To Tile Or Not To Tile?

This weekend, I made some progress on tiling the main floor of the master bathroom with the 12″ x 24″ tiles. As I was working, I was getting so exciting thinking that as soon as I finish installing the tile on the floor, I just have to grout, and then I’ll be done with all of the tile (except for the decorative tile in the wainscoting) in the bathroom!!

Then I remembered that I still need to tile the walls in the toilet area. Ugh. I kind of wanted to cry when that realization hit me.

But as I was looking and evaluating what it looks like now, I started wondering if I even needed to tile those walls. I think I’ve decided that those walls in the toilet area don’t actually need to be tiled, but now I’m questioning if I made that decision because I’m just sick of tiling, or if I made that decision because it’s a good and valid design decision.

So let me back up and start from the beginning, and then you can tell me what you think. A lot of you already know this info, so this will be a quick review. For those who are new, this will get you caught up.

When I first started designing this bathroom, I considered many different layouts. Then I came across this home tour from Coastal Hampton Style on Instagram, and that bathroom really got my creative juices flowing. While our bathroom isn’t exactly the same (I swapped the placement of the vanity wall and the bathtub), this bathroom that you see at the 7:45 mark in the video was the initial inspiration for our layout.

After I decided on the layout and the work on the bathroom had started, a few of you sent me this video from Three Birds Renovations on YouTube showing a bathroom with the same layout. Here’s a screenshot from that video, but I highly recommend that you watch the video (and subscribe to their awesome channel!) to see the whole tour.

bathroom by Three Birds Renovations on YouTube

I absolutely love that bathroom, but if I had been in charge of that project, the one change I would have made would be to make those two areas behind the vanity wall symmetrical. In other words, that same tile that was used on the left wall of the shower would have been used on the right wall of the toilet area rather than having the tile on the right stop in the corner, and the main bathroom wall color carried into that area. Having that perfect symmetry would make the vanity wall the true star of the show, but without that symmetry, my eye is drawn to the right side, and my brain wonders, “Why is that tile missing?”

In no way am I saying that their design is “wrong”. I’ve definitely come to understand over my years of writing this blog that not everyone’s brain needs symmetry to the extent that mine does. But in deciding on the details of our bathroom, that’s something that I’ve kept at the forefront of my mind. Those two areas — the shower on the left and the toilet area on the right — must absolutely be symmetrical. So if the shower walls are white, the walls of the toilet area must be white as well, and then the wall color (the blue/aqua Venetian plaster finish and the white wainscoting) must start just outside of both of those areas.

I won’t be able to have absolute perfect symmetry anyway, because the toilet area is going to have built-in cabinets on the back wall. I haven’t decided on the exact design yet, but it will be simple, understated, and white, so as not to draw the eye away from the mural on the bathtub wall. But the cabinets will go on this wall, and will be 14 inches deep.

So back to that symmetry thing. The main question is this. In order for those areas — the shower on the left and the toilet area on the right — to feel symmetrical, does that require that the walls in the toilet area are tiled also? Or is it enough to just keep the walls of the toilet area painted white? Right now, the walls are just primed, so this isn’t the exact color they’d be, but you can get the idea.

to tile or not to tile

So looking at that photo above, let me give a few explanations. First, the floors already match in those areas, but I still need to grout the floor on the right. The shower floor on the left is grouted. Second, that 1″ x 5″ primed board that is on the left wall separating the main area of the bathroom from the shower will be repeated on the right wall to separate the main area of the bathroom from the toilet area. And third, if I just go with paint, the whites will match better because right now, that’s just primer on the walls in the toilet area.

What do you think? I guess my thinking is that if I had used some sort of special decorative tile, like they did in the Three Birds Renovations bath, there would be no question that I’d need to tile both areas to get the symmetry that my brain requires. But I didn’t use special tile specifically because I didn’t want to draw the eye away from the mural. So I went with large white subway tile and white grout.

Now I’m unsure if it’s enough to just paint the toilet area to match the white tiles in the shower, and if that will give me the symmetry I need. Or is that just me being tired of tiling and trying to cut corners that I’ll regret later?

