The Best Shower Tile Ideas And DIY Tiling Tips

If you’re thinking of giving your shower or bathroom its much-needed update, there are lots of DIY tasks you can take on. However, the least expensive and most cost effective has to be shower tiling.

Wood-look ceramic shower tile

Wood-look ceramic shower tile

Why Tile

Laying down high-quality tiles in the right style can be accomplished on your own without requiring the help of an expensive tradesman. What’s more, the process, if done right, will boost your home’s value!

Before we dive into the incredible shower tile ideas we’ve come up, let’s first check why you should tile your bathroom or shower area.

Bathroom/Shower Tiles Are Easy to Install

You don’t need a master craftsman just to lay down your new shower tiles. If you take your time, have a bit of practice, and take into heart all the information you’ll get from this article, you’ll definitely do a great job. As a matter of fact, your work will stand scrutiny!

Bathroom tiling is surprisingly easy, which is why most homeowners take on the task themselves. If you have the basic home improvement skills plus some spare time, we are sure you'll do a convincing job at tiling your bathroom. You can even complete 150 sq ft of shower tiling in a day. Well, that’s if you don’t have lots of tea breaks.

Rustic rectangular shower tile

Rustic rectangular shower tile

Why Tile

Shower Tiles Are Low Maintenance

…and they’re cheap to maintain, too! Whether you’re laying down wall or floor tiles, your bathroom/shower will require less maintenance over the alternatives, most especially if you opt for ceramic tiles as they are water repellent. They need little looking after if installed correctly. Dirt or grime, if present, can be wiped down or sponged off. You can also apply sealant for further protection. Apart from that, you basically have nothing to do after the tiles are installed!

Bathroom Tiling Gives the Most Value for Your Money

Tiles are your best options as they cost lesser per square meter. Add that with the incredible longevity of tiles and their low maintenance aspect and you’ll understand why they’re popular options in the wall and floor arena.

Quality tiles last for years. If they’re installed correctly and you used the right grout and sealant, your bathroom or shower area will continue to boost your home’s value.

Tiles Come in Many Style Options

Regardless of whether you want plain tiles or you’re thinking of getting ones with funky patterns, you can bet you’ll find them available for purchase. It does not matter what you want as you will definitely be able to find the best match online. That being said, we’re pretty confident you’ve already made up your mind about the project. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy all those amazing benefits?

Moroccan style shower tile

Moroccan style shower tile

Dovetail Construction

Types of Shower Tiles

To make the process of redesigning or redoing your shower area a lot easier, take a look at the bathroom/shower tile options you have; they’re listed below. Consider the pros and cons of each tile option, and choose the type that is right for your specific needs and situation.

Glass Bathroom Tiles

Glass tiles are gaining in popularity as more and more tile manufacturers offer custom-made tiles made of glass. This means you can customize your bathroom floor and wall tiles to address all your needs and wants. The different shades, tints, and types of glass tiles that can be attached to your shower walls can beautifully reflect your bathroom’s lighting, which is also why they’re currently in demand.

Furthermore, with glass tiles, you’ll have different patterns and hues to choose from, so you’ll definitely be able to achieve the theme or style that you want for your bathroom. For instance, there are multi-colored glass tiles that you can use in creating a mosaic art, which is perfect for giving bathrooms accents. Installed properly, the glass tiles will hold up incredibly well. If textured, they’ll also be able to resist slips.

Take Note: Glass tiles are resistant to mold development and stains. They will, however, show dirt, so you must clean them from time to time using warm water and a mop. As for the installation of glass tiles, the process must be done carefully because glass can get scratched. The material, of course, is durable, but if you drop something heavy and it came from a great height, then the glass will crack or chip.

Glass mosaic shower tiles

Glass mosaic shower tiles

KLC Studios

Metal Bathroom Tiles

Metal tiles are predominantly used for walls of bathrooms, but it is not impossible to use them on your floors. Fresh and brilliant, metal tiles give an elegant and sophisticated look, especially for partitions and walls. There are various textures that you can pick from. Your most common options are simple smooth squares, mosaic brushed which are more artistic, and classic patterned designs.

