For the tile nerds, the bathroom—especially the shower—is the perfect place to go all out and let your design ideas run wild. For starters, you need something durable and easy to clean in that splashy area, which makes tile inconsequential on a practical level. Also, your shower is small in square footage compared to other areas, meaning you can make a big impact in a small space with the tiles of your choice, whether it’s the sweet little tiles or the shiny squares of zellige that serve as a gentle reminder that there’s beauty in imperfection.
From creative spins in the classic subway tile trend to mixing and matching tile types and embracing bold colors, designers have delivered their playbooks for tile perfection in the shower. These ideas work in all types of bathrooms, from glass showers to those behind shower curtains. Read on for 16 unique ways to tile your shower.
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Use the white tiles as a blank canvas
Boring white tiles? Not so in this bathroom designed by Alexander Reid where the clean look inspires a gallery wall, with framed art placed above the shower, giving the space a museum-like appeal. This is a great trick for renters who want more dedicated space without sacrificing their security deposits.
Add penny floor tiles
Marble baseboards running along the wall and unpolished brass hardware might be the stealer in this bathroom design by Nina Barbiras of Fig NYC. But sedate tile floors play a nice supporting role and brighten up the look.
Create a brick entrance
Tiles have been used with care throughout the Eneia White bathroom, from the geometric patterns leading into the shower to the hexagons on the shower floor. But the white-tiled arched doorway greets you when you shower? It’s a catchy statement maker that makes you feel like you’re entering a room.
Go big with chess tiles
Check my friend. AP Design House converted a stand-alone tub into a shower and then wrapped the walls in blue, checkerboard stone tiles that complement the gorgeous marble and silver hardware.
Create an accent wall of tiles
In this serene, nature-inspired Maui home bathroom, designer Breeze Giannasio wraps the shower in teak and then allows a wall of hexagonal stone tiles to brighten things up while staying on theme. You’ve got your glossy wall tiles from Klee Tiles, a destination beloved by designers for statement-making, artisanal tiles.
Add contrast with black and cream
Heidi Cailler achieves a timeless and sophisticated look in this bathroom, with rows of black and cream zellige tiles accenting the shower. A smaller-scale pattern is repeated on the bathroom floors.
Use a Grout Grout for contrast
Dark gray grout makes an interesting contrast to the vibrant subway tile bathroom in Patrick Flynn’s Iceland home. Clear and defined white and black lines continue throughout the space.
For maximum vibrancy, stick to a bold color like this playful purple tile in this colorful bathroom designed by Kati Curtis. From there, add patterns complementing hand towels and shower curtains.
Add golden accents to the black tiles
Need a push to go noir? All-black natural stone adds drama to this sophisticated bathroom that dresses gold Grohe shower heads like jewellery.
If you’ve been wondering how to expertly mix and match tile colors and variations, check out this beauty routine from stylist Heidi Caillier. Lush zellige tiles pair nicely with orange mosaic tiles in this shower jewel box. This beautiful bathroom really deserves gold-like grout.
Look beyond the white for subway tiles
These contrasting tiles add a regal touch to the timeless—albeit ubiquitous—subway tile trend. When renovating the bathroom, Gordon Dunning’s design team sourced Fireclay Tile, an eco-friendly Northern California company that makes subway tiles in the 100 or so colors outside of white calcite. A small pattern on the floor tiles ties the look together.
Show a pattern on the ground
I made you look down! This serene Jae Joo-style bathroom with patterned-pattern tiles makes a strong case for giving extra design interest to the floor tiles. In this case, the timeless tiles provide a nice complement to the glossy subway tiles.
Or, go small with a checkerboard look
Some of the glazed and fired tiles in this Tamsin Johnson Interiors shower shimmer like copper pennies. Others have a pearly luster. The fluted case adds to the rich, textured feel of the space.
Bring drama with glossy black tiles
Gold, black and white come together to make a sophisticated statement. Rectangular glossy black zellige wall tiles contrast beautifully with the simple white bathtub in this chic Parisian apartment designed by Lichelle Silvestry.
Colorblock Penny Tiles
GRT Architects uses minimalist tiles throughout this bathroom, breaking up the space by blocking out the colors. But instead of an elegant line dividing the colors, soft blue tiles meet pale pink with triangular tips.
Take your tiles outdoors
Black painted brick meets stone tiles in this dreamy outdoor shower designed by Ruard Veltman. Earthen paver tiles of various sizes fit together like puzzle pieces in a space that is not only generous with texture but also attracts the eye with its shapes, including the slatted ceiling.
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