Master the Look: Mismatched Tile in the Bathroom

Master the Look: Mismatched Tile in the Bathroom

Taryn Williford
Feb 24, 2015

The bathroom is a place for experimentation. It's a small room, so even bold design moves seem a little more palatable. Small rooms are also cheap to finish, giving beer-budget types a chance to splurge on real champagne. And since you only spend a tiny fraction of your day in the bathroom, you can try out something daring and crazy, knowing it's easy to live with if you end up hating it.

Of course, you don't want to hate any space in your home. So even a bold design journey, like choosing not to choose a single tile for the bathroom, should be entered into with a solid plan for how you're going to make it all work.

Here are lessons from a few fitful bathrooms that get the irregular look just right. Like the tiles themselves, you can mix and match these strategies to find your happy mix.

Same Difference

Choose tile with the same dominant color, or in the same color family. Whether tiled together or used to define spaces, the palette will keep everything together. For a look you know will work, stick to tiles with the same feel, such as geometric patterns.

A townhome in Warren Mews, Brooklyn, from Ensemble Architecture.

Black patchwork tile in Melbourne, Australia, from Whiting Architects.


Use solid color tiles in a rainbow of colors to create patterns, like stripes. Anything you can do with paint and tape, you can probably do with tile. For this look, the tiles should be small and uniform.

Penny tile rounds form beachy stripesin this Boston home from Rachel Reider on Houzz.

Missoni-inspired shower stripes at the Corian loves Missoni showroom event.

Power Tile

If you've fallen for something bright or busy, mix it up with neutral tiles. Use the fun tile as an accent to cover a single wall or floor or defined space, like the inside of the shower. It's not critical that your neutral color is repeated in the accent tile, but it sure helps everything look cohesive.

(Image credit: Lauren Rubin)

Patterned tile on the floor in a Park Avenue apartment from Lauren Rubin.

An accent shower and two neutral accents in this Notting Hill, London, home shown by Domus Nova real estate.

moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt