This Genius Tile Trick Is a Game-Changer for Budget Bathrooms

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Diana Liang)

Believe it or not, an inexpensive box of off-the-shelf tiles can totally transform your floors. There’s no need to go out and by something expensive, when you can easily create visual interest under your feet with a design that feels custom and special — all for very little money. All it takes is your imagination or some inspiration, a little bit of advance planning, and this one simple trick.

Here’s the trick: swap out some of your inexpensive tile for some of the same shape and size, but just in another color. This even works if you buy 12″ x 12″ squares of mesh-mounted tile —you can still pry off pieces and replace with something different. This frees you up to create endless amounts of designs and patterns. Here are some great ideas:

(Image credit: Est Living)

Here, the homeowners used mostly small gray mosaic tile, but just inserted six white ones periodically to create a custom vintage-style pattern. It’s simple but very sweet. From Est Living.

(Image credit: Decoholic)

Another off-the-shelf option is hexagon tiles, which are widely available for very little. In this bathroom from Decoholic, they’re assembled in an intricate pattern, just around the periphery of the room and shower spaces to form a border. Cleverly, the design also resembles a floral runner.

(Image credit: Shophouse Design)

Here’s a a cute spin for your bathroom: use tiles to spell words or phrases on floors. We love this example from Shophouse Design, who used small square tiles in a quirky manner to spell out “No Diving” on the floor.

(Image credit: A Cup of Jo)

Above, Rachel opted for peachy pink and purple penny tiles, which were arranged into an interesting zig zag pattern both along the floor and up onto the wall. A great use of an affordable tile option, as seen on A Cup of Jo.

(Image credit: A Cup of Jo)

Leveraging the same concept in a different space, Rachel also created this fully tiled washroom using two contrasting shades of penny tile.

(Image credit: Made a Mano)

Subway tiles are still having their moment. And, if you ask me, there’s just something magical about mustard and blush. In this washroom spotted on San Francisco Girl By Bay, the designer really only used one shape of subway tile (these from Made a Mano), but, by periodically swapping white for hues of yellow or pink, the pattern looks totally custom and much more interesting.

(Image credit: Will Travel for Pink)

Of course, you can also get more ambitious with your patterns, and there’s no rule against leveraging ideas found out in the real world. We love this floor from a cafe in Philadelphia that uses hex tiles in five different colors to create an intricate design. From Will Travel For Pink.

With some imagination, planning, and a bit of elbow grease — you too can have a custom looking floor at a budget friendly price!