5 Tips for Choosing Bathroom Tile

Lately I’ve been up to my ears in choosing bathroom tile.  We are smack in the middle of renovating the kids bathroom and I’ve also been helping my aunt who is completely renovating all 3 of her bathrooms at (almost) the same time.

That means that in the last few months I’ve selected tile for 4 bathrooms.  One in my own home and 3 in my aunt’s home.  Selecting tile for someone else has taught me a lot about how to explain how to select tile for your bathroom and I’ve come up with 5 tips that I hope will help you if you ever decide to tackle your bathroom.


So here are my 5 tips for choosing bathroom tile

5 tips for selecting bathroom tile

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1. Pick your must have tile first.

Typically when we start a bathroom renovation we have one tile that we dream of including in our design.  Sometimes it is a really special or unique accent tile and sometimes it is as simple as knowing that you want white subway tile.  Either way, take that dream tile and use it as the starting point for the other tile you will choose for your bathroom design.

2. Try to keep it to no more than 3 different tiles.

Taking your first (must have) choice as a starting point, use it to make the decisions for the other tiles you will include in your design.  If your must have is a really unique color or pattern and is going to be the focal point of your design, pull more subtle colors from it to use in your accent tiles.  If however your first choice is really plain (like a white subway tile) you may want to add an element of interest with a colorful accent tile or even a smaller scale white penny tile to change it up and add interest.

Typically you will choose a floor tile, a wall tile for the shower/ tub surround or even all of the walls in your bathroom, and an accent tile that will be used as a focal point.  This is just a guideline. Don’t be afraid to break the rules a little bit.




3. Stick to one show stopper.

There are so many beautiful tiles out there and a bathroom is a perfect place to show off some of your personality and take a risk with a fun color or pattern on your tiles.  However, if you are going to go for it, keep it to one show stopper.  This will make your look timeless and really create the wow factor that you are going for since it won’t be competing with the other elements in the room.  (Many of these super special tiles can be pricey, but if you are working in a small area like a bathroom, they might just be the splurge you need since you won’t need very many square feet.)

Your show stopper area can be big or small, it’s up to you.

The good majority of this bathroom is done in pretty basic white tile, but they added a wow factor with this beautiful tile at the top.

blue border up top


Again the colors in this bathroom are pretty neutral, but the focal point is definitely the back wall of this shower.focal shower wall



I love the idea of going with a really fun tile on the floor of a bathroom and keeping the rest of the space neutral.beatuiful floor tile


4. Take maintenance into consideration.

I don’t like to clean.  I especially don’t like to clean the tub and shower so when choosing tile for these very wet areas you will probably want to go with porcelain or ceramic tile since they are virtually maintenance free.  (You will want to double check to see if they need to be sealed.)  Tiles make from natural stone require more maintenance and do have to be sealed.  They are definitely more pours so they tend to hold on to dirt and grim more.  If you are wanting to add texture with stone, it may be a good idea to use it on the floor or in a less wet area.  Lastly, glass tile is so pretty and makes a great wall or accent tile.  It is super slippery, so it doesn’t work well on the floor.

5. Consider scale.

Large scale tiles are definitely on trend when it comes to bathroom floors right now.  If you choose to go that direction, you can use the same tile cut in smaller sizes in a different area of the bathroom.  For example if you use 12 x 24 tiles on the floor, you can use the same tile on the bathroom floor in 2 x 2s to continue the color across the entire floor, but creating a more slip free shower floor.

Our choice for the kid’s bathroom:

For the kid’s bathroom I wanted to go with something classic and something very light and airy.  There are no windows in this bathroom so I wanted something that would bounce around as much light as possible.  As soon as I saw this tumbled hexagon tile at The Tile Shop I knew we had to use it on the floor.  This was my must have tile and would also act as the show stopper since it is a little bit unexpected and has a lot of pattern.

I also knew that I wanted to do grey cabinets to keep with the color scheme of my home, so we ended up choosing a larger than normal scale (4 x 8) matte white subway tile for the shower surround.  It comes in both a glossy and matte finish and after getting both samples we are going to go with the matte.

We ordered all of our tile from The Tile Shop and the thing I loved most was that I could shop online, have samples delivered right to me and then place my order.

I plan to add color with paint and accessories and I’m excited to have a bathroom that my kids won’t outgrow.  Stay tuned for more on this renovation coming soon!

bathroom tile selection

A big thanks to The Tile Shop for sponsoring this post by providing product.  They were absolutely fantastic to work with and I would recommend them to anyone looking for an easy way to select quality tile.




