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Bathroom wall tiles: a buyer’s guide

January 14, 2021

Bathroom tiles are one of the best ways to give your space a fresh look that combines style, safety and durability. But what are the benefits? And should you go for ceramic or porcelain? Read on for practical advice, plus all the inspiration you’ll need to create a show-stopping bathroom…

The benefits of bathroom tiles

The key benefit of bathroom tiles is water-resistance. The bathroom is the most humid and wet room in your house, so some materials don’t work well in that environment. Ceramic bathroom tiles use a glaze that makes them impervious to water, as well as being stain resistant. Cheaper alternatives such as linoleum or vinyl might seem like a cheap bathroom floor solution, but can warp and rot with excess water, so ceramic tiles also enhance your bathroom’s durability.

modern tiled bathroom with towel hanging in foreground

Photo: Crown Tiles

Long-lasting looks

Bathroom tiles are hard-wearing, meaning that your investment in your bathroom is one that will have long-term dividends. Cracking is unlikely in day-to-day use, and should it happen – if you drop something heavy, for example – then it’s simple to replace a single tile rather than having to replace a whole piece of flooring.

They’re easy to clean too – just wipe to keep the gleam on them and you’ll have a bathroom that’s hygienic for you and your family and the envy of your friends who visit.

Ceramic or porcelain bathroom tiles?

It’s not just about aesthetics – if you’re wavering between a couple of designs, consider the long-term upkeep. Ceramic designs are popular because they’re affordable, require little maintenance and are easy to cut and install, but they’re not as hardwearing or as waterproof as porcelain. It’s also important to check the slip rating, which ranges from R9 to R13. R11 or higher is usually considered a safe bet for bathrooms.

Buying and installing bathroom tiles

When it comes to buying your tiles, a common mistake is to under-order. Many consumer websites will have a tile calculator that will give you an estimate of the square meterage required, but it’s also worth asking the opinion of a professional installer before you buy. If in doubt, get an extra box – you can usually return unopened ones without any problems.

It’s important to consider installation costs at the start, too. Your chosen tile might be affordable, but often the smaller the tile, the higher the installation cost, such as slim bricks and mosaics. More unusual laying patterns will cost more too due to the labour involved; for example, metro tiles laid in a herringbone design will take longer than a standard brick pattern.

Best bathroom wall tiles

With so many styles to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to bathroom tiles. Good Homes takes a look at some of the most enduring bathroom wall tile styles…

Encaustic design

Get the Mediterranean look with Navy Bolonia encaustic tiles, designed exclusively by Bert & May for Fired Earth. Perfect for wet rooms and feature walls, they are also available in Lake and Brighton stone colours and can be paired with matching plain tiles elsewhere in the bathroom. Order your Bolonia encaustic tiles, £175 per square metre.

Image: Bert & May

Glazed porcelain

For a modern take on the Art Deco look, check out this Sunburst tile from Verona, perfect for walls and floors to create a seamless finish in bathrooms, wet rooms and shower areas. The on-trend hexagonal format with its striking geometric pattern comes in four colours – Grey, as shown, Rose, Mint and Sea Blue. Find your local retailer for the Verona Sunburst tile here.

Image: Verona Tiles

Crackle effect

In a choice of six colours – Aqua, as shown, White, Grey, Aubergine, Blue and Green – the Dyroy glazed ceramic rectangular tiles from CTD Tiles will add a pop of colour to walls and splashbacks behind basins and baths. Lay them in a brick style for a statement look. Order your Dyroy glazed ceramic rectangular tiles, £49.99 per square metre, from CTD Tiles.

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Image: CTD Tiles

Terrazzo trend

Bring the terrazzo trend into your bathroom, cloakroom or en-suite with Terrazzo Hexagon porcelain tiles from Walls and Floors. The Nevada Pink colourway looks stunning teamed with matt black or brushed gold brassware and there are also Mottled Grey and Mineral Green designs too. Order your Terrazzo Hexagon porcelain tiles from Walls & Floors, £38.95 per square metre, from Walls and Floors.

Image: Walls and Floors

Smooth finish

A ceramic glazed brick tile, Blush Smooth from the Origin collection at Original Style has a handmade artisan feel. There are four further colours to choose from – Sand, Shell, Cloud and Frost – as well as a smooth finish for subtle texture or a rustic finish for a raw, unrefined look. Find your local retailer for the Blush Smooth Original Style wall tiles here.

Image: Original Style

Diamond shape

Rhomba Tekno Grey from Topps Tiles is a ceramic matt, diamond-shaped tile suitable for walls only, which can be matched with the grey Tekno floor tile for a seamless concrete effect. Play around with the geometric shapes to create your own style and choose from additional colours such as Mora Oak, Blush, White, Teal, Metallic and Charcoal. Order your Rhomba Tekno Grey bathroom wall tiles, £64.58 per square metres, from Topps Tiles.

Image: Topps Tiles

Glossy surface

Concorde Blue picket wall tiles from Porcelain Superstore are ideal for bathrooms with their rich, sea blue tone and gloss ceramic finish. The unusual picket shape is also really eye-catching, making them ideal for a standout feature wall. Order your Concorde Blue picket walls tiles, £52.80 per square metre, from Porcelain Superstore

Image: Porcelain Superstore

Abstract paint

A porcelain matt tile suitable for walls and floors, as well as exterior spaces, the Brick Lane Buxton Street design from Ca’ Pietra is an abstract pattern that creates instant impact with its varying blue tones. Order your Brick Lane Buxton Street design bathroom wall tiles, £59.10 per square metre, from Ca’Pietra.

Image: Ca’Pietra


A message from the editor:

Let us help you create the home of your dreams! Get ideas & inspiration from Good Homes every month, delivered direct to your door. Visit to sign up for the weekly Good Homes newsletter. Meet the Good Homes team at Ideal Home Show and be inspired by our on-trend roomsets.

~ Karen Walker, Editor, Good Homes