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Tile Is the Perfect Choice for Bathrooms
Ceramic tile was just made for bathrooms. When glazed, tile is completely water-resistant. As a design element, tile can create any kind of style or pattern. It is suitable for nearly any budget—as cheap as a dollar per square foot, as expensive as you want. Tile is surprisingly friendly to DIYers, should you doubt you tiling skills, there are pros aplenty to help you out.
When planning your bathroom tile, remember that smaller tiles make for more grouting and they are harder to adjust than the large tiles (12 or 16 inches square). But you can't get around the fact that smaller tiles look better in bathrooms—with the exception of the floor. Twelve-inch square tiles in the tub or shower just don't look right.
Subway tile is a great bet for any bathroom where you are aiming for a retro look. And listellos—those narrow bands between tile fields—offer a great way to add visual interest to any tile project.Continue to 2 of 31 below.
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Large Blocks of Color
This bathroom features a cool, retro contrast created by the Dal-Tile's Matte Glacier vertical strip and the Satinglo French Roast field tile. Dal-Tile is a 60-year old company from Dallas, Texas, and is am American Olean subsidiary that specializes in high-end ceramic tile.
- Shower: Bright French Roast 4 1/4 x 4 1/4-inch
- Shower: Matte Glacier 4 1/4 x 4 1/4-inch
- Floor: Vintage Stone Chablis 16 x 16-inch
This is an entirely do-able DIY project that requires no complicated designing at all. Note that the Matte Glacier strip is close to 4 feet wide, possible only in a shower of the size shown here. For smaller, normal-sized showers, you'll need to scale down the width of the strip for normal showers.Continue to 3 of 31 below.
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Travertine Tiles and Fancy Borders
This bathroom features souped-up natural stone travertine tile, complete with basketweave borders, matching soap dish and corner caddies, seat, chair-rail, and so. These tiles are from American Olean.
- Field Tile: Tumbled Stone Azteca 6 x 6-inch
- Soap Dish: Resin Travertine
- Field Tile: Puerto Gold 6 x 6-inch
Complicated installations with many features such as this one are best left in the hands of professional installers.Continue to 4 of 31 below.
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Clean Living With White Mosaic Tile
Aesthetically, this bathroom is exactly the opposite of the previous baroque bathroom style. This is a clean, crisp design, but it is not as sterile as it first appears—the floor mosaic has an attractive light "salt and pepper" speckling. These tiles are another offering from American Olean.
- Walls: Unglazed Mosaic in Ice White 1 x 2-inch
- Floor: Salt and Pepper Mosaic
This is perfectly suitable for a do-it-yourself project. Mosaics are clusters of multiple tiles set on a single backing, so no need to install thousands of little tiles separately.Continue to 5 of 31 below.
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Bold Checkerboard Floors
Feeling bold? Try throwing down a checkerboard on your floor. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Going diagonal with the shower/tub surround increases the visual contrast.
All are from American Olean:
- Azteca Antique Bronze 6 x 6-inch
- Antique Bronze Beltaine Border 3 x 12-inch
- Antique Bronze Beltaine Insert/Corner 3 x 3-inch
Straight checkboard patterns are easy enough for DIYers to install, but the diagonal wall installation requires careful layout and planning, as do the borders and inset tiles.Continue to 6 of 31 below.
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Cool and Elegant Floor and Wainscot
Elegance comes easy with this diagonally-laid, 13 x 13-inch floor tile and 10 x 13-inch wall tile with shelf railing and swag accents, all from American Olean.
- Floor: Alysse in Blanc 13 x 13-inch Field
- Wall: 10 x 13-inch Field with Designer Elegance Botticino; 3 1/2 x 8-inch Shelf Rail and 3 x 12-inch Spiral Swag Accent.
This is another relatively complicated layout job that is suitable only for fairly experienced DIYers.Continue to 7 of 31 below.
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Easy Contemporary Italian Glass Mosaic
Having smooth elegance in your bathroom is easy with this design. Marazzi is a top-end manufacturer that supplies tile for both homes and commercial applications like restaurants and hotels. It uses a simple mosaic as the wall field behind the vessel sink, plus a wall border of larger tiles to the right of the window.
