe as can be seen in this space, designed by Etch Design Group. 'Selecting a bathroom floor is one of the most exciting parts of the design process! It's an easy way to make a bold statement, and we love mosaic tiles as shown in this project. They give a nod to traditional design while complementing modern elements.' says Stephanie Lindsey of Etch Design Group.
7. Ditch the grout lines and go all over with terrazzo
Whilst there is a clear trend for bold tile and grout color combinations, there's something to be said for a bathroom that's totally free of grout lines. Sleek, seamless, and fuss-free, opting for a flooring that spans the whole space uninterrupted makes the room appear larger and more open.
As designer Lisa Le Duc explains, 'Eliminating grout lines and using tile panels, especially in small bathrooms – can really open up the space and make it feel more elevated and unconventional.'
And why stop at just the walls? Take the same material (in this case the ever-on-trend terrazzo) up the walls and blend it into the fixtures too.
8. Update a bathroom floor with paint
Want to give your bathroom flooring a quick makeover? A pot of paint can really transform a space, and give it a different feel. It's also great for covering all manner of sins like heinous inherited tiles or yellowing lino – yep there's paint to cover that now.
The easiest flooring type to paint over however is, of course, wood. And there are so many cool designs out there, from faking the classic checkerboard tile to painting alternative floorboards to create a bold stripe. But, if you want to play it safe, you just can't go wrong with the classic minimalist Scandi-inspired look of white wooden floors.
'Chalk paint is a very popular way to update bathroom flooring.' explains paint expert Annie Sloan. 'It’ll work on lino and most other bathroom floor coverings. Customers often choose two colors and create a tiled look. It transforms a space completely and looks much more costly than the price of two tins of paint.'
Just be sure to seal your wooden flooring or use a paint specifically designed for floors or even a bathroom paint that can withstand high levels of moisture.
9. Soften a space with a bathroom rug
Once solely found in bedrooms and living rooms, rugs are now gracing the floors of our more practical space. Kitchen rugs are becoming a must-have and they are moving into bathrooms too. They add a lovely softness into what can be quite a clinical space and balance out all those clean lines and hard materials.
'I love a vintage rug in a bathroom,' says Alexis Smith, founder of Studio Shoshin. 'It's a great way to add warmth and interest to what can otherwise be a cold and clinical space. Be sure to use one that is 100% wool, as it's naturally moisture-wicking so is well-suited to handle the room's humidity and occasional damp feet.'
What is the best flooring to use in a bathroom?
The best flooring for a bathroom will depend on a few things – the size, shape, and situ of your bathroom being the main things to consider. Of course, personal style will come into it too.
The most popular bathroom flooring is tiles. Affordable, durable, and with so much choice it's easy to see why. Then there's vinyl – with luxury vinyl tiles just getting more and more chic and authentic, they are quickly becoming just as popular as ceramic tiles. Concrete is a relatively new material to be used as bathroom flooring but gives such a unique look to a space, and it's super hardwearing. However, it can get expensive so factor that into your bathroom budget.
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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