Niche and splashback advice please!

dibdotMay 15, 2014

I'm having a tiling crisis! *drama*

We are about to renovate our master bath, which unfortunately is really an en suite, but is the only bathroom at the front of our house where the bedrooms are.

The dimensions are small - 6' x 7.5' floor dimensions.

I'm using a honed oyster (slightly taupey grey) 12" x 24" floor tile, and a gloss 12" x 24" rectified wall tile in almost-white with subtle colour variation.

We will be having either a 12" or 24" (as yet unsure) niche along the long side of the shower-over-bath, and a splashback between our mirror cabinet and the 36" wide vanity unit.

I had been planning on using a hexagonal contrast tile, but looking online at pictures, I am unconvinced by the combination of stacked rectangular rectified wall tiles, with the more chaotic hexagonal mosaic, and am wondering whether I would be better off sticking with a square or rectangular mosaic/scored tile for the niche and splash back?

I am trying to keep the small size of the bathroom in mind and want to keep the overall effect fairly calm.

Help much appreciated!

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kudzu9

You sound like you are describing about the same bathroom we are currently installing in our guest room: floor size, tile size, and color. We finally decided on a rectangular brown glass -- 3" X 6" -- tile to give contrast to our large, rectified beige onyx floor and wall tiles. We auditioned a variety of mosaic accent strips with smaller tiles and just didn't find anything that we thought we'd be happy with for a long time, or they just looked too busy. In decisions like this, simpler can be better. Or, as the architect Mies van der Rohe said a century ago: "Less is more."

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 3:58AM
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dibdot

@kudzu9 - after spending 4 hours today "auditioning" (love that term) mosaic tiles, I think I've reached the same conclusion. Part of it is that it's hard to find anything that doesn't undermine the elegance of the wall/floor combo we've chosen (we've switched to a "pearl grey" - oysterish grey, light - lappato tile for the floor - it's much prettier in its own right).

Someone in a tile shop suggested trying a smaller plain white tile in a brick pattern along the niche, but that seems either too traditional or too hipster - doesn't go with the "sophisticated" vibe of the wall and floor.we'll look at some more tomorrow but tonight we have just been music that maybe we just put the same wall tile at the back of the niche, then do the side walls, floor and ceiling of the niche in a true white tile. The mitred edge of that white tile would give a subtly bright, thin "border" to the niche and that might be enough.

Thoughts?

This post was edited by dibdot on Fri, May 16, 14 at 18:16

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 9:04AM
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enduring

I agree with you both about less is more. here is my niche with the same tile inside and out:

I love the concept of all field tile. I did the tile job, and struggled with lip-age using such large tiles (12x25). You can see it fairly well throughout the shower too. I am calling it rustic contemporary. I think if I had done a darker grout it would have disguised those lip-age shadow lines.

I did do nicely on the cutouts around the niche though :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 11:14AM
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kudzu9

To me the white tile as an outline might look distracting. If it were me, I'd:

  1. Make a mockup by laying some field tiles on the floor with something (pillows?) supporting them, and then position some of the white tiles on edge to frame a niche. It's crude but it might give you an idea.

2) Wait until the tiling is being done and make a judgment call when the liner -- the white tiles -- are ready to be added. At that point you can either say "Make everything the same." or "Let's go with the white tiles."

Good luck, and please tell us what you decide.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 11:48AM
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elizabetheva

So this is just me and my lifestyle: I don't want to draw attention to all of my shampoo and body wash in the shower, and since it's not a dedicated guest bath I'm not going to have the pretty guest soaps in the shower or anything, it's going to be my real life shave gel every day. I really believe in less is more when you have beautiful materials like you described, so I think your thought to go simple in the shower area will be like, 'I am really looking forward to relaxing in this beautiful, calming shower' instead of 'that's a really pretty niche, what kind of shampoo is that?' but i really think it comes down to personal preference, because I've certainly seen really pretty tile work in shower niches before, and I'm sure a lot of people probably have prettier bottles than me.

If you're just looking to break it up or add some interest you might consider a low contrast border on the floor, or be creative with the direction of the tile somewhere and stick with the same material/color. Most of the time I think the simple trim tile ends up looking better than the elaborate details, regardless of whether it's traditional or contemporary or whatever.

Whatever you decide, if you stick with something low contrast it'll keep it from getting too busy. I like your idea of changing up the pattern in the back splash, it sounds like it could be a pretty accent.

If your taste is those clean, large tiles, I would avoid small scale mosaics unless they are the same material and color as your large tile. Even then, part of what makes that style so striking really is it's simplicity, so I'd be careful about taking away from that,

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 1:41PM
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dibdot

Thank you ALL for your posts - I have woken up to them this morning after a good night's sleep (I'm in Australia) and am pleased to find that you all have said similarly to how I feel about it after a rest!

We have set up the tile combo in the bathroom (only got "the" floor tile yesterday) and it is really elegant and beautiful. We are now planning to do the niche just in the wall tile, and now that we have a floor tile that's much more beautiful in its own right (compared to the plain honed tile we were going to use before), and is lighter in colour, we will likely use that for the splashback. The lappato and the colour variation gives it almost a stone look, and because it is paler than the previous floor tile choice, I think it will look cohesive without dominating the room.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:33PM
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