It may not be the most extravagant room in your home, but that doesn’t mean your bathroom is any less deserving of love! Whether you’re redesigning your master bathroom or giving your guest bathroom a makeover, chances are, you’re already thinking about tile choices. If you’ve already started looking at the options, you have an idea of what’s out there: it’s a lot! However, tile isn’t cheap, so you want to be sure that what you buy is what you’ll want for years to come. Fortunately for you, I’ve been where you are today. Keep reading as I go over everything you’ll need to know when selecting the best tile for your bathroom!
Making the proper preparations
Before you even start considering which tile is the best tile for your bathroom, you need to do some basic preparations. After all, home renovation projects can be quite draining! When I’m preparing for a renovation, I start by considering two main points: money and time.
Define your budget
With all of the luxurious options available today, you could easily spend just as much money renovating your bathroom as it would cost you to buy a used car. For that reason, I suggest trying to set a realistic budget first. After all, tile and stone are expensive! This doesn’t mean you can’t have the bathroom of your dreams, though. You just might need to build your dream bathroom in stages, rather than all at once.
Set a timeframe
While you’re considering your budget, you’ll also need to set a timeframe. If you’re not in a rush, then you’ll likely have a lot more options to choose from. There are many different types of floor tiles, but the best tile for bathroom floor renovations may not be the best tile for shower refurbishment. If you anticipate wanting “the best of the best” for every surface, then you’ll need to take a close look at your budget. If not, you can simply space things out to complete your dream bathroom over time.
Begin with the basics
Before you even start to look at tile options, you’ll need to choose a color scheme. Personally, I love how our bathroom—complete with black hex and white subway tiles—turned out, but your bathroom is up to you. I would suggest thinking of an emotion first, rather than colors.
Color has a direct influence on emotions. you can use that to your advantage when designing your bathroom. Red, for example, could help make a room seem more romantic, whereas blue could provide a sense of serenity.
However, you want to avoid using too much of any one color. A good rule of thumb is “60/30/10.” This means using 60% of your “canvas” (the bathroom) as the primary color, 30% as a secondary color, and 10% as an accent color. It’s fine if you decide to only use two colors, but avoid using more than four: this will be visually distracting, rather than appealing!
- Primary color – I recommend going for a lighter primary color. White is a great option. Not only is it a classic, but you can pair a white background with nearly any other color and it will look great! Tans, grays, and light blues also work great, but you can use any color as your primary color. That said, it’s important to mention that lighter colors can make a smaller bathroom seem more spacious, whereas dark colors tend to make a space seem smaller.
- Secondary color – Your secondary color is there to compliment the primary color. If you used white as your primary color, black would be the obvious secondary choice. If you’re not quite sure which color to use as your secondary, take a look at a color wheel. The color directly opposite of your primary color is the perfect secondary!
- Accent color – As the name suggests, accent colors are there to accent the color scheme of your room. If you’ve chosen light colors so far, then a darker color would be perfect for an accent. Thankfully, accent colors are a bit more forgiving so you’ll have more creative freedom, although I’d suggest making sure that none of the colors “clash” before committing.
Choosing a style of tile
Now that you’ve determined what your best tile colors are, it’s time to start looking at the specific tile options. There are many different types of floor tiles and wall tiles, so you certainly won’t run out of options. In fact, there are far too many for me to list, so let’s just start with the two that I used in my bathroom: hex penny tiles and subway tiles.
- Hex penny tiles actually began as the solution to wooden floors in bathrooms in the late 19th/early 20th century. As one would guess, wood and constant water exposure don’t mix. Hex penny tiles offered a superior, stylish alternative that could also be cleaned to prevent the spread of germs!
- Subway tiles were created in 1904—roughly around the same time that hex penny tiles became popular—and were originally designed to be used in subways. These tiles also represented a sense of cleanliness. As a bonus, they were also great at reflecting light, making it easier to see! Eventually, this style of tile made it over to interior decorating. Although its popularity has gone up and down, subway tiles are arguably just as “in” style as they were many years ago.
Both of these tile styles could easily be the best tile for your bathroom, as their classic design still has a modern appeal that’s managed to stand the test of time. Of course, it also helps that they look amazing next to each other!
However, if you think that the best tile for shower floor, wall, or general bathroom renovations should be a little bit more creative, then you can also consider these alternative options:
- Round – These circular tiles always have a little space between them, making them ideal for tiling curved walls and areas.
- Basketweave – Ideal for small areas such as shower floors, these tiles are designed to mimic the pattern of a woven basket.
- Fish scale – Shaped to mimic fish scales, these decorative tiles can add an aquatic touch to any bathroom with ease.
- Chevron – Especially stands out on walls, these tiles are shaped like an arrow. They look quite striking as they go up and down the walls.
- Diamond-shaped – These diamond tiles stack easily, making them perfect for nearly any surface.
- Herringbone – Placed in a zigzag pattern, herringbone tiles are simply rectangular tiles that have been meticulously arranged to provide a visual appeal.
Don’t guess when it comes to grout
When trying to find the best tile for bathroom floor designs, grout is something that many people simply don’t think about. After all, grout simply fills the space in between the tiles, right? Well, sort of…. but it also serves as a “backdrop.” If your tiles are widely spaced apart, then your choice of grout will be more obvious. In this sense, you can use the grout for a stylistic touch. However, if you don’t want the grout to be that noticeable, then you’ll need to place your tiles as close together as possible and match the grout’s color to the color of your tiles.
DIY Versus Hiring
At this point, you may be wondering: “Do I really want to do this all myself?” And if you are, then don’t worry because you don’t have to. In fact, for some projects, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Which option is best for you depends on how much free time you have and the materials you’ll be working with.
If you have an entire weekend to dedicate solely to this project, then the DIY approach may be viable. Just remember that a two-day timeframe assumes that nothing goes wrong, you get everything right the first time, and you already have all the necessary tools on-hand.
However, if you’re dealing with premium natural stone tile, then it may be worth considering a professional. If you break something, you’re out of luck. If you don’t seal it correctly and it gets water damage down the road, same situation. Personally, I would suggest getting a few quotes anyway just to see how much they’d charge. If the cost is high and you’re confident that you can do it yourself, then opt for DIY instead.
The Best Way to Clean Tile Floors
Different types should be cleaned differently. Obviously, you’ll want the best mop for tile floors that you can find, but you also will need the right materials for the job! Although they are similar in many ways, porcelain and ceramic require different care.
- For ceramic, you’ll want to choose a mop that won’t scratch your tiles. Pair that with hot water and a few drops of dish soap for a clean floor!
- For porcelain, scratching the floor isn’t an issue. You’ll still need a bucket of hot water, but the best tile floor cleaner for porcelain is distilled white vinegar, not dish soap!
Curious about how to clean other types of tile? Don’t worry: I’ll soon have a comprehensive guide available on cleaning tiles!
Commonly Asked Questions
Which tiles are the best quality?
If “quality” means “premium”, then the Pietra Firma undoubtedly takes the cake. Made from a combination of diamonds, mother-of-pearl, black onyx, & abalone shell, these marble tiles cost around $1 million per! However, plain old porcelain offers the perfect balance between quality and cost-efficiency for your average person.
What is the best grade of tile?
They can be “Grade 1,” “Grade 2,” or “Grade 3.” “1” are perfect. “2” may have imperfections, and “3” are thin tiles that can only be used on walls (not as flooring).
Which tile is strongest?
Porcelain is the strongest, and best for bathroom floor remodels. Although they can lack the beauty of natural stone or the unlimited creativity options of glass. Nonetheless, porcelain is extremely rugged, easy to clean, moisture resistant, stain resistant, and scratch resistant.
What are the 3 types of tiles?
Porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone are the three most common types. However, there are also other types such as glass, metal, and stone: they’re just less popular!
Which is better: ceramic or porcelain?
A cheap ceramic tile is great for low-traffic, low-impact areas. Although they may be visually similar, ceramic tiles aren’t as durable as porcelain ones and are more prone to breaking. However, quality ceramic tiles are much cheaper than their porcelain alternatives, making them an appealing option.