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Laying Out Beautiful Bathroom Tiling Ideas

Bathroom tiling ideas — laid end to end, the possibilities would easily wrap around the Equator a hundred times over. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bathroom remodeling contractor to take on a project of that scope, but at Ayars we still like to give our customers plenty of latitude to explore their options.

Like the Equator, bathroom flooring and shower tiling can be thought of as a sort of a centerline for our design decision-making. Are we going for a space that is more subdued and subtle, or more vibrant and energizing? Our tile selections will have a major influence not only on the overall look and feel of the room, but on all our other design decisions — vanities, countertops, paint color, fixtures and accessories, and so on (it is one of the first things our in-house designer discusses with our clients before starting a project).

So let’s make sure we get this right, shall we?

Coordinating tile colors, textures, and patterns

The number of bathroom tiling ideas out there may be infinite, but when we begin thinking methodically about the dimensions of the room we have to work with, where the tile will be placed, and the aesthetic we are aiming for, we can narrow down those choices pretty quickly.

If you have a specific tile you’ve fallen in love with, all the better — we can use the “star” of the show to help pick out our “supporting cast.”

Color scheme

Softer, cooler, earthier, and more neutral schemes predominate the landscape of modern bathroom design — but that is not to say you can’t opt for a more vibrant or dramatic palette. As a general rule, lighter colors are recommended for smaller bathrooms, while darker ones can help make a large space seem “cozier.”

Whatever the case, once you pick a scheme, stick with it. And don’t forget about tile grout — the more it contrasts with the tile color, the more starkly those tiles will stand out.

soft green master bathroom in mickleton nj shower tile detail

Utilizing the subtleties in shading and sizing, we can create a lot of visual interest using the same tiling.

Texture and finish

Even within a monotone bathroom, a sense of visual interest and dimension can be created by mixing and matching tile textures and finishes. For example, glossy tiles will “pop” when interspersed with matte tiles on a shower wall, implying a pattern even if they are the same color value. For stone or stone-look tiles, we can capitalize on the subtleties of their veining patterns to often stunning results. Sometimes it only takes a little to get a lot!

Size and shape

Tiles can be cut to virtually any shape and size, and in more abstract or artistic applications, you might see several craftily fitted together on the same plane to tell a visual story (e.g. a mosaic mural).

More commonly, though, bathroom tiling comes in square, rectangular, hexagonal, and circular (e.g. penny tiles) shapes, with plenty of opportunities to play with proportions. Large format tiles lend a luxurious look when used as shower tiling, akin to a bathhouse or wet room. Smaller tiles are great used as border elements, and are the practical choice for shower floors: more tiles = more grout = better grip.

Pattern and layout

Now that we’ve sorted out the parts, we’re ready to arrange the whole. Generally speaking, we’ll need tiles to cover the bathroom floor, the shower enclosure (walls and floor), and perhaps a backsplash for the vanity/sink area.

While it’s certainly possible to tile a bathroom from floor to ceiling, this locks you into a particular aesthetic for the long haul, and it’s not so easy to reverse course. The idea here is to impress but not overwhelm — 3 tile types is typically plenty.

The size and shape of the tile will dictate the layout and the particular patterns that can be achieved. Deceptively diverse, rectangular shapes can inspire a plethora of bathroom tiling ideas:

  • The classic “subway” pattern
  • Herringbone (V-shaped)
  • Basketweave (illusion of overlap)
  • Modular (mixed and matched sizes)

You might use variations on the same shape in different areas, use different shapes to define different areas, or even fit shapes within shapes! Isn’t laying tile fun?

mullica hill master bath shower and bath combo

Perpendicularly adjoining at a diagonal, the herringbone tiling pattern is a customer favorite for both bathroom floors and walls. Here its dark coloring is mirrored in the veining accents of the tub/shower surround.

Bathroom tile materials

Now that we’ve discussed design, let’s talk about materials. Bathroom tiles come in a wide assortment of those, but there are definitely a few more popular than others.

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles

Glazed ceramic tiles reign supreme in most bathrooms across America, and for good reason — they’re attractive, versatile, durable, and cost-effective. They can be made to mimic a number of other textures and patterns from nature — such as those found in natural stone or wood (e.g. plank tile flooring) — without the headaches that come with trying to maintain those materials.

Porcelain differs from the standard glazed ceramic tile in that the clay is kiln-dried and hardened at higher temperatures, lending to even more enhanced performance. While both options are highly water-resistant, porcelain is the more impervious of the two.

If your bathroom remodel is giving you cold feet, both are superb candidates for an underlying radiant flooring system, as they are excellent conductors of heat.

Natural stone

In terms of beauty and elegance, it doesn’t get much better than natural stone tile — which may come in the form of marble, granite, limestone, and slate. However, a level of caution and care is required with these materials to avoid damage and wear (e.g. avoiding abrasive scrubs on scratch-prone marble, sealing porous limestone and slate), as it is pricier than ceramics.

Glass/mosaic

Multicolored glass tiles can serve as an eye-catching accent as a backsplash, along wall borders, or within shower enclosures. It’s not recommended for bathroom flooring, as it’s susceptible to scratches and extremely slippery when wet.

Metal

Metals have also found roles as accent tiles or within mosaics, typically on a wall or partition. It’s available in several tones with shiny, matte, or brushed finishes.

Engineered materials

Manmade materials like linoleum and vinyl still have their supporters, with affordability and stylistic flexibility being the draws. Although linoleum often has a reputation for being cheap or tacky, it actually performs quite well as a bathroom flooring material and is easy to install and replace.

Even more impressive, though, is luxury vinyl tile, aka luxury vinyl plank. Stronger and thicker than conventional vinyl flooring, it may do an even better job at emulating wood or stone than ceramics, and stays warmer and more comfortable underfoot. It’s a favorite among the crew at Ayars.

powder room with custom trimwork in mickleton nj

In this powder room, we integrated mosaic tiling into the surrounding custom millwork, with a light-stain wood-look vinyl plank tile for the floors.

Bathroom remodeling inspiration from Ayars

If you’re dreaming of your next bathroom remodel, you’ve come to the right place to allow your imagination to roam free. Browse our portfolio pages for bathroom tiling ideas and see if your project is a good fit for us in 2023 or beyond.

Custom Showers: Your Master Bathroom’s Main Attraction

If you were to poll folks on what they most look forward to when starting or ending their day, a hot shower would probably be near the top of the list. A custom shower design will have you looking forward to it even more, as you curate every aspect of the experience from your head to your feet.

There are many ways to go about designing a custom shower enclosure for a master bathroom, and few of them are objectively “wrong.” The “right” design all depends on the space you’re working with and personal preference. Let’s explore the options!

Custom shower layout

One of the very few constraints you’ll have when customizing a walk-in shower (other than budget) is the master bathroom layout itself. Its dimensions and setup will force some decisions about the custom shower’s size, shape, and location. Given the number of choices you’ll be making otherwise, that may actually come as a relief!

Size

Generally speaking, most people prefer a shower that is cozy but not claustrophobic. You should be able to fully extend your arms and spin around in a circle without bumping into anything. The standard size for a walk-in shower is 48” x 36,” but larger or more upscale master bathroom remodeling projects might want to consider an enclosure that is 60” x 36” or larger.

Shape

A square or rectangular shower enclosure will work for most master bathrooms in a corner or along a wall, whereas a circular shape is typically only possible in the middle of a larger space. Of course, some homeowners opt to forgo an enclosure entirely, in an effort to capture the vibe of a steam room or spa.

Door

Once you’ve determined the shower size, location, and orientation in the room, it will be a lot easier to choose a door.

  • Sliding doors are good for smaller bathrooms and shower enclosures flush with walls
  • Hinged doors swing outward so you’ll have to account for how an open shower door may interfere with (or be interfered with) by other master bath elements, such as the sink, vanity, or the entrance to the bathroom itself.
  • Pivot doors are a more modernized cousin to the hinged door, operating by the same outswinging mechanic. However, since it is either hinged at the very top and bottom or hinged continuously, the door is tighter to the frame and does not swing out as far. 

From there, you might consider whether you want clear or obscure glass, a partial wall, or windows depending on your aesthetic preferences and privacy needs.

Shower tiling

The selection of shower tile materials available today are virtually limitless, and can pretty convincingly mimic many aesthetics and textures found in nature. 

  • Ceramic and porcelain tiles, which are both formed from clay, remain the most popular option — they’re typically more economical and easier to clean and maintain (porcelain even more so).
  • Natural stone materials such as marble, slate, and travertine are among the most striking and beautiful ways to finish shower walls and floors. However, they’re more high-maintenance, and may fade, discolor, or degrade more quickly without proper sealing and regular cleanings.
  • Man-made materials such as engineered quartz, cultured marble, or solid surface (e.g. Corian) combine ground stone with other binding and fortifying substances. They’re available in a wealth of colors and patterns, replicating materials that would otherwise not be recommended for a shower environment (such as natural wood). 

Shower systems

When we talk about shower systems, we are talking about how water temperature is controlled and regulated. There are three main types.

  • Manual mixer: Features one or two valves that adjust the ratio of hot to cold water flowing through the system
  • Thermostatic: Allows precise temperature control through a thermostat, sometimes digital.
  • Electric: A heating unit directly heats cold water from your water supply continuously. This occurs separately from your hot water system. 

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj shower control panel

Showerheads

Water pressure and spray patterns are governed by showerheads, which greatly influence the sensory experience of your custom shower. They are classified in one of two ways.

By mount position

  • Fixed showerheads are mounted to a shower wall.
  • Hand-set showerheads are also mounted to a wall but attached to a hose. This not only allows you to hand-maneuver the spray to virtually any angle you desire, but also makes for easier cleaning.
  • Ceiling mounted showerheads rain down water from above at low or medium pressure.

By control settings

  • Single-setting: Offers only one spray setting and flows at a constant pressure.
  • Multi-setting: Variable spray patterns and pressures, from beads to mists.
  • Rainfall: The most coveted type of single-setting showerhead; like showering under a gently cascading waterfall.
  • Shower tower: If you’ve ever wanted to use a jacuzzi standing up, this is for you. You’ll be able to adjust several vertically-oriented jets and nozzles to caress you from all angles for the ultimate spa experience.

master bath walk-in shower west deptford nj

Custom shower features

Now that the essentials are taken care of, we can turn our attention to finer details. Liven up or tone the mood with LED lighting and Bluetooth speakers. Accommodate all your sundries with built-in shelves or cubbies. Incorporate a shower bench to make personal grooming tasks that much easier. 

If all these possibilities excite you, you’re not alone! The professionals at Ayars Complete Home Improvements take a true craftsman approach to master bath remodels — a beautiful custom shower is just the beginning!