Choosing tiles is tough -- did you match your floor and shower?

ontariomomMarch 2, 2014

Hi everyone,

For those of you who have recently renovated or who are design keeners, is it better to match your shower tiles with the bathroom floor tiles or do a darker tile floor for the rest of the bathroom and lighter tile on the shower walls? Usually, I see lighter tiles inside showers, especially for those with shower curtains to keep the shower from feeling dark. However, light tile floors are not forgiving on the cleaning front. Also, so many of the nice lighter tiles I see for walls that I like don't come in a matte finish for the floor and glossy tiles on the floor concern me. Can you tell me how you solved the shower tiles vs bath floor tile debate and why you decided what you did?

We are trying to select the tiles and then counters for two baths in our house we are re-building. The ensuite is large and will have a toilet room, large vanity and large shower with glass doors. The other bathroom will be shared by two teen boys and an 8 year old girl and will have a tub/shower combo with shower curtain, a large vanity and a toilet in a bit of an alcove.

Now we had originally thought we would want to have the tiles on the floors darker than those in the showers so they would look cleaner, which is a particular concern with the family bath shared by three kids (none of whom are interested in cleaning).

Here is one combination we were considering for the family bath shared by three. However, I am not at all sure about these selections and if we should scrap and do wall and floor tiles that matches. The possible floor tile is on the left, the possible quartz counter in centre and the possible shower tile on the right. The off white paper is the paint colour for the vanity and the blue paper is a proposed wall colour. What do you think, please be honest.

Thanks in advance for any general opinions on tile choices or specific opinions on the photo below. I welcome your honest.


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Just my opinion, but I think less is more.

Bathrooms with different tiles for the shower, walls, floor & then have a different countertop (often granite/marble), just seem to busy for the tranquility I'd like to see in a bath.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:03PM
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We're doing a small bath now and we settled on a large format, glossy tile for the walls, the same tile in a 2"X2" format for the floors (many grouts lines reduce slip hazard), and a complementary color/tone granite top for the vanity. We also plan to put a simple, 3" high mosaic accent strip around the three walls of the shower.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:11PM
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we picked two color tiles for our MB both matched the granite. We figured to put the darker one on the shower floor and the lighter on the walls, for same reasons as you point out - dirt shows more easily on the lighter tile. The tile was from the same design, just a darker colorway.

Well the grantite/tile team came in and talked us out of it. They would have used whatever tile we insisted upon, however in the design area we asked for their expertise. They felt it would be too busy, too checkerboard. They demonstrated the same color tile expanding the space and flow into the shower area.

Your tile on the left may be to dark for a complete bathroom depending on its size and lighting. And the shower tile you have may be too polished for a floor. I like the colors together though - maybe you need a less shiny tile like the lighter one with an accent mosaic to match the vanity top with a few darker tones.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:18PM
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Actually, I have a very small bathroom and it's what I think is quite tranquil, yet I used 4 different materials. I've attached a picture - the floor is Carrara marble (white with grey veining) the counter is Ceasarstone organic white, the shower floor is a dark grey and black stripe, and the shower walls are a glossy white basketweave. The paint is a beautiful silvery blue. You can see all the finishes in this one picture.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:20PM
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The above selection for the kids bathroom is nice. It is good that you chose a light paint color for the vanity.

Anything goes these days. It all depends upon personal preference and what you want to emphasize in the room.

For the master shower floor, you could always do 2 colors - grey border and white center or vice versa. Use epoxy grout and a single mud bed with a moisture barrier on top like a paint on such as Hydro Ban or polyethylene fabric such as Kerdi. This way the shower floor will dry out faster.

But really, anything goes these days. I assume that you are browsing I find this forum to more practical and realistic while at the same time getting the best design possible.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:23PM
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It looks great, but is it hard to wash up with the vanity on the ceiling? :-)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:43PM
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Agree with Anna_in_TX (TX where I am visiting today [from Chgo] - but wearing my down coat, after scraping the ice off my rental car this morning!!!) all depends on personal preference.

Here is a pic of what I'd like; sjhockeyfan's has beautiful tile, but is just too busy for me. The only thing that matters is if she/you like it.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 5:03PM
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Kudzu, nah, we just let it drip off!

Mdln, that's funny, because I hate "busy", but obviously, "busy" is in the eye of the beholder!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 5:13PM
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I have seen a lot of bathrooms in show homes lately that have carried the floor tile right up the walls of the shower. Both light and dark tiles are used.

Personally, I hate it. It doesn't make the room seem bigger because I can't tell where the floor ends and the wall starts. It feels like the wall is right there when it's actually several feet away.

I also find it boring. One colour, no change in texture or shade. And it's never even nice enough tile that you would want that much of it.

OntarioMom, if you like the options you've picked, then don't let anyone talk you out of it. If you personally find it a little busy, I would change the counter to a colour similar to one of the tiles. You've got a white vanity, and basically white wall tiles. Add in a white counter material, and the only difference is a dark grey floor. And paint colour could be absolutely anything, since you've only got grey and white going on so far. Same goes if you pick a darker grey counter top to match the floor. Or, as I said, keep it as you picked it. The medium grey counter is a nice in between colour. A quick houzz search brought this pic which shows the dark floor and counter, with light everything else.

