Good design is all in the details, which means the thing that distinguishes an average powder room from a great one is the bathroom backsplash tile. It’s your chance to get creative with a relatively small surface area, trying out bold colors and splashy prints that might otherwise overwhelm a space—all without committing to a full renovation. Sledgehammers down. 

The second perk? The flexibility. Keep yours to a narrow sliver above the sink for a no-brainer accent or extend the style all the way to the ceiling. These seven corners have the art of tiling down to a T.

The Subtle Stripes

At this point, Sarah Sherman Samuel is a pro at making neutrals interesting; in her Grand Rapids, Michigan, kids’ bath, that philosophy takes the form of camel-colored blocks breaking up a bright white backdrop. With cream pendant lights and equally pared-back tiles as the supporting acts, the horizontal display steals the show. 

Try it out: Granada Tile’s Chicago 84 collection is hyper-customizable. With 40 shades for each little line, you can create your dream combo easily. 

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Chicago 82, Granada Tile ($10)
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The Transportive Background

The blue mosaics Space Exploration Design chose for this Williamsburg, Brooklyn, penthouse look like Portugal’s famous azulejos pieces. Each hand-painted square brings this sunny space one step closer to looking like a European villa—of course, the giant terracotta urn in the corner helps.

Try it out: Cobalt detailing weaves an intricate pattern in these handmade Turkish ceramics.

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Turkish Ceramic Tile, Otto Tiles ($5)
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The Rainbow Room

Nothing about Brynn Jones’s antiques-filled house is one-note, especially the Technicolor bathroom. Amid the cupboards’ vibrant pinks and reds, a minimal teal backsplash grounds the bold palette.

Try it out: Lindsey Lang’s olive squares may look simple, but peer closer: Cement makes them subtly textured. 

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Cottage Green Tile, Lindsey Lang ($15)
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The Shimmering Strip

The Firehouse Hotel has the Midas touch, thanks to the gleaming zellige that’s plastered over a tomato red sink cabinet. On the walls, designer Sally Breer kept the glitz to a minimum by pairing it with a crisp white—though she left a hint of color peeping out from under a rug for a boost of glamour. 

Try it out: Bring the gilded look home with Clé’s saffron-toned colorway. The natural glaze is all the shine you need. 

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Indian Saffron Zellige, Cle ($1)
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The Tonal Contrast

Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Blues rule in this Manhattan apartment, where patterned wallpaper is balanced out by a half-wall of penny tiles in a similar shade. It’s a medley of silhouettes, where what could have otherwise been a monotonous navy surface is broken up into layers of textures and shapes. 

Try it out: Create your own base of cobalt penny rounds with Teranova’s sleek option. 

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Blue Penny Round, Teranova (Price varies)
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The All-White Upgrade

When in doubt, go tiny: In this sprawling California property, the classic neutral backdrop gets a contemporary revamp in the form of a hundred mini squares. Compared to the influx of subway tiles we’ve been seeing, the small forms feel fresh.

Try it out: Mineral Tiles’s matte porcelain mosaics are durable (they’re water- and frostproof) and go with everything. 

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Porcelain Mosaic Tile, Mineral Tiles ($9/sheet)
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The Maximalist Dream

Garance Doré went all out with her bathroom backsplash tile, so much so that she enveloped nearly every square inch of the luxe-looking space in the same Moroccan-inspired print. It makes for quite the sensory experience. 

Try it out: No two pieces in Riad Tile’s cement collection are the same, but that’s the beauty of it—perfection is overrated. 

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El Fenn Blue Tile, Riad Tile ($4)
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See more bathroom ideas: 7 Grey Bathroom Floor Tile Ideas That Are Anything But Blah 12 Porcelain Bathroom Tiles That’ll Make You Forget About Paint 11 Ways to Transform Your Bathroom Into a Bathhouse