Metal bathroom tiles bring the texture that’s perfect for bathrooms. They also work well with other types of tiles.

Metal shower tiles

Metal shower tiles

ARCHITECTURE JOYCE OWENS LLC

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl bathroom tiles are often preferred by homeowners in tiling bathrooms as they're easier to install. They're also eco-friendly as vinyl is reusable. What's more, the material is less prone to breaking and cracks. It's cost-effective as well as it's cheaper than most of the alternatives. Yes, even ceramic. It's downside? That would be its appeal as the material isn’t as luxurious-looking or beautiful as porcelain and ceramic.

Terracotta Bathroom Tiles

Terracotta is the type that’s a bit old-fashioned, but it creates a delightful cozy ambiance. It's a strong tile flooring material that’s made from earthy hued clay. As for its maintenance, you’ll need to fasten the material with a sealing agent more often to protect it from damage and staining.

Terracotta bathroom tiles offer the same advantages as ceramic tiles and more as they’re also less likely to be cold to the touch, unlike ceramic.

Ceramic Shower Tiles

Ceramic bathroom tiles offer the greatest number of options when it comes to color, size, shape, finish, and texture. There’s the wood and rock texture that’s perfect for cozy bathrooms. There are also pure wood-textured tiles that help achieve a bathroom that’s nature-themed. These tiles are low maintenance, cost-effective, and durable; they don’t easily break. They are, however, not as impervious to water unlike other types of bathroom tiles e.g. porcelain.

Tropical style bathroom

Tropical style bathroom

Paul Linnebach

Stone Tiles

Stone tiles are also becoming popular because of their timeless beauty and elegance. They're made of granite, slate, limestone, or marble, and they come in different textures including etched, tumbled, cleft, and sandblasted. The selection of colors may not be as wide compared to ceramic, but you’ll surely find ones that you like that are in blues, reds, greens, and creams.

Although they are gorgeous, they require more maintenance. You'll have to do regular cleaning to ensure they look good all the time. They're also expensive compared to more common bathroom tiles like ceramic and vinyl.

If you’re looking for the most traditional and sophisticated tiles, then most would tell you that they’re the ones made of marble. They can be polished and they’re available in several different sizes. Marble tiles can be veined or patterned, adding an interesting color to your bathroom.

Marble bathroom tile

Marble bathroom tile

Stone Creek Furniture

Granite is also versatile, durable, and attractive, but it’s more suited for decorating rustic style bathrooms. They're the perfect stone tiles for shower areas as they are resistant to staining and moisture.

Limestone, on the other hand, has a solid surface that’s ideal for bathroom floors. Its muted color gives off a comfortable and clean feel that’s perfect for master bathrooms. As it’s a natural rock, it has to be sealed really well. When cleaning, vinegar and citrus-based agents must be avoided.

There's also slate which is among the toughest floor materials. Its built-in rigidity makes it capable of resisting cracks, breaks, chips, and scratches. It needs no sealing against stains. If slate tiles are properly maintained, they can last for several decades without losing their appeal. They won’t need to be replaced or removed as well as they look great with just simple cleaning.

The metamorphic rock features a rich color palette and a fine grain; it can easily give the right accent to your bathroom or shower décor. From red to copper, tan to black, and navy to sage, the diverse color options make slate tiles the perfect accents for contemporary, modern, rustic, and traditional bathrooms. Of course, there’s a downside to everything. With slate, every tile is one-of-a-kind. This means planning a specific design or pattern can be difficult. It's also an expensive material.

Limestone shower tile

Limestone shower tile

Jillian Aimis

Linoleum

Linoleum is one of your best tile options. It is capable of repelling dirt and dust while retaining its texture and color. It is also easy to install. With a neat application, linoleum will look astonishing. It's remarkably versatile, too, as it can complement any bathroom style.

If your home is old, for instance, a bathroom floor that consists of linoleum tiles will catch the house’s original period design. If your home is contemporary, you’ll also be able to make use of linoleum bathroom tiles. You can even have them custom-cut, so you can make a bold statement. The only problem with linoleum is it doesn’t resist scratches.

