Design details: bathroom tiles
Tiles aren’t just the practical choice for wet areas. ey can also bring vibrant colour and pattern, and define the mood of the entire space – with something for all budgets, says Emily Brooks
Emily Brooks shares how this practical wall and floor covering can add style and vibrancy to your washroom
The distinct personality and individualism that’s fairly unchallenging to attain elsewhere in a home can occasionally fall by the wayside in the bathroom, because of the need to prioritise safe, easy-to-maintain surfaces and products. Using tiles is one of the simplest ways to create character while still attaining a really high level of practicality. The wide range of colours, patterns, textures and materials available means that near-enough any look is achievable, from minimal, architectural-style bathrooms to a warmer traditional ambience or the period flavour of a classic Edwardian washroom.
Your choice of materials will come down to aesthetics, budget and ease of upkeep. Natural stone and cement will need regular sealing, for example, while glass isn’t suitable for wet floors because it will become slippery. Porcelain and ceramic are top choices for price, straightforward installation and compatibility with underfloor heating – and also for the huge range of patterns and colours available. The development of inkjet printing has led to an explosion of lookalike finishes on ceramic and porcelain tiles, from slate to timber to rusty metal, opening up lots of exciting design possibilities.
Use tiles to add decorative flair to the bathroom, whether that means creating a feature wall behind a bath or in a shower, for instance, or mixing and matching different colours and/or patterns for walls and floors. Pay particular attention to the tiles you specify for wet areas, as they need to cope with rigorous use: opt for larger units (rather than, say, mosaics), which will look good for longer because they use less grout. Avoid hard-to-clean heavily textured designs that will harbour scale and soap scum.
Always obtain a sample before buying. Not only can colours be different from what you see on a screen, but quality varies hugely, especially for digitally-printed faux finishes such as marble and patterned cement. What might seem like an online bargain could cheapen a new bathroom. Instead, if you’re on a tight budget, use special tiles sparingly, or buy plain units and be more imaginative when it comes to the laying pattern or the grout colour. Upgrading tile trims from the standard white plastic is another tip for getting a smarter look for less.
Above: Gleaming brassware stands out against monochrome geometric cement tiles running along the floor and up the basin wall in this project by Gunter & Co. The tiles are from Mosaic del Sur
A feature wall of honed natural stone brings subtle colour – from tawny oranges to mineral greens – to this bathroom designed by Blanca Sanchez of Halo Design Interiors. The minimal glass shower screen means that the wall can act as a backdrop to the dramatic freestanding bath. The rest of the room features porcelain large-format tiles in a creamy neutral colour
Here, plain white subway tiles are given an original treatment under the creative eye of interior designer Shanade Mcallister Fisher in this bath and sink surround application. The tiles are arranged in a herringbone bond, with a saw-toothed effect instead of a traditional tile trim at the top. A patterned tiled floor works alongside to prevent the scheme from looking too white and clinical
Interior designer Clare Pascoe of Pascoe Interiors has emphasised the niches in a shower by using a colourful patterned tile. The same units have also been applied to the floor. These are the Henley design from Topps Tiles. Alongside this, the shower area features a contrasting textured tile – a large-format stoneeffect porcelain product called Stratum, also from Topps Tiles