Looking for some dreamy shower tile ideas?
Usually we’d say the shower itself is the best place for a brainstorm, but thinking outside the cubicle and taking a look at these inspirational bathroom ideas for showers might just be the next best thing.
Tiles are both waterproof and washable, making them perfect for the walls of walk-in showers, showers with trays, and for the floors of wet rooms, too.
Aside from their practicalities, the availability of tiling in a wide array of shower-fit materials — from porcelain and glass, to ceramic and stone — as well as shapes, sizes, colors and finishes, means that the design possibilities are endless.
Shower tile ideas
Whether you’re looking to conjure contemporary cool with subway tiles or channel some classic elegance with panels of marble (or marble-effect) panels, these bathroom tile ideas for showers will help turn your washroom into a waterproof wonder.
1. Bookmatch marble for drama
Marble can be an incredibly dramatic material to use for shower tile ideas, and bookmatching it creates extra impact and a sense of balance that's important in enhancing a small space - add it to your wet room ideas if you're looking to create a sophisticated feel.
'Natural stone, in slab, tile and mosaic forms, is a material we use often,' says Charu Gandhi, founder of interior design studio Elicyon. 'Marble instantly suggests classic elegance and something special, and it can be bookmatched to stunning effect.'
Founder of luxury interior design agency Taylor Howes, Karen Howes adds, 'Luxurious real marble and durable, easy-to-maintain marble-effect porcelain always suggest tranquility and a connection to nature. I suggest using mosaics on the floor and larger-format tiles in the shower.'
2. Use mosaics to make the most of curves
Mosaics allow you to create flexible shower tile ideas, and are especially useful for creating shower bench ideas that are both practical and free of sharp edges.
'There is a real trend for installing shower benches in cubicles and wet rooms now,' says H&G Editor in Chief Lucy Searle. 'Largely inspired by the need for creating spa bathrooms at home post-pandemic, they can be tiled to create an eye-catching feature.'
3. Contrast floor and wall tiles in a shower
To create a really impactful look, create contrast. This Art Deco style bathroom designed by Yousef Mansuri, director of design at CP Hart, includes a wet room style shower – but space isn't actually that big. So as not to detract from the room's size – and its many Deco features – the white and black chequerboard floor tiles were continued into the shower area. To contrast with the floor, the owner, who grew up in Spain, chose azure blue glazed wall tiles to remind him of the ocean; they are finished with a polished black trim for definition.
4. Pick porcelain for practicality
Porcelain tiles can be designed to mimic the look of other materials – it could be something as simple as a marble-look, or you could choose something more adventurous, such as a wood-effect. Either way, it's a versatile way to create more impactful shower room ideas without spending a fortune on natural materials.
'A porcelain tile is a great option as shower tile ideas as they require no sealing. With any bathroom project it is also worth considering the slip resistance of the tiles – a balance of beauty and practicality should be met,' says Isabel Fernandez, Director at natural stone flooring company Quorn Stone.
5. Create a feature wall with shower tiles
If you want to create a luxurious appeal, one way to do so is to make room for a large shower area – and to draw attention to it with a feature wall of brightly patterned tiles.
'When it comes to pattern, I like to keep things simple but bold, as this creates a more contemporary look than a busy mix. Pick a genre of pattern and stick to it, combining perhaps two graphic patterns, for example, rather than mixing in a floral as well,' advises interior and textiles designer Eva Sonaike.
6. White marble is a timeless option
'An interior design classic, marble’s cool and opulent aesthetic looks beautiful in a range of interiors, from minimal and laid-back chic to maximalist styles saturated with color,' says Lee Thornley, Founder of Bert & May.
'Until recently, marble was a luxury statement, timeless but out of reach for many interiors enthusiasts. However, smaller format tiles are now bringing this stunning material into more homes, and it has been lovely to see the beautiful natural patinas within the stone creating a unique and natural design in so many, varied settings.'
White-gray marble is a hugely popular choice that works well either as an accent or in abundance. Even when used generously over large tiles — as in the bathroom picture shown above — its effect is still relatively understated.
7. Get tonal with deep blues
With its calming properties and associations with watery worlds, blue is an excellent choice for shower room tiles.
To shake off the clichés, go dark with your choice of shade, and to stop it being too domineering, embrace a little tonal range.
