Bathroom Floor Options

Checkerboard style tiled floor

It used to be the case that most bathroom floors were covered with the same ceramic tile. But if you want a bit of a change from the uniformity and a more trendy bathroom floor do away with the idea of using the same size ceramic floor tile aligned in a grid pattern.

Get more creative with tiles and use two or three sizes in one floor design. You can also add decorative border tiles and lay out different size tiles next to each other to create interesting patterns.

Designing Your Floor Pattern

There are several ways to design a bathroom floor with ceramic tiles. Start out by thinking about the look you want to achieve.

  • A bold design with plenty of colour.
  • A more traditional design with subtle details.
  • A muted backdrop that focuses on your sink or bath?
Stone floor tiles
Mixing different sizes of tiles will create a more interesting pattern and make a small space appear larger than it actually is.

How to Mix and Match

One way to create an interesting design is to mix and match tile sizes, shapes and colours.

Instead of using the same size tile, take 6 inch by 6 inch tiles and 8 inch by 8 inch tiles and mix them throughout the floor, perhaps adding in 4 inch tiles to form a square or rectangle in front of your sink or vanity.

You could also consider staggering the layout of the tiles so that the middle of one tile abuts the grout line of another. This will break up the continuous grout lines and focus attention on the tile instead of the grid pattern.

Border tiles
Borders are another option for adding design to a tile floor. Adding a border around the perimeter of the floor or near the tub or shower will highlight that particular area.


A border typically is created using a contrasting or complimentary tile in a smaller size than the main tile. By using an 8 inch by 8 inch white tile as the main tile and a 4 inch by 4 inch darker tile as the border, you can create a good contrast.

The darker tile could be added in two rows around the bath, starting about six inches from the bath. The same contrast colour can be used in 1 or 2 inch tiles to create a border on the wall or floor of the shower stall or on the wall behind the bath.

Diagonal bathroom tiles
When all the tiles are turned on a 45 degree angle, the design draws the eyes outward to the edges of the room.

Angled Design

Tiles also can be turned on an angle to create a unique look. If just six randomly placed tiles are angled, it creates diamond shapes in several sections of the floor.

Another way to create an interesting design is to change the grout colour. Instead of using white or a colour that matches the tile, you can add a dark colour to add some contrast. When you bring the colour of the grout closer to the colour of the tile, it takes the grid pattern away and gives it a different look.

Bathroom Flooring Materials

It’s probably not the first thing you think of when considering a bathroom – most people focus on the bath and toilet suites or the walls – but in fact a beautiful floor can have a greater influence on the overall feel of a bathroom than any other aspect of furnishing or decoration.

It is also important in terms of every day use to consider how much water spillage will occur, whether it will stain easily and whether the floor will be safe when walked upon by wet feet.

Here are the usual choices for bathroom floors – followed by some more unusual options.

Ceramic Tile

This is the traditional flooring for bathrooms and it’s easy to see why: it is durable and hygienic, easy to keep clean and most of all, completely waterproof. It is also impervious to most stains, although grouting can be susceptible to mould and mildew.

Ceramic Tiles come in an endless assortment of colours, shapes, patterns and styles and can also incorporate ribbing, ridges or other textures to prevent slipping when wet. The downside of tiles is that they are very cold underfoot and very hard should you fall.


The next most popular after tiles, Vinyl is affordable and easy to maintain, which is all what most people want from their bathroom floors. Like tile, it is waterproof, stain-resistant and non-allergenic; it is also simple to install and has good durability, lasting for a reasonable amount of time.

While it does not provide a ‘luxurious’ feel, it is an economical, practical solution for every day living, particularly for busy families. It comes in a huge variety of colours, styles and textures, with many simulation designs of wood, marble, slate, brick, etc.


Laminate is a good choice if you would like a Wood-effect Flooring for your bathroom but do not want to take the risks of a high moisture environment on real timber floors.

While it looks exactly like hardwood, it is in fact made up of multiple layers of wood fibre bonded together and overlaid with a photographic image, followed by a protective top layer which is stain and water-resistant. It is extremely durable and easy to maintain and much cheaper than real hardwood.

Unusual Choices – Hardwood

If your heart is set on the real thing, then you’ll be pleased to hear that hardwood can be used in bathrooms provided that they are finished with a water-resistant sealant which will keep it watertight.

It is certainly hard to beat the warmth and beauty of real timber and if the rest of the house has hardwood floors then it may be most aesthetically-pleasing to continue this in the bathroom as well.


Cork is often overlooked when it is actually an ideal choice: it is soft and incredibly comfortable to walk on as well as being warm underfoot. It also helps to insulate against sound and is naturally rot-resistant and non-slip, even when wet.

In fact, it can be used unsealed in bathrooms although sealing is usually recommended to prevent dirt becoming ingrained. Cork is also an environmentally-friendly, renewable resource. A great thing for bathrooms is that cork is naturally anti-microbial and resistant to mould and mildew.


This may only suit more modern interiors but Rubber Flooring has many qualities to recommend it: it is extremely durable and resilient, insulating to both sound and warmth, water-resistant and even burn-resistant. To prevent slipping when wet, rubber can be studded to provide texture and grip.


This includes many of the luxury flooring options, such as marble, limestone and slate and has a price tag out of most people’s price range.

However, there are many who feel that its sense of quality and timeless natural beauty to be worthy of the investment. Naturally, it is resistant to wear & tear and completely waterproof.

Like tiles, it can be very cold underfoot and also hard if you fall; in addition, it may need to be sealed to prevent staining and may be very slippery when wet, especially if it is in the polished form.


This may be the last form of flooring you would consider for bathrooms but believe it or not, Carpet can be used in bathrooms if it is chosen carefully. It must water-, stain- and mildew-resistant and it must have a backing which prevents water from seeping into the pad.

By meeting these conditions, it is possible to have a carpeted bathroom which will transform a usually cold and clinical room into something unusual and luxurious.

Having said all that, however, carpet is not recommended for family bathrooms, particularly with many children, as it will not be able to cope with the high intensity of water spillage and repeated soakings.

With the wealth of options available nowadays, including modern synthetic materials with tailor-made properties, there are bathroom flooring types to suit every budget and personal taste.

See Also
Vinyl floor tiles with a self-adhesive backing
Vinyl Tiles or Vinyl Sheet?
Beige and grey ceramic floor tiles
How to Choose Floor Tiles