Tile is a natural for bathroom walls and floors. It's versatile, beautiful and enables so many design possibilities to enhance the livability and overall value of your home. Here then are 7 of the best ceramic and porcelain tile trends for bathrooms we've found to inspire you.
To put into perspective how we identify tile trends, we attend the major ceramic tile and stone shows - i.e., Coverings, Cevisama, TISE.
We observe what kind of cutting-edge tile choices architects and designers in the Florida marketplace make. We also learn what makes a bathroom remodel a success from realtors and installation professionals.
Finally, we listen to the questions and conversations that take place within the Tile Outlets of America stores.
7 of the Best Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Trends for Bathrooms
1. Large format ceramic and porcelain tile
Large format ceramic and porcelain tile look really good on floors and walls. When we say 'large,' we refer to 18x18, 15x30, 18x36, 24x24 and 24x48.
For ceramic wall tile formats, large refers to 10x30, 15x30, 8x24 and 10x26.
Keep in mind that traditionally wall tiles used to be 8x10 and 8x12. Just as floor tile sizes are getting bigger, wall tile sizes are also getting much larger. The larger size tends to make a space look bigger; it also requires fewer grout lines.
We like how large format tile looks when mixed with smaller format tile, too, as you can see in the image below.
An example of the large format ceramic and porcelain tile trend for bathrooms
2. Concrete looks in tile
We find the concrete look in tile very exciting and loved how it looked in the Tampa Home of Distinction!
In a bathroom, concrete looks appear warm and contemporary. The tonal contrasts work well with busier wall tiles. In the image below, see how the concrete (large format) tile has been pulled into the shower floor to create a unified look.
An example of the concrete look in tile trend for bathrooms
And, in this next image, notice how the concrete tile has been pulled up one wall and contrasts beautifully with the other white subway tile wall.
The concrete look combined with subway tile or brick-look tile has a clean and modern look.
3. Distressed, reclaimed and metallic looks in tile
We are seeing the distressed and reclaimed looks in concrete as well as in wood plank tile styles. The effects are fantastic when combined with texture, exciting visual patterns, and larger tile formats as you can see in these next two images.
Above is Hemisphere Copper in 12x24.
For perspective, we shared several metallic looks in Five Strong Tile Trends Cevisama 2017. One of those images is below.
The images below are from Coverings.
An example of the distressed reclaimed look in tile trend for bathrooms, with a touch of metallic
Whereas the image above has a metallic, wood-like distressed quality given the parallel striations, the one below has a worn-paint, old-world quality from the impression of layered patterns and colors over concrete.
An example of the distressed reclaimed look in tile trend for bathrooms, in a large format tile that looks like concrete
4. Brick, Subway and hexagon tiles
The brick and subway tile look echoes the large format rectangular ceramic and porcelain looks on a smaller scale. They can look old-world and intensely contemporary.
The image below features Stone Collection White porcelain subway tiles on the wall.
In addition to white, they can be in traditional brick tones or with a concrete look as you see in the image below.
An example of brick-like subway tiles juxtaposed with large format tile in a concrete look
Similarly, hexagons can range from large to small formats, in wood looks, concrete and everything in between, including patchwork patterns.
An example of hexagon tile in a large format tile in a wood-like concrete look
This next image combines hexagons and subway tile. Don't you love the effect of the feature wall?
5. All white looks in tile, including marble
The all-white look in a bathroom is a classic. Add to that subtle and not-so-subtle textures, even 3-D effects, and that classic look becomes truly unique.
The image below is from the master bathroom in the Tampa Home of Distinction.
An example of the all-white tile trend for bathrooms. Note how important textures become.
Here's an all-white bathroom with 3x6 subway tile on the walls and white penny rounds on the floor.
The shower below also comes from the Tampa Bay Home of Distinction. It features Eneas Blanco 12x24 on the walls and wood planks (which extend beyond the shower) on the floors.
The image below jazzes up the all-white bathroom with marble-inspired patterns.
An example of the all-white tile trend for bathrooms where marble-look veining adds visual interest
Another interpretation takes the look - whether marble-inspired or all white - and juxtaposes a range of different shapes and sizes...
6. Wood plank ceramic and porcelain tile
We can't say enough about wood look plank tiles and how good they look in a bathroom, whether naturally-inspired, white-washed, distressed or even reclaimed.
An example of the wood look tile trend for bathrooms
Look how creative you can get with wood plank tile! Here's a feature wall in a bathroom that combines pebbles with wood planks. Notice how the pebbles are carried around the tub and the plank complete the tub surround.
Finally, check out this shower vignette from the Builder Show in Orlando. It confirms that you can definitely get creative combining wood plank tile on floors and walls with other tile shapes and colors.
7. It's in the details: drains, mosaics, decorative tiles, benches and niches
Details count in a bathroom. Whether you are considering drains (below you see a linear drain), storage niches for shampoo bottles and soap, or benches, floors or walls, you can have a blast with your tile choices. You can coordinate or contrast, add decorative tile details and more.
An example of wonderful details: linear drain, mosaic from floor to ceiling and concrete large format tile carried into the shower floor
Shower niches are essential for holding all of your shampoos and shower accessories.
At the same time, why not include a shower bench? You'll find preformed benches (and niches) that can easily be tiled over, making for extra seating or another area for holding your shower supplies.
When it comes to shower wall tiles, consider creating an accent with a wide floor-to-ceiling mosaic stripe, or install decorative tiles vertically. The possibilities are endless!
Bonus Tip: Don't Ever Forget Proper Tile Installation!
We can't stress enough how important installation is to enjoy the beauty of these best ceramic and porcelain tile trends for years to come. Bathrooms experience a great deal of water usage. For that reason, you need to make sure to use the most effective water installation methods.
More Top Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Trends for Bathrooms (and Other Spaces) Resources
There's so much to love about tile! Which of these top trends do you find most inspiring for your upcoming bathroom remodel?
For more on these and related top tile trends, check out these articles:
- Flooring and Tile Trends from Coverings 2014: Patchwork Tile
- Feel and See Ceramic Tile Textures from Cevisama 2016 about bricks and subway tiles, patchwork, large format tile (including cement looks), wood look, hexagon tile and 3-d textures.
- Tile Trends and Insights From Coverings 2015 highlights wood looks, mosaics, marble and bricks
- What’s New in Tile: Pamesa at Cevisama 2016 describes new wood look tile and textured white wall tiles.
Note: This article was originally published on August 11, 2016, and has been updated.