I need to decide before I get much further. This can’t be one of those “paint for now, and if you decide you want tile, you can always tile later” kinds of things. The tile would need to be installed before the toilet is installed. I bought one of those one-piece skirted toilets that I hear are a real pain to install, so I’m hiring that out. I only want to do that once. Plus, the tile or no tile decision will also affect trim installation, and once trim and crown are installed, I don’t want to have to redo those either.

I am very tired of tile, so I can’t trust that my decision making on this is actually design-based and not tile-exhaustion-based. Tell me what you think. Is it enough to paint those walls to match the shower tile? Or do I need to see it through and tile those walls so that they’re an exact match to the shower walls like I had originally planned?

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    1. Perhaps you could something similar to what I believe you did in the music room; you could paint the toilet area and paint in “grout lines.”

    2. I’d paint. If a leak ever develops in the shower area, you would be able
      to access the plumbing through the untiled wall in the toilet room. Drywall repair is so much easier than tile repair.

      1. Painting white is enough. The three birds doesn’t feel symmetrical because the colors are different from left to right and the transition lines from the front space to the back space are different on each side. With you having the 1×5 wood divider in the same spot on both sides of your bathroom and both side being white, it will feel symmetrical. As you said, it’s not going to be exactly the same regardless because of the build ins in the toilet area. Don’t know what sheen you plan on for the built ins, but if it’s a higher sheen, maybe do that on the white painted wall as well so not only the color is symmetrical on both sides but the ‘glossiness’ of the tile wall and painted wall will be similar as well.

      2. I totaly agree with Julie B. The lack of simmetry in the inspiration bathroom is because of diferent walls color. Yours is gonna be white. It will looks simmetrical.

    3. I agree. As many times as I’ve seen Kristie write about symmetry, I think that she would always feel that something was “ off”. I, personally, hate tiling and grouting in a vertical surface so I completely understand her hesitation.

    1. Stick with the plan. Tile. You will never regret the tile but you may regret the paint decision after it’s too late to change. Personally it will look beautiful either way but I have been following you a long time 😉

  1. I wonder if fully tiled walls and floor in the bathroom area would reflect bathroom noises more than one might like. This might tilt the scale toward going with painted white drywall.

    1. I agree with this. All tiled bathrooms feel cold and echo a lot. Painted surfaces are warmer feeling and better for sound. I also agree with being able to repair things easier. I know you say you can’t tile later but tile is more permanent if you tile first and then wish you had just painted. In a month you won’t even notice any difference.

    2. This is a good point. My principal bathroom isn’t anywhere near as large but when I had everything out of there in order to paint in preparation for wallpaper on a couple of walls I was astonished at the echo from the tiled floor, walls in the shower area and the big pane of glass. Kristi’s bathroom is going to have miles of hard surface in comparison and more tile will only add to that effect.

  2. I think the white wall will still give symmetry to the mural wall and will be easier to clean than tile. (Just repaint if needed) In other news, we got our first bidet last year. Life. Changing.

  3. I’m one of those people who requires symmetry in my designs. To not have both of the two walls in question tiled would bug me endlessly. Having gutted our master bath down to the studs (including knocking out an exterior wall to bring in a claw foot tub and rebuilding the wall with a four foot wide window) and an endless amount of tiling and grouting….my guess is that you’re as sick and tired of tiling and grouting as I was, lol! My guess is that you’ll regret not tiling 🤗

  4. I don’t understand why the toilet installation has anything to do with tiling the outside wall of the toilet area…in my mind, the toilet is on the left as you enter the toilet area. I can understand you wanting to tile the wall on the right (toilet area) to match the wall on the left (shower), but from an aesthetic point of view, I think paint would be fine. Once in the toilet area, I think paint would “feel” more comfortable (less “cold” and less echo-y). Also, since you are building in cabinets on the wall facing you as you go into the toilet area, the paint on the right wall and the cabinets would likely be the same and feel cohesive inside the toilet room as well as visually from outside the toilet room. Is this too confusing?? Bottom line, I think I would prefer paint on all the walls in the toilet room.

