Published on July 7, 2020

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

white bathroom with horizontal striped backsplashPin It
Photography by Matthew Williams

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. 

The Transportive Background

blue and white bathroomPin It
Photography by Space Exploration Design

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.

The Rainbow Room

multicolored bathroom with green tile backsplashPin It
Photography by Yoshihiro Makino

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. 

The Shimmering Strip

yellow zellige tile backsplash red cabinetPin It
Photography by Meghan McNeer

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. 

The Tonal Contrast

blue bathroom with penny tile backsplashPin It
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. 

The All-White Upgrade

white tile bathroom with gold pendantPin It
Photography by Eric Wolfinger

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. 

The Maximalist Dream

blue moroccan tile bathroomPin It
Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg; Styling by Rosy Fridman

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. 

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