How to create a resort-style spa in your own home? It’s all about creating a pared-down, serene space and letting the elements take center stage–with much of the focus on tile.
With high-moisture environments like saunas, baths, and showers, there is the need to balance aesthetics with practicality; no easy task. Even in residential bathrooms, particularly showers, this balance can be achieved through careful and creative use of tile.
So, let’s focus on shower tiles.
A shower has the ability to transform your state of mind. It invigorates the morning and washes away cares at night. However, it also has to function flawlessly, accommodating moisture, hygiene and, if lucky, lots and lots of steam. We love the way designers are really addressing this trend in creative ways while still incorporating the practicalities that a high-use area requires.
How to tackle Shower Design
When designing showers, the focus often centers on shower wall tile as the main feature. It sets the tone and is one of the first design elements that can make a statement. Shower floor tile, on the other hand, is often an afterthought… Now, what to do with the floor?
A standard approach is to use the same tile for the shower floor as the walls, just cut into smaller pieces to accommodate a smaller area. For instance, if you are using a 12x24 slate for the walls, the floor tile can be sectioned into 4x4 slate squares. Design influencers Studio McGee used this style in one of their home’s guest bathrooms. It sets a very seamless, clean, uniform tone many homeowners desire.
At clé, we love matching the floor to the wall for a seamless look but you can elevate a shower design by choosing a contrasting tile for the floor. For example, offsetting rich charcoal slate walls with a Carrara penny round. Or, flipping the black/white look, like this weathered white zellige wall as a striking contrast to the darker Belgian Reproduction floor tile.
Bold colors are a great way to animate a space. Pair a bright, colorful tile on the floor, like this cement Point in Kelly and Leaf below with a basic white tile wall to create a focal point in a bathroom.
Tie in Additional Elements
Showers do not exist in a vacuum; you should always consider the space in its entirety. A more artistic approach is to extend the tile installation beyond the lip of the shower and extend your shower floor tile through the rest of the bathroom as seen above.
Do You Have a Shower Step?
Have your contractor build up a sufficient height to create a threshold and cover it with tiles, mitering the corners together for a custom look. This way you can make the most of the tile you’re already in love with, without settling for a store-bought “saddle” solution.
Highlight Shower Nooks
If the shower wall has built-in inset shelves, incorporating your floor tile into the wall can give the shower an extra design embellishment. Here’s an example using clé’s radar hex cement tiles.
Explore the Outdoors
Outdoor showers, while often reserved for utility purposes, don’t have to be mundane. Here’s a great example of a playful approach, contrasting Belgian Reproduction Flemish black terracotta with cement Peabody metal, black, and white squares.
Your installer will need to mind the mechanics of the shower floor, such as acceptable slope, curb/curbless considerations, coefficient of friction and ensuring the pan under the tiles is perfectly waterproofed. FYI, coefficient of friction is tile talk for slip resistance. The rule of thumb is, the smaller the tile and the bigger the grout joint, the more slip resistance there is. Just a few things for your installer to consider with any bathroom tile design.
Which tile to choose? Many of our tiles can be installed on a shower floor however the most important consideration is how you seal them. To help you with this, we provide detailed information for each tile in our resource guides, available under product specifications on each product page.