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Are White Floor Tiles Right for You? Here are 7 Things to Consider

By Ted Ryan

Are White Floor Tiles Right for You? Here are 7 Things to Consider

White floor tiles give a space a clean and bright foundation for limitless design possibilities. Whether you’re designing a classic all-white bathroom or setting the stage for a pop of color on the walls or backsplash in your kitchen, white is a timeless and versatile choice regardless of design style.

What are the pros and cons of white tile floors and where do they work best? We’re answering your questions and walking you through 7 things to consider when choosing white floor tiles.

Is white tile good for flooring?

White tile gives a floor a clean and elegant look. White reflects light and gives a space a larger appearance. White is also the most timeless color, immune to trends or changes in personal taste. If you have a more conservative design style, want a bright and amplifying appearance, and are designing for the long haul, it’s hard to go wrong with white floor tiles.

hardwood and white tile floors

Tile Shown: White Wash 3x6 // Design & Image: Liz Stanley

On the other hand, many designers choose a darker color for the floor when compared to the walls of a space, so unless you’re designing a completely white room, white floor tiles may limit your design choices—or force you to reject this rule of thumb, which is ok!

White tiles will also require more frequent cleaning in rooms with high foot traffic since they tend to show dirt and debris more than darker colors. If you’re looking for a shade that’s most easy to maintain, white might not be your first choice.

Which color is best for floor tiles?

Best is a subjective answer but based on the numbers, neutral colors are the most popular for floor tiles. This can range from brilliant white to cool greys to earthy taupes and beiges. These neutrals will pair well with other colors in a space and stand the test of time better than accent colors.

white square tile bathroom

Tile Shown: Feldspar 3x3 Sheeted // Design & Image: Samantha Moore

What type of floor tile is best?

Floors are where durability and finish are of utmost importance. To stand up to years of foot traffic, wear and tear, it’s important to choose a tile material up to the task.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles, brick as well as natural stone are all durable surfaces for floors. Glass tiles under 3" are suitable as well. These options are more water resistant than other flooring materials like wood.

white glazed brick floor

Tile Shown: White Mountains Brick // Design: Lauren Madden // Image: Sarah Porter

Finish is also vital to consider when it comes to floor tiles. While many designers do choose to feature a gloss finish on floors, a matte finish will provide better grip. For example, all of Fireclay Tile’s matte glazes come with a DCOF value above .42 for use where slip resistance may be welcomed or required.

bathroom with white star and cross tile floor

Tile Shown: Daisy Mini Star & Cross // Design: Mokume Design Studio // Image: Christopher Stark

Size and shape of tile is also an important consideration to make for floors. Larger format tiles will require fewer grout lines per square foot, making maintenance and cleaning slightly easier. On the other hand, more grout means more grip so in potentially slippery areas like the bathroom, a smaller tile may be desired.

7 Things to Consider When Choosing White Floor Tiles

1. Color

Once you start digging into white tile, you realize white can mean many different things. There are dozens of shades, matte, satin and gloss finishes and even a wide range of variation found in just a single color like this shower floor below.

white shower floor tile

Tile Shown: Feldspar 2" Sheeted, Gypsum Star & Cross

Are you looking for a luminous sun-loving white or something toned down, maybe even with a drop of green or yellow pigment? Reflective or flat? Ask and answer these questions first and sample as many options as possible to help decide what’s right for your project.

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2. Material

The majority of the floor tile we make and sell is ceramic tile. However, brick tile and glass tile under 3" are also well suited for floor installations.

Tile Shown: White Mountains Brick // Design: Lauren Madden // Image: Sarah Porter

Brick has a strong and classic character. Paired with white glaze, glazed bricks are both rustic and elegant, perfect for farmhouse, rustic, desert modern or industrial design.

3. Size

Field tiles, squares and rectangles of various dimensions, are the most popular choice for floors. Beyond the practical reasons noted above, size is an important aesthetic choice as well.

Take these herringbone kitchen floors for example. Same application, similar color but two different sizes.

kitchen with herringbone floor

Tile Shown: Gypsum 6x12, Olympic Brick // Design: Studio McGee // Image: Monica Wang Photography

The first one has the 1:2 dimensions of a subway tile but in a large 6x12 format making for a blocky herringbone.

kitchen with white herringbone floor

Tile Shown: Daisy 3x12 // Design: Hatchworks // Image: Robert Gomez Photography

This kitchen however uses long 3x12 tiles for a longer and more intricate look.

