Bathroom tiles are very diverse, so you can choose between a variety of colours and types, and each one offers a unique look and a different level of maintenance. You can choose between a myriad of single-coloured bathroom tiles, or go for a vibrant, patterned tile that will transform your space.
Modern tile manufacturing also offers homeowners the flexibility to use pre-arranged mosaics or to create their own with individual tiles. Each option provides an opportunity to custom-craft a bathroom that is uniquely yours.
What’s the difference between patterned and mosaic bathroom tiles?
Single-coloured tiles are very popular, and are likely to be the first type that your mind conjures when considering bathroom tiles. Single-coloured tiles can be found using both ceramic and glass. Natural stone tiles also fall under the single-coloured group, though each one is likely to have some variation in colour as a result of the formation process.
For more information on the glass, stone and ceramic tiles, take a look at our guide to these different types.
Patterned tiles are usually ceramic ones that have a pattern imprinted, or painted, on the face. It does not refer to the patterns you create using different tiles on your floors or walls. Some bathroom tiles have a complete pattern on an individual tile. These tiles often create incredible accent pieces within a larger pattern.
Other patterned tiles are designed to connect easily with adjacent tiles, either with the same design or a complementary one. An example of this type of tile is the Hammersmith feature tiles.
Mosaic tiles refer to a pre-joined set of tiles that are sold as a single piece and installed this way. You can find mosaic tiles created from any material, though glass and ceramic are more common. Some mosaic tiles have grouting between the individual squares already, though most are sold on a web that holds each tile in place. Mosaic tiles are an incredible way to add diversity and depth to your bathroom design without extra work. You can easily use these to create a mosaic wall, or a unique, colourful border for a splashback.
Deciding which tiles to use in your bathroom
There are many ways to use the different colours and patterns printed on your tiles to create a bespoke bathroom. The most common is the use of complementary single-coloured tiles on the floors and walls. Alternatively, using the same tile on the floor and halfway up the walls, with another tile used to create a border, can look very attractive.
However, using patterned or mosaic tiles expands on the traditional decorating options. How and where you employ these tiles will change the mood of your bathroom as well as the look. For example, patterned tiles on the floor will create depth. Depending on the colours used, they can also add a sense of warmth which is perfect for traditional style bathrooms.
A light, small pattern on the walls could create something wonderful and act as wallpaper in a sparsely decorated bathroom. When considering pattern tiles, ensure that you understand the complete pattern, as it often looks very different to how each individual tile looks alone.
Mosaic tiles are one of the easiest ways to accent your bathroom. On the floor, they can be quite fun and inviting, especially when using vivid colours. Pairing a mosaic floor with single-coloured tiles on the walls ensures that your bathroom never feels overwhelming.
Mosaic tiles look incredible when used as a border on the wall, as a feature wall or even as a splash panel edging. Although it is easier to create an intricate look without additional work using mosaic tiles, you can create the same dramatic effect using a random pattern of single-coloured tiles.
Which type of tile works best in a modern bathroom?
Modern designs are most often seen through clean lines and simplicity, which often translates to solid colours and minimal patterns. It is easiest to create a modern bathroom using single-coloured tiles, but you are not restricted to them.
Depending on the pattern chosen, you can create a modern bathroom with a patterned tile. The trick is to ensure the pattern is faint, small, or even just a textural difference rather than a pattern that incorporates many different colours. The same applies to mosaic tiles in modern bathrooms – keep it simple by choosing a mosaic tile that features different types of tiles in the same colour.
This can look rather stunning when a shower is done with glass, or even mirrored tiles. The rule is to limit the wall or floor spaces that incorporate these tiles in a modern bathroom; it should never be every wall plus the floor.
What works best in a classic bathroom?
Pattern tiles and classic bathrooms go hand in hand. You can replicate the sensation of a Roman bath, the history of the Greek Isles, or regal homes of renaissance France through the clever use of patterned tiles. It all depends on the style, pattern and colours that you choose.
There is still space for single-coloured tiles in classic bathrooms, though you will need to rely heavily on the fixtures and accessories that you choose. You may find it difficult to work colourful mosaic tiles into your bathroom if you’re going for a more traditional style.
Incorporating pattern tiles into neutral bathrooms
Neutral bathrooms depend on balance. Single-coloured tiles work well in these spaces, though adding a bit of variety within a neutral palette can dress up an otherwise plain space. Look for minimalist patterns in neutral colours, or consider accenting a full wall of tiles with pastel mosaic tiles. If your aim is wholly neutral, consider a mosaic floor of similarly coloured tiles and complementary, single-coloured tiles on the walls.
The most popular combinations
Well-designed bathrooms incorporate a variety of textures and patterns, which can mean a single-coloured tile on the floors with mosaic feature walls. It can also mean that patterned tiles can find a home in a mosaic that incorporates similar colours and intensities.
In bathrooms with primarily single-coloured tiles, accenting with pattern or mosaic tiles will create feature areas. Features can be as small as a mosaic trim or as large as splash panels, and this is one of the most popular combinations in modern homes.
Another popular combination is the use of mosaic or patterned floors with single-coloured tiled walls. Remember that patterns can be overwhelming, as can large mosaics, so focus on quality over quantity to avoid shrinking a small bathroom.
With so many designs available, it’s easy to feel spoilt for choice, but this is a great opportunity to get creative and consider the multitude of choices that patterned and mosaic tiles offer.