- This tile is Opalie Marfil and Beige. Opalie is one of Marazzi's lines of 13 x 13-inch and 20 x 20-inch glazed porcelain wall field tiles; it is barely visible at the bottom right, next to the window. Beige refers to Marazzi's line of glass mosaic wall field, shown here behind the counter.
Though it is very elegant, these mosaic tiles are quite suitable for DIY installation.Continue to 8 of 31 below.
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Large and Tiny Tiles Combined
It's often a good idea to try to pair tiles of differing sizes for maximum visual interest and impact. Marazzi is a well-regarded manufacturer that sells through over 14,500 locations worldwide. Here, its mosaic tile in a neutral shade is paired with larger wall field unit.
Note, too, how this idea really pulls together: a thin strip of the shower's mosaic tile is also used as a border over the large wall field.
- This is from Marazzi's Pietra del Sole series of glazed porcelain tiles.
Like other porcelain tiles, this one is well-suited for DIY installation.Continue to 9 of 31 below.
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Listello Band for Easy Elegance
It doesn't take much to make your bathroom fancy and showy. Here, from California-based distributor Eleganza is a bold red field pattern from its Laguna series, stacked three courses high. These courses are then topped by a showy border called a listello, and which is then topped by rectangular beige 8 x 12-inch tiles—both are also from the Laguna series.Continue to 10 of 31 below.
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Travertine Tile Surrounding a Tub
One of the greatest and oldest ideas around is to "break out of the box." Who said bathroom tile has to be square?
These Travertine-series tiles from Eleganza are anything but. At 10 x 13 inches, these tiles lend a feeling of spaciousness and grandeur to any bathroom. If you feel that these beige-inspired field units are too...beige, all you need to do is add a fancy listello like the 3 x 10-inch band shown here. Listello is a word for a fancy filigree that breaks up the monotony of large expanses of field tile, among other functions.
- All in Eleganza's Travertine series: Beige field on top, Mocha field on bottom, with listello slicing through the middle. Also used here, but not shown in the photo: quarter-round and bullnose.
Keep in mind that this is not natural travertine stone; it's a ceramic tile with the look of travertine. It is, therefore, more suitable for DIY installation than natural stone travertine.Continue to 11 of 31 below.
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European Tile for a Cool, Urbane, Modern Look
Now defunct, Hispano Azul was a tile manufacturer based in Alcora, Spain. This gray field is perfectly complemented by the floral-themed center band. Many European tile companies are known for tile styles that create hip, modern looks.
Continue to 12 of 31 below.
- Nappa Blanco series, 60cm x 60cm (24 x 24 inches)
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Economy Tiles for a Fabulous Marble Look
Where cost is a factor, don't overlook the mass manufacturers who commonly supply big box home improvement centers. These tiles from Armstrong flooring, from the Perla collection, are quite affordable, especially when special-ordered online.
Also shown here is a listello border on top called Bungalow, a 4 x 9-inch tile that is also part of the Perla collection.
- Armstrong Perla, 13 x 13-inch
- Bungalow Listello, 4 x 9-inch
In addition to being an affordable tile, the large 13 x 13-inch size is one of the easiest to install for DIYers.Continue to 13 of 31 below.
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Tile can be used as baseboard. Here we find large-sized tile taking on the role of baseboard. Shown here is a full 13 x 13-inch Armstrong ceramic (Suede) tile, used both on the floor and one-tile-high on the baseboards. Note, too, the contrasting black around the bathtub area.
- Armstrong Ceramics Suede, 13 x 13-inch
This design is both easy to execute and reasonably priced.Continue to 14 of 31 below.
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Ceramics that Look Like Marble
This is a soothing style from Armstrong's Ceramic Tile division. It's called Classically Marble—a name that is a bit deceptive because there isn't a single particle of marble in these tiles. That, of course, is the point: the look of marble, without the problems of marble—cost, sealing, maintenance, etc.). Note, too, the inlay between the bathtub and the sinks. This feature both highlights this important area and visually breaks up the expanses of the field.