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About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

53 thoughts on “5 Tips for Choosing Bathroom Tile

  1. That’s an excellent tip to look for really good recommendations when looking for a bathroom design. I like the greatest design you provide for a bathroom design. It was useful. Keep Posting!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks for posting, Matteo!

  2. I didn’t realize that glass tile is really slippery. My wife and I have been talking about what kind of tile and design we are wanting to use when remodeling our kitchen. There are so many choices to choose from. I’ll have to do what you recommend and find one that we really like and then build out from there.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Best of luck with your project, Scott!

  3. Making sure to stick with a single show stopper in order to help make your look timeless is excellent advice. Tile can be beautiful, but finding the best one to work with your design and not make it overpowering seems like it would be the best way to help your bathroom stand out. I know that the bathrooms that really stick in my mind are usually ones that have something that keep it simple and elegant.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks for reading, Tiffany!

  4. Truly extremely cool site. It is very important to choosing bathroom tile which are ceramic in nature. It is costly among the rest but the material is best for the use.

    Keep on working, great job!

  5. I really like your tip about making sure that you take maintenance into consideration when it comes to choosing a tile for your bathroom. My husband and I have been wanting to redo our master bath for a while now so installing new tile would be really great. We will have to keep these tips in mind so that we can find the right one, thanks!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      You are so welcome, Aria! Happy you found some helpful tips and good luck with your master bath project!

  6. great piece of article,very informative. I believe it is important to choose to the right tile color as well I have kids in home, whenever we install white tiles or floor we end up getting stains every six months from the installation period, i wish there could be anti stain floor tiles in the market. we are going to have black tiles installed in home, particularly in bathroom area this year.
    thanks for posting nice tips

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks so much, Sara, for your comment. I know what you mean about the kiddos; mine make plenty of messes too!

  7. Thanks for providing such a great information on tiles .It is surely very helpful to peoples who are not aware of using tiles for there homes or bathroom .

  8. We’ve been stumbling around the internet and found your blog along the way.

    We love your work! What a great corner of the internet 🙂

  9. I also love the idea of using a fun tile design on the floor of a bathroom and keeping the rest of the space neutral. When doing your own tiling work what are the necessary supplies I wonder? Does the cost of buying your own tiling supplies still make it cheaper than hiring a tiling contractor?

  10. I love these tips on how to choose a tile for your bathroom.

  11. I like your tip on keeping a tiling job to no more than three different tiles. I would imagine that mixing and match too many different styles can get confusing and end up not looking the way you want. My husband and I are considering tiling our shower and bathroom so we’ll have to remember to not have too many different tiles.

  12. I have always loved the look of tile in the bathroom, and was curious about how you would choose it. It makes sense that you should choose more than 3 tiles for the design. That way you aren’t getting too confused, and you aren’t using too many different colors or types.

  13. When tiling a bathroom floor from the carpeted master bedroom floor will medium to light gray tiles work ok with the standard light beige carpet. Are two colors neutral that it would work.

  14. For me choosing bathroom tiles was quite an adventure. Since our house is not very big, we wanted to make our small bathroom look and feel bigger. A great choice was to go for the mosaic tiles. We give the small tiles to the kids and they did their own design, it was quite a risk since we didn’t know how it will look at the end, but me and my wife like abstract art so the end result looks very unique. Thanks for the nice ideas though.

  15. Emily says:

    Hi Corey, wonderful site, and article on making tile selections. I usually don’t have issues when picking tile however… my current project has me stumped. and I would love to hear your thoughts on the best way to handle it. I am remodeling a powder bath in a Spanish style home, that need serious updating. All the walls are a heavy plaster/stucco, and no corners, all inner and outer corners are rounded. Also, no trim, the plaster is rounded to the doors and windows. I want this powder bath to really transform from sunflowers to classic casual elegance and keep with the spanish style. You can see in the photos a few of the tiles I am thinking of working with, and the vanity that will be going in, is a Fairmont 30″ Toledo. I wanted to add wall tile but am running to issues with the rounded corners and transition at the door. Then I thought just doing the wall behind the vanity, but I would have the same issue, how do I transition it? Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated. I will attach as many photos as it will let me. Thank you!!!!

    1. Emily says:

      oops… won’t let me load photos.

  16. Pete says:

    Can you please show a new photo of the tile you chose in the bathroom? The link to The Tile Shop does not work…

    1. Hey Pete. Sorry about that, but thanks for letting me know. I just updated the post and you can also click here for the tumbled hex tile that I used.

  17. Deirdre says:

    My husband and I had to replace our shower due to a leak so we have a gorgeous shower enclosure…but the same ugly 4″ white builder grade floor tiles because we couldn’t afford to replace both the shower and the floors. Decorating has never been my strong suit, how do I go about picking floor tiles that complement? Our shower has 12 X 12 tiles–should the floor be the same? I’m lost here and never know how to pick stuff properly. Any advice?