On the other hand, a single size like the classic white subway tile can lay the foundation for virtually any design, from the effortless all-white bathroom to something with a little more pop.

neutral bathroom with white tile floors

Tile Shown: White Wash 3x6, Adobe 2x8 // Design & Image: Liz Stanley

This kids' bath features a soft transition between the floor and wall from white to rosy neutral.

black and white floor tiles

Tile Shown: White Wash 3x6, Basalt 2x8 // Design & Image: Liz Stanley

The guest bathroom on the other hand features a sharp contrast between the shower and the rest of the bathroom.

4. Pattern

In the absence of color, subtler design details get to do the talking, one being pattern.

red and white tile bathrooom

Tile Shown: Halite 3x12, Pheasant and Sparrow Matte 3x12 Glass // Design & Image: Chase Daniel

A straight set pattern like this bathroom above is decidedly modern and melds perfectly with the choice of bold glass tile in the shower.

white basketweave floor tiles

Tile Shown: White Wash 3x12 // Design: Becki Owens

Moving from modern minimalism to creative parquet, this bathroom floor uses the same 3x12 shape, but this time with a decorative basketweave pattern. Simple or complex, so much design personality comes from pattern.

white and grey shower tile

Tile Shown: White Wash 3x6, White Wash 3" Triangle Sheeted // Design & Image: Liz Stanley

You can create a distinct transition between the bathroom and shower floor without changing colors. This shower uses mosaic triangles to differentiate it from the white ceramic subway tiles throughout the rest of the bathroom.

pink bathroom with white tile floors

Tile Shown: Tusk 2x6, Tumbleweed 2x6 // Design: Eliza Blank // Image: Stefanie Villers

Patterns can also work in tandem to bring cohesion to a tile design using more than one color. 2x4 ceramic floor tiles in warm white complement the 2x4 ceramic wall tiles in peachy pink thanks to the identical dimensions and pattern and harmonizing colors.

pink bathroom with white floor tiles

Tile Shown: Mesa 2x8, Painted Sky 2x8, Adobe 2x8, Halite 6x12 // Design: Jen Pinkston // Image: Katie Jameson

That said, size and pattern don’t have to be consistent from floor to wall. This similarly pink bathroom features large white 6x12 tiles in a half-offset pattern that complements the 2x8 herringbone seen in the rest of the bathroom despite being different sizes.

5. Shapes

Next up are specialty shapes.

Hexagons are a popular choice for bathroom floors and have an organic quality to them. They’re also available in a number of sizes, each with its own vibe.

Tile Shown: White Wash 2" Hexagon Sheeted, White Wash 3x6, Adriatic Sea, Caribbean, Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe & Moonshine Ogee Drop // Design: The Brownstone Boys // Image: Nick Glimenakis

2” Hexagons are similar to the look of a penny tile and evince an early 20th-century cosmopolitan look, perfect for this brownstone bathroom renovation.

white hexagon floor tiles

Tile Shown: Calcite 4" Hexagon // Design & Image: Rejuvenation

4” Hexagons look like small stepping stones, especially with the matching white grout featured here.

tile design rendering

Tile Shown: Hood River 3x9, Daisy 6" Hexagon

6” Hexagons are more contemporary and utilitarian, especially in white, shown in this photo-realistic rendering.

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Photo-realistic renderings like this are available for visualizing your space through our Design Assistance Program.
white floor tile closet

Tile Shown: Calcite Ogee Drop // Design: Studio DIY // Image: Jeff Mindell

For more inspiration from nature, scalloped Ogee Drop tile delivers an artistic interpretation of fish scales, Sometimes referred to as mermaid tile, it’s a fun option and well-suited for this cheerful closet.

bathroom floor with white star and cross tile

Tile Shown: Calcite Mini Star & Cross, Tidewater 3x6, Calcite 6x6 Cove Base // Design & Image: Rejuvenation

Drawing again from nature, as well as Islamic architecture, Star and Cross Tile is an intriguing pattern of paired tiles adding visual interest to an all-white floor.

white tiled bathroom floor

Tile Shown: Ivory Ogee // Design: Sara Combs + Rich Combs // Image: Margaret Austin Photography, Sara Combs + Rich Combs

