What Looks Like Wallpaper in This Bathroom Is Actually Tile

One humble material, three creative ways.
Red kids bathroom with otomi tile

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Dina Bandman doesn’t always have free rein in her interior design projects, so when she gets carte blanche—as she did for her room in the recent San Francisco Decorator Showcase—she takes the opportunity to go bold  “It’s the perfect place to let your creativity run free,” she says of her latest endeavor.

The only brief she was given: to imagine a kids’ bathroom to share. “I wanted to create a joyful space for children that would be memorable, delightful, and just overall happy,” she explains. Her anchor color of choice: a cheerful cherry red. Here’s how she finished the rest of the space with not one but three clever uses of tile.

The Mosaic That Started It All

Mosaic tile detail in kids bathroom
Photography by Christopher Stark; Design by Dina Bandman

Otomi mosaic tile detail
Photography by Christopher Stark; Design by Dina Bandman

At a glance, Bandman’s bathroom looks like it’s covered in wallpaper, but it’s actually a New Ravenna mosaic tile, which served as the jumping-off point for the space (hence the room’s nickname, No Drama Llama). “I fell in love with it the moment I discovered it and have been looking for a place to use it ever since,” says the designer. The pattern is inspired by the artwork of the Otomi people in central Mexico. “Their designs are filled with symbols of native flora and fauna, and you see this represented in the foxes and llamas prancing throughout the mosaic,” she notes.

The Subtle Border

Kids bathroom with red striped window shade
Photography by Christopher Stark; Design by Dina Bandman

Because the upper half of the wall is quite dominant, Bandman knew whatever she paired it with needed to be something simple that wouldn’t compete. White subway tile did the trick, but the designer couldn’t just leave it plain. Instead, she ran a double ticking stripe at two different heights and carried the detail onto the window shade, the sconces, and the monogrammed towels.

The Right Frame

Shower with white subway tile and red border
Photography by Christopher Stark; Design by Dina Bandman

Bandman brought the graphic red accent into the shower stall, this time crafting a framed border on the two walls in the enclosed space. “It creates a cohesive design throughout the room,” she says. To offset the bold use of wall tile, she kept the floors in a simple marble hex design and painted the ceiling a barely there blush. “The light pink is a subtle detail that’s not too overpowering. Sometimes you just have to know when to use restraint,” she adds.

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Gabrielle Savoie


Gabrielle is most often found digging through 1stdibs in search of Tobia Scarpa sofas, hunting down the newest cool hotels, or singing the praises of Art Nouveau. She spends an inordinate amount of time looking at real estate floor plans and listening to podcasts. In her free time, you’ll likely find her bouncing on a trampoline at Fithouse, snacking on a crudo at the latest cocktail bar, antiquing for French silverware, or dogsitting for anyone who will ask—yes, even you.