Master Bathroom Tile Selections

I think I finally have my tile selections figured out for the master bathroom. I had a bit of a challenge picking out a tile for the shower floor because this floor is a bit different from most. Most shower floors are level around the edges and slope towards a center drain. But since we needed a curbless shower with no transition from the bathroom floor to the shower floor, here’s how we had to do it…

The floor straight ahead from the shower entrance will all be level with the bathroom floor, and then to the right of that, the slope will start. So four feet of the flooring will be sloped towards the drains. There will be two linear drains spanning the entire width of the shower head wall.

With that in mind, I needed a floor tile with a continuous grout line that could go the length of the shower where the slope will start. And it’s not that the slope will be very noticeable. Shower floors only have to slope 1/4-inch per foot. But I didn’t want to take a chance on using something like a small mosaic tile in a herringbone pattern and have half of a row (i.e., the row that spans that imaginary line where the level floor meets the sloped floor) not lie perfectly flat. But I definitely wanted some sort of mosaic tile because I think the more grout lines in a shower floor, the less likely one is to slip and fall.

So that limited my options to mosaic tiles like this tile, which I found at Lowe’s…

I love that tile, but in my mind, the pattern would be going the wrong direction. I can’t explain why I think the longer sides of the little rectangles should go against the bathroom floor, but that makes sense to me. Probably because the tiles would be whole and not cut. But if I were to use that tile, the tiles would have to run this directions…

That means that I’d have cut tiles (every other tile) up against the bathroom floor. That doesn’t seem well thought out to me.

So I wanted something that didn’t have a very obvious direction. This tile from Lowe’s was an options, but it seemed a bit too dark. I did like that it was a ceramic tile (or maybe porcelain) and not a natural stone. I’m concerned about something like marble etching and then becoming too hard to clean. But this didn’t seem quite right for my taste.

The tile at the top of this picture is slightly different from the first tile, but I’d run into the same problem with having cut tiles against the bathroom floor. But the second tile was more in line with what I was looking for. See how it doesn’t have an obvious “correct” direction to it? It’s the same look no matter how you place that tile on the floor.

So I ended up purchasing one of those to bring home and look at in the room.

As far as floor tile goes, I wanted something marble-like, matte (nothing shiny that could be a slip hazard), light, and subtle. This one on top that I found at Home Depot seemed to fit the bill. It’s actually quite similar to the floor I have in the hallway bathroom, which I still love years later. I also picked up a similar one at Lowe’s to compare them in the room.

And for the shower walls, I wanted large white rectangle tiles. I know it’s not too exciting, but the excitement in this room will be the wall mural and the bathroom wall color. I don’t need anything too terribly exciting on those shower walls, and white will keep it light and bright in there. So I picked out two white rectangle tiles from Lowe’s — one smaller, shinier, and more irregular (more of a handmade look), and one larger, a little less shiny, and uniform.

So here’s a look at all of the tiles. This is the floor tile from Home Depot, the shower floor mosaic from Lowe’s, and the larger shower wall tile from Lowe’s.

I actually taped up three strips of my wall mural so I could see everything together. And don’t be confused by that dark herringbone mosaic tile. I’m considering using that as an accent, but if I do, it will be a very small accent, and won’t be used as a herringbone.

Of course, the mosaic tile for the shower floor won’t be right up against the mural, but I still wanted to see how it would all look together.

And you have to keep in mind that there will be a lot of white in the room — wainscoting, trim, bathtub, sinks. So the overall look will be much brighter than it is right now with unfinished drywall

And just for the sake of comparison, here is the similar floor tile that I found at Lowe’s, as well as the smaller white rectangle shower wall tile (the one that’s irregular has a handmade look) that is sitting on the larger tile.

Both of those are a no for me. The floor tile is much heavier marbling, and the overall look is darker. I much prefer the lighter and more subtle look. And while I love the more imperfect and handmade look of the smaller white tile, I don’t like the color at all. It’s super white. Sterile white. I much prefer the soft white of the larger tile.

Here are the two floor tile options side-by-side. The Lowe’s tile isn’t much darker, but it’s definitely enough to make a difference. And that heavy marbling is just too much for me.

There’s one more store I might visit just to make sure there’s not a better shower floor option, but I’m almost 100% sure that I’ll stick with these selections for the bathroom floor tile and shower wall tiles.

In fact, I’m so sure about those two that I’m going to purchase them today. They guys should be finished with their part of the bathroom by the end of this week, and they’ll be ready to hand it over to me to finish up. Eeeekkkk!!! I’m excited!!

