I love tile. I might even be a little obsessed with tile. So the fact that tile, even very bold tile, is making a comeback in the bathroom has me very excited. Lately I've been noticing an interesting trend in tiled bathrooms: bathrooms with tile on the ceiling. That, my friends, is commitment. Is this something you would do? Or is it all just a little too much?
In the example above, from Studio MRS, penny tile extends all the way up the walls of the bathroom and even extends across the ceiling. (The cove details where walls meet ceiling are a nice touch.) The effect of being surrounded by all that tile is immersive, even cozy, kind of like being inside a seashell.
Tiling the ceiling above just the shower is a not uncommon detail, seen here in a bathroom from Brepurposed. Tile on the shower ceiling has practical implications — it's a good way to keep mold from growing in what can be a wet spot. Covering the whole ceiling in tile, on the other hand, is more of a design decision.
It's a decision that can have a very dramatic effect. See how amazing it looks in this all black tiled bathroom designed by Carter Williamson Architects, from Inside Out. Bathing here would be dreamy.
But it doesn't have to look dark and claustrophobic. In Keith McNally's Notting Hill bathroom, seen on House & Garden, the space is covered from floor to ceiling in vintage-looking subway tile. The skylight helps it stay open and airy.
In this Swedish home spotted on Arch Daily, a bathroom is completely clad in patterned cement tile. The smooth, bright shapes of the sink and tub set up a nice contrast. The tile-all-over look is, in my opinion, better in a bathroom with a higher ceiling, since has the effect of shrinking the space.
Fishscale tiles covering the walls and ceiling give this bathroom from Dwell an undersea effect. Imagine this bathroom, for a moment, with the tile only on the walls — it's still very nice, but the tile becomes a much more subtle element.
One alternative to this, where you get the jewel box effect without the expense, is to paint the ceiling the same color as the tile. I love the penny tile detail in this bathroom from A Cup of Jo — and I also love the way the colors on the ceiling extend the effect, for a thorough, immersive look with a little less heaviness.
And of course, if you love the look, tile on the ceiling needn't be limited to the bathroom. In this kitchen from Benecki Homes, a barrel-vaulted space gets an extra dose of emphasis from a ceiling covered in subway tiles. Light-colored tile — whether in the kitchen or bathroom — makes for a subtle twist on the tile on the ceiling look, where you get an added dose of texture without darkening the space. (Also lead image above.)