Bathroom Wall Tiles Enliven Bathroom Walls with Stylish Tile Designs

Selecting tiles for your bathroom walls can completely transform the look and feel of your space. With so many options for colors, textures, patterns and materials, bathroom wall tiles allow you to get creative and design a gorgeous backdrop for your sinks, tubs and showers.

From traditional white subway tiles to bold mosaics, stylish bathroom wall tiles enliven your walls and reflect your personal style. Read on to explore popular tile trends and ideas to liven up dull bathroom walls with beautiful new tile designs.

Why Choose Tile for Bathroom Walls

Tile is a practical, attractive choice for bathroom walls for several reasons:

  • Water-Resistance: Tile repels water and resists moisture damage better than drywall or paint alone. This makes it ideal for humid bathroom environments.
  • Easy Cleaning: Smooth, non-porous glazed tiles simply need a quick wipe down to keep them looking fresh and clean.
  • Durability: Tile stands up to daily wear and tear better than drywall or wallpaper. Thicker tiles are extremely durable.
  • Design Options: From mosaics to large-format tiles, the choices are endless. Mix and match tiles for a custom look.
  • Visual Interest: Variegated colors, shapes and textures provide visual appeal and depth versus flat painted walls.

With proper prep and installation, tile can last for decades on bathroom walls and provide a beautiful, low-maintenance surface.

Choosing Bathroom Wall Tiles

Keep the following criteria in mind when selecting bathroom wall tiles:


  • Ceramic: Affordable, available in myriad colors/finishes. Prone to chipping.
  • Porcelain: More durable and water-resistant than ceramic. Withstands humid conditions.
  • Glass: Gorgeous color effects, moisture-resistant surface, easily cleaned. Prone to shattering if hit.
  • Natural Stone: Elegant look of granite, marble or travertine. Porous so needs sealing. Heavy.
  • Mosaics: Small tiles mounted to sheets. Combine colors/shapes for patterns. Modern look.


  • Subway tiles: Classic 3×6” rectangular tiles in horizontal rows. Sleek, linear look.
  • Large format: 12”x24” tiles and up for clean, contemporary look. Minimizes grout lines.
  • Mosaics: 1-2 inch tiles mounted together. Intricate patterns and color blends.
  • Hexagons: Six-sided tiles create honeycomb effect. Interesting choice instead of squares.


  • Glossy: Reflective, mirror-like glazed surface. Makes colors pop.
  • Matte: Understated, soft finish absorbs light. Mutes bright colors.
  • Honed: Smooth, lightly textured matte surface. Natural stone look.
  • Tumbled: Rounded edges give an aged, antique appearance. Natural stone look.
  • Metallic: Iridescent glass tiles with opulent shine. Makes a dramatic accent wall.


  • Subway: Simple, linear layout of rectangular tiles in horizontal rows.
  • Brick: Staggered rows mimic a brickwork pattern. Also called running bond.
  • Herringbone: Tiles placed in an alternating “V” pattern for visual interest.
  • Mosaic: Small uniform or varied tiles creating intricate patterns.
  • Accent strip: Bold strip of colorful mosaic or patterned tile to accent solid tiles.

Popular Bathroom Tile Design Ideas

All-White Bathroom

  • A classic, timeless look with white tiles on walls and floor.
  • Crisp and clean aesthetic. Makes small spaces appear larger.
  • Subway tiles, brick pattern and mosaics all work well.
  • Add visual interest with glossy and matte white tiles in different sizes/patterns.
  • Infuse personality with colored grout or accent tiles.

Subway Tile

  • Iconic rectangular tiles in a horizontal brickwork pattern.
  • Often 3×6” size but can be larger or smaller. 4×12” is common.
  • Classic color is white but subways now come in endless colors.
  • Great for contemporary to vintage bathrooms. Provide clean lines.
  • Lay in standard brick pattern or vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
  • Use contrasting grout (black is popular) to add definition.

Marble + Metallic

  • Elegant marble tile with glamorous metallic accents.
  • Marble tiles come in soft shades like white, gray, pink for a luxe look.
  • Metallic tiles in gold, silver, copper make a bold style statement.
  • Use metallics sparingly as an accent tile on one wall or as a bath/shower surround.
  • Pair with marble countertops and vanity for a coordinated upscale vibe.

Moroccan Fish Scale

  • Rows of convex tiles resembling fish scales. Traditional Moroccan design.
  • Tiles are laid so their curved edges overlap slightly, creating pattern and texture.
  • Works well around sinks, on shower walls, or as a bathroom accent wall.
  • Look is sensuous and fluid. Provides visual interest and depth.
  • Often blue, green, or terra cotta but modern versions come in many colors.

Bold Stripes

  • Horizontal or vertical stripes in contrasting colors make a graphic statement.
  • Alternate glossy and matte tiles in same color for interesting texture play.
  • Stack varying widths of rectangular subway tiles to create varied stripes.
  • Perfect for contemporary bathrooms or powder rooms. Creates visual impact.
  • Keep other walls/surfaces simple to let the bold stripes stand out.

Minimalist Concrete

  • Understated matte or textured concrete-look tiles. Monochromatic color schemes.
  • Grey and taupe tones are common for a subdued industrial warehouse vibe.
  • Use large format tiles for expansive uninterrupted surfaces. Minimizes grout lines.
  • Concrete-look porcelain is durable and mimics a worn patina.
  • Keep minimal with simple metal accents and modern fittings.