- Armstrong Classically Marble Collection, Satin Finish, 13 x 13-inch
This ceramic tile is far easier for DIYers to install and maintain that genuine marble tiles.Continue to 15 of 31 below.
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Understated Tile in a Contemporary Bathroom
If you've got strong bathroom fixtures, you may want to keep your tile design understated. Here, we've got a dream bathtub in black tile with a translucent window...and a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair. These and other elements are doing all the work, allowing the tile to hang back.
- Armstrong Avignon Glazed Porcelain 13 x 13-inch, Satin Finish
Like most Armstrong products, these tiles are very affordable.Continue to 16 of 31 below.
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This tile comes from American Florim. It's part of their Navajo Collection. Highlighted is their 2 x 2-inch Navajo mosaic, which functions as a bordered accent area next to the bathtub.
Tile installers can work these extra features into the cost of the entire tile installation. Yes, you will need to pay them for these little embellishments, but these extras become part of the total cost and usually are nominal.
- American Florim, 2 x 2-inch Navajo Mosaic
- Larger field tiles also from Navajo collection
Such installations with many corners and angles should be approached with caution; pro installation may be the best option.Continue to 17 of 31 below.
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Looking like natural stone, this porcelain tile is called Artea Antico, from Marazzi. It's an ordinary-enough 6-inch square beige tile with unified backsplash and matching bullnose, but works perfectly when the rest of the the bathroom elements are also understated: the cool white vessel sink, faucet extending from the wall, and simple slab of mirror.
- Marazzi's Artea Antico, 6 x 6-inch with matching bullnose.
Porcelain tiles are generally more DIY-friendly, and easier to maintain, than natural stone tiles.Continue to 18 of 31 below.
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Designer Geometrics from Italy
Marazzi's Andretti line is a very unique tile-sheet featuring small octagonal tiles measuring 2 x 2 inches separated by diagonal squares. Generous spacing between the tiles allows for wide grout lines.
- Andretti, from Marazzi
Although the pattern is sophisticated, mosaic sheets like these are quite friendly for DIY installation.Continue to 19 of 31 below.
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Porcelain Masquerading as Slate
Although these tiles look like natural slate, they're actually porcelain. The edges on Marazzi's Jade Chestnut tiles are smooth and the surfaces are flat, eliminating the problems of bumpiness and even spalling that are often found with authentic slate tile.
- Jade Chestnut, from Marazzi
LIke any porcelain tile, installation is fairly straightforward.Continue to 20 of 31 below.
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Unique Porcelain Mosaic
This design features an unusual mosaic from Marazzi. Each unified mosaic piece has a flat top and bottom, with left and right sides having a comb-like appearance. Each "comb" fits into that of the adjoining tile for a very uniform stone-like effect.
- Percorsi Bianco from Marazzi
For a look that oozes designer aesthetics, this tile is very easy to install.Continue to 21 of 31 below.
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Stone-Look Porcelain for a Shower
This shower tile in beige is Marazzi's Marfil Cream through-body 12-inch porcelain tile. Though rather plain by itself, these field tiles are saved by including a wide listello between the Marfil Cream upper field and the cream-colored octagonal tile along the lower half.
Continue to 22 of 31 below.
- Marazzi's Marfil Cream, 12-inch
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Wood-Plank Porcelain in a Shower
Now here's a little tile idea you've probably never considered—take those wood-look plank porcelain tiles normally used for floors and...install them vertically on a shower wall. The result of this unusual layout is a full-on Finnish sauna effect.
This tile comes from Ann Sacks. These planks are 35 1/2 inches long and nearly 9 inches wide. Price for this lovely tile is around $10 per square foot.Continue to 23 of 31 below.
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Another upscale look from Ann Sacks is this faceted, three-dimensional tile. Combined with contrasting reds (persimmon) and blacks, this tile gives any bathroom maximum impact.
If red scares you, this same Clodagh tile comes in a muted greenish color called corten.
