Choosing Bathroom Tile Patterns
It seems a shame to lose the chance and choose basic white bathroom tile patterns when there is so much you can do with them. Your tilework can be elevated above the ordinary with even a simple band.
On the other hand, some tile work is so intricate and vibrant that some people would consider it excessive. Whether you want a soft, calming background for a soothing bath, an energizing, vibrant visual feast during your morning shower to help you wake up and face the day, or something else entirely, is entirely up to you.
Bathroom Floor Tiles
Patterns underfoot: not too vertigo-inducing, please!
This classic black and white hexagon flooring pattern was widely used in Arts and Crafts style houses and bungalows at the beginning of the 20th century and further back in Victorian homes. Hexagon tiles were used in plain colors, with contrast dots, or (as has been done here) with contrast circles that look like flowers. The original historic tiles were flat, without the “pillow” effect that modern tiles usually have, and you can still get the flat ones if you want an authentic look or need to match the existing tiles.
Small tiles like this give a very good grip on a bathroom floor, not because of their own finish but because of the frequent grout lines. Those grout lines also can mean lots of cleaning. You can use a sealer or an off-white, beige, or gray grout to help reduce cleaning chores.
This classic pattern was very popular a few years ago (to the point of reaching the budget-vinyl-flooring ranges), though it seems less popular now. Fashion aside, it’s a clean, crisp look that can work very well with the large tiles parallel to the main walls or diagonally.
Wow – this beautiful tile is a simple alternating color pattern but stunningly effective. It reminds me of being underwater in the shimmery green and blue tones, and the top blue tile molding is a great finishing touch. It looks as though these are quite large tiles – about 9″ or 10″ – and the narrow white grout line recedes into the background. It would be interesting to see this with a dark grout color, perhaps matching the blue or green.
Subway tiles – rectangular tiles half as high as they are long, usually 3″ x 6″ – laid in a running bond like bricks are another classic pattern that has become very popular recently. This white subway tile tub surrounded by a dark green band hasn’t been grouted yet, and the grout color will make a lot of difference to the look.
White grout to match the tile will make the pattern much less obvious, while darker grout will make it stand out. A window in a shower surrounded like this often has a sill and reveals tiled to match the walls and keep water out of the structure. The window is another opportunity for use of color, as a band on the wall around the window or on the sills and reveals.
A white mosaic tub surround like this is very simple, but adding a colored mosaic band adds a lot of character. Other opportunities for a pattern here if you wanted to add more, would be to use colored grout or to add more of the blue tiles, as used in the band, to the field – perhaps making them more frequent near the band and less so towards the floor and ceiling.
Another band at floor or ceiling level would look interesting, perhaps both. Vertical bands at the corners and beside doors and windows might be overkill, but then I love that color of blue!
Here’s an older bathroom with a clawfoot tub and a historic style sense. The black diagonal-set floor tiles are large and elegant, the white walls simple, and the black band sets off the sudden burst of wild wall color above it.
Bathroom Shower Tile Examples
This shower area seems to take up most of the room, with a floor drain in the middle, a great idea for a kids’ bathroom like this where you can get a production line going and shower several of them at once. The pebble floor is done with large enough rocks that they won’t be uncomfortable to stand on but still have plenty of grips, and the “beach” look is very cool. This is a “work in progress,” and I can’t tell whether the tiles are grouted or not: if they are, I like the dark grout – it blends with the darker tones of the tiles so that the pattern does not jump out. Light grout would also look good but have a different effect as the pattern would be much more emphatic.
Here’s a bathroom in pale blue and white with a lot of variety in the tile used, but the strictly limited color scheme keeps the look clean and uncluttered. On the floor, large square pale gray tiles: then from the bottom of the wall up, one row of pale blue mottled rectangular tiles set portrait fashion, a narrow white molding, two more rows of pale blue tile, a wider blue-and-white molding band, then a transition row of tiles with a blue pattern at the bottom and greyish white mottled background, then more rows of plain greyish-white tiles to the ceiling. The same pattern runs around all the walls and into and through the shower stall, tying the whole bathroom together.
Bathroom Tile Patterns for Walls
This mosaic tile wall detail shows flowers done in a way that looks like greatly enlarged greyscale pixels on a colored background. Fascinating. This would work best in a larger room where you can step back and get the full overall effect, then go close up to look at the details. You could take this idea and use it for almost any kind of motif, not just flowers: you could also reverse the color theme and have colored motifs against a greyscale background.
This example of black and red to white checkerboard is from a public washroom but would look just as good at home where you want a lively pattern. It would work especially well in a barrier-less shower where the whole room is the shower, as in one of the examples above. Varying the regular checkerboard might give an interesting effect, too, with variations in color or pattern.
Lastly, something funky – you’d have to be a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes to want these all over your bathroom wall, but they are a lot of fun. Maybe a few feature tiles instead of the whole wall! On the other hand, in a powder room where you want something intense and don’t need to spend long periods there, maybe this would be just the ticket.