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Bravura Tile Designs for Bathrooms

Whether ceramic, porcelain, marble, or glass, the right tile treatment can transform a blah bath into a stylish sanctuary. 

Written and produced by Debra Steilen
  • Werner Straube

    Gone are the days when the only choice for horizontal bathroom surfaces seemed to be white field tiles. And bathroom floors were typically clad in vinyl. Today’s best baths benefit from show-stopping backsplashes, walls, surrounds, and floors made of ceramic, porcelain, stone, or glass tile. As if good looks weren’t enough, tile also offers a durable, easy-to-clean surface that, when used on the floor, gives toes something to grip to when water overwhelms.

    As if made for each other, hand-painted Fatima field tiles from Walker Zanger and a carved-wood vanity feature similarly intricate patterns. Yet the tile is from the 21st century and the repurposed vanity’s previous life was as an antique Indonesian chest. The softly rounded alcove showcases a 19th-century Italian giltwood mirror from Andrew Spindler Antiques & Design.

    Designers: José Solis Betancourt and Paul Sherrill

    See before and after photos of this desert home.

  • Michael Garland

    Sophisticated Surfaces

    Designer Kelly Ellis replaced a vanity wall with glass to brighten this neutral master bath. Thanks to the savvy swap, natural light bathes the room and plays up the geometrically inspired ceramic tile (from Trendy Tile) that clads the tub wall. Suspended frameless mirrors hover above the vanity’s marble-look Dekton countertop. The floor wears 24-inch-square white quartz tiles from Tilebar.

    Designer: Kelli Ellis

    Visit the Christopher Kennedy Modernism Showhouse.

  • David A. Land

    Coastal Chic

    Along with the rest of this Florida home, the master bath displays a coastal-with-a-twist design scheme. Installed vertically, waves of ocean-inspired Jewel Glass Brick tiles from New Ravenna create interest above the marble countertop and in the shower surround. The Bristol sconces are from Circa Lighting; the Artifacts faucet is from Kohler.

    Designer: Andrew Howard

    See more of this family-friendly home.

  • Werner Segarra

    Mediterranean Retreat

    Having traveled extensively in Europe, the homeowner longed for an Arizona-based home that would capture the laid-back elegance of a Mediterranean villa. This vision prompted hand-painted tiles for the master bath—commissioned by designer Leslie Fry in colors that complement the home’s signature palette of gold, terra cotta, and turquoise. Matching tiles form a border in the tub surround.

    Designer: Leslie Fry

    See another Italian-inspired home in Florida.

  • Paul Dyer

    Neutral Ground

    Designer Mary Jo Fiorella chose three styles of Walker Zanger tile from to create this sophisticated master bath. Her first find, Helsinki/Silver Dusk marble floor tiles streaked with taupe, gray, and ivory, helped drive the selection of other materials—including the floor-length gray linen drapes. Inside the steam shower, classic white subway tiles clad the surround, while Moroccan-influenced accent tiles give the shower’s ceiling and floor an exotic flair. White grout helps showcase the taupe tiles’ shapely silhouettes.

    Designer: Mary Jo Fiorella

    See more design ideas for neutral master baths.

  • Emily Followill

    Same Tile, Different Style

    Helsinki/Silver Dusk marble floor tiles ground a luxe powder room outfitted with white wainscoting and metallic-gold floral wallpaper from Hygge & West. The oak vanity’s serpentine form is topped with Calacatta Vagli marble and a polished-nickel faucet from Kohler.  

    Designer: Beth Kooby

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  • Werner Segarra

    Tuscan Touch

    Simple, sophisticated interiors are designer Dana Lyon's signature. So it’s no surprise that the Arizona home she shares with her husband, Scott Fey, showcases her affinity for easy elegance. Like the rest of this house, this guest bath is floored with waxed French paver-size terra-cotta tiles. But the real story is the graphic Mexican tiles that clad the walls and help the bath depart from the home’s mostly monochromatic palette. Created from an old cabinet, the vanity is accented with hand-forged strap hinges and pulls.

    Designer: Dana Lyon

    See more Mediterranean powder rooms.

  • Tria Giovan

    Shades of Gray

    “There’s a real serenity to gray,” says interior designer Taylor, who used various shades of the trendy neutral to supplement this Old World master bathroom’s quiet mood. The quatrefoil marble mosaic that clads the floor and back wall of the alcove is a foggy gray. The painted paneling is a pale blush gray that complements Carrara marble countertops. And the velvet-covered stool at the dressing table is deep charcoal.

