The look and feel of your bathroom is largely dictated by the type of tile that you select. It is one of the most important rooms in your home, as it is one of the most frequently used by your family and house guests. As such I believe that tile selection warrants a lot of careful consideration. For the majority of people, selecting tiles can be seemingly overwhelming due to the plethora of different styles, shapes, colours and materials to choose from. The selections seem endless, and indeed perhaps they are!
How to create the mood
Firstly I would suggest that you consider the mood or feeling you are wishing to create in your bathroom. This should help drive the rest of your decisions. The style of your home may also dictate the style of tile you select. For example, if you have a contemporary home, ensure that this style flows through to your bathroom. Likewise if you have a period home, you may wish to use a tile that gives a subtle nod with the use of colour or style of your tile, though that being said it is increasingly common to do a contemporary kitchen and bathrooms when renovating a period home.
Ceramic & Porcelain tiles
Ceramic tiles are the most commonly used tile type. Ceramic tiles can be either glazed or unglazed. This essentially means the pattern or glaze sits on top of the base or the “biscuit” as it is referred to. The other commonly used bathroom tile is a porcelain tile. Porcelain tiles are made from a more refined material and fired at a higher temperature than ceramic tiles which can make them more durable and harder than ceramic tiles, and thus often more expensive. Unlike a ceramic tile where the pattern sits on the top, the pattern in a porcelain tile will also go the whole way through the tile. Both tiles are popular due to the endless possibilities that these tiles offer.
Composite Stone Tiles
Composite stones such as terrazzo are also a popular choice for tiles.Terazzo is a blend of natural stone chips and cement .These tiles need sealing and need moderate amount of maintenance to ensure their premium appearance. Another type of composite stone is reconstituted stone; this material is similar to Terrazzo in that it is a blend of cement and stone. However the addition of a resin or polymer is added in the mix. There is a great range to choose from, with many actually mimicking almost identically, the appearance of real stone. Composite stone however offers more consistency in pattern, stain and scratch resistance, heat and chemical resistance and a long warranty.
Natural Stone tiles
Many people however prefer the look of the natural imperfections that occur in natural stone. Natural stone is a naturally sourced material, from ”nature”. Natural stone can be cut into differing tile size and can be used in their natural state, polished or honed (matt). There is also a huge range of natural stone, and I personally love the flaws and inconsistency that occurs in these beautiful tiles. Natural stone has a lovely timeless appearance that exudes luxury and elegance. However, the use of natural stone does mean more maintenance, and on-going re-sealing. It is less stain and chemical resistant than other tile choices, and is often also more expensive to lay.
Glass Mosaic tiles
Glass mosaics are hardly a new tile type for use in a bathroom, and have traditionally been used sparingly in bathrooms for accents on a splashback or inside a niche. Increasingly however we are seeing glass mosaics used on entire walls. While certainly not a budget friendly solution for tiling your bathroom, it will certainly create quite an impact. Other types of mosaics include stone, ceramic and porcelain. If you want to shy away from a square mosaic, you may wish to use hexagonal, round, fan shape, oval, and herringbone, to name just a few. The use of mosaic tiles can be a fun and creative way to inject some personality into your bathroom. You do therefore run the risk of growing tired of them more quickly than a more conventional tile, and they can certainly be more expensive to install.
Another fun and quirky tile solution for your bathroom that has recently gained a lot of popularity is 3D tiles. As the name suggests, these tiles are a three dimensional tile that will really bring your walls to life!
How to choose the right tile size for your space
Sizes of tiles are also quite personal. Trending currently is large format tiles for bathrooms. I like these as they feel luxurious, look fantastic and require less grout. Of course, the size of the bathroom to be tiled will need to be taken into consideration, and tiles size should be in proportion to the size of your bathroom.
Square tiles are also fashionable and I think for good reason. They are really easy on the eye and create a neat and tidy appearance. However I do think you can take advantage of tile shapes to create optical illusions. For example if you have a low ceiling height, using a rectangular tile laid vertically, can draw they eye upward, helping to create the illusion of a more open space with a higher ceiling.
How to choose the right colour
Colour plays a really important part of tile selection for your bathroom. Light coloured or neutral tiles will always make any space; appear larger, as pale colours reflect more light .They will also help your bathroom to feel more open, spacious and bright. A darker tile on the other hand can make your bathroom appear smaller and cosier. Dark tiles for me, also create a wonderful moodiness and sense of drama, which creates an air of warmth and sophistication.
The colour selection of grout is also important. There was a craze recently that saw many people using a contrasting colour of grout to the tile (i.e., black grout with a white tile) however; again, I would err on the side of caution with this, as you may grow tired of this visually, relatively quickly. My recommendation is to match your grout colour as closely as possible to your tile colour, and to also minimize the grout width to as little as possible. A quality tradesman will ensure this is facilitated.
Ultimately, after assessing your personal requirements, and with careful research and inquisition, the correct tile selection really and truly will add value to you bathroom.
The perfect tile will create a bathroom that will go the mile!