21 Essential Bathroom Design Ideas

  • Bathroom tile can be a significant investment. Choose a pattern that you love for years.
  • Designers believe that tile should be the foundation upon which all other bathroom constructions are built.
  • Trends to be on the lookout for in 2022 include large patterns, wood tiles, textured tiles, and other unusual designs.
  • Visit Insider’s Home & Kitchen Reference library for more stories.

People are now more conscious of creating a feeling of peace and tranquility in their homes. And while you may not think about your bathroom decor — or bathroom tiles — as being crucial to your wellbeing, having a personalized bathroom space can give your home an indulgent feel. 

“Overall, people want to feel calm at home and in their bathrooms,”Jan Rutgers, coowner and designer of JANGEORGe Interiors & FurnitureYou can also add that “tile – being one of the first noticed elements of your bathroom – can help people achieve exactly that.”

You want to make a bathroom you love. It all starts with tile. Designers believe that tile is the cornerstone of any great bathroom remodel. 

“Think of tile as your canvas on which to paint,” Rutgers says. 

These 21 bathroom tile designs range from traditional to trendy and were sourced from four interior designers.

1. Make a big deal

A luxury bathroom with a white freestanding tub and large wood-style tiles

Tiles with less grout are easier to clean.

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Oversized tiles are a hot trend in bathroom design right at the moment. 

The modern and sleek look of oversized tiles gives a bathroom a contemporary feel. They are also easy to clean. “Large format tiles can help the room flow and require less grout which allows for easier maintenance,” Rutgers says.

2. You can warm it with wood

A bathroom with whole tile and wood tile accents

Wood tile is made of stone and you don’t need to worry about water damage.

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It’s all about tiles that look like they are made of wood, whether it is for floors or showers. “Using natural elements in bathroom design is a great way to make your space feel luxurious, so it makes sense that using wood-inspired tiles in the bathroom should help create that same feeling,” Rutgers says. 

Innovations in tile design also mean you can get a tile that looks just like wood but has the durability and strength of stone.

3. Select tiles with texture

A modern bathroom interior with textured tile in the shower

Textured tile can be both dynamic and practical.

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Bathrooms are a common source of slips. When renovating, think safety first and choose a tile with some texture. 

You will be able to avoid falls in the shower and give your bathroom a dynamic look. “You don’t want a slick tile,” says Rutgers.

4. Change to neutral tones

A large bathroom interior with a glass shower, freestanding tub, and beige tile

Warmth is abundant in natural light and neutral tones.

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A bathroom with lots of natural lighting will be warmened by subtle earth-tone tiles. 

“Plain, earthy, and muted colors can help create a relaxing feeling in a bathroom,” says Rutgers. You can mix colors like oranges, creams and clays. However, keep the tiles light so that the color doesn’t overwhelm. 

5. White on white

The interior of an all-white bathroom

White is timeless.

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You might be a bit squeamish about the idea of colored tiles, but you can still choose a classic look with white bathroom tile. Rutgers states that a white bathroom can be done right and will never go out of style. “Classic white tiles will always stay relevant.”

6. Take a small step.

A small bathroom viewed from above with small multicolored tiles

Small bathrooms can be overwhelmed by large tiles.

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Rutgers suggests that you use smaller tiles, no larger than 2 inches, if you have a limited space. This is especially important for showers as it can create a focal point in your shower without making it too overwhelming. 

7. The big picture is important

A tradtional bathroom interior with clawfoot tub and small hexagonal tile

Your bathroom should be traditional if the rest of your house is modern.

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Cindy Stumpo of Boston-based Cindy Stumpo says that a bathroom is more than just a place to wash your hair. It’s a part of your entire home. C. Stumpo Developments. “I’m looking at the whole house,”Stumpo has some great advice for bathroom design. 

Consider your whole home when deciding on the right tile design. Match that to the bathroom, Stumpo suggests.

8. Use a slab

A luxury bathroom interior with the tub on the left, large gray slate tile floor, and floor to ceiling windows on the right

You can cut large slabs of tile to fit your floor perfectly and they will look almost seamless.

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Stumpo recommends a slab if you want to take big tile trends to the next level. A slab is a single-sized piece of stone that covers all or most of the surface. 

Additionally, multiple slabs can be joined together so that the grout lines are almost invisible. This gives the slabs a clean look. “The bigger the tile, the better: it’s cleaner and crisper,”Stumpo.

9. Pick porcelain

Closeup of gray porcelain tile in a bathroom that has a niche embedded in it for soaps and shampoos

Porcelain takes less time to maintain than other types.

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Stumpo would not have used porcelain tile a few years ago. However, the material’s quality has increased tremendously in recent years. “The porcelains have become so beautiful,” Stumpo says. Because they don’t need to be polished like other types, they are a low-maintenance option. “It’s a great product,” Stumpo says. 

10. Use a two-tone approach

A white bathroom with a classic black and white checkered floor

A design classic is the black-and white checker tile.

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Do you want something classic but not necessarily white-on-white? If this is the case, Stumpo recommends a white-on-black scheme. This gives the bathroom some pizzazz without making it too overwhelming. 

“Simplicity is what designing is all about,” Stumpo says.

11. You can use tile to create your focal points

A fully tiled bathroom with gold tile on the floors and walls and contrasting while tile in the shower

For a more striking shower, choose contrasting tiles.

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Stumpo selects one focal point for a bathroom design. “You can’t have your eyes going to ten different things,”She said. 

A large, oversized shower is often the focal point of a room. It can be even more striking if it’s tiled in a different shade from the rest.

12. Go gray

A bathroom interior with a freestanding tup and gray tile

It’s not a trend to wear muted greys.

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Gray bathrooms are making a comeback, as is gray hair. Stumpo suggests that gray can be used to create a spa-like feeling without using white tile. 

She suggests choosing a subtle grey tile for when you are trying to choose. “As long as you keep the gray muted, [it] will stay in style,”She said.

13. Lean into natural marble patterns

A bathroom with a double sink and bold black marble tile

Natural marble is bold and creates contrast.

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While most tile has some color variation, Stumpo has noticed a rise in the popularity of tile with bold veins. She says that tile with veins is a great choice for those who want bolder and more vibrant bathroom tiles. 

14. Boldness is key

A bathroom with a freestanding tub, white hexagon tile on the wall, and multi-patterned tile on the floor

Do not be afraid to think up something new.

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It’s great to have understated tiles that can be updated with the times. Stumpo recommends that you go for something a little more unusual if it’s something you love. 

A bathroom she completed recently featured a leather-inspired tile design that was requested by a client. Stumpo searched high and low to find the right tile and finally imported it from Spain. 

You can find the right tile for you, regardless of whether you are looking for leather or something more tame. “If your brain can think of it, you will find it,” Stumpo says.

15. Opt to go for pretty pink

A modern bathroom with white marble and pink hexagonal tile

Pink is calming without being too bold.

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Marisa Molinaro, a Los Angeles-based contestant on HGTV’s “Design Star: Next Gen,”She prefers to have a calm, clean bathroom with pink tiles instead of stark white. It is tranquility at its best.


“It’s a good idea,” she said. Pink marble can be used around the countertop or sink to add a playful touch of color. 

16. Mix and match the subway tile classic 

A bathroom interior with a wooden vanity and large round mirror

You can lay any rectangular tile in any design you like, including herringbone.

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Molinaro suggests that classic subway tiles in white can be arranged vertically to create something new and unique. This is a great idea for “the risk-takers who still like a hint of traditionalism,”She said. 

17. Keep your feet on the ground

A red towel hanging on a chrome towel r

The calmness of the space will not be overwhelmed by a stripe of color.

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A stripe of colored tiles can be used to add color to the walls. The pattern can be carried to the floor for an integrated look. Molinaro likes to use subway tiles in bold colors such as yellow or blue. 

18. Incorporate color

Multicolored tile around a tub faucet

Nothing can stop you, if color is your thing.

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Chicago-based designer has the ability to use bold colors in bathrooms, despite most people being hesitant about using them. Jerry KleinerDon’t be afraid to take risks. “I love color,”He says. “Don’t be scared of color.” 

While others might not like your style, it doesn’t matter if your bathroom tiles make you and your friends happy.

19. You can shake up the patterns

A modern bathroom with a mix of different tiles.

Mix and match tile styles.


Kleiner’s designs aim to be classic with a twist. You can achieve a familiar, yet unpredicted look by staggering your tile design. Instead of following the same layout throughout the entire area, use two to three different layouts to create a dynamic look. 

20. You can make a multi-toned mosaic.

A bathroom interior with a multicolored mosaic tile on the wall

A mosaic of multicolored tiles can be used to create a focal point.

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Mosaic tiles can create a feeling of lightness and playfulness in a space. Kleiner enjoys using hexagonal tiles in complementary colors to create an eclectic look. “stylish and modernized,”He says. This is also a great way to make one area of the bathroom — like the shower — a focal point. 

21. Soften your space

A shower pouf hanging off a gold soap dish in front of pink tile

You can go soft with pastel pinks or oranges for a soft look.

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Bathrooms can benefit from softening, despite the fact that there are so many surfaces and hard materials. Kleiner incorporates colors such as pinks and oranges.  Quartzite tiles are often infused with color which makes them perfect for this effect. 

Insider’s Takeaway

It is expensive to renovate a bathroom or lay new tiles. People want tiles that can last decades. That means either a traditional white tile or a black-and–white scheme. Rutgers says these tiles have stood the test of time. 

“Something like choosing your bathroom tile should be based more on long-term style and less on trends, as these are big investments within your home,”He says. 

You don’t need to be afraid of making bold design decisions in your home if you have a great bathroom. “Don’t be scared of mixing things up,” says Kleiner. 

The best choice in bathroom tiles is the one you love and will use every day.