Bathroom Tile Trends and Ideas

Manuel Baptista grew his tile business from the ground up over the past thirty years. Baptista Tile’s showroom now has the largest selection in Bend, supplying a wide range of residential and commercial projects of all sizes. Here, his experts reflect on the top tile trends and ideas in materials, tones, forms and finishes.


We are seeing more transitional styles with cleaner lines that tend toward farmhouse, versus heavy looks such as lodge. Mixing materials is quite popular. It feels so custom, an expression of the client’s taste that isn’t generic. A marble feature wall with a wood-look floor tile is a good example of material mixing. Wood look tile is here to stay and makes more sense than actual wood in a bathroom, from a maintenance perspective. Porcelain tile has the widest reach in the industry because it comes in many different styles and sizes and does not need to be sealed. You can also upgrade to a high performance grout that does not need to be sealed, making it even more maintenance free. Many of the popular porcelain tiles have an encaustic look that mimics concrete.


The biggest trend is the use of shape and size as key elements in bathroom tile design. Square tiles are back. Subway tile is also holding strong—especially inside showers. Large format tiles, from 4×16 to 12×24, may be used on one wall, with smaller format on another wall. Accent walls are popular and there are a lot less backsplashes since tile is being carried all the way up the wall. While a single narrow band of tile contrast has been the go-to decorative shower accent for years, we now use more wide bands, double bands and vertical stripes for a contemporary look. Gloss and matte finishes are both popular, with many people mixing gloss and matte finishes. Gloss works nicely in bathrooms that have less natural light.

Tones and Textures

For fixtures, chrome remains popular and brass (a gold look) is making a comeback. There is less bronze, overall. With tile, a sharp, classic white is the predominant shade of neutral. People are moving away from creams and eggshells. For general color palates, grey is still going strong, but now it’s trending toward warmer tones such as greige. Blues and greens are chosen most often by people who want color. Patterns are also gaining popularity. Z Collection has a nice representation of a mosaic with a muted color palate of neutrals and some saturation that should stand the test of trends over time.

Form Meets Function

We are seeing framed mirrors instead of large format mirrors. That allows for a more dramatic contrast between tile and mirror on a vanity wall. Niches—traditionally an ornamental recess in a wall—are popular in showers now. They can be used as both a functional shelf and an artistic accent, especially if a contrasting tile is used on
the recessed wall. Curb-less showers have become very popular. In fact, people are replacing built-in tubs with freestanding tubs or no tub at all. More than fifty percent of remodels are removing tubs completely, according to a 2016 nationwide study by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. That zero entry to a shower makes for a clean look and is ideal for planning ahead. People are more cognizant of aging in place and ADA accessibility now. We also love linear drains, which are so subtle that the tile surface is uninterrupted by visual distraction. Lastly, radiant floors are worth it. They are easier to install than in the past and are much less problematic to maintain.
This article was originally featured in our flagship publication, Cascade Living Magazine.