Another Middle Eastern inspiration is the Ogee Tile. This concave and convex tile gives flow and bohemian vibes to an installation like this desert bathroom with a warm white tone.

white diamond escher floor tile

Tile Shown: Calcite Small Diamond Sheeted, Pyrite 3x12 // Design: Kyla Ray Creative // Image: Angela Price, Rachelle Beatty

Diamonds are capable of a number of patterns like On Point, Stitch and Escher, seen here. Named for the Dutch artist, this pattern gives a 3-dimensional illusion.

bathroom with white diamond tile floor

Tile Shown: White Wash Small Diamond Sheeted // Design: Monica Wang Photography // Image: Whitney Leigh Morris

A dark grout will accentuate this graphic effect. However, we do not recommend using dark pigment grouts with white tiles.

bathroom with white h shaped tile

Tile Shown: White Wash Chaine Homme // Design: Amie Neff - Capable Design

This interlocking tile is one to really turn heads with its alluring pattern and overall uniqueness. If your name or brand starts with H or I, it’s all the more irresistible.

6. Accents

If you’re into white floor tiles but don’t want a completely white floor, there are many ways to incorporate color accents into your broadly white design.

bathroom with white and grey checkerboard tile floor

Tile Shown: Calcite 2x6, Gypsum 2x6 // Design: Mindy Gayer Design Co. // Image: Vanessa Lentine Photography

Checkerboard is one of the most popular ways of achieving a unique look with white floor tiles. Instead of black and white squares though, we love how this design uses rectangles of white and light grey to keep it closer to a white floor than the stark contrast of classic checkerboard.

white and yellow floor tiles

Tile Shown: Calcite 3" Sheeted, Haystack 3" Sheeted // Design & Image: Claire Thomas

Lattice is another way to bring pattern and pop to a white floor. And sheeted mosaic tiles make installing the pattern more straightforward.

bathroom with white floral pattern floor

Tile Shown: Adriatic Sea 3x6, Navy Blue 2" Hexagon, White Wash 2" Hexagon // Design: Bright Bazaar

2” Hexagon tiles let you decorate your white floor with dainty flowers in any color you choose. The pattern looks particularly sharp in this Navy Blue arrangement.

white floor tiles with mosaic design

Tile Shown: Nautical 2x8, Daisy 1x1 Sheeted, Mustard Seed 1x1 Sheeted, Dusty Blue 1x1 Sheeted, Blue Velvet 1x1 Sheeted, Hunter Green 1x1 Sheeted // Design: Victoria Ford // Image: Marcus Ford

1” mosaic square tiles similarly give you the option of accenting a white floor with a charming pattern like this nautical bathroom floor features above.

7. Uniqueness

To amplify the artistic qualities of a white floor even more, you may want to think about speccing hand painted tiles. These tiles are screen printed with a wax dryline and then glazed by hand to create one-of-a-kind tiles that are functional works of art for floors.

bathroom with white hand painted tile floor

Tile Shown: Summit Tile White Motif // Design: Jess Ann Kirby // Image: Jess Ann Kirby

This bathroom features a Japanese-inspired mountain pattern that pairs well with the wabi-sabi imperfections of handcrafted tiles.

bathroom with white hand painted floor

Tile Shown: Sintra Neutral Motif // Design: Becki Owens // Image: Rebekah Westover Photography

This Moroccan pattern sparkles in a neutral motif with the details of the drylines popping against the white hand painted glaze.

white bathroom with moroccan floor tile

Tile Shown: Kasbah Trellis Neutral Motif, White Wash 3x6 // Design: Patti Wagner // Image: Meg Cooper Photography

Kasbah Trellis is another Moroccan pattern, this one featuring a black dryline for a more impactful pattern to contrast the white glaze.

bathroom floor with tile rug

Tile Shown: Shetland Wool 4x4, Ivory 6x6, Tusk 3x6, Ivory 2x2, Seville in Neutral Motif // Design: K.Squared Design // Image: Sierra Ann Photography

Here, hand painted tiles frame a grey tile rug for the soaking tub to sit on in this New Traditional bathroom, surrounded by white floor tiles throughout the rest of the bathroom.

Are white floor tiles in your design future? We're here to help! Fill out this simple form and our friendly tile experts will be in touch with free personalized design services including renderings, cost estimates, and step-by-step support. Or start by finding the perfect white tile on your own, with five free samples to check out in your space.

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