6 Beautiful Ways to Overhaul Your Bathroom Tile

You don’t have to gut-renovate your bathroom to give it a whole new look. According to New York–based designer Robert McKinley, installing new tiles can have a similarly transformative effect. “I’ve seen dated or run-down bathrooms turn into design showpieces by changing the tiles,” he says.

6 Beautiful Ways to Overhaul Your Bathroom Tile

McKinley has worked on numerous projects where he has witnessed these dramatic changes firsthand. One example is a recent bathroom tile overhaul in four of the rentable Montauk, New York, bungalows he’s designed, where he used tiles from Heath Ceramics to make an impact. Below, McKinley and Cathy Bailey, Heath Ceramics co-owner and creative director, share tips on how to style your bathroom tiles in creative and beautiful ways.

Treat tile like a functional surface

Bailey and McKinley both say you should ditch all preset notions of where you can use tile. “There are no rules,” Bailey says. “If you look at it as a surface, you’ll open up your mind to using it anywhere in the bathroom.” McKinley, for example, stopped the tiling just short of the ceiling in the bathroom of one of the Montauk bungalows, which gave the space a unique design. “You can use tiles on floors, walls, and countertops,” he says. “You can even make a sink out of tiles.”

Pick a color scheme

Tiles come in every hue imaginable, but it’s important to narrow in on a color scheme to create a cohesive look, McKinley says. Are you going for neutrals, for example, or variations on green? Once you pick a direction with color, McKinley recommends requesting tile samples in those hues. “Lay out the options in your bathroom, and eliminate the ones you don’t like first,” he says. After making your final choice, determine the finish you’d like to go with—glossy, matte, or textured are all possibilities.