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  1. Sad (expensive) tile sample story… I couldn’t find what I wanted at “my” local Home Depot so I took a much long(er) trip to two different Lowe’s, store A and Store B each in opposite directions from my home. I decided on tile from Store B, but Lowes store B refused to accept my sample from Lowe’s Store A, since they didn’t carry it. They said I had to return that sample to store b, another long trip from my home in the opposite direction. Grrr! I really like Home Depot.

    1. For future reference you can order tons online from homedepot and have it shipped to the store for free! Use it there like samples and just return what wont work right back to the store. They have a great selection online.

  2. I WISH you had a Floor & Decor store near enough to you to visit. We love that store…incredible selection, and some you never see in the box stores. Also have
    all the supplies and tools should you need something. Just be careful with advice…
    some associates are not as knowledgeable as you would like. We love going there
    just to see what’s new!

  3. Definitely the first choice, no black herringbone to muddy the waters. There’ll be enough to look at without the black tile. Again, my opinion. You need to go with what you look at multiple times a day!

  4. I love all the tiles you’re considering so I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them based on your specific needs. I, too, will be installing a curbless shower in my bathroom so I’m following along with particular interest with your progress. As for the tile pattern throughout the non-shower area, are you considering installing a threshold that’s flush with the shower entry? Would that alleviate the need to cut tiles for the transition or am I misunderstanding? And that mural is so lovely <3 Can't wait to see it all finished.

      1. Yes–that’s what we called it in Alabama LOL. If I’m remembering correctly, the tilers I worked with started from the most visible areas first (which would be the “transition strip” in your case) and worked out from there, making sure the pattern/layout was spaced equidistant on all sides in order to minimize the visual cuts that I think you’re referring to. The ceiling tiles in my new 1965 fixer upper are spaced liked that. I hope that makes sense? Regardless, I absolutely love your fearless design style and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

  5. I agree on staying with the lighter colored tiles. The darker Lowes tile looked muddy to me. I personally think your choices are spot on!

  6. If I am understanding you, the concern is the point at which the tile goes from level to sloping? In that case it would make sense to start laying the tile at that point and proceed from the joint of the slope and the level, outward in both directions and into the rest of the bathroom. Might be some narrow cuts along the walls but that would seem to me to be the lesser of 2 evils.
    I am somewhat confused about the tile outside the shower room. Same or different? Either way, laying the shower tile with the joint on the line, will give the best appearance.

    1. The tile on the bathroom floor will be the really large rectangle (subtle marbled pattern). The mosaic will just be for the shower floor. I do think it’s a good idea to start tiling the shower floor on that transition line from the level floor to the sloped floor. That way nothing is left to chance.

  7. We just built a guest cottage, and in the process of selecting the bathroom tiles, I learned something I had not known: Ceramic tile can only be used on the walls, not on the floor. Porcelain tile can be used on both.

    I used a 12×24 floor tile on the bathroom floor, and because it did not come with a companion smaller sized tile, I had it cut down to 2″x2″ for the shower floor. Actually, they misunderstood, because the decorator told me to have it 4″x4″. but the contractor misunderstood. Still, it looks great. The eye does not really see where the bathroom floor ends and the shower floor begins. It is all the same tile.

    If you grout in a color that matches your floor tile, even if you change sizes, the floor will visually look of a piece. Changing to that snazzy two color floor tile will not look as harmonious, in my opinion. That is a gorgeous tile, but perhaps not the best for this purpose or this space. Perhaps you might want to use it on a vertical surface to enjoy it as a feature.

    I also think you should simply start the shower floor tile at the shower entrance. This way, you will not have the issue a line of cuts at the fall off for the floor that descends to the drain. If it is the same tile and grout, the eye will not be drawn to the change of size.

    I think you will ultimately be happier with this than with a change of pattern inside the shower. (At least I would! 😉

    1. I wonder if the ceramic tile thing is regional? I am pretty sure where I live we can use ceramic tile on floors. In fact I think I have the same one that Kristi is eyeing on my floors.

      1. No, it’s not a regional thing. Porcelain tile is much harder and more water and crack resistant. than ceramic tile. It’s also hard to cut and it’s more expensive. If you have ceramic (like I do as well) you may end up with some cracked tiles due to your house continually settling over the years. Mine looked great for about ten years and then a few cracks started showing up. Hopefully, you’ll be luckier than I am!

        I’m excited to see the installation of the tiles! Pretty choices!

