designing with tile in the laundry room

by clé tile | published: Aug 26, 2023

White artisanal Italian tiles on a laundry room wall.

fornace brioni + clé casale rustico normale bundle. design: colette luesebrink design / photo: charlotte lea photography

the humble laundry room, once overshadowed by kitchens and bathrooms as design-worthy spaces, is having its moment in the spotlight. laundry rooms are showing signs of becoming the new powder room — a place for creative design to flourish, and for risks to be taken.

and a great deal of that expression —even the inspiration for it — begins with tile for floors and walls.

why choose tile for your laundry room?

tile in the laundry room is nothing new. it’s always been used because it’s durable, can get wet, and is easy to clean. but laundry room tile was usually leftover, basic, mass-produced tile, with little thought to its potential to delight and inspire — let alone how it worked with color or cabinetry or other elements in the room.

what's new is using tile to create a design statement in the laundry room. it may seem like an aesthetic afterthought, but laundry — and where we do it — plays a larger role in our lives than we might think. according to a study conducted by the bureau of labor statistics in 2016, american women spend an average of 17 minutes a day doing laundry-related tasks (men only report doing 5 minutes of laundry-related chores per day) adding up to a whopping 103 hours a year.

so why wouldn’t you want your laundry room to be as personalized and expressive — and even as downright luxurious — as any other space in your home?

A checkered pattern in black and white on a laundry room floor.

cement pattern square checkmate. design / photo indigo interiors

the best laundry room tile materials

in addition to making your laundry room a beautiful space you’ll enjoy spending time in, you should also design your laundry room to optimize ease, cleanliness, and organization so that keeping it clean doesn’t become a chore unto itself. here are a few materials we recommend that can help you get the look that you want — with minimal maintenance required.

ceramic + porcelain

if you’re installing tile on the laundry room floor, choose a tile that’s easy to wipe clean, like ceramic or porcelain. while even subway tiles and penny rounds must be sealed and re-sealed regularly (we recommend every year), they don’t otherwise require much maintenance. available in nearly endless glazes and colors, ceramic is a great choice if you want a lot of options.

natural stone

natural stone like slate or limestone add warmth and coziness, in addition to being naturally water resistant and durable. striking and easy to maintain, they offer the best of both worlds for clients looking for an organic, textured surface that patinas beautifully.


as an incredibly durable material with the ability to capture a myriad of color and pattern, cement — if installed correctly — is particularly well suited for hard-working surfaces like laundry room floors for people seeking splashier pops of color and bolder design.

A laundry room with a black and white tiled floor, white walls and fold down wooden laundry racks.

cement pattern square in wonderful copenhagen. design: nicole hollis / photo: douglas friedman


arguably the most glamorous option for your laundry room, marble is a popular choice and requires a category of its own (though, of course, it would technically fall under the natural stone category). whether you’re a calacatta gold gal or a viola fan, there are several expressive options that will make your laundry room as luxe as the rest of the home.

A laundry room with modern white cabinets, apron front sink and a patterned black and white tile floor.

cement pattern square in jacobsen by erica tanov. design / photo: open home studio

whichever material you choose, make sure you do your research and consider what makes the most sense for you, your taste, and your lifestyle so you can avoid some of the most common mistakes we’ve seen, including things like using unnecessary trim to “finish” the space. with the right materials and the right layout, you’ll have a room that works for you — functionally and aesthetically.

A laundry room/home office with a blue cement tile floor that looks like a rug.

cement pattern square in peaks by eskayel. design: jamie bellessa / photography: nicole gerulat


cement pattern square in big al. design / photo: stephanie parsley

popular tile patterns for laundry rooms

pattern makes perfect: it’s a phrase we love around here. whether you’re looking to make a bold statement or add a hint of subtle sophistication, patterned tile is a great way to create a design-forward, personalized area that maximizes both style and space.

if your laundry room is on the smaller side, patterned tile is a great choice because it creates an illusion that your laundry room is larger than it is (as long as you choose the right size tile). and more specifically, patterned tile on the laundry room floor makes the most of what tile has to offer: endless design possibilities that don’t demand much effort after installation.

once installed, tile becomes part of your home’s architecture, and doesn’t take up precious space like furniture or artwork. patterned tile steals the show in the best way possible: without obstructing space or distracting from the primary function of the room.

Try a herringbone pattern for a traditional and textured feel, checkerboard for classic and dynamic, or subway tiles in a stacked or offset pattern are versatile and traditional.

Two black and white cement tile floors, one with a geometric pattern and one with a wavy pattern.

cement pattern square in slant. design: modern venice homes / photo: here and now agency

cement pattern square in rio. design: chelsea lauren interiors / photo: chad mellon

selecting laundry room tile colors

ask yourself: how does your laundry room relate to the rest of the home?

the new laundry room — often with elevated cabinetry and places for every last cleaning-related item (and increasingly, desk nooks and even seating areas) — is more and more becoming an extension of your home. like a powder room or guest bedroom, the laundry room has the potential to take on one of two design roles: a room that matches an already established vibe, or something entirely different that stands out from the rest of the space.

what direction you take will depend on what kind of laundry room you have. if your laundry room is a separate room in the home, tucked away from the rest of the house, you have a little more creative freedom and can explore statement-making options that don't necessarily have to reflect design choices already made.

if your laundry space does not occupy a separate room but rather a hallway or open vestibule that is more connected to the rest of the home, you may want to consider a design that doesn't necessarily match the rest of the home, but complements and accentuates certain elements. you may also want to go with a similar color scheme that goes with the vibe of your home. with tile, there is something for every style — whether it’s art deco, rustic farmhouse, or mid-century modern.

all that said, the color (or colors) of the tile you choose for your laundry room can then complement — and dare we say, enhance — your home as a whole, any way you cut it. here, some gorgeous examples of how color can elevate this workhorse of a room.

neutral tones turn your laundry room into a sanctuary. bold accents work when fun and funky is the name of the game. contrasting colors are minimalist yet high-impact.

A soft neutral beigy-pink tile floor in a laundry room.

floor: zio & sons zellige in natural octagon + sea salt bouchon; backsplash: zellige 4x4 in moroccan sea salt. design: becki owens / photo rebekah westover

wall and floor laundry room tile combinations

if you’re having a hard time deciding on one tile for your laundry room, we have some good news: you don’t have to. in fact, our philosophy is the more the merrier.

we actually encourage mixing tiles, especially those with contrasting shapes, colors, patterns, and textures.

if you’ve fallen in love with a tile and don’t feel the need to pair it with another one, consider using the same tile on both the walls and floor (maybe even the ceiling?) to create a wrap-around, cohesive look. it’s a simple technique for a stunning effect.

White zellige tile on a laundry room backsplash, behind green cabinets and an antique sink.

zellige 4x4 in weathered white. design: britney groneck / photo: land thomas interiors

creative backsplash tile for options for laundry rooms

when it comes to tile in the laundry room, why just stick to the floor? you can have tile on both the floor and the wall, creating a backsplash area between counters and cupboards.

to pack a punch in a small or narrow laundry room, a tiled accent wall creates a point of focus, drawing you in while maximizing design potential in a small or narrow space.

an accent wall is also a great place to bring in contrast, whether between colors or patterns: contrast creates a natural partition in the space, making small spaces seem larger and giving you a unique backsplash for sinks, floating shelves, or drying racks.

don’t forget: your laundry room appliances should be part of your design plan as well. today, washing machines and dryers come in every color imaginable, so you can match your machines to walls and floors, or choose a bright color for even more contrast.

maintenance and care tips for laundry room tiles

we’ve already mentioned that, in selecting your tile material, you’ll want one that’s easy to clean. but here’s another tip: keep your laundry room gunk-free by avoiding thick grout lines when you install tile on the floor.

while thicker grout lines often look great, they can require more maintenance, especially in humid areas. tile that can be installed with minimal grout spacing (cement or slate) provides a smooth and easy to clean surface, and can still bring plenty of design interest. make sure you know the ins and outs of grout before deciding on your design.

chalk it up to the pandemic-era obsession with cleanliness. or our new-found love of tradition. or our collective desire to romanticize all aspects of home keeping. but whatever the cause, we’re (finally) giving the laundry room the attention it deserves. and it all starts with tile.

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