Choosing bathroom tile is tricky business. At least with paint, there are a limited number of factors to consider (sheen, coverage, shade). But with tile, the design decisions keep coming. Do you prefer marble or travertine? Cement or porcelain? Terracotta or glass? And that’s just material—we haven’t even gotten to shape, size, or configuration yet.
For first-time renovators, it’s easy to get stuck. But never fear. We asked the founders and creative directors of the industry’s leading tile companies to share their favorite picks for a knockout walk-in shower. Shop the five looks they’re coveting, below.
The New White
Deborah Osburn, founder of Clé Tile, recommends new takes on neutrals. “For those who still crave the serene, spa mood of an all-white bathroom, we love how designers have started mixing and matching subtle patterned tiles,” she says. To spice things up, Osburn suggests playing around with texture, like shiny zellige (peep Clé’s new collection with Zio & Sons) or glazed brick. Another approach: Pick a black-and-white cement tile with a strong graphic, like this Western-inspired motif that Natalie Myers of Veneer Design used as the focal point for this spacious walk-in shower.
The Emerald Green
If you have high ceilings, play them up, suggests Damla Turgut, founder of London-based Otto Tiles. “This narrow design really elongates the space,” she says of a dreamy curved shower by Melbourne’s Doherty Design Studio. “The vivid green reminds me of bamboo, and with the rain-forest shower, it almost feels like you’re outdoors.” The material she’d like to see this thin glazed glass paired with? Green marble.
The Tetris Hex
Catherine Bailey, co-owner and creative director of Heath Ceramics, doesn’t want you to stop once you reach the ceiling. “This bathroom is stunning from far away and truly one of a kind,” she says of this space designed by architect Donna Gold Roberts. “The fade to white creates just the right balance.”
To create this illusion, Roberts used white and blue hexagonal tiles on either side of the room and added Heath’s Little Diamonds pattern down the center to highlight the contrast. “There are a few hexes scattered around that are made up of little diamonds; it’s fun to try to find them!” shares Roberts.
The Luminous Glaze
For Fireclay founder Paul Burns, this earth-toned shower answers the question “Why tile?” “There’s a natural feel to it that you just can’t get from other materials,” he says. Fittingly dubbed Sand Dune, the 2-by-6 rectangular pieces are a nice twist on classic subway tile when installed vertically. The soft, semi-reflective sheen makes the tiles almost glow when they’re wet.
The Subtle Terrazzo
Concrete Collaborative sells a bevy of colorful terrazzo tiles and slabs, but founder Kate Balsis is living for the low-key look of a gray-on-gray design. When paired with terracotta tiles, the result is surprisingly zen (just peep this unique setup by designer Jamie Bush, where the vanity and shower bench are one big slab).
We couldn’t help but notice that one trending tile was left out of the loop. It looks like showers will be taking a break from standard white subway tile. But hey—no risk, no reward.
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