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Tile Design

How To Layout Bathroom Tile in 7 Easy Steps

How to Layout Bathroom Tile in 7 Easy Steps

1. Start With the Basics

When we start a new bathroom design, we love to start with the tile.  There are so many options to choose from it can sometimes be hard to decide.

Since your tile is so permanent in the home and the labor is expensive, we want to be sure that our choices will do three things.

  1. Suit the architecture of the home
  2. Have some longevity in terms of style
  3. Serve the client well in terms of durability and ease of maintenance

If we have a client who dyes their hair at home in the shower, a limestone shower floor would be a disaster very quickly! We like to keep in mind that your lifestyle will have a direct impact on the wear and tear of your environment.

Make Groups

2. Make Your Tile Selections by Groupings

When it comes to creating a grouping of tiles that will come together and create a unique look, stick to the rule of three. This is an easy, foolproof way to get a great finished product without driving yourself crazy! The practice is basically this, choose three tiles that will pair well together.  

The three types of tile are:

  1. Floor tile
  2. Field tile
  3. Accent tile

The field tile is the one you use the most. It’s typically a solid color and textural piece. In comparison, the accent tile is the one with all the colors and adds personality to the room. I love the look above, and it’s such a simple design plan that utilizes very durable materials appropriate for a vacation home.

Bath Remodel
3. Consider the Size and Scale

Pay attention to scale.

The size of the tile you select matters, especially when it comes to creating meaningful layouts for your bathroom. Some patterns are just better suited to larger rooms and vice versa.

When you are looking at small tile samples in a showroom, it’s easy to forget that you will have a lot more of it once it’s installed in the space. To put it into perspective, you can break out the design into two different types of patterns. They are:

  1. Pattern 1 – The repetition of the pattern.
  2. Pattern 2 – The color of the actual piece of tile, which also includes the geometric pattern for the installation.

The combination of these two patterns can create an overly busy design very quickly.

If you have a small shower stall, you might want to stay away from larger format tile. If the installer has to make multiple cuts, the impact of the size and the pattern of the layout can get lost.

In a smaller space, go for either smaller-scale pieces or one big piece. We love the ultra-large porcelain slabs that are becoming increasingly available in sizes as large as 5 ft. X 10 ft.

In larger spaces, you may want to find ways to break up larger runs of tile. However, this doesn’t mean you need more tile options. Instead, try using more of the same thing in different ways. You can vary the direction or change the sizes in the same material to give a slight variation that is still refined yet elevated.

4. Get Creative

Mixing and matching different shapes can provide interest in the finished product. Here are some tips to help you create the perfect mix.

  1. Look for a tile collection you love and use multiple shapes within the same tile line or collection. With contrasting grout, the geometry of your mix will stand out beautifully.
  2. Use larger scale rectangles mixed with elongated hexagons. The two long and lean shapes can help emphasize the height of a room when needed.
  3. Create a frame! A great way to enjoy a bold color or mosaic and add detail to the room is to create a frame and then put the more exotic accent tile in the frame.  Some mosaics really do deserve to be treated as art! This might be done at the focal point of a back wall to a shower or possibly on the floor in a larger room. The frame will allow you to place and pattern mosaic into any field tile. Just be sure to buy a beautiful trim to set it off!

5. Get Precise

Tile IllustrationsTile Examples

The difference between an okay tile job and a magnificent tile job is in the details. Having the correct trim pieces is SO essential to getting that high-quality level of finish. I often start a tile search by looking at which collections will offer me all the trim pieces needed. 

Be sure to have a plan for every edge. Some great options to use are:

  1. Trim with a solid surface material that matches the countertop.
  2. Look for coordinating bullnose pieces, chair rail tiles, or pencil moldings.
  3. For modern designs, try Schluter trim pieces. They come in a variety of shapes for unique applications.

Tile Design

6. For Dramatic Effect

Grout Color

Once grouted, tiles can take on a completely different look, and the color of the grout can have a dramatic effect on the overall color tone. The contrast of the tile examples above has varying grades of grout that showcase different degrees of detail, and depending on the aesthetic of your bathroom; one may lend itself more to the space than the other. This is something to consider and play with before the whole install is complete.

7. Ensure Proper Planning

No matter where you are in your process, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan properly. Every detail matters, and as you can see, there are many when it comes to pulling off a flawless tile installation. Great planning will help you to be sure you have all the materials on hand when the installation starts and will help you to be able to get more accurate price quotes for the labor to install your dream bathroom.  Simple can be beautiful when thoughtfully planned and executed.

Are you ready to start your new bathroom design? Are you stuck trying to decide what options to go with for your island home? We are here to help! Contact us today so we can help you identify your exact tile selections for your dream oasis. The style of your interiors with durable materials will give you fulfilling days and a lifetime of joy.

Leave a comment

  1. Love that tile but cannot find anything like it, can you help me as I am talking to contractors now and nothing is as clean and bright as the tile you have pictured.
    Where can I get that tile.

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