Be aware that this is a high-end tile, selling for $15 to $23 per square foot.Continue to 24 of 31 below.
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Stunning....In More Ways Than One
This beautiful bathroom tile from Ann Sacks is called Aura. Each rectangular field tile is 4 x 8 inches and appears to have been inspired by tie-dye designs. Whatever the inspiration, this high-gloss tile will have your guests' jaws dropping in awe.
And your jaw, too, will drop. Prices range from $137 to $240 per square foot.Continue to 25 of 31 below.
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Traditional White Subway With Unique Accent
There is a big difference between standard subway tile bathrooms and this one. Although it uses standard sized tiles (3 x 6 inches), this is the substantial signature series by Micheal S. Smith (available through Ann Sacks), which features wide, light-catching bevels on all four sides—but only for the lower field below the border. Above the thin black border, the upper field uses subway tiles that are identical, but without the bevels. This offers an elegant contrast that is most unusual for subway tile installations.
Then, to finish everything off, 1 x 1-inch gloss white mosaic tile is used as an accent panel in the center to hold the shower controls.Continue to 26 of 31 below.
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Planks of Dark Marble
At first glance, you'd think this bathroom is using wood-look porcelain tile. But you're really looking at deep-brown vein-cut marble with greenish overtones, in 2 x 16-inch slabs. The tile is called Idyllwild, from Ann Sacks, and it features a highly polished, honed surface.
Complementing this tile's dramatic effect is a more ordinary 12 x 12-inch Carrara marble floor tile.Continue to 27 of 31 below.
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Unique Ecru-Colored Floor
Yes! Assert your right to have ecru-colored tile in your bathroom. Ecru (accent on the first syllable) is one of those colors that doesn't get enough respect. Although this yellowish, beige-ish, greyish color doesn't sound appealing when described, actually looks pretty good on this floor.
Continue to 28 of 31 below.
- Bedrosian Grace series, color is Ecru
- 4 x 12- inch subway tile wall, also from the Grace series, color is Bianco
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Huge Porcelain Floor Tiles
These sheets of porcelain tile from Bedrosian's Matrix series are so big that three or four of them could nearly cover a small bathroom or powder room. Matrix is a lovely tile that looks much like vein-cut marble, yet it's made of easy-to-maintain porcelain.
Laying down massive tiles—Matrix comes in both 18 x 36-inch and 12 x 24-inch sizes—is an entirely different experience from laying those mosaic sheets of tiny 1-inch octagonal or hexagonal tiles. For one, you automatically eliminate that ripple effect that's so hard to avoid when pressing down lots of little tessarae into wet mud. On the downside, lippage is harder to avoid with the big sheets.Continue to 29 of 31 below.
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The most startling feature of Bedrosian's Native series of glazed full-body porcelain tile is its shape and size. Hexagonal tile is usually found in smaller sizes, but here we've got hexagons that are unusually large in size. These big tiles work perfectly for bathroom floor or as field tile for showers—both in evidence here.
- Bedrosian Native 13.5 x 13.5-inch hex tiles
- Bedrosian Athena field tiles
Hex tiles require careful layout and installation, but a large size like this will simplify things.Continue to 30 of 31 below.
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Wood-Look Porcelain Slabs
Big 8 x 48-inch slabs of glazed color-body porcelain tile grace this bathroom floor. This tile, in this color, is a perfect complement to the bathroom, with its cream-colored interior shutters, walls, and radiators.
Reminiscent of white-washed wood, this color from Bedrosian's Allways series is called Fence.Continue to 31 of 31 below.
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Gray Glass Subway Tiles
These high-gloss subway-style tiles are high-gloss because they are glass tiles rather than standard ceramics. Glass tiles in general work well on bathroom walls because they are completely impervious to water. While grout may pick up moisture, glass never will.
This is Bedrosian's Manhattan series, which is a full 4 x 16 inches. The color shown here is called Coast. Manhattan is one of Bedrosian's larger series of glass tiles. So, if you go this route, you can be certain of having lots of accents and accessories for a full and varied tile design.