These 21 Funky Bathrooms Make the Case for Ditching Subway Tiles

These 21 Funky Bathrooms Make the Case for Ditching Subway Tiles

By Kelly Dawson
From eye-popping hues to bold patterns, here are styles to suit anyone bored with white-on-white.

At this point in 2020, after months of staying home due to a global pandemic, there might be nothing left that’s surprising about your address. Perhaps it was exciting at first to see how a pantry could expand to accommodate every meal, or the ways in which a couch could bend to work and play. Even bedrooms were rearranged to promote more rest and relaxation. 

But bathrooms, on the other hand, don’t have as many flexible details to pique our interest. And it’s understandable that a neutral or classic tile routinely goes unnoticed in quarantine. That’s why a bathroom with a fun and surprising use of tile is so appealing: It has the potential to keep this space interesting, no matter how many visits it gets over time. 

If you’re looking to make a change to your surroundings, take these 21 examples as inspiration for a bolder bathroom. From totally unique palettes to more subtle twists to geometric design, these surprising tiles are sure to catch your eye. 

This Colorful House in San Francisco May Be Boxy, but It’s Anything but Square 

A geometric, peach-colored tile in the master bathroom adds a joyful jolt to the home. The walnut cabinetry is an ode to the home's mid-century roots.  

The principal bath is clad in hammered quartzite and white glass, and it features a custom marble tile floor.  

A bathroom inside a Florida property first built in the 1920s receives a renovation featuring mermaid-green subway tile. 

A ladder in Skye's bathroom leads up to a secret passageway.

Color-blocked custom cabinets make for a delightful surprise.

Strongly contrasting colors were used to differentiate bedrooms and bathrooms. The master bath is awash in reddish hues with a custom freestanding vanity by Studio Bright.

The guest bathroom features bright turquoise Arcilla Field tiles by Ann Sacks and brass fixtures and fittings that will develop a patina over time. A skylight above the shower provides natural light and brightens the room.

The wall of the master bathroom is tiled with Ming Green Marble Fan Tiles from Tera Nova, paired with tumbled limestone floor tiles from Tera Nova. A Michael Anastassiades Flos pendant light from Living Edge brightens the space. The bespoke vanity was designed by Carter Williamson and built by House by Hart Joinery. "Again, we used timber half-dowels to tie the look in with the kitchen," says Peake.  

A Madrid apartment's bold renovation experiments with a palette of primary colors, including with this yellow bathroom.

The floor tiles are from Popham Design in a custom palette, paired with handmade subway tile in an earthy, off-white color.  

A homeowner’s love for Santorini, Greece, became the inspiration for her master bathroom’s tranquil upgrade.  

In the skylit master bathroom, Dandelion tile from Marrakech Design is paired with tile from Ann Sacks. The fixtures are by California Faucets and the mirror is from Paris Mirrors.  

The bathrooms feature a clean, minimal blue-and-white palette, with a focus on durable, functional materials.

"We wanted this to be a fully-immersive environment in and out of the shower," Cooper says. His team decided to create a custom terrazzo based off of the same material that was found during demolition.  

The freestanding bath and shower are located in a "wet room" separate from the toilet, and are fitted with the same tiles found in the kitchen and dining area.  

Pastel blue tile and Driklolor paint in the soft, pink Pillow hue add a touch of playfulness to the kid’s bathroom. A Flower Pot pendant light from Verner Panton hangs above the round mirror and wall-mount faucet.  

The bathroom features terrazzo floor tiles—which have a similar pattern to the material used to construct the fireplace in the living room.  

The master bathroom features arabesque terra-cotta tiles from Tabaraka Studios in a brilliant shade of green. The custom vanity has a concrete countertop with an integrated sink from Concreteworks and hardware from Marion Cage. The playful wall tiles are also from Tabarka Studios: Paris Metro #14 in charcoal and paprika. The turned leg is based on the turned column detail by the front door.  

The stylish master bath is a mix of beautifully patterned porcelain tiles and wood.  

The bathrooms tend to feature a slightly more muted color palette, with classic square mosaic tiles in variegated colors for added texture and life on the walls and floor.  

Thomas loves crazy powder rooms, but leans towards softer tones for master bathrooms. Here, she adds a bit of glam with chrome Atrio fixtures by Grohe and antique brass Hinsdale sconces by Hudson Valley Lighting. "I am so happy with how this midcentury-inspired pattern using Fireclay Tile in Daisy and Sea Glass turned out. It’s dramatic, but still soothing and soft. The sconces reminded me of modernist versions of soap bubbles, and I loved them for a bathroom environment."  

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