Bathroom tile design ideas and the paradox of choice

Myryah Irby

December 4, 2012

By: Myryah Irby, Home Renovation Enthusiast

In: ContractorsBathroom Remodeling

Hi, Reader. We're in the final stages of designing our master bathroom and I've come down with a bad case of decision fatigue.

Maybe you're a regular visitor to this site who's been following our home renovation from the beginning. Perhaps you're embarking on a bathroom remodel yourself and entered the keywords "bathroom design ideas" into Google. Most likely you are my mom, or my husband's mom (Hi, Moms!). Regardless of who you are or how you got here, I'd appreciate your input.

Here's what our master bathroom looks like right now:
framed master bathroom
We need to order the remaining materials for the bathroom ASAP so we don't hold up the contractors who are building our addition. Here are a few design ideas my husband mocked up:
tile options
Pay no attention to the color of the wall above the tile, we can figure that out later, and it's easy enough to change. We will definitely have a clawfoot tub and penny round floor tiles. We thought adding horizontal planks to the west wall could add some visual interest, but perhaps it makes the room look too busy? The horizontal planks are already present in other rooms throughout the house, so for the sake of cohesion --and because we like the look -- we intend to add them to certain walls in the addition.

A few more options:
bathroom tile design ideas
Whether we tile that whole back wall, or only 3/4ths (as in option 1 and 2) we intend to randomly include some off white salvaged tiles among the white subway tiles, as you can see in these illustrations. I'm on the fence about #4. It could look dated and tacky (e.g. 80s), or retro and cool (e.g. 50s) (I'm generalizing, obviously). If done right, black and white can look timeless, but these stripes might be too... fixed.

Here's a mock-up of the bathroom viewed from the bedroom. In black:
sliding barn door master bathroom

And white:
white subway tiles in bathroom
We're planning to build the sliding barn doors out of the salvaged board and batten siding that was removed from the part of the house we're adding onto. Mimicking the exterior of the house could look pretty cool, and recycling is always cool.

I'd intended to write about decision overload and the paradox of choice, but it's getting late. In short: I now understand why people put off repainting their living room because they can't decide between the 80 different shades of white. Eggshell, Linen, Bone, China, Soft Chamois, so on and so forth. Psychologically, freedom of choice is a very interesting topic.

Speaking of choice: Between #1-4, which is your favorite and why?

I'm on Twitter.


  • jacqueline says: 04 December 2012 at 9:38 pm
    I like #3: The tile up to the ceiling appeals to me and the offset tiles add a bit of interest without being too busy. This is going to be awesome!
  • Jess says: 04 December 2012 at 10:24 pm
    I'm not a fan of the dark tiles as I really don't like dark bathrooms. I think the lighter tile will help make the bathroom look larger and of course provide better lighting. As for the design, I like #3. I think it will look classy and it'll be simple to clean if the entire wall is tiled!
  • Iris says: 05 December 2012 at 4:48 pm
    I like 2. The dark wall looks more interesting from the bedroom, and it will look interesting with the few off-white tiles you plan to add to it. I think 3/4 of the wall is fine, with white paint above it. If you want to use the black tiles for a '50s retro look, a border of black is more authentic.
  • Samantha says: 05 December 2012 at 6:19 pm
    My vote goes to #1. You get the benefit of a seemingly bright, clean and simple space, and can add splashes of color in your bath rugs and in the paint on that wall above the tile. P.S. Love the sliding barn doors!
  • Gregg says: 06 December 2012 at 9:36 am
    I like #3. I little splash of color here and there goes a long way!
  • Dan says: 07 December 2012 at 7:28 pm
    Black tile (not matter how awesome looking is tough to keep clean. Esp. If you are on well water you will probably have a high mineral content, which leaves whitish deposits. So I would say go with the white tiles with a few salvaged ones interspersed. Just make sure the white of your tiles is a similar color caste and/or temperature as the white on your adjacent wall. Good luck. Can't wait to see the finish!
  • Patty and Bill says: 10 December 2012 at 8:08 pm
    Do not tile it black....I like the the white options.
  • Merma says: 10 December 2012 at 8:14 pm
    Are the wood planks water resistant and stain/mold proof? If so put it on all the walls and just tile the ground.
  • stonesuperstore says: 12 February 2013 at 7:22 am
    Some great looking tiles, from the pictures I would have to choose the one with the plain black wall simply because it stands out more than the others and I feel it to be more effective.
Thank you! Your comment has been posted successfully and is awaiting moderation. Post another Comment
There was an error processing your comment, please try again.

Post a Comment