      1. Question – why have cabinets on that wall anyway, why can they not go on the wall behind the tub, maybe part on tub wall and part on toilet wall, in the corner? In that big space, where do you hang the toilet paper? If a cabinet is near, that would be a good spot and not interfere with Matt using the toilet.

    1. Yes to this comment! I find tiled toilet areas to feel awkward, like a hospital or a gas station. With the built-in cabinets you lose your symmetry right there and painting the wall to match the white cabinets would flow better.

      1. I agree, tile around the toilet reminds me of a gas station. I would paint and if it’s really a bother, then just tile the visible wall later as an accent.

        1. 100% agree with this! Tiled toilet areas = gas stations to me. White paint totally gives you the symmetry that the inspiration picture is missing.

    2. THIS. I would leave the wall behind the toilet un-tiled and at most just tile that entry wall on the right to provide the visual symmetry you’re looking for from the common bathroom area. I think you’ll miss a huge opportunity to layer in different textures (and, as others have mentioned, more pleasant acoustics) in the toilet area if you tile the whole thing.

      1. I absolutely agree with this. You get your symmetry and only have to rile one wall. I think tiling all the walls in there will make it very stark and cold feeling.

  5. I think the only question is do you want to suffer through tiling now, or do you want to tile over all the paint work you do in the toilet area later? Your love of symmetry will bring you back to tiling no matter what other option you choose.

  6. The symmetry will already be off because of the cabinets on the back wall. At first I thought maybe continue the wainscoting into the toilet area but that would only draw attention to it. I think the color difference on that bathroom is what draws the eye. I am therefore voting for paint. I think the mural and bathtub are soooo beautiful that it will be the only thing you see and the white on each side will just be background. IMHO. Of course this is your bathroom and you have great taste. Whatever you choose will be perfect.

    1. I agree w paint. Access to the shower room plumbing was already mentioned. The floors are continuous. The white color will match & achieve balnce & harmony. I think an all white toilet room is okay but a little boring & you like color. Perhaps on the walls that are hidden from view, behind the toilet & mural wall, you could do something fun w paint? Also, you could easily hang focal point pictures opposite the toilet on a painted wall if you desire. I do love all your thought processes.

  7. I think I would wait to decide and do a different project on the bathroom. Maybe get the storage cabinets built in the toilet area and then move into tiling. Sometimes you just gotta give your brain a rest.

  8. I certainly hear you when you struggle with certain details…..those rabbit holes can be paralyzing! You have done a wonderful job with the primary bathroom which is exquisite even before it is finished! My thought on the question of tile in the water closet is that the issue becomes more about balance than symmetry since you will have the cabinets in the water closet. That would lead me to paint for the walls….rather than tile.

  9. I think a white paint that matches your shower wall tile would be beautiful still and, to my eye, wouldn’t feel asymmetrical. Especially if you have cabinets at the back wall of the toilet area bc that already will appear a little different. Also, if you truly do decide that tile is the best option, that small area might be worth it to hire out – certainly you’ve done most of their prep work already so applying the tile to the walls wouldn’t be a huge labor expense.

  10. Unfortunately…. I think if you don’t tile… it’s going to bug you later (when you’re not exhausted from the project). And just for the record… it looks amazing so far.

  11. You know what you want and should do that. If having the tile makes your reality of cleaning the toilet area easier do it.
    That being said, if going without the tile and doing wainscoting or all painted dry wall or wall paper can be a great option too. No wrong choice here, just different options that all can look great. As a person who keeps changing things up like you do so frequently, I have never regretted not tiling my toilet area like I wanted. I do think things can be overdone too. As long as it doesn’t affect to cohesiveness of the over all look, it will look great. What ever you choose for you and Matt will look good.

  12. I do think that eventually you’d be sorry that you didn’t tile the toilet side. If you don’t tile you are going to be seeing the difference all the time. Maybe tile just the wall you see from the front of the bathroom? You could paint the sides that no one who isn’t actually using the toilet will see. Especially since you will have cupboards on the back wall.

  13. Grout is too much of a headache the less the better. With the cabinet it’s not going to be perfectly symmetrical anyway. Paint the drywall. If you had a catastrophe and toilet trouble, there would be a bigger mess to clean with tile.