  8. So the patterned tile will ONLY be on the shower floor? Or will it be on the toilet area floor too? Why not do the same mosaic tile over the whole floor? I think having a different flooring in the shower paired with the seamless nature of the flooring would drive me bonkers. I’m surprised your symmetry loving soul can take it! LOL

    1. Oh, believe me, I’ve been wrestling over this very issue. I do think that whatever I do in the shower will have to be replicated in the toilet area as well, from the white tile walls, to whatever tile I put on the floor — everything. As soon as I decided on this floor plan for the bathroom, someone alerted me to a bathroom on a YouTube design show (has “bird” in the name) with a bathroom that’s the same layout, except they put the vanities on the wall where I’m going to put my tub. I love that bathroom, and I look at it often, but they did not do the two sides the same. The shower has the tile all around on the walls, and the toilet area does not. Every time I look at it, I think how much better, and more pleasing to the eye, if the two areas were the same. If they were treated the same (especially with the same wall tile), the vanity wall would be the star. As they have it, things look a little off kilter. It’s still very pretty, though.

  9. Have you looked at any choices that are slip resistant floor tiles? I am only saying this because after a terrible fall and incident at our house we removed every bit of tile that looked like your beautiful white marble design. I enjoy reading your blog so very much and do not want you or Matt to get injured.
    Thank you for what you do!

    1. This one is slip resistant. It has a very matte finish and is approved for outdoor use. It also comes in a polished finish, but I think that one would be dangerous in a wet area.

  10. The bathroom tile you chose looks like the same one we have in our “primary” bath, and I love it! We’ve had it for four years now and it looks good as new. We got ours from a flooring store, because we were also buying our hardwoods and other tiles from the same place. I love the other choices you’ve made, can’t believe you are so close to your part!

  11. I love your top choices and seeing it with the mural really highlights how great it’s all coming together. We’re contemplating a new build and I feel compelled to add a mural!
    If you don’t like the darker marbling on the floor tile, I can’t quite imagine you liking that dark herringbone, no matter how small of an area it covers. But it is very intriguing. Maybe you can find the prefect place for it.

    1. I’m not sure if I’ll use epoxy. I may, but my go-to process for the last few years (and in every area where I have tile in this house) is to use regular grout, and then use Grout Renew on it. I know it sounds strange, since that’s a product made for changing the color of grout, but it’s amazing at sealing the grout. And it does a fantastic job at it. But I’ll look at other options before making the final decision for the bathroom. The grout will be white, though.

  12. Pretty choices! A bit of advice from someone who just went through a bathroom reno with tiles that look like your flooring selection, make sure that the sides of the tile are either painted white (if you want white grout) or you choose your grout color based on the sides of the tile. We did our grout white and because the edge isn’t painted or beveled, you can see a little bit of that side color. It doesn’t ruin the look, but it’s very unforgiving in terms of consistency of grout depth.

    Very excited for you!

  13. Kristi, I think you have a real winning combination with the tiles from Home Depot. The floor tile is very similar to mine, except I did get mine at Lowe’s. The one you showed from Lowe’s with the really dark marbling is not my preference, either. It’s going to look so great when you get it all done! I can’t wait to see it! xo

  14. Have you considered the *feel* of the tiles you put in the shower? The feel of small tiles on my bare feet in a shower grosses me out- I always think it feels….unclean, somehow. I guess because grout is gritty. Just a consideration! 🙂

    On a separate, unrelated note…I was hoping you could help me. I’m refinishing my first piece of maple furniture (a nightstand), and I want to just do a clear coat on the top and then paint the bottom white with clear coat finish. What is your favorite, non-yellowing clear coat that you use? I’d really appreciate it, I looked back on posts but couldn’t find it.

    1. My favorite clear-coat is General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in a flat finish. BUT, there are no guarantees that it’ll work perfectly on white. 🙁 In fact, the very first review on the Amazon listing says ” DO NOT use this stuff on WHITE paint”. It’s perfect for any other color, but just not white. If you’re set on white, my suggestion would be to use a high quality paint for the bottom that doesn’t need a topcoat, like Benjamin Moore Advance or whatever Sherwin Williams’ equivalent would be for cabinet paint.

  15. I truly love the shower floor tile. I’m going to remodel our bathroom next year and I plan to do the floor in the same tile you selected for the bathroom floor. Mine will also have a rug insert which will bring the colors n. Your mural is so peaceful and beautiful. I know you have to be so excited.

  16. Lovely tile selections, Kristi. I know it will look fantabulous. Cant want for your posts, they make my day!

  17. I really like the tile you’re considering for your shower floor. The display sample looks like some of the 45° angle edges are chipped off. That may be because it’s not grouted very well, but thought it might be worth looking into to make sure those smaller triangular cuts can hold up to wheelchair usage.