Tiles are expensive, and a major part of the cost of a bathroom.  And nowadays they come in seemingly infinite variations.  So where do you start?

This is what I’ve picked up:

1. The smaller the room, the simpler the tile.  If your space is small, stick to a larger, plainer tile.  Don’t mix up patterns and so on – it’ll be too busy.  Avoid mosaics, as all that grout makes it quite overwhelming in a small space.

The mosaics below are a much less soothing look and together with the stripe overwhelm the small area…

2. In a larger space, you can use tiles to define areas – such as the bath, or the shower.  This can look stylish.  Keeping the colour palette very similar ensures that it looks great. 

3. Borders and feature tiles are likely to look dated over time.  See below.  I’d really avoid these unless you can’t live without them.

4. Grout is important.  Thick lines of grout are very passé.  It used to be 2-3cm thick, whereas tiles now need to be laid very close to each other, with a similar colour grout to make it all look seamless.  Your tiler should also align grout lines along the floor and wall so that the lines are continuous.

5. Laying tiles diagonally across a space is also very out-of-date.  Stick to lines of tile that follow the line of the walls.  It was thought that diagonal lines of tiles make the room look bigger, but they just look old-fashioned.  Likewise border tiles around the edge of the floor.  These are definitely not the ‘in’ thing right now.

6. If you want the look of natural stone there are lots of fabulous ceramic imitation that have random stone patterns (so no two are the same), and don’t need sealing to prevent staining and mould (which many natural stone tiles require).

These days you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a sophisticated surface.

7. If you have a lot of  ‘corners’ in your tiles, ensure that the tile is tough enough to be mitred.  This gives a sleek edge where it meets.  But if the tile isn’t a high quality hard tile, the corners will chip and it’ll look terrible.

Your tiler should be mitring the corners, and not laying one tile flat, and the other perpendicular, so that you see the edge of one tile…..  These are the key to a professional finish.

8. Take out a few bricks in the wall to create an alcove to store product (very useful in the shower).  You can then highlight this with different tiles inside the alcove.

9. Finally – make it your own.  I just adore the way that tiles have been used to create architecture (below) – faux tile panelling.  What a fabulous idea…

The glimmer of gold below is so glamorous.  I love metallics in a bathroom – you’re not in there long enough for it to be too too much.