  14. I think it will bug you down the line if not symmetrical. But, all the comments seem to come out about where you are: to tile or not to tile. Big decision.

    Best option if possible, would be to hire out the tiling and move on to building your cabinets. Would make the bathroom usable more quickly too. I think the cabinets will mute bathroom sounds somewhat for that concern, if it is indeed one with only two people using that bathroom.

    Just think how many times you have re-done things or gone to extreme efforts to make things symmetrical and be sure to factor that in heavily. Yes, you are tired of tiling and it is HARD work. Farm it out. You deserve it.

    1. I hadn’t thought of this, but I think it’s perfect. She doesn’t need to prove anything after tiling that shower and the floors. She already has the tile (I think) and labor wouldn’t cost much at all for a day of work. She could even save by just having the tiling done and doing the grouting herself. Genius.

    2. Have you tried to get a contractor for a small job like that? Most don’t want to do it and will pass and others will just give you a crazy expensive price because it’s too much bother. Unfortunately.

  15. Wouldn’t the tile be easier to clean in the long run? I’m with you, tiling can make you scream! But I want everything to be easy to clean.

  16. I don’t think you need to tile the walls – you are not looking at the same thing/amount of tiles unless you are standing across the room facing the bathtab, and when you do, well, you would be seeing the cabinets anyway. Just match the colour – make it a semi-gloss paint too, if you want, and use the same type of paint on the walls and cabinets.

    Also, did you notice that your original inspiration had painted walls in the toilet area? And in that case there was a difference in colour, too, as the white grout was missing.

  17. It’s not going to be symmetrical regardless because that back wall will be cabinetry. I think paint is the way to go. Tile makes sense in the shower, but I think if you tile the toilet side it will read “I thought this should match the shower but not enough to forego the cabinetry.”

    If it really does bother you after the fact you COULD tile just the “outside” visible wall of the toilet area and leave the wall behind the toilet painted. They’ll never be viewed at the same time so I don’t think it should make your brain explode?

  18. Let’s break it down into what you will see. You already will have the cabinets there that will be partially visible so the symmetry will be off there. When you are looking at it you won’t see the wall next to the toilet and behind the toilet so it shouldn’t be part of the symmetry thinking besides when you’re in the room.

    So really it comes down to the one wall and introducing another element besides the cabinet to throw off the symmetry from the view in the bathroom. For me I really have a strong need of symmetry too and seeing the cabinet would drive me nuts, so I would embrace that there won’t be symmetry and paint the wall so the cabinet part and the wall looks intentional to be different.

  19. Paint. Sometimes 90% is good enough, especially if it helps keep your momentum so that you finish with your sanity intact (tiling is the worst). Any time (in the future) you even think that not having tile there bothers you, turn around and face the vanity wall and be happy that your bathroom is done, functional, and beautiful.

  20. Stick with the plan. Tile. You will never regret the tile but you may regret the paint decision after it’s too late to change. Personally it will look beautiful either way but I have been following you a long time 😉

  21. I’m afraid I’m in the “needs tile” camp. I also crave symmetry and I’m getting “itchy” looking at the pictures and thinking about the tile on the left and paint on the right.

    Maybe tiling needs to be like drywalling–you’re already an expert at it, so hire the rest out. I doubt it would be that expensive and you’d have it done.

    It’s looking beautiful! Hang in there.

  22. Having a “symmetry” brain, if I didn’t tile both sides, that’s where my eye would be forever drawn, instead of to the awesome mural. For me, the tile would visually disappear, while at the same time acting like a frame for the mural. Whatever you do, you’ll live with the results for a long time, and I know you want it over and done with, but you also want to never regret any of your decisions (remember the mural re-do and it’s excellent decision!)

  23. I have a question? Will there be a door on the toilet room? If so will it swing to that side and also hide most of the wall in question? If so then paint. My contractor brain had to ask….lol

    1. I wondered about a door but thought not as the two openings wouldn’t then be symmetrical.

      Paint is cheaper and easier than tiling and will get the job finished more quickly.

      I also need symmetry so paint walls in a semi-gloss, color to match shower tiles. Keep cabinets plain, no molding and painted in same color as walls.

