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.
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.
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?
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.