One of the easiest ways to introduce a dash of drama to a white bathroom (really to any bathroom) is to adorn your space with accent tile in shower.
In these turbulent times, you may be thinking: ”I don’t need an ounce more drama in my life.”
Don’t worry. This is the good kind of drama. Promise 🙂
In this article we will take an in-depth look at 4 ways to use accents to set your bathroom apart.
Our foray into accent tile will go beyond just aesthetics. For the budget conscious (we all need to look at the dollars) we will get to the nitty gritty of “what’s it gonna cost me?” And even show you ways to cut your costs. Yeah!
Plus we will look at materials.
We’ll show you those materials that should never be used in showers as well as the best choices for this type of application.
First, let’s take a look at 4 ways to create an accent. This is not an all-inclusive list, but just a glance at a few of the ways to add some zing to your zen room.
For years, the 4-to-6-inch horizontal band of color has reigned as king of the shower glitz and glimmer.
But recently other types of applications have come upon the scene and are edging this king of accents off it’s throne.
Perhaps designers are just tired of the old standby and want to step out of the box. Whatever the reason, new ideas have emerged in the shower accent arena.
Yeah! I love new stuff! Stop by The Stone Quarry of Jupiter to see some of that new stuff. We have more than 1,000 mosaics on display. 🙂
One of the most popular newbies on the block has been to use a vertical shower accent stripe, instead of horizontal.
While the horizontal band typically went around the entire shower enclosure, the shower tile vertical accent stripe is generally limited to a portion of one wall.
Some clients have asked: is accent tile in shower outdated?
I’d say that depends.
If you have never had a shower with an accent strip, then for you the look is still fresh. For those of you who have been there and done that – I’d say there are still so many other ways to feature accent tile in bathroom that this party is just getting started.
This is a great look! The picture frame is a hugely popular feature. To create this effect, clad an area on one wall with a different tile and then frame it.
Generally, this accent feature does not take up the entire wall. It is typically taller than it is wide, creating a vertical “picture.”
For a more traditional look, the accent can be framed with a pencil molding or a chair rail.
To evoke a more contemporary design, change the shape of the frame. For example, a square molding is more modern than an elaborate chair rail.
There are tons of choices.
Metal frames are popular, but are mostly limited to silver, gold, black, white and copper.
Want something different?
We have a host of other options at The Stone Quarry of Jupiter showroom.
I’ve always loved the niche in shower because they are super functional. It’s a beautiful thing when function collides with artistry.
Clients often ask me what a niche is. So for anyone who is unfamiliar with the term – a niche is simply a recessed area.
You may have seen them in a hallway or outside the home, where the niche generally holds a statue.
In a shower, you guessed it – the niche is a place to store shower supplies.
I don’t know about you, but our household has way too much stuff to fit on a shower shelf. (My husband tells me we just have way too much stuff. But that’s a story for another day.)
Our shower holds – the shampoo for him and the shampoo for her. And don’t forget the his and her conditioners.
But wait, there’s more.
We need the bar soap and the soap in a bottle. The razor and …
You get the idea.
For the practical among us, you can see the benefit of having a shower with niche, as opposed to without. It holds a lot more stuff. 🙂
I really like putting a couple shelves inside the shower niche. Or having several niches.
Lately, I’m seeing some super creative and beautiful designs using the shower wall niche.
And here is the awesome part for those on a budget – it can be a great way to add some zest without costing a lot of dough.
Did you catch my baking reference? Zest. Dough.
Ok, as others are always telling me, “It loses something when you have to explain it.”
Where To Put Accent Tile In Bathroom
There is no right or wrong here. So many choices. One factor in determining where to put accent tile in bathroom is whether you are using a little or a lot of accent.
For the accent band, I really like to put the accent strip up towards the ceiling. This serves two purposes.
First, it draws the eye up, which can make the room look taller.
Second, it expands the type of accents that can be used. (More choices, yeah!) Many mosaics cannot take direct contact with water. But if they are up high enough, they get no spray.
Where to put the niche is probably going to depend on a couple of factors. I will be doing a deep dive into bathroom niches including: how to use tile in shower niche and looking at the custom niche versus the standard box. So stay tuned for more info on that in a later post.
But for now, let’s take a look at the various types of materials available to use as accents in bathrooms.
I love mosaic accent tile. Mosaics are a great way to introduce color and can change the whole mood of a room.
Some mosaic tile has texture. Some are smooth. Many combine rough and smooth elements. They are available in all sorts of different materials and colors. Materials include:
Glass Mosaic Tile – Glass mosaic tile is available in a gazillion different sizes and shapes. We have over 1,000 mosaics in the showroom. There is something for every design pallet. In addition, they come in traditional 3×6 subway sizes as well as 1×1, 1×2 and 2×2 sizes.
Glass Tile and Stone – Glass is often mixed with other mediums, such as glass tile and stone. Or glass and ceramic.
This gorgeous glass and stone mosaic creates the perfect spa-like retreat. Taking a bath may become your next favorite pastime.
Marble Mosaics – The marble mosaic is available in traditional patterns such as the arabesque, herringbone, hexagon and subway. Plus there are a ton of new applications, such as triangles, bamboo looks and other patterns. Absolutely love the bamboo look!
Some even come in combination textures, such as polished and sawcut. These are especially good for shower floors.
A wide assortment of colors are available.