      Why bother tiling behind toilet that you can’t see from bathroom? Do you really need full height tiling there for ease of ‘cleaning’????

      Access to plumbing, if needed, will make life much easier if walls are painted.

      Can’t remember what crown molding you intend in the shower room but do the same in the toilet room and baseboards to match that behind the bath.

  24. Your eye needs symmetry, so as long as the look was not jarringly different I think painting would work. Especially because you won’t be able to tile the back wall anyway. It won’t be perfectly symmetrical with the materials, but it can be symmetrical with the color and how those back rooms fade into the background and leave the mural as the thing that draws your eye.

  25. Tile the wall that the toilet will be on and have the toilet installed. This gives you a functional toilet. I like tile behind a toilet, easier to clean so I would tile this wall regardless. Then walk away and finish what is next on your list (building vanities, finish work in the shower, whatever). When the time is right, build your storage on the back wall of the toilet area and finish it the way you have planned. Then paint your walls, no finishing’s, just paint and live it with a little while. This way you will be over the drudgery of tiling that you are currently in and can make an objective final decision. The storage is going to throw off the symmetry a little so you may find painting works fine or you may decide it needs tile. Either way this approach buys you some time.

    The only hurdle to this approach is that I am not sure you can live with one tiled wall. I could, but you might not be able to 🙂 Either way will look beautiful, but you must satisfy that need for symmetry or you won’t be happy.

  26. Tile, at least the entry-side wall.

    I would also suggest that the cabinet doors be plain white slabs, no molding, perhaps with the edge indentations instead of pulls (or simple white pulls to not stand out from the tiling.

    1. Agree. I think this is all that needs tiling for that symmetry. The cabinets will cover that back wall (so no need to tile just to cover up), and the other two walls are only seen from inside.

  27. You will not be happy unless both areas are tiled exactly alike.
    You know this; so roll up your sleeves and get it done! 😊
    Save time and stress, be a Nike shoe and “just do it.” (Or hire it out.)
    Work your list until there are no “finished except for” areas.

    It’s going to be a beautiful and awesome bathroom once it’s complete.

  28. For the many years I’ve followed your journey I absolutely believe you’re tile-tired! As a fellow lover of symmetry I would never be satisfied with tile & Sheetrock providing the symmetry my brain requires. Go for the tile, you’ll be happy and you’ll never have to readdress that wall! Good luck and good wishes. It’s looking beautiful!

  29. Hello Kristi, My opinion on tiling in general is that it is costly and overused. So, if this were my bathroom to be, I would simply match the colour of the tile for the other wall. What purpose would tiling the opposite side of the bathroom? None whatsoever. So, paint that wall (or 2) the same colour as the tile and voilà! Money saved (to pay for the toilet installation) and symmetry maintained IMHO. BTW, I absolutely love your website, your tastes (match mine quite a bit), your excellent tutorials, explanations, the whole package.

  30. Are you planning to put a door on the toilet area? If so, there goes the symmetry, so I would not tile the toilet area. Don’t overthink it. It will be great.

  31. Hi Kristi. If the blue wall were instead white, I’d say let that white paint flow right into the water closet. As it is, with the blue wall stopping at the water closet entry with an added barrier like the other side, I have to say my eye would prefer that it transition to tile so that the two outside walls flow exactly the same. Just my humble opinion.

  32. I would tile only the wall that is seen by standing back and looking at both areas. Paint the rest white and this will allow you access to plumbing if need for repairs from the toilet side without tearing tile out.

  33. I’d tile the toilet room entrance wall that is visible when standing in the center of the bathroom facing the bathtub.
    The cabinets will be on the back wall, so you are saved tiling that wall.
    The other walls of the toilet room are hidden from the view that would require they be the same and tiled, so why not do some pretty painted paneling on those walls that tie into the painted cabinets instead?

  34. I have followed you for many many years and understand your need for symmetry. However, having cabinets on the back wall is going to throw that off.

    My vote (considering what I know you prefer and not just what I want in your house) is to paint. Keep it white to match. My other thought is that when you walk into the toilet area, you can add color on the walls that share the mural and the shower area but are not seen from the main area of the bathroom. This would give it a less commercial feel with all the white in the toilet area. Can’t wait to see what you decide, it will look great.

