Bathroom Tile Detail

Once we decided what a terrible time we would make ourselves have laying another 100+ square feet of subway tile in the back bathroom it was time to lay out the plan.

Because the bathroom is small (a bit less than 7x7) we knew we wanted to have A LOT of the subway tile to reflect light both to make this room feel brighter and to also reflect light through the pocket door and into the bedroom.

I'd seen some pictures online and in some magazines of tile going much higher on the walls than the chair rail and I was intrigued (though this is wainscoting)

(from gardenweb.com)

I really liked the idea of bringing the tile up higher on the walls to give the room some fun detail and also make it a little different. Sure that means we'll be tiling a crap ton more than the original plan, but I think it'll look pretty awesome.

With that in mind, I also didn't want 4 walls of just WHITE everywhere. I thought it might get to be a bit much, so I sought out to find the perfect tile detail and how the hell to use it. I knew I wanted it to be green, but other than that I really didn't know what I was looking for, so I went on a tile hunt to nearly a dozen tile showrooms around the area and of course found myself in love with all the tile from $20-$60 (yes, that's right $60)

(like the tumbled, not the glossy)

(these had a great, shimmery quality to the faint green colors)

(love the delicacy of these)

(like the glass and stone combination of these)

(I liked the irregular shape of these bricks)

(liked the variation both in size and color)

(LOVE the delicacy and color variation, but alas this was the highly expensive tile)

Damn pretty, expensive tile.

The white subway will go up to the ceiling in the shower surround area and go up 5 feet on the walls everywhere else, so with that in mind I tried to figure out how the detail would work. While I contemplated many patterns, ultimately there were 3 I was really thinking about

1) a thin strip about 4 feet up on the wall all around the room that would be about 4 inches thick. I was a little unsure what would happen when it reach the shower though, would it make a right angle and go up towards the ceiling, or continue on its straight path?

2) a rectangular area on both walls in the shower area measuring about 2 feet wide by 4ish feet tall centered on each of the shower walls. But this would take a pretty decent amount of detail tile to do.

3) a strip (not sure the exact size, 6" wide - 12" wide) in the center of each shower wall going from the floor to the ceiling.

After lots of debate and Chris getting annoyed with my constant discussion of detail tile I finally settled on the third option. This seemed the best fit because the shower will be what you see when you first walk into the room so it will really frame and accentuate the space well. And it also requires the least amount of tile bought. Score.

We decided on a strip 9" wide on the center of each wall in the shower area which would mean we needed about 16 sq. ft. of tile. Despite the small amount of tile, that meant even getting the cheapest one I liked from a store was a $300+ purchase. That made my stomach hurt.

So I was left to search online.

I figured out I liked "Ming Green" tile so I just plugged it into the google search bar and came up with LOTS of results. I boiled it down to a couple I really liked and showed them to Chris (all from cooltiles.com)

I loved the first one, but Chris nixed it because there are no grout lines so we were a little unsure of how difficult/annoying/weird it would look. I agreed. So that one was thrown out. After that, Chris said they all looked good to him, so he left it up to me.

The second was a bit TOO green and I didn't really like that the bricks lined up even because I tend to like a staggered look. And the last one just seemed a bit too plain, so number 3 it is! (the small bricks) I LOVE them! And I think they'll play off the 3x6 subway tile really well. We'll also be running them up the wall vertically, so it'll be a nice color, size, and pattern differential without being too crazy.

They were also only $14 and some change per square foot, so after a coupon I found for free shipping the total came out to only $227, MUCH better than $300+. It's only a $185 difference than if we had used the subway tile in this area instead of the detail, so I don't think that's too bad of a price difference for some pretty awesome tile detail that'll give a nice focal point to the room.


Robin said...

OK I love the accent til you picked out! I love the staggered mini subway tile look. It is a nice play off the white subway tile. The vertical stripes will add a lot of height to the room too.

Can't wait to see how this room turns out!

meryl rose said...

Thanks so much Robin! That is all exactly what I liked about it too! We're a waaaays away from tiling, but it definitely makes me excited to get there :)