    Architect: Dan Cooper
    Designer: Phyllis Taylor

    See more marble design ideas for a master bath.

  • Laura Moss

    Exotic Elegance

    Configured within a curved framework, a patterned-tile backsplash provides a majestic backdrop to a pewter-finish soaking tub (Camelot from Devon & Devon). The tiled wall conceals a large shower that’s conveniently located within steps of the twin vanities. The chandelier is from Niermann Weeks.

    Designers: Patty Burdick and Holly Ogden 

    Grab some great tub ideas.

  • Carmel Brantley

    Moroccan Influence

    Moroccan influences dominate this Palm Beach home’s master bath, especially when it comes to the zellige tilework. “Traveling to Morocco when we were designing the house was huge,” says Mia Matthews. “Being able to touch the tile, for instance, to feel the materials where they live, was important. These things give the house great authenticity. There’s a soul to our home.” The vintage painting is from Marrakesh.

    Designer: Frank de Biasi

    Stroll through this colorful Palm Beach home.

  • Werner Straube

    Light and Bright

    Glossy white tiles from Barbara Barry Light sparkle in the light that streams through a whimsical round window in this pool house bath. (The tile border hails from Ann Sacks’ Renaissance Collection.) Large rectangular slabs of bluestone clad the floor, continuing throughout the pool house and outside to the pergola-shaded patio and pool surround. Radiant heat keeps the pool house floor warm year-round.

    Architect: Victor Saroki

    Peek inside this Michigan pool house.

  • John Merkl

    Serenity by the Square Foot

    This spacious master bath’s sense of tranquility begins with a serene backdrop: Wood Impressions porcelain tile from Crossville. Designer Annie Lowengart chose Barnwood Grey tile for the walls and Black Walnut for the floors. Marble-topped vanities and a white freestanding tub—both by Michael S Smith for Kallista—complete the upscale space.

    Designer: Annie Lowengart

    Check out the rest of this Napa Valley Showhouse.

  • Laura Moss

    Colorful Connection

    Honed travertine floor tiles boast a weathered texture that echoes the sandy foothills outside this 223-square master bath. The hand-painted quatrefoil-shape wall tiles from Tabarka Studio, Scottsdale, offer a colorful contrast to creamy walls and limestone floor tiles. The furniture-style vanity, by the way, is a mango-wood chest upgraded for 21st-century life with a honed Crema Marfil marble countertop and drawers equipped with electrical outlets.

    Designers: Caroline Tyler DeCesare and Kelsey Hunzeker

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  • Beth Singer

    Cool and Clean

    Homeowners Julie and Brian Gordon envisioned a master bath that rivaled upscale hotel baths with its openness and simplicity. Among the material choices are frosty-blue glass wall tiles that wrap around the entire 12x12-foot room. “We didn’t want any broken chain of wall finishes,” says interior designer Robert Endres. “It keeps the space very uniform.” The translucent glass also helps balance the dark shades of hardwood-look ceramic floor tile and the chocolate brown back-to-back vanities that give each spouse room to groom.

    Designer:  Robert Endres

  • Werner Straube

    Symmetrical Style

    Although other rooms boast vibrant colors, the master suite in this traditional home showcases a sophisticated combination of neutrals. In the master bath, walls painted in Benjamin Moore’s Ashley Gray are grounded by a floor of Calacatta marble perimeter tile. The waterjet stone mosaic in the center features polished Nero Marquina and Calacatta Tia Seine—part of the Silk Road Collection by Sara Baldwin for New Ravenna.

    Designer: Corey Damen Jenkins

  • John Merkl

    Angled Attitude

    An Impressionistic piece of artwork offers a hazy contrast to AKDO’s Radiance Mosaic wall tile in Carrara Bella and Pearl Gray marble. (The painting, Distant Storm by Suzanne Nicoll, and the moody Moravian star pendant, are both reflected in the powder room mirror.) The marble countertop’s angled shape helps make the most of the bathroom’s small size. The sink and faucet come from Kallista. 

    Designers: Christine Teicheira and Lauren Tapper

    See more bathrooms clad in marble.

  • John Merkl

    Rustic and Refined

    The palette of this master bath (part of an annual Napa Valley Showhouse) was inspired by the views of the nearby Caldwell vineyard. “We wanted the space to feel restful, peaceful, and connected to that setting,” says designer Leslie Kalish. As a result, she chose Reclamation porcelain tile from Crossville to clad both the shower surround and the floor. The industrial chic appeal of these tiles comes from their blend of wood and concrete looks.

    Designer: Leslie Kalish and Gayle Leksan

    See additional views of this bathroom.