Tile Mosaics –Ceramic mosaics come in various sizes and shapes. Sometimes the tile being used on the rest of the walls is available in a mosaic format.
Using an accent of the same color, but a different size is a great look for those who like to keep everything one color.
Metal Mosaics – Metal mosaics are available in stainless, bronze and aluminum. They are fabulous when trying to create an industrial look. Some are smooth and some have texture. Caution: many metals cannot get wet.
Wood Mosaics – Wood mosaics are relatively new. They come in many of the same shapes as other mosaics, such as hexagon and subway. Wood mosaics add a warmth to any area. Actual wood mosaics are not recommended for showers. However, there are porcelain mosaics that look like wood that can be used in this application.
Mosaics come in so many sizes, shapes and colors that it’s easy to find something that will work with just about any décor.
Porcelain tile is becoming more and more popular as an accent wall feature and for good reason.
Manufacturers have recognized the trend and have come out with tiles in a variety of hues and colors.
Plus, wall tiles are now available in a host of different textures and sizes.
Texture can transform a bathroom!
The custom tile is fantastic for the homeowner who wants something a little different.
Custom tile, from companies like Mercury Mosaics, comes in a wide range of colors, sizes and shapes.
One-of-a-kind designs can even be created from scratch.
There are products that just aren’t designed to get wet. Some will tarnish or rust. Others may even explode. Yikes.
Generally, wood and most metals are not designed to be used in wet areas.
Some mosaics contain combinations of materials, like glass and metal so make sure the metal portion can get wet.
Many times, manufacturers will label products with usage recommendations. They may say something like: interior dry walls only. This would disqualify the product from wet areas of the shower.
Hmmmm. That depends. If budget is the primary concern, then porcelain tile accents would be the best. Mind you, porcelain mosaics are not the same as porcelain tile. Porcelain mosaics are often as expensive or more expensive as other mosaics.
What’s it all going to cost?
Speaking of the budget, there is literally something for every price range. If you have your heart set on using mosaic accent tile, then the horizontal band will be the least expensive.
For the hands-on person who loves to know all the details, I will go through the formula used to calculate how much tile will be needed for a typical 3×5 tub or shower.
If you start to yawn, just skip ahead. You won’t hurt my feelings a bit.
Typically, the horizontal band is 4” wide or tall. So we will base our calculations on using a 4” wide band. While we are using the 4” band for our calculation, keep in mind you could use a 12” wide band or a 2” band. Really, any width will work. Or even two rows of accent stripe.
Using a standard 3×5 tub or shower, add the two short walls and the long wall and you’ll come up with 11 lineal feet (3+3+5).
Let’s assume you are using a mosaic that is one square foot. Some mosaic tiles are less than a square foot. Some are a little over a square foot. But for our calculations, the sheet is 1 square foot.
A 12×12 sheet of mosaic cut into strips of about 4” wide will give you 3 strips, which in this case is equal to 3 lineal feet per sheet.
Take the 11 lineal feet you need and divide it by the 3 lineal feet you will get from each sheet and it equals 3.66666 sheets.
You cannot buy a portion of a sheet, so round up to the next full sheet. You will need 4 sheets of mosaic. Sometimes installers will add an extra sheet of material for waste. In that case, you would need 5 sheets.
This is such a small amount of material, my advise is:
Eat the cake.
Buy the shoes.
Go on the cruise.
In other words, go ahead and splurge a little. If you fall in love with something that is $50 a square foot. It will only cost about $250.
On the other hand – let’s not spend money needlessly. If you’re just as crazy about a mosaic that is $10 a square foot. Fantastic!
In the grand scheme of things, bathrooms are a great place to indulge your inner child.
There is such a small footprint – typically 100-250 square foot. Bathrooms require the least amount of expenditure to make a huge statement.
We already talked about the accent band, but what if you want to clad the entire wall?
I’ll go through the formula used to calculate this cost, but for those who like to skip ahead and want to read the last few pages of the book: An entire wall can be around $250 plus or minus.
Typically the accent wall will be around 5-foot wide by 10-foot tall. That is 50 square feet, give or take a little.
We have beautiful Porcelain Tile Accents that are under $5 square foot. Using one of those – it would cost around $250 to create an amazing accent feature.
Another one of my favorite rooms is the powder room.
I don’t know about you, but my guest bath (powder room) is one room I just had to pump full of WOW!
Other than the kitchen and living room, every one of my guests will visit this room. Even if they don’t need to go 🙂
Yep. I like to show off my powder room. It’s Super Cute!
What would it cost to create an accent wall in powder room?
Let’s say your powder room is 3 foot wide and 8 foot tall. You would need around 24 square feet to clad behind the vanity. It would cost around $480, if you picked a mosaic that is $20 a square foot.
Here is one of my justifications for spending a little more in bathrooms, beside the fact that they are small.
When it comes time to sell, ask any Realtor and they will tell you … kitchens and baths SELL HOUSES.
But it’s more than just doing all this work for someone else.
We spent years living with ugly tile because (and it was my fault) I kept telling my husband: “I don’t want to spend a lot of money if we’re just going to sell the place.”
Here is one thing I’ve learned. Regardless of how long you are in the home – you can still enjoy it while you are there.
So it’s beyond just the resale value. Or picking something because of resale. It’s about picking something you love and enjoying the room while you live in the home.
Go ahead. Do something nice for yourself. You deserve it.