Pebble Tiles

The last but not the least are pebble tiles, which are also called as river rock tiles as they feature a beautiful collection of pebbles. They are the tiles that can bring you closer to nature even when you’re just in your bathroom. Pebble tiles are durable, but they have a downside and that is their cleaning. They are not easy to clean because the surface isn’t flat which means grime and dirt can stick to the edges of the pebbles.

Pebble shower tile

Pebble shower tile

Bella Vista Company

Porcelain Bathroom Tiles

Porcelain is an incredible material for bathroom floors and walls. Compared to ceramic, which is the traditional tile choice of homeowners, porcelain is a lot harder, more scratch resistant, more stain resistant, more water resistant, and more durable. While porcelain tiles fall under the same “family” as ceramic, they’re different in a lot of aspects.

Porcelain is kiln-dried at a high temperature, which is the reason why it’s better at performing than ceramic tiles. With respect to the options offered by the material, you’ll have lots of colors to choose from. There are even those that are made to mimic natural materials like stone and wood. If you are installing radiant heating, then the material is perfect for the room. The issue with porcelain is it costs more than ceramic.

Built-in quartz shower bench

Built-in quartz shower bench

Spazio LA

Wood Bathroom Tiles

Wood tiles are the best options for risk takers. Yes, they are made of real wood so water will penetrate the finish. There will be staining and cracking as well in the long haul. Although wood tiles ask the most care and maintenance, you can’t deny the fact that they’re the best when it comes to achieving a “cabin” feel. To prolong the life of wood bathroom tiles, a coating must be applied.

If possible, keep wood bathroom tiles away from a pedestal sink, shower area, and toilet bowl as they will degrade faster. The best location for them is on walls. Don't worry as we’ll tackle more about wood tiles below.

Cement-Bodied Bathroom Tiles

Cement-bodied tiles are great choices for bathrooms and kitchens that see wear and tear. They're tough, durable, and capable of giving years of service if they’re installed properly and maintained.

What's more, chips don’t show with cement-bodied tiles as well as scratches. But, because the material is porous, there's a need for it to be sealed well.

White cement shower tiles

White cement shower tiles

Spazio LA

The Best Shower Tile Ideas

Now that you know the types of bathroom tiles that you can choose from, let’s now move on to the most awaited section of the article: the best shower tile ideas! So, without further ado, here are the ideas that will turn your plain, boring bathroom into one that will make people say: “That’s freakin’ awesome!”

Adding a Built-In Tiled Bench

Tiled benches never fail in creating an impression especially when they are made to be a part of walk-in showers. They work especially well in large master bathrooms where there’s a luxury of space. Obviously, they are for sitting, but you’ll soon find yourself resting your feet on your tiled bench as you wash your body.

For the ultimate bathroom, tile your shower area with calacatta gold marble slabs with the top of the bench tiled with quartz that’s made to look similar to marble. Of course, you can use genuine marble instead. But, if you’ll be tiling your shower bench with quartz, it’ll stand to abuse or wear and tear better.

You can use materials that are high end or expensive. If you don’t have a budget for them, you can still achieve the look you want using less expensive ones. Just do a bit of digging around and consider the durability of the tiles that you use for the bench.

Installing the Tiles Vertically

There is no reason for you to be like everybody else. As most people lay their wall tiles horizontally, why don’t you create visual interest the fastest way possible by rotating rectangular tiles at a 90-degree angle? If you choose stone tiles, they will add a nice touch as well.

Turquoise vertical shower tiles

Turquoise vertical shower tiles

Darren Edwards Photographs

Opting for Tiles That Don’t Seem Like Tiles

There are ceramic tiles that are made to look like fabric from afar. As soon as you touch them, you’ll quickly realize you’re wrong as you feel the coldness of the tiles. Tiles that look like fabric look like wallpaper. To achieve this shower tile design idea, make sure the grout lines are kept tight. Doing so will complete the effect.