  35. I think it’s fine to just paint in the potty room. Part of the reason I say that is because tile on walls feels cold to me. You don’t have a choice in the shower but in the other space you do.

    1. Perhaps you could tile halfway up the walls, like a wainscoting effect and then paint the top half. That way it will be easier to clean around the toilet area but with painted drywall on the upper half you could hang art or some of your art creations on the wall. No, it won’t be symmetrical but maybe you won’t mind that so much if you make it really pretty in the toilet alcove.

  36. I think picking a white paint color to match the shower tile will satisfy your desire for symmetry. Not to mention, it’s cheaper and quicker so you’ll be able to move on to the other projects you’re anxious to get started on. I also think a painted wall is easier to keep clean – bonus points!

  37. Tile the visible entry wall. Tile will protect against accidental chair handle and wheel bumps. For me it’s a toss up on tile or no tile in remainder. No tile behind toilet because of easier access for plumbing repairs and you could add some color in toilet area. Tile behind toilet because easier cleaning. No matter what it is and will be magnificent.

  38. I personally would rather have just the white painted walls especially as someone mentioned before, if you have a leak, home insurance will only cover the cost of the repair, they do not cover the cost to replace the tile. I worked for a plumbing company for 13 years.

  39. I think paint is sufficient. And I’m pretty big on symmetry. The inspiration pic you posted would have bothered me; but as both will be white, and especially with the trim at the entry to break things up, I think the symmetry will be fine. But only you know you.

  40. Tile half way up the wall. Too much perfect symmetry can be boring so I don’t think you need to do the whole wall, but it also needs some texture. I think you will regret the plain painted wall in the end.

  41. I definitely think paint is enough. Especially since there is going to be a cabinet in there anyway. I agree that if the tile were detailed then you want want the symmetry, but since it’s not, the white paint is enough. It’s looking amazing!

  42. I think leaving that area without tiles is a great idea! We will be redoing our bathroom. This time I have decided to only tile the bath/shower area with subway tiles. I feel that leaving the rest without tiles will allow us the freedom to play with different color paints without worrying about tiles. We have decided to extend our wood floor to the bath as well. Best of luck!

  43. Have to ask…can you put a door on the right toilet area? We have a huge bathroom, although not as big as yours, but we still have a separate door on the toilet room. Ir maybe you really love the openness of both sides. Just a thought.
    I absolutely love all that you have done in your home. I wish I was as brave with the beautiful colors as you are. So pretty.

  44. I’d paint the toilet area! First. Accessibility to plumbing. Second, down the road, if you find it really bothers you because it doesn’t match, tile when you have the motivation and attitude! To me matching and symmetry are different.

  45. I think the tile just gives it more upscale look, which is what the rest of the bathroom has. So, I vote for more tiling, sorry.

  46. Can you mimic the tile with paint? Something subtle?

    If you don’t tile, there’s less grout to touch up someday, fewer ledges to catch dust, etc.

    That’s my two cents. 😊

  47. Hello!
    This isn’t what you want to hear but I feel you must tile the wall. My OCD would not be able to handle the two different finishes.
    Just my humble opinion. Good Luck!

  48. I think you should paint it white to match the tile, do your trim and it will look amazing! I completely understand the need for symmetry, my brain does that too, when I look at the photo of it now nothing is screaming at me that it is “wrong” LOL I think you understand what I’m getting at

  49. So many great comments. I think many remarks take into consideration the practical question and the aesthetic factor as well as addressing the way you, Kristi, both feel and think about your decisions. It seems to me that your gut feeling usually wins. Indeed, it should.

    The mural will always be the star of the show for you. And Matt. Otherwise, who besides us, your faithful readers, is going to be privy to a constant look at your privy? Maybe friends who may get a house tour. Believe me, nobody else will ever focus on why tile/no tile in the john. The sight of that huge picture will knock ’em dead.

    So, which will bug YOU more? Painting, when you really feel the need to tile? Or, facing a tile job you will be glad you did (and maybe risk the possibility of needing to get at the plumbing? You may be able to judge the likelihood of that.)