In the shower room idea shown above, square tiles in a few different tones give a sense of movement to the wall, like gently undulating waves. Pair it with pure white fittings to keep things light.
8. Keep it neutral (for now)
‘The tiles in a bathroom are an important part of the room and often span both wall and floor,’ says Isabel Fernandez, Director at Quorn Stone. ‘With this in mind we find neutral colors work well for the tiles, as pops of color can be added through accessories, tap finishes and painted vanity units.’
In this room, a spectacular standalone shower cubicle is clad in white and gray marble, while the rest of the room is treated to a large multi-colored bathroom art idea on the wall.
9. Go big with patterns
For an invigorating start to the day, embrace pattern in your shower tiles — and don’t be afraid to use them in bulk. In this room, a rustic tile has been used in repetition to create an all-encompassing, Mediterranean feel.
'We are seeing an increase in bold use of color and pattern when it comes to choosing shower tiling schemes', says Thornley.
'Where previously iterations of fairly traditional 'spa-like', pared back schemes were very popular, the shower is being increasingly seen as an opportunity to add an exciting splash of color and personality into a bathroom.'
10. Create a glamorous nook amid rustic charm
The jewel-like quality of tiling means it has the capability to turn a shower nook into a glamorous getaway.
Here, a farmhouse-style design embraces natural textures and wood paneling throughout most of the room, while a partially concealed shower area is picked out in white-gray marble, adding a distinctly luxurious touch.
If the natural stone panels are slightly beyond your budget, it is now possible to get marble-effect tiles made from porcelain that are both convincing and more accessible.
11. Subway tiles are made for monochrome looks
The subway tile trend isn’t going anywhere, and while these on-trend oblong favorites are available in pretty much every color and finish, a classic high-shine white with black grouting will bring some vintage character to a monochrome look.
12. Journey under the sea with green marble
Of course, Calacatta-style white isn’t the only marble rippling into shower rooms these days, as the material’s sinewy natural pattern makes it a fit for wet rooms in myriad colors. The atmospheric deep sea tones of emerald green are a particularly on-trend choice.
‘Our clients are increasingly opting for the richer, darker Verde Guatemala marble we now offer as an option on many of our products and we expect this material to prove ever more popular,’ says James Lentaigne, Creative Director at Drummonds.
‘Green marble works extremely well with brassware and accessories in warm brass tones or dark antique finishes, helping to create a refined, luxurious look.’
13. Create a standalone statement with tiling
Shower tiling doesn’t have to be confined to a cubicle. If you’re looking for a practical backsplash to a standalone bathtub and shower head, use tiles to turn an awkward wall space into a work of art.
In the bathroom wall idea shown above, just part of the wall has been filled with patterned tiles to create a deliberate feature, framed like a picture with wall paint. Tiling just a small — but carefully chosen — area is great for using more expensive tiles to make an impact without breaking the budget.
14. Get geometric with your marble
Large panels of marble allow full appreciation of the material’s natural motif, but using it in small amounts lends focus to the details. In this shower, the stone’s irregular layers are contrasted with the strong geometric lines of a patterned tessellation, which is both instantly impactful and endlessly entrancing.
15. Bring the whole room together with all-out tiling
For rooms with more open-plan shower areas, tiles can be used to either zone an area, or encourage a boundary-less feel.
In this wet room, wall tiles run out of the shower space and across the bath to tie this area together. The floor tiles continue across the whole room, reassuring all users that their soggy feet won’t do damage wherever they tread.
What is the best tile for a shower?
If you're wondering how to tile a bathroom wall, or which materials are best to use, porcelain, glass, stone and ceramic all work really well in a shower space.
But regardless of what material you choose, Thornley warns you should understand it fully before getting started, as there are costly mistakes to avoid when buying tiles.
‘One of the most important things for shower tiling is to make sure that you know what kind of tile you are using, and to ensure that you install it correctly. Different materials need different treatment, it will not only make a huge difference to the longevity of your bathroom, but also to the finished look if you get it wrong.’
What is the easiest tile to keep clean in a shower?
For Fernandez, porcelain is the way to go for a low-maintenance result.
‘They are a great option for bathroom spaces as they require no sealing and most bathroom cleaners can be used to keep them looking their best,’ she says. ‘A porcelain tile can also be used in conjunction with epoxy resin grout which ensures the grout lines remain free from discoloration and any dreaded black mould.’
Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.
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