Contemporary Bathroom by Surrey Home Stagers Positive Space Staging + Design, Inc.

Anyone who thinks this photo is busy needs to take a look at some 70s bathrooms.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 5:47PM
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If you're concerned about dirt showing, you should use a mid-toned tile for the floor. The dark one will show all the drips and spots.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Wow, so many great responses and opinions on our selections. Thanks for the inspiration photos too. I will test out the darker grey tile to see how much it shows dirt, drips, etc. It is not that dark (maybe a tad darker than a mid-toned colour). I absolutely love the idea of two colours on the shower floor as our ensuite shower is large. I will be searching some more on Houzz to get a better feel for what I like. I am also meeting with a decorator at the end of the week, and planning on talking to the decorator at the tile shop once more.

If only I could find a mid-toned tile I liked, that was available in both wall and floor tiles, did not show dirt and the floor tile was not slippery, I would be all set. LOL Maybe I will find this perfect tile this week.

Thanks again everyone for your help and posts. I have loaded up one more option below that shows the grey floor/light shower walls with a white counter top as it was mentioned above that a white counter top might be better with the proposed combo. I also have a whiter shower tile than what is shown if that is better than the cream one pictured.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:23PM
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I'm not loving that combo. The tile is too creamy, IMO. BUT, it could be an issue with the camera, or if the the tile is on a different wall than the counter, then it might be fine. You can probably also get a creamier quartz. Or try the whiter tile.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 9:23PM
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I love a darker floor to anchor the room a bit.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:59AM
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robo (z6a)

As for ease of cleaning in a kids' bathroom, I personally would go with a midtoned floor with midtoned grout and larger format tiles to minimize grout lines. Actually I think the lightness of the floor tile isn't as important as the grout. One of my quite fastidious friends with no kids really regrets the white grout on her white tile bathroom floor. The tile is ok to clean up but the grout shows all.

I would not hesitate to choose a different (lighter) tile for the shower walls. I wouldn't paint the walls in the rest of my house gold to match the hardwood.

In my powder we went with a concrete look light grey floor tile that was available in both polished and matte. The polished looked VERY different from the matte, so different that I'd hesitate to use them both in the same room. If I'm honest, the polished was the more beautiful but we went with the matte for safety's sake with the large format.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:08AM
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robo (z6a)

PS The tile I got is nustone porcelain and if you could find it, I think it would maybe suit your needs:

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:09AM
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I am working on our master bath remodel plans now. I am planning on a large format tile 12 X 24 for the floors and shower. White vanity cabinet with a marble or quartz counter, shower threshold and knee wall. I like the color combination like the photo below a little darker floor and wall color and light vanity and top.

Transitional Bathroom by Plano Kitchen & Bath Remodelers Hatfield Builders & Remodelers

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:55PM
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HI guys,

Sorry to be so slow in responding and thanking you for your helpful comments, images, and ideas. I had to go to an after dinner meeting at work. I will be back with some more specific comments later.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:43PM
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Don't know if it's too late for this reply but I think that it depends on your selections (colors, patterns, textures, etc) as to whether something is "busy" or not.

I think that 4 choices can look simple and elegant and just 1 or 2 different surface treatments for bathrooms can look busy. It all depends.

I saw a bathroom on Houzz that had only 2 surface treatments. The floor and walls were a busy marbley-type stone and the countertop was a busy bright speckled granite (coordinating colors but 2 different busy patterns). It looked and felt very unsettling. Didn't work for me.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 2:06AM
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I agree with you MercerM. I think the bathroom your described from Houzz does seem too busy for my liking too.

We have decided to match the bath floor and shower tiles. The tiles we have chosen are not too busy, as we wanted the counters to be the star.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 6:07PM
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We removed the tub in one of the guest bathrooms, and we're having a large shower with seat put in it's place. I selected a different shower floor tile (the small square tiles) than the surround and bathroom floor tile. About a third of the way up, the tile will be laid square, but the top will be laid in a diamond pattern with small squares of the shower floor tile placed at the point of the tiles. There will be a glass and ceramic border separating the two. The granite will go on the countertops in the two separate dressing areas. (Jack and Jill bath.) I've attached photos, but the quality isn't wonderful since it was taken with my cellphone. The first photo is my 'inspirational photo'.

Here is a link that might be useful: Guest Bath 1

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 5:59PM
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Your bathroom is going to be great, lonestarlady. I like how you are planning to change the orientation of the tiles one third of the way up like your inspiration photo.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 9:34PM
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I came across this one today on houzz. Large format carried from the bathroom floor into the shower. I really like this one as it has such a nice cohesive look. Carrying the same wall tile s all the way around helps too.

Traditional Bathroom by Atlanta Tile, Stone & Countertops Specialty Tile Products

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 3:56PM
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