5 tasteful tile trends and how to use them in your bathroom

27 September 2019
As one of the most popular rooms to renovate in 2018, according to the 2019 Houzz & Home Australia survey, the overall look and feel of your bathroom can be significantly influenced by the tiles you choose.

Getting it right could turn your bathroom into a highlight of your home. If your bathroom is beginning to look outdated or in need of a little love, new tiles may be just what’s needed to improve the space.

Here I’ll share some of the top tile trends on Houzz based on the most saved photos and input from industry professionals, that could help inspire you to create the bathroom of your dreams.

5 bathroom tile ideas

1. Terrazzo

Terrazzo continues its reign as one of the biggest bathroom tiling trends. This tile is popular at an international scale and has made regular appearances at the annual Cersaie International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings trade fair in Bologna, Italy, evolving into new shapes, sizes and finishes.

Terrazzo is a composite material, usually a concrete base mixed with other small materials such as granite, marble or ceramics. The colour is usually neutral, but can also appear freckled in pink, blue and green. On Houzz, we are seeing terrazzo on flooring, walls and kitchen benchtops, often used as a feature.

This beautiful tile generally shines best with plenty of natural lighting and can be accessorised with small indoor plants. Director at Melbourne-based firm Zunica Interior Architecture & Design, Andrew Zunica, said “terrazzo tiles create quite a busy look, so they’re best paired with plain materials and fittings”.

2. Herringbone & Chevron

While these classic designs are not new to the bathroom scene, their resurgence suggests many homeowners are looking to create a timeless look in their contemporary home. In fact, this tile design was the second most-saved bathroom photo on Houzz this year in Australia.

At Houzz, we have seen herringbone and chevron patterns gaining in popularity in recent years, with homeowners appreciating their ability to add height to a room as their arrow-like shape draws the eyes up. Using too much of this pattern, however, can have the opposite effect, making the room feel smaller. Founder of Toronto Interior Design Group, Yanic Simard, suggests using the long, thin version of the tile to create a powerful accent and avoid using it on large surfaces as it can be overwhelming.

Keep in mind that particularly with this style of intricate pattern, it could be a good idea to consider calling in a professional to install your tiles. Simard said often this tile requires cutting at the border which can contribute to unnecessary waste if not done properly.

3. Texture & 3D

A number of homeowners are now going above and beyond the standard flat-surface tiles with a growing trend towards texture, whether that be through raw finishes such as concrete and timber, or actual 3D tiles with grooves and curves. In fact, according to our latest Bathroom Trends survey, 7% per cent of homeowners who renovated their bathroom used cement tiles. Tile expert and Houzz contributor, Kate Fuller, said “European manufacturers are continuing to push boundaries and experiment with tiles that look like they are literally jumping off the walls”.

Bathroom lighting will bounce off these textured surfaces, so you may want to choose your lights wisely. Some of the projects I’ve seen come through on Houzz use LED lighting strips in these spaces.

4. Subway

Going one step further than the classic subway tiles that many of us have come to know and love, in some cases these tiles are now being stacked vertically, challenging the norm but ultimately creating a new and exciting design for us to incorporate into our bathrooms. These tiles, whether vertical or horizontal, generally work extremely well to transform smaller bathrooms.

We are also seeing designers intentionally expanding grout lines (the filling between the tiles) with the purpose of contrasting with the tile colour. Interior designer at McRae & Lynch Design, Karyn McRae, offered this handy tip: “mosaics are often displayed in the showroom without grout, so if you are interested in this style but unsure about the end result, ask your supplier if there is somewhere you can see them with the grout on.” It can also be a good idea to speak to a tiling pro to clarify the work and costs involved in achieving your desired look.

5. Pastel colours

While all-white tiles may historically be the undisputed king of bathroom floors and walls, pastel colours certainly deserve an honourable mention in 2019. Millennial pink and sage green have become beloved colours for interiors and recently we have seen them starting to move into bathrooms and kitchens.

Photos on Houzz this year show black fixtures adorning a green backdrop, or gold fixtures complimenting pink blushes. If you are still hesitant about using colour for your whole bathroom, you could consider using these tiles for a feature wall, such as behind the vanity.

If you are planning to give your bathroom a facelift with new tiles, but aren’t sure which tile to choose, it’s always a good idea to speak to a professional to discuss your options depending on the size, style and budget of your bathroom.

Vanessa WalkerAbout Vanessa Walker

Vanessa has had a 20-year career as a newspaper journalist, magazine writer and editor, and is now the Australian and New Zealand editor for the leading home renovation and design platform, Houzz.

Cover image source: ImageFlow (Shutterstock)

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