Designing a dream shower is about more than just choosing the right tile – it’s also about finding the best, most beautiful way to install that tile. A whole bathroom done in a single type of tile can be beautiful, but the addition of even a small, simple tile border can totally alter the look. In fact, tile borders serve a lot of purposes in a luxury shower design, some of them functional and some of them aesthetic. To get you started, here are a few of the common ways tile borders are used – and a few ideas to get your own shower started.
Interrupt A Single Tile
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Showers that are made of all one type of tile – especially tile that extends to the rest of the room, and especially a single type of stone tile – walk a thin line between oozing classic beauty and being a little overwhelming. Unbroken travertine or marble showers have a lovely Romanesque appearance, but can feel a bit monolithic in a larger space. A simple tile border helps add character to a blank stone wall, providing relief for the eye and enhancing the overall style. Here, a rather large border draws the tile from the shower floor throughout the bathroom, breaking up the marble wall and camouflaging the painted wall above the toilet.
Differentiate Between Two Types Of Tile
Similarly, a simple tile border can be used to separate two different types of tile, usually on the upper and lower halves of a wall. This type of border tile need only be a single tile thick, and not even necessarily a particularly thick tile. Its purpose is simple but important: to turn an unsightly seam into an elegant transition. This can effectively separate two totally different types of tile, tiles in the same shape and size but a different orientation, or tiles in the same material but different sizes or shapes. In a white-on-white porcelain tile shower, a border can even provide a little extra texture and classic flair by mimicking crown molding.
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Mosaic tile borders in particular are a perfect way to add color to your shower. Mosaic tile sheets, which are made of several tiles arranged and affixed to an easy-to-install mesh sheet, are available in an amazing range of colors and materials, and can easily be cut down to the desired border size. Unlike borders made out of a single type of tile, these offer a vibrant, colorful, patterned appearance that can easily be the highlight of any shower, and bring a neutral-toned shower design to life. Better still, they’re easy to install, with much less work than a traditional mosaic and almost no tile cutting needed.
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Tile borders can also be used to help unify your bathroom decor by repeating a type of tile that’s used elsewhere in the room. This can be as subtle as picking up a smaller tile accent on the bathroom walls to something as bold as carrying the tile from the shower floor throughout the rest of the space. These borders can be limited to the inside of the shower or wrap around the whole bathroom, but either way can help give your shower or bathroom a slightly more coordinated look and feel.
Showcase Your Hardware
Not all tile borders have to be horizontal, either – in fact, a vertical border, especially done in glass mosaic tile, has a striking modern appearance. It also works quite nicely to draw attention to your shower hardware, either placed alongside it or – better yet – with the hardware installed directly into it. Which installation will work better for you depends a little on the types of tile involved – a mosaic tile sheet can be easier to cut to accommodate the hardware in the first place (depending on the sizes of your fittings), but may be a little more difficult to waterproof, which is important to prevent damage.
Similarly, a tile border doesn’t have to extend along the whole length of your wall. In fact, smaller borders are a great way to draw attention to smaller features, especially in a shower with a relatively neutral tile. Here, a smaller border frames the mosaic tile accents around the shower hardware and in the recessed niche shelving, simultaneously making these small details pop and containing them with a bold, dark line that separates them from the rest of the shower. This frame type border can also be used to create an accent. Placed in the center of the main bathroom-facing shower wall and made to frame one or more different types of tile (or even just differently-oriented tile), a basic border can give your whole shower a beautiful, artistic look and feel.
Tile borders come in all shapes and sizes, and can make your next shower remodel uniquely you. Which of these styles appeal to you? Let me know in the comments!