Mix and Match Styles for Texture

Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix up your wall tiles for extra visual interest. Combining different tiles and patterns adds appealing layers of texture and depth.

Some ways to mix and match:

  • Combine glossy and matte finishes of the same tile.
  • Blend subway tiles with detailed mosaic tiles.
  • Float detailed mosaic tiles over a colored tile background.
  • Frame solid tiles with a bold mosaic border or strip.
  • Mix large and small format tiles.
  • Alternate intricate and solid tiles.
  • Create shapes or patterns using tiles in different colors/finishes.

Setting Patterns and Layouts

Beyond choosing the tiles themselves, setting patterns and creative layouts can make your design stand out:


Stack horizontal rows of subway tile. For more interest, stack varying heights. Try stacking 8” Subway above 4” subway.


Laying tile diagonally immediately livens up a space. The diagonal lines draw the eyes and create movement.


Achieve a zigzag pattern by laying tiles in alternating rows offset by half the tile length. Visually intriguing blend of linear and diagonal.


Use tile shapes like circles, hexagons or triangles to create geometric mosaics. Contemporary look.


Convex and concave tiles laid in rows create fluid, undulating waves across the wall.

Picture Frame

Frame a mirror or piece of wall art with decorative tile trim. Choose tile color that pops against wall color.

Tile Ideas for Small Bathrooms

Small baths can feel expansive with the right tiles. Some tips:

  • Use light colored tiles to open up space. Whites/neutrals work best. Dark tiles close in walls.
  • Glossy tile reflects light, making small baths feel brighter and larger.
  • Tiny mosaic tiles make space feel busy. Use fewer larger tiles.
  • Stick with simple tile designs. Avoid bold patterns in tight quarters.
  • Horizontal subway tiles draw the eye down the wall, not closing in.
  • Stacked 12” subway rows give height without clutter. Minimizes sliver cuts.
  • Contrasting grout on white subway tile creates clean lines instead of busy pattern.

Choosing the Right Grout Color

Bathroom wall tile designs come alive with the perfect grout color between them:


Matches white tiles. Creates a seamless linear look. Can get dingy if not sealed properly.


Versatile neutral works with nearly any color tile. Provides subtle contrast with white tile.


Striking contrast against white or light tiles. Grungy industrial edge. High maintenance.


Warmer alternative to white. Compliments earth tones and natural stone. More forgiving stain-wise.


Make tile color pop by matching or contrasting the grout. Contrast creates defined grid pattern.

Setting Your Tiles: Key Installation Tips

Proper tile prep and installation techniques ensure your bathroom tiles last for years:

  • Use cement backerboard on walls instead of drywall for water-resistance and stability.
  • Seal natural stone to prevent staining and discoloration from water and humidity.
  • Apply waterproofing membrane like RedGard over entire area to be tiled. Prevent moisture damage.
  • Use latex-modified thinset to adhere tile so it can better withstand humidity.
  • Avoid mastic or adhesive. Not meant for wet environments.
  • Use correct trowel size to set tiles at proper depth in thinset. Create 100% coverage between tile and substrate.
  • Let thinset cure fully (at least 24 hrs) before grouting so tiles don’t shift.
  • Seal grout so it resists staining. Re-seal yearly.
  • Use silicone caulk where tile meets tub/shower instead of grout. Allows for expansion and contraction to prevent cracking.

With proper installation and grout sealing, your stylish new bathroom tiles will provide a beautiful, low maintenance backdrop for years of lovely baths and showers to come.

FAQ About Bathroom Wall Tiles

What are the best bathroom wall tiles for a shower?

Porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone tiles are best for shower walls. Key is using moisture-resistant backerboard and waterproofing along with latex-modified thinset.

How do I choose tile color for a small bathroom?

Light, neutral colors like white, off-white, light grey and beige make small bathrooms appear larger. Dark tiles can make them feel closed in.

What tile can I use in a bathroom with no windows?

Reflective glossy tiles reflect light well in windowless baths. Whites/neutrals maximize brightness. Accent with a strip of brighter mosaic tiles.

How do I pick tile finishes – glossy or matte?

Glossy tile adds brightness whereas matte absorbs light for softness. For variety, combine glossy and matte versions of the same tile.

What are the most water-resistant bathroom tiles?

Porcelain tile resists water best. The dense clay makes it less porous than ceramic. Porcelain mosaics are great for shower walls.

How do I clean and maintain bathroom wall tiles?

Use a pH-neutral daily tile cleaner. A simple 50/50 vinegar & water solution works for limescale. Re-seal grout yearly. Avoid harsh cleaners which can stain grout.

Bring Your Bathroom to Life with Stylish Wall Tiles

With the endless tile options now available, it’s easier than ever to dress up your bathroom walls with style.

Define your personal look by mixing tile materials, sizes, textures and colors with creative patterns and layouts. Check out the selection at local tile showrooms and home improvement stores to jumpstart your design plans.

The investment of time and money will pay off for years to come with gorgeous walls that transform your daily routines into a comforting, spa-like retreat. With proper installation and care, your tile design will withstand the test of time while keeping your bathroom fresh, inviting and uniquely you.






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