Your bathroom shower is the perfect place to showcase your own unique style through tile and create a beautiful, relaxing oasis. There are hundreds of tile designs and options out there, it’s difficult to know what to choose. This post will walk through the best shower tile ideas for your bathroom and what elements to consider when deciding.
Plus, I’m sharing my FAVORITE cleaner I discovered to clean stubborn tile and grout grime. It works wonders, seriously, and is super affordable! It’s not marketed as a grout cleaner so I feel like more people need to know about its awesomeness and
The Best Shower Tile Ideas
Tile is the best way to play up your bathroom and create a beautiful design that’s also functional. Tile showers are not only practical because they are waterproof, but they last for years and years if you choose the right products. With so many different tile colors, textures, and shapes, bathrooms can become a real selling point in a home.
There are no “rules” when it comes to shower tile and what you should and shouldn’t do. You can go as dramatic or as simple as you’d like in your design selections! Maybe a classic subway tile is your jam, or perhaps you prefer a little more drama and color. Can’t go wrong with either!
What tiles are best for a shower?
Obviously you want your shower tiles to be 100% waterproof and to resist mold and mildew. Ceramic porcelain or a quarry tile are all excellent choices that are waterproof. Most tiles you see on the market are made from one of those three materials.
What is the easiest tile to keep clean in a shower?
The biggest complaint that I hear from clients when discussing their bathroom remodels was cleaning shower tile and the grout lines. What a chore! There’s no way around it unfortunately, grout attracts grime and soap scum making it difficult to clean without the right products.
The easiest tiles to keep clean (grout is the big culprit) are polished ceramic and porcelain tiles. The polished finish makes it shiny and easier to wipe down. Just as a semi-gloss paint with a shinier finish is easier to wipe clean than a matte finish paint.
Any tile with a rough or uneven surface or additional grooves or notches in the tile where soap and grime can settle will be more difficult to clean. This is especially on shower floors, plus the rough surface may not feel as nice on your feet.
There are cleaning supplies that make cleaning tile and grout much easier. I’ve tried so many different cleaning products on the product and was determined to find one that I love that actually works. I’m happy to report I found the miracle grout cleaner!
I kind of stumbled into finding this product when we moved into our current home and the previous homeowner left cleaning supplies in the closet. One day when I was scrubbing our shower tile clean with no success, I grabbed this cleaner out of the closet and gave it a shot. I knew vinegar was known to work on grout. And it WORKED!
Best Tile Cleaner
All you do is pour some of this vinegar concoction into a spray bottle and spray it on all of the tile and grout lines and let it sit for a couple minutes. Then, take this brush from Amazon and sprinkle a little Bar Keepers Friend cleaner directly onto the brush and scrub the grout lines and you’ll watch the grime run right off. It’s amazing!!
The secret is the Windex vinegar cleaner. It’s labeled as a vinegar cleaner but it also has other cleaning agents in it so it’s super effective. I think the product is primarily marketed as a window cleaner, but it’s multi-purpose and can be used on many surfaces, not just your shower! Plus, it’s sold in a bulk container so it’ll last for months.
Mosaic Floor Tiles
Mosaic floor tiles are commonly used in the shower because the small tile pieces with grout lines add more traction to an otherwise slippery surface. You certainly don’t have to use mosaic floor tiles, if you want a cleaner look, but it’s usually recommended. It’s also easier for installation with a sloped drain.
If you choose a floor tile that’s not small mosaic pieces, you’ll definitely want a non-slip tile which has a texture or non-slip material on the tile making them a good option for in the shower where it gets slippery. It’s also a good idea to use non-slip tile on your bathroom floor as well to prevent slipping and falling. These are available in all sorts of sizes so if you want a large tile, this is an option rather than using mosaic tiles.
Shower Wall Tiles
You can go 1 million different directions with your shower wall tile. You can use everything from small subway tiles to 12 x 24 tiles and upward to even larger tiles. There are no rules or guidelines for this, it really just comes down to which tile do you like and how it’s installed. It makes sense for larger shower walls to use larger tile and if you have a fairly small tile you likely don’t want to use giant 36 x 42 pieces of tile as it will make installation a bit of a challenge.
Once you’ve decided on your tile the next decision is how you want your tile laid during installation. There are a variety of different patterns that create different looks. You can see in the graphic above 12 different ways to lay subway tile, but this is also relevant to other rectangle tiles as well.
A fun way to add extra personality with your shower tile is by adding an accent tile. This could look a lot of different ways depending on how it’s installed in the tile. If you have a tile that you like but it would be too busy to do all shower walls, you could just do one accent wall. This is a great way to add a splash of color or pattern.
If you found a tile but it is considerably more expensive, you can use it in smaller amounts, such as a single wall or a band so it doesn’t get as costly. This is an easy way to personalize your shower and make it different!
A built-in niche or a cut out in the wall for shampoo and soap bottles is not only a practical solution for showers but it’s an opportunity to tile inside the niche too. We created niches a lot for our client bathroom remodels, but one thing to note is your bottles will be covering the tile. So you might not want to spend a lot on accent tile for your niche since it will be covered by your bottles.
When tiling your shower, you will need to decide whether or not you want to tile your ceiling above your shower. This will all depend on your shower space and how it’s laid out and whether or not you have glass shower walls. When doing bathroom remodels for clients we would go both ways on this, just depending on the client’s preference and their shower. Tiling the ceiling protects it from any moisture or water but it does add costs for tile and labor.
As you can see, there are many features and design elements to consider when choosing the best shower tile ideas for your bathroom. It really comes down to your preference and what makes the most sense for your bathroom shower layout and size and of course, budget.
Tiling a shower can vary greatly on costs depending on the tile you select and your labor. If you hire a professional to tile your shower, you will pay labor. It’s certainly possible to tile a shower yourself if you are handy and have the patience.
One factor we have yet to mention that alters your shower design is grout color. There is a wide array of grout colors, from grey to white to black and brown. You can choose a grout color that closely matches the tile itself so the grout lines blend in, or you can choose a contrasting grout color so it pops against the tile.
For example, a black grout with white subway tile gives a contrasting bold look. Where a white grout with white subway tile gives a much cleaner, lighter look. Both are beautiful in their own way. If you are a practical person like myself, I can’t help but mention a little disclaimer with black grout. A black grout on the shower floor will likely turn white from soap, so it will be more difficult to keep black grout clean. You may want to stick with black on the walls, and even then, it may turn white from soap. But, it’s nothing that you can’t clean with a little of my favorite grout cleaner!
I hope this is helpful and gives you some food for thought as you’re planning your bathroom remodel.