Mixing Colors and Sizes Boldly

If you’re bored with your bathroom’s lack of color and interest, why don’t you go straight to the end of the spectrum and mix sizes and colors of tiles? As you already know, bathroom tiles are available in lots of sizes. You can blend two rows of 6-inch tall tiles with a row of 12-inch tall ones. You can also have them in contrasting colors. The effect isn’t subtle, but dramatic instead, which is exactly what you’re looking for, right?

Mixed bathroom tiles

Mixed shower tiles

aparici

Mosaic Art for Walls

If you just want to give your shower area a bit of visual interest, you can do so by having a mosaic accent shower wall. Not all of us can afford a rain head, a couple of benches, two handhelds, and limestone tiles, but having a mosaic tiling on a wall in your walk-in shower is so cheap that there’s no more reason for you to skip on the project. This idea is not just affordable, it will also draw the eye into the area of the bathroom that’s been revamped and made to look gorgeous.

Mosaic shower tiles are popular that your options are endless. There are various colors to choose from with some having glimmering effects. There are also tiny ones; while some come in the size of walls. Large-scale mosaic bathroom tiles are the most popular as they’re easy to clad. They also look cool and modern. All you have to do is choose the color!

Our personal favorites when it comes to mosaic tiles would be fish scale tiles as they are eye-catching, most especially when they're in the turquoise shade. Various designers produce several collections of patterned tiles, and they often make for stunning choices.

Shower accent wall

Shower accent wall

aparici

Consider Wainscoting

If you don’t know already, wainscoting is filling half of a wall with decorative materials, especially the bottom half. It is typically done in dining rooms and living rooms using wood boards. But, it works as well in bathrooms plus the process adds way more character using shiny tiles.

If you want to undergo bathroom tiling but you’re on a budget, then tiling your floor and half of your bathroom walls will give you just what you need: a stylishly updated bathroom for a low cost!

Adding a Tiled Border

A border of pretty tiles will let you infuse your personal style into your bathroom space without breaking the bank. It'll also make a fashionable statement. Just add a strip of colored glass or mosaic tiles along the topmost part of your subway-tile wainscoting. You can also let the border tiles stand alone against painted walls to give warmth and color to the space.

Shower tile border

Shower tile border

Design Tank

More Shower Tile Ideas

Use Faux Wood Bathroom Tiles

If you’re anything like us, you also want some warmth and coziness for your shower like that of cabins. You need not look for an expensive wood panel that takes so much time and money for its maintenance. Faux wood bathroom tiles are your best options. They look exactly like wood, but they’re easier to clean and maintain.

Changing Up the Bathroom Shower Tile’s Size

If you already have a tiled bathroom, add a subtle visual contrast to the space by opting for a different tile size inside your shower. If you’re redoing your entire bathroom, you can opt for smaller rectangular stone tiles for your bathroom floors and large, square ceramic tiles on your shower area.

Use Various Types of Tiles

There’s no reason for you to stick to one type of tile. You can make use of white subway tiling for wainscoting and pebble tiles on your shower’s floor for that gentle foot massage.

Break Up Wall Space

Consider wainscoting your bathroom walls with brown mosaic tiles. Then, paint the walls with white. To add a stylish touch and, of course, utilize the best way to break up wall space, add a border of shiny black tiles on top of the tiled wainscot.

Tile the Ceiling

The color and design of bathrooms and shower areas are often on the floor and walls. However, the ceiling is yet another surface you can use to add the room with pattern, color, and/or texture. Tile it up!

Color Niches

Little shower niches can be used in showing off different colors and types of tiles. Use contrasting or complementary colors.

Use Grout for Contrast

You can use grout that’s in an unusual color to add interest to a bathroom. A dark grout against white tiles, for instance.