    1. Hi Dierdre. You don’t have to do the same on the floor. You can either bring out a color on the floor or if you love the tile you did in the shower you could do it in a smaller tile on the floor to change it up a bit.

  18. I’ve finally saved up enough money to get the master bathroom in my house renovated, but I’m still stuck on picking the right style of tile! Right now, there are a couple “must have” tiles in mind, but I’ll try to narrow that down. If I do that, hopefully it will be easier for me to choose the rest, like you said.

    1. Tile is so hard Maggie I think because it is so permanent (and can be pricey) but one you pick your show stopper the rest should fall into place nicely. Good luck!

  19. I really like your tip about not picking more than three tiles. That can be a lot to look at so trying to keep it simple is a good approach! We are looking at wall tiles for our master bath and I want to do something similar to the picture under the “show stopper” tip. I think the use of the blue tiles on top of white looks so good!

  20. Kay says:

    I have a question. When the accent tile is thinner than the main tile what do you do?

    1. Hi Kay. That can be tricky. You can use a thicker layer of mortar but be sure to make it level as you lay it. A long board wrapped in paper towel will do the trick to make sure everything is flat and there are no edges or tiles sticking out farther than others.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing! I really like your point on having only one “show stopper” design in your bathroom. When you look at pretty tile all day, you can lose your focus on subtlety. Plus, like you said, you don’t want your tiles to be competing with each other. In fact, i would say less is more when it comes to things like this.

    1. I absolutely agree Maggie!

  22. Brett says:

    Nice job. This is exactly what we want to do. Did you create a step-by-step article on the tub surround? It looks like you kept the tub and just did the surround. Am I correct? Again, beautiful.

  23. Really Nice article about choosing the bathroom flooring tiles

  24. I really like all the tips you gave! Especially the idea of using just one showstopper. For two reasons really; the cost and overdoing it. And what I mean by overdoing it, some people pick too many and it just makes the design end up looking bad. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Julie Crowther says:

    Have a question. We want to redo our bathroom tile (floor only for now) and the countertop. My cabinets are white and “worn” and I like the “French Country” style.

    Here’s my question: Do you try to match the tile to the countertop (will be a darkish brown with subtle pattern), or should I keep the floor white to go with my cupboards? Eventually I want to do the bathtub and walls, but just need to start with the floor

  26. Nice share indeed. The most important point of tile for bathroom is a rough surface to make sure we are safe while taking bath.

  27. I love the examples and thanks for the tips! The right tile can really make your bathroom stunning. I love the one show stopper tip, one eye popping tile mixed in with other tiles creates a beautiful look for a bathroom.

    1. So true! Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Lee Hernandez says:

    There is a product available that is mixed into the tile grout(at the end of your tile project). It is an acrylic additive used instead of water. This seals the grout from mildew and stains. We have been very happy with the results on our recent tile projects. Sorry, don’t remember the name of it, but ask your hardware dealer.

  29. ros says:

    Consider slip resistant tiles on the floor. We were shown such tiles in 2013 (maybe things have improved since) and read the riot act of how important slip resistance is. Then we were told they are harder to clean properly and need scrubbing. Just remember some tiles are extremely slippery when wet.

    I would recommend tiles of a reasonable size as the grout is much harder to clean and the less to clean the better.

    1. How exciting Kelly! It was a lot of work, but so worth it. The reveal is up today and I’m so happy it is DONE!

  30. Justine says:

    Love the 2nd bathroom so much! Is there a way to find out what tile(s) were used in the shower? I would so love to track these down. Great work!

    1. Hi Justine. If you click through the link for that photo you might be able to find a source list on the original post. That is the way I typically do it.

    2. Justine says:

      Thank you so much for suggestion. I believe I have found something very similar with Jeffrey Court tile. Beautiful!

  31. These are such great tips! We are hoping to be able to redo our master bathroom in the near future (currently it is yellow and white striped wallpaper…ugh) and this will help me make some good tile choices. There are usually so many options it’s overwhelming, but I have more confidence that I’ll be able to choose now!

  32. tess says:

    I completed a remodel on my best friends bathroom and she wanted subway tile. Instead of doing accent tile I did 4 x 8 subway in gloss and matte. Three rows gloss, three rows matte, all the way up to the ceiling. I painted the walls a beautiful aqua she picked and the subtle accent of the gloss to matte tile make it beautiful. Just an option that changing finish can also create a monochromatic accent.

    1. That is such a great idea! I bet it is beautiful!

    2. Carol says:

      I would love to see a picture of the gloss and matte subway tile. Sounds lovely.

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