Tile trends can be a defining part of how we style our bathrooms. For years the combination of white subway tiles and gray grout has had a hold on homes around the world, while in more recent times it’s all about making bathrooms feel sleeker and almost seamless.
This meant the use of larger-scale tiles and finer, more delicate grout lines. In fact, even with smaller styles, grout has become something to fade into the background, rather than becoming a feature. Of course, for every trend there is a backlash, and the antidote to the monolithic bathroom look is one of our favorite interior design trends right now for a modern bathroom.
The trend sees tiles used with chunky, oversized grout that bring an unexpected graphic quality to these spaces. “Using grout lines as a design tool, instead of letting them disappear, allows the grout to become part of the overall composition,” says interior designer Jessica Hansen of Tandem Interiors. ‘It allows solid color tiles to become a pattern in a whole new way.’
For examples of how to style the chunky joint trend in our homes, we don’t have to look far. Jessica, who was the lead designer for this Laurel Canyon property in Los Angeles, used the idea in not one, but three bathrooms when she designed the house, playing with scale, composition and proportion in different ways.
Former fashion stylist Jessica Hansen is the founder and lead designer of Tandem Interiors. Here, Life etc‘s Hugh Metcalf spoke with her about the innovative use of grout and tile in the bathrooms of this creative Los Angeles home.
One home, four ways to embrace this tile trend
Although you might not believe it, this incredibly stylish space is actually the children’s bathroom, in which Jessica from Tandem Interiors chose a soft blue tile with irregular curved edges. The oversized grout helps to play up this design detail, where it might have been lost in a more austere tile layout.
‘Without the large grout spacing the unique shape of the squircle tile by Tempest Tileworks (opens in new tab) in the children’s bath would be lost,’ says Jessica. “The grout here really allows us to frame each individual tile.”
Color also played an important role in unifying the designs. “We chose white hardware, white faucets, white paint. We wanted to bring in all the outside light and reflect it throughout,’ says Jessica.
Each tiled room has a dominant light color – light blue in the children’s bathroom, light terracotta in the primary bath, light butter in the guest, and light green in the kitchen. ‘These calm bathroom colors do not detract from the tranquility of the outdoor space,’ explains the interior designer.
In the children’s bathroom, a different approach was taken with the floors against the walls, with a pile binding layout combined with the chunky grout for a modern, graphic edge.
The one thing that all the bathrooms of the house have in common is the type of tile that is considered paired with the more substantial grout lines. ‘The type of tile that suits this look is definitely solid colour,’ says Jessica, ‘with maybe a slight variation – tiles that don