Multicolored ceramic tiles

Multicolored ceramic tiles

Ceramic 3D

Shower Tiles: Installation Tips

By now, we’re pretty sure you’ve already envisioned the perfect bathroom in your head. But, you still have to learn how to install the tiles you’ll be purchasing. Here are a couple of tips to help you achieve the bathroom that you’ll be proud to call a creation of yours:

  • Thin-set mortar, as you know, is the best tile bedding adhesive. But, if you are settling bathroom tiles that are large, particularly more than 12 x 12 inches, then look for the terms “medium bed,” “large format” or “large tile” on the bag’s label. A bigger tile naturally needs a thicker bed. Unlike the standard thin-set, a medium-bed mortar won’t lose the bonding strength as you lay the product on thick. It is also a lot firmer and it shrinks less, which means the tiles will stay in position when the mortar hardens.
  • If you’ll be having a wall niche, make sure that you lay out the tiles and take a couple of measurements to find out its exact size. It's better to custom-size a niche to fit in between full tiles as you will get a much better-looking installation. You'll also save yourself the hassle of cutting tiles.
  • Lippage (the technical term professionals use to call uneven edges of tiles) is difficult to avoid especially with large tiles. But, it can be avoided through the use of wedges and leveling clips. Just slip clips under tiles and push in wedges. As soon as the thin-set hardens, just break off exposed clips.
  • When you are ordering tile supplies online, don’t forget to get fine abrasive pads. They usually come in packs. Along with a bit of water, the pads will help you remove stubborn smudges of thin-set from the faces of tiles. What’s great about pads is they don’t scratch the glaze or gloss of tiles.
  • Having a suction cup will let you lift sunken tiles. If you need to adjust crooked ones, a suction cup will come in handy as well. You'll find lots of suction cups available for purchase online. Just search on Amazon for suction cup handles. However, you should remember that they will only work on tiles that are smooth-faced.
  • Tile setters utilize margin trowels for everything: nudging crooked ones, prying up a sunken tile, cleaning grout lines, mixing up batches of grout or thin-set, scraping up messes, and scooping mix out from a bucket. A margin trowel makes for an excellent back scratcher, too! Whenever you are settling tiles, you need to have one. You need a hand cleaner when you’re laying down bathroom tiles.
  • You don’t have to purchase towels. Just use an old shirt as it makes wiping hands quick and easy. It'll also be used in keeping smudges of thin-set off of tiles. As soon as your job is done, you can just toss it. We bet you have myriads of old shirts that require repurposing.

FAQs on Bathroom/Shower Tiling

What are the tools that I need to secure before I lay shower tiles?

The tools you need to secure to accomplish your quick shower tiling project are the following:

  • Notched trowel in the right size
  • Measuring tape
  • Margin trowel
  • Chalk line
  • Several buckets
  • Nippers
  • Grout float
  • A low-speed drill + mixing paddle (400 rpm or less with 6 amp or more)
  • Score & snap cutter
  • Wet saw
  • Hydra grout sponges
  • 24- and 48-inch levels
  • Heavy-duty extension cords
  • Nailgun or screw gun
  • Knee pads
  • Fine abrasive pads
Green shower mosaic

Green shower mosaic

Dune

What should I look for when deciding on specific tiles for my bathroom remodeling project?

Get the tiles that you love. After all, you are the one who’ll be using the shower area. Of course, you should also consider the amount of care you can dedicate for your bathroom tiles. If you have lots of spare time and energy, then you can get tiles that require more maintenance.

Otherwise, it’s best to stick to types that are close to maintenance-free like smooth-faced ceramic tiles. Ceramic tiles that are textured will catch junk from the shower, so they can be difficult to clean. If you have kids and they’ll be using the bathroom you are redoing, make sure that you stick to the tiles that are not slippery.

Where can I use bathroom tiles and where can’t I use them?

Bathroom tiles can be used on all surfaces in your bathroom. You can even tile up a ceiling. It's just a matter of personal preference. If there’s a requirement to the amount of surface to be tiled in a bathroom, that would only be if there is a showerhead involved. The tiles must reach at least 72 inches from the floor. If you don’t have to deal with a showerhead, then it will be left to your discretion.

If I want to hire a professional to install the tiles for me, where can I find one?

Ask your friends and family for recommendations. If they don’t know anyone that can be trusted for the job, go to a local showroom as there will be people there who can give you suggestions. If that won’t work for you, search online for the best tilers in your area. A couple of professionals should come up. Just don’t forget to check their references and give them a call.

Turquoise shower niche

Turquoise shower niche

Dune