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Bathroom Tile: Ideas to Consider When Tiling Your Bathroom

By Ted Ryan

Bathroom Tile: Ideas to Consider When Tiling Your Bathroom

There may be no room in the house that benefits from tile more than the bathroom. In these wet and humid, high-use areas, ceramic, brick, or glass tile are each a natural fit and capable of creating limitless designs.

From petite powder rooms to spacious spa bathrooms, freshen up your bathroom with our best tips and ideas when it comes to bathroom tile.

2x8 Mist offset Shower

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Mist // Design: Emily Healy Interiors // Image: Joyelle West

Types of Bathroom Tile

Almost all tile is suitable for certain areas of the bathroom. Strength and water absorption rates will determine where they work and do not. Appropriate bathroom tile includes glass tile, ceramic tile, porcelain tile, brick tile, and natural stone tiles like marble tile or travertine tiles.

At Fireclay, we offer glass tile, ceramic tile, and non-vitreous brick tile. Glass is impervious to water making it our most waterproof product, though ceramic and brick tile are both acceptable for bathroom use, including in showers.

Learn more about Ceramic Shower Tile.
3x9 Daisy and Sea Glass Spa Bath

Tile Shown: 3x9 in Daisy + Sea Glass // Design: Claire Thomas // Image: Stephanie Todaro Photography

Bathroom Floor Tile

The bathroom floor is one of the wettest places in your house. Steaming up the shower, stepping out of the bath and regular cleaning constantly puts water on the bathroom floor. For this reason, flooring that works well in other rooms, like hardwood, may not fly in the bathroom. Bathroom tile flooring tolerates these wet conditions and is easy to clean.

Evening Glow and Antique Bath

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Evening Glow with Hexite in Antique // Design: Broad Oaks Construction // Image: Open Home Photography

Can you use glossy tiles on the bathroom floor?

Yes. All of our ceramic and brick tile is suitable for floors with low or residential traffic and our glass is appropriate in sizes under 3", including colors with a glossy finish. Smaller-sized tile will increase the number of grout lines and the grip of the floor. Wider grout lines increase traction as well.

Learn how to choose the right size grout.

If there is any concern, our non-slip options offer a slip-resistant finish and additional peace of mind.

Jackyln Johnson Small Diamond Bathroom Floor

Tile Shown: Small Diamonds in White Wash // Design: Jaklyn Johnson // Image: Monica Wang Photography

Use two colors of the same shape to create decorative patterns on your floor, like this cottage bathroom that combines 3x3 tiles of matte Calcite and glossy Haystack for a refined lattice look.

4x4 ceramic tile in calcite and haystack

Tile Shown: 3x3 Tile in Calcite and Haystack // Design: Claire Thomas // Image: Claire Thomas

Brick bathroom floor tile offers bathrooms a rustic quality and extra toughness to stand up to years of use. Black Hills brick with matching black grout is the perfect no-nonsense floor for this country bathroom/utility room.

black hills brick bathroom floor

Tile Shown: Standard Glazed Thin Brick in Black Hills // Design: Valeria Jacobs // Image: Valeria Jacobs

Handpainted bathroom floor tile makes a bathroom elegant from every angle. This minimalist bathroom doesn’t need splashy color or busy fixtures to make an impression with Handpainted Summit Tile in White Motif.

summit handpainted tile bathroom floor

Tile Shown: 8x8 Summit Handpainted in White Motif // Design: Jess Ann Kirby // Image: Jess Ann Kirby

Use different shapes and colors to create artistic motifs like this clever seaside bathroom that looks like a day at the beach.

beach ball hexite bathroom floor

Tile Shown: Hexite Tile in Chateau, Frond, Desert Bloom, White Wash, and Neptune // Design: Leslie Murchie // Image: Leslie Murchie

Hexagon tiles are a natural choice for a bathroom floor. Learn how to choose the right hexagon tile for your bathroom.

Bathroom Wall Tile

Moisture from showers can damage drywall, paint, or wallpaper in your bathroom. Tiling your bathroom walls creates a defense for your walls that will last decades. You can tile the entire wall up to the ceiling or tile only part of the wall, called wainscoting, and pair it with wallpaper, wood, or plaster.

2x8 Rosemary wall Erin Kestenbaums

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Rosemary with Round Liner Trim // Design + Image: Erin Kestenbaum

You can match your floor and wall tile blended perfectly with cove base trim, or choose different colors and shapes to distinguish between the walls and the floors.

A white subway tile bathroom is a classic choice for any bathroom. But playing with the pattern can breathe new life into an enduring trend. This bathroom switches things up with a herringbone pattern that gives the subway tile a fresh perspective.

herringbone white subway bathroom wall tile

Tile Shown: 3x6 Tile in White Wash and 6x12 Mazagan Handpainted in Neutral Motif // Design: Kate Lester Interiors // Image: Gray Malin

Love white bathroom tile? Check out this blog for 3 timeless white bathroom tile trends.

Tile wainscoting with 1x1 mosaic glass tile in Rosy Finch Matte adds an intricate accent against the pink drywall in this gem of a powder room.

1x1 rosy finch glass tile half bathroom wall

Tile Shown: 1x1 Mosaic Glass Tile in Rosy Finch Matte // Design: Ginny Macdonald // Image: Jessica Bordner, Sara Tramp

Two sizes of ceramic tile in warm neutral Tusk compose these full coverage bathroom walls including the spacious shower walls. The alternating dimensions add a distinct look to the monochromatic bathroom.

3x3 and 3x6 tusk ceramic bathroom wall tile

Tile Shown: 3x3 and 3x6 Tile in Tusk // Design: Claire Thomas // Image: Claire Thomas

Wondering how high to tile your bathroom wall? Check out our blog post that helps you weigh the choice.

Shower Tile

The bathroom is one of the most fertile rooms for design expression and showers have become not just highlights of bathrooms, but entire homes. A knockout custom shower will delight your guests and make you feel like you’re living on vacation.

The tile you choose can set the tone for this private place. Ceramic tile in soft colors creates a spa-like atmosphere. Brightly colored glass explodes with positive vibes to start your day with. A brick shower speaks to utilitarian sensibilities.

San Gabriel Backsplash Herringbone

Brick Shown: San Gabriel // Design: Sara Combs and Rich Combs // Image: Margaret Austin Photography

Color is all preference, but if you live in an area with hard water, you may want to choose a lighter color with a glossy finish to minimize the appearance of water spots. Harsh chemicals to remove water spots are not suitable for ceramic tile.

What tile can you use on a shower floor?

Ceramic and glass tile are both suitable for the shower pan or floor, including glossy colors. Brick can be used on shower walls but is not recommended for shower floors. Again, smaller tiles and wider grout lines will increase traction in these wet environments. We recommend using a Mosaic Tile smaller than 3" for shower pans.

Get the answers to all your shower floor tile questions.
Sand Dune and Koi Shower

Tile Shown: 4x4 in Sand Dune, 2x2,4x4 and 6x12 in Koi // Design: Anthony Roxas Architecture // Image: María del Río

Glass tile is available in non-slip as well by applying a corundum finish to any of the glass tile colors.

There are several trim options available to design a shower curb to match the rest of your shower or bathroom floor.

Deciding what type of tile to use in your shower? Check out this blog to compare ceramic and glass tile showers.

The color Magnolia ties together these two shapes in this shower. Our 3" Triangles make for a perfect mosaic on the shower pan floor.

Fair Isle Magnolia 2x6 Bathroom

Tile Shown: 2x6 with 3" Triangles in Magnolia // Design + Image: Fare Isle

Perfect for showers, backsplashes, and in smaller sizes, shower floors, glass tile offers a sheen only found in glass. This shower features vertical 3x12 glass tile in ruby red Pheasant Gloss to contrast the wall tile of Rosy Finch Matte, paired with our ceramic tile in the same size on the floor.

3x12 pheasant gloss glass bathroom shower tile

Tile Shown: 3x12 Glass Tile in Pheasant Gloss and Rosy Finch Matte, 3x9 Tile in Limestone // Design: Handsome Salt // Image: Jenny Siegwart

Not every shower can have its own accent wall, but this spacious walk-in shower with a view features a bold display of Glazed Thin Brick in San Gabriel with 2x2 mosaic tiles on the floor--ideal for a shower pan!

Herringbone Brick San Gabriel and 1x1 Ivory shower pan

Tile Shown: San Gabriel Glazed Thin Brick with 2x2 Tiles in Ivory // Design: Sara Combs and Rich Combs // Image: Margaret Austin Photography

Bathroom Backsplash Tile

A backsplash isn’t just for the kitchen. Featured alone or paired with floor, wall, or shower tile, a bathroom backsplash adds detail to your bathroom, protection from water, and makes your vanity area easier to clean.

Speaking of cleaning, small mosaic tile is a beautiful design option for a bathroom backsplash but bear in mind that the smaller the tile you choose the more grout will be used. For areas you’ll clean frequently, you may want to opt for a larger shape.

With a satin finish and varying colors or rich leather, this bathroom backsplash pieces together Hexite tile for a contemporary tortoiseshell design.

hexite antique bathroom backsplash tile

Tile Shown: Hexite in Antique // Design: Jared Zimmerman & Shannon Badiee // Image: Aerial Canvas

This decorative bathroom backsplash features Mini Star and Cross Tile in Cardamom to match the larger format Star and Cross floor.

cardamom star and cross bathroom backsplash tile

Tile Shown: Mini Star and Cross in Cardamom, Star and Cross in Cardamom, 3x9 Tile in Cardamom, 2x2 Sheeted Tile in Cardamom // Design: Anita Yokota // Image: Anita Yokota

Trying to match your bathroom to a particular period? Read our blog on designing mid century bathrooms to learn how.

Tub Surround Tile

A tiled tub surround is a great choice for smaller bathrooms where the shower and tub are combined as well as for more spacious bathrooms to create a setting of elegance and serenity.

This rainbow striped tub surround with matching bathroom walls nearly broke the internet last year and no wonder. We’d love to be inspired by its vibrant energy every morning.

rainbow tile bathtub surround bathroom

Tile Shown: 3x12 Tile in Amalfi Coast, Turquoise, Neptune, Lemon Cream, Koi, Sorbet, Desert Bloom, White Wash, Glacier Bay // Design: Brittany Buchser // Image: Cameron Behbahany

Sheeted 2x2 Mosaic Tile in Peabody surrounds this deep soaking tub lit by an overhead skylight for a peaceful place to leave the day behind.

2x2 sheeted peabody tile bathtub surround japandi bathroom

Tile Shown: 2x2 Sheeted Mosaic Tile in Peabody // Design: Working Holiday Studio // Image: Working Holiday Studio

Glazed Thin Brick gives this tub surround an earthy color and rustic texture to pair with the natural wood floors and bright white alcove tub.

glazed thin brick tile bathtub surround in elk

Tile Shown: Standard Glazed Thin Brick in Elk // Design + Image: Claire Thomas

Explore more tub surround tile styles.

Shower Niche Tile

A niche in your shower or tub surround adds function and detail. A niche is an opportunity for home decorators to add a unique element like handpainted tile or finished trim.

Learn more about designing a Shower Niche.

3” Triangle tile in Gypsum switches things up in this shower niche for a textural pop that matches the tile of the shower pan.

3

Tile Shown: 3" Triangle Tile in Gypsum // Design: Jared Zimmerman & Shannon Badiee // Image: Aerial Canvas

Steam Shower Tile

A steam shower is an amazing way to up your relaxation game and the right tile lets you flex your design muscles while you’re at it. Our glass tile is impervious to water and an excellent choice for outfitting your steam shower. Ceramic Tile is approved for use in steam showers. Brick is not suitable for steam showers.

Our non-slip ceramic tiles are a great choice to tile the floor of your steam shower so you can stay extra safe when things get steamy.

3x9 Liberty non slip bathroom

Tile Shown: 3x9 in Lady Liberty // Design + Image: Dabito

Public Bathroom Tile

Offices, schools, commercial, restaurant, and retail spaces all need beautiful bathrooms too. Quality tile is especially important in public settings since the amount of use and foot traffic encountered in public bathrooms is exponentially more than the bathroom in your home.

Desert Bloom Chaine Homme Banner Day Bath

Tile Shown: Chaine Homme in Desert Bloom // Design: Banner Day // Image: Vivian Johnson Photo

On public bathroom floors, non-slip tile can be of even greater importance to ensure the safety of your patrons, employees, or students.

School is about self-expression. So Detroit Prep designed this restroom to reflect the creativity they hope to foster in their students with sheeted small diamonds of non-slip Fountain, City Lights, and Underground.

Detroit prep diamond mosaic tile school bathroom floor

Tile Shown: Small Diamond Sheeted Non-Slip Tile in Fountain, City Lights and Underground, 4x4 in Moonshine // Design: Hudson & Sterling // Image: Stylish Detroit

Offices don’t have to be drab. Create a space your staff will want to spend their time in. This bathroom comes courtesy of Sock Club who knows how to put their employees in a fashionable mindset.

sock club chaine home public bathroom backsplash tile in basalt

Tile Shown: Chaine Homme Tile in Basalt // Design: Hatch Works // Image: Robert Gomez

Have more questions about bathrooms or an idea you want to work on? Link up with a personal Design Assistant for free design services!

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