    I await your decision. Enjoy a long, warm shower and mull. Hugs, as always.

  50. I apologize for suggesting the additional tile work but I feel you need to stay with original plan. You’ll regret it when it’s done based on your eye.

  51. I would tile to one wall that is visible, then paint the other three walls that aren’t seen from the tub/sink area.

  52. I think the walls in the toilet area should be painted. Otherwise, they’ll just look like another shower stall. Just my two cent’s worth. The bathroom is looking gooooood!

  53. Knowing you are a stickler for symmetry, I’d have to say you should do the dreaded tiling and get it over with. For me, I would paint and call it done, as it wouldn’t bother me that the two sides were different. I already KNOW they are different in the functions of each area, so why wouldn’t they look different, but still coordinate? (Personally, I would have situated my sinks and tub like your inspiration room, but that’s me, not you.

  54. Sorry Kristi ….. if this was my bathroom, I’d have to tile the wall!
    Like you, I need symmetry and for me it’s as much about texture as everything else.
    This bathroom will be an award winner when you’re done 😊 👏👏

  55. Will the white/white be enough symmetry? You’ll have the cabinets along the back wall of the toilet annex, so already you’ve got something different from side to side. And I agree with the comment that if you ever do need to get to plumbing, the tile is not going to be your friend, symmetry or no.

  56. Hi Kristi, in my opinion because you are already questioning your decision, you know that you really do want the tile for complete symmetry. What if you took a small break fro tiling and hire someone to do the last bit. This way you get what you know you really want. While that is being done you can concentrate on the cabinet design. Giving yourself a fresh new project to continue with. I think working with a different medium for the bathroom is the change you brain and body need at this time to move forward. Good luck with your final decision.

  57. I know how you feel when your knee deep in a project and just want to be done but I think you will regret not tiling…

  58. The fact that you have already reviewed the situation, and know that you cannot tile later, leads me to belive that you will be disappointed with a painted wall. The only reason you are considering it is because you are tired. Rightfully so! I think you should tile the toilet area. Perhaps not behind where you plan for the cabinet. But anywhere else that shows. I know it is a daunting task. But you will be so happy once you do it and your eye sees it 5-6 times a day. Just remind yourself how happy your are when you see your finished rooms! Do this now for your future self.
    Sheila F.

  59. I love symmetry as much as the next person but I, personally, would never consider tiling the toilet room walls. Anytime I see tiled walls anywhere near a toilet, or tiled walls everywhere in a bathroom, the first thing I think of is PUBLIC RESTROOM. That’s just a big yuck for me. I vote for paint.

  60. Wow, reading through the comments, so many good ideas…and so much division on the project too! Personally, even the way it is right now looks good to my eye. I think the better paint, and the white cabinets will look absolutely wonderful, and the tile isn’t at all necessary. Also, in Florida, they almost always have the nook/closet that the toilet is in, and I have almost never seen it tiled…maybe because it looks kind of commercial…gas station restrooms…? I know you just want some input, so I go with painted…but of course YOU have to be happy.. (I liked the idea of giving that project to a tile guy, if you really need it)

  61. The towel hooks and the cabinets have already ruined the absolute symmetry. Tiling isnt going to fix that. I’m in the ‘paint it’ group.

  62. I certainly understand the need for symmetry but I would suggest white (color matched to the tile) first. It is an inexpensive place to start in terms of both time and expense that you can mull over while working on building cabinets. If at the end you really need tile you’ve only lost a bit of time and a gallon of paint.

  63. Paint!
    These days you can pick the exact colour, sheen, and durability to match whatever situation you need.
    Cleaning will be no problem, as today’s emulsion paints can be scrubbed and have bleach thrown on them with no problem.
    Just source the exact match to your existing wall tiles, then ( and l am sure you really don’t want to do this) take some time out, forget about the tiling conundrum, and address the problem when you have cleared your head.
    But l am still in Team Paint It.

  64. Hi, Kristi! I get your need for symmetry because I have that same need. However, once you add the vertical 1×5, and as long as you use a white paint in the same tone as the shower tile, I truly think it will “look” symmetrical. You will be able to see the cabinets on the back wall in the toilet stall that aren’t in the shower, so the two areas are already different in that respect. As long as what you see when you look at the star of the bathroom (your gorgeous mural) is the same color on both sides, I don’t believe the two areas will appear asymmetrical.

    Only you know for sure how much you feel they need to appear exactly the same. I think both will look great, but the deciding factor for me personally would be that tile feels much colder than paint. Good luck making your decision! I know you will decide what is right for you! xo

  65. Why not take a break and decide later? Work on a different area or the gym room for awhile. That way you will know if you are just tired of working on the tile or if you really don’t care. Symmetry will probably always win out for you though

  66. Tile! I have followed you since the condo days and “know” you well enough to know that having the toilet repulled, and having to redo all the trim will not stop you in the future when you are going crazy over the fact that you feel like you didn’t finish it. Tile away, my dear!

  67. I think you need to tile. The tile adds a texture, albeit subtle, that paint won’t give you. I think your cabinets on the rear wall will give you the same subtle dimension. I suppose you can always tile just the right hand wall, and paint the others since they won’t be seen from outside the toilet room.

  68. To me, symmetry in this case does not mean it needs to be exactly the same, it just needs to have balance. So one side should carry the same visual weight as the other. I think that colors are more important than materials in this case. I also agree with another commenter that on a practical level having access to the plumbing without having to tear down tile would be a good idea. That would be horrible!

  69. Just paint it! I agree with other posters that you might appreciate the access to the shower someday, and the mural is so beautiful, that’s where the attention will be.

  70. I have the same need for symmetry that you do and I believe you’ll regret it if you don’t tile it. However, I do understand your tiling exhaustion!

  71. Honestly, I would nix the tile in the toilet area. Sometimes too much tile overwhelms a space, especially since you plan on having cabinets in there.

  72. I don’t think you need to tile in the toilet area. It’s not a wet area and you are not using any kind of statement/decorative tile. You are also building storage cupboards on the back wall on that side so the symmetry issue is already moot.

    You will probably want to hand some sort of art or shelving on the wall behind the toilet so that it’s not a big white box with a toilet in the middle – and tiling those walls will require drilling through for mounting.

  73. Dear Kristi,
    Good Morning. Having been following the blog since the late condo days, I think you’re going to need to tile the toilet room. If you don’t do it now, you’ll do it at some point (because of your need for symmetry). So, I say do it now, even if you hire it done, so that it’ll be as similar to the shower room as it can be.
    Let a tile pro finish the toilet room as you design and build your vanities and do other custom work that only you can do.
    The bathroom is gorgeous so far. Great work!
    YHWH Bless You : )

  74. After following your blog for many years, I think you will regret not tiling. Honestly, I think it looks good just painted, but symmetry is not something that bothers me. As long as it feels balanced, I’m good. In fact, I lean more towards asymmetry, but that is just me. I think you are not going to be unsettled until it is as symmetrical as possible, so just pull up your boot straps, and finish it. I think it will save you work in the long run. Good luck!

  75. You don’t need the expense of tile! Also, you could use satin or semi gloss paint to match the sheen of the tile walls.

  76. I think the tile-cabinet-tile combination is weird and I would keep it paint if you’re going to incorporate those cabinets!

  77. I agree with Julie B.
    I would paint so as to be able to have easy access to the plumbing from the shower. That would be mucho work to redo tile if you have to repair anything. Also, Good points have been made about how loud a bathroom can be if too much tile is used.

  78. If it was me, I would paint it. It would be echoey with more tile. I would think after a while you might not really notice there is no tile to make is symmetrical. You’ll be in and out doing other things and not just sitting there looking back and forth between the two areas. Just my thought.

  79. I think you can definitely get away with not tiling the toilet side. To me, the layout you reference as feeling “off” looks so because the back wall of the toilet is tiled while the one wall is not. Carrying that tile over to part of that side of the room while not matching the other is what makes it look uneven to me. If you don’t tile any part of the wall on that side, I think it would be less likely to look incomplete, and the neutral colors on both sides would trick the eye into seeing symmetry 🙂