Published on September 17, 2020

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Photography by Felix Forrest; Design by Decus Interiors

The ingredients for a transportive, spa-like space are as follows: a smattering of leafy plants, a bottle of lavender essential oil diffusing away on a nearby surface, plush textiles, and, of course, a calming palette. If you’ve got the first three down and just need some help figuring out the fourth, might we suggest a gray tile bathroom? The color is just as relaxing as white, but less expected.

Your first order of business: determining exactly how you want to use this subdued shade—an allover look turns any area instantly cozy, but a pop of contrast with lighter walls actually gives your tilework a bigger share of the spotlight. Any way you spin it, these eight rooms make the classic hue feel cool again. 

Amp Up Your Wall Game

When in doubt, turn to terrazzo. Large squares in this serene nook offer texture on top of visual impact impact—and the pared-back color makes it easy to splash out on pattern. Alternatively, play around with finish: Jean Stoffer picked slick zellige to offset the traditional farmhouse sink in her design. 

Turn Your Shower Into a Jewel Box

Take a page from these two niches: Solstice Interiors went with handmade Moroccan tiles and bronze hardware for a luxe feel. For something ultra-soothing, try an almost-white gray. In this remodel, a pale pebble color sets the scene. Keep things interesting by including two different-shaped stones. Here, subway and squares are a dynamic duo. 

Make Your Backsplash the Focal Point

Sometimes all you need is a sliver of square footage to pack a punch, and that’s exactly what Crystal Sinclair did with her abstract-patterned surface. To make sure it doesn’t feel too random, tie it into another area (in Sinclair’s case, that’s the statement wall behind the tub) and pair it with similarly curved accents, like these sconces. In this glittering corner by Hecker Guthrie, on the other hand, sparkly mosaic tiles are to thank for glamming up this seemingly utilitarian corner.

Anchor the Room From the Ground Up

A gray tile floor will make any space look contemporary—the key is working inversely. For example, if your walls are the main attraction (such as the slate blue ones in Megan Ferguson’s bathroom), stick with a lighter shade; whereas if you want to spice up an all-white room, like Emily Henderson did, go the bolder route. Large-scale charcoal tile strikes just the right balance. 

See more ideas for your bathroom tile:
Can You Paint Bathroom Tile?
7 Designers Weigh In on the Best Tile for Bathroom Floors
360-Degree Grids and Beetlejuice Stripes: The Best Small Bathroom Tile Ideas

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