5 Practical Bathroom Tile Ideas for a Flawless Installation

  • 01 of 05

    Use Grout as a Style Device

    Black Tile With White Grout
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    Practical and effective bathroom tile design can also be valuable from an aesthetic standpoint. Tile has long been the hardscaping cover of choice for bathrooms due to its waterproof qualities, cleanliness, and beauty. Compared to laminate flooring or solid hardwood flooring, tile is ideal for any room that is constantly subjected to water. 

    One easy way to change the look of tile is to change the border around it: the grout. White grout against black tile makes for a dramatic transformation that creates a bold statement. Applying same-color grout to tile softens the look.  

    Grout can be removed relatively easily with the right tools. With enough care, the ceramic tiles will remain in place and in good condition while you chip away the grout. If you have a major grout removal project, it may be worthwhile to purchase a quality multi-purpose oscillating tool. These tools usually come with a limited set of heads, with one head being designated for grout removal.

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  • 02 of 05

    Consider All Tile Patterns

    Herringbone Tile Pattern
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    With a box full of ceramic squares or rectangles, you are presented with a type of puzzle. At first glance, this puzzle appears to assemble in only one or two ways: the classic stacked pattern or a brickwork pattern.

    Stacked patterns run a row of tiles, with neighboring rows laid so that tiles are advanced by half a tile. Brickwork patterns are grids.

    But there are all sorts of tile patterns you can experiment with. Diamond-shaped or diagonal pattern tile runs all of the rows at a 45-degree angle to the walls. This pattern adds a feeling of liveliness and activity to the tile.

    Another favorite tile pattern is herringbone. Rows run in V's that interlock with each other. Herringbone is a complex tile pattern to master, but it can enliven an otherwise ordinary tile choice.

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  • 03 of 05

    Use Different Tile Shapes

    Hexagonal Floor Tile in Bathroom
    asbe / Getty Images

    The square is the most popular tile shape for a good reason: It is endlessly malleable when moved around with other squares. Squares can be shifted and fitted in all sorts of different ways. Rectangles also are popular because of their utility in a wide range of situations.

    But if you want to create a unique look in your bathroom, consider using tile in shapes other than squares or rectangles. Large-format hexagonal ceramic tiles are showy and eye-catching, and adding a highly contrasting grout color can only accentuate the unusual shape of the tiles.

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  • 04 of 05

    Add a Tile Surround on Walls

    Tile Surround on Wall
    Construction Photography / Avalon / Getty Images

    From a bathroom tile design perspective, what is the practical purpose of installing a tile surround on the lower section of the walls?

    Bathrooms are wet areas, and no place within the bathroom is as wet as the lower half. Tile surrounds extend from a tiled floor up the wall to about 42 inches high. This vertical application does take time to install, but it pays off since it protects the walls from both moisture and accidental abuse. In a sense, it's a large-scale backsplash. But instead of applying this backsplash behind the bathroom sink, you apply it to the bathroom as a whole.

    Surrounds and wainscots also visually help to break up the monotony of large walls. Aim for placing the top rail of the surround slightly below the vertical halfway point.

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  • 05 of 05

    Create an Accent Wall With Tile

    Accent Wall Made With Tile
    Kathryn Barnard / Getty Images

    Accent walls are any type of wall, in any room of the house, that stand alone and serve mainly as a visual anchor.

    For example, a living room might be painted with one color on three walls, white on the ceiling, and a completely different color on the fourth wall. Additionally, that accent wall is usually the first wall that you see when entering the room. Usually, accent walls are painted in bolder, more vivid colors than the rest of the room.

    Bathrooms can successfully employ accent walls, too. A vast majority of homes have either a primary or secondary bathroom sized at a standard 5 feet wide, to accommodate an alcove bathtub, and between 10 and 15 feet long. This means that the back wall of the bathtub, the tub surround, is the first wall that you see. This wall is a perfect candidate for a bathroom accent wall.

    If your bathroom is dull and in need of life, this is a good way to add that life, all while keeping things on the straight-and-narrow practical level. Nothing can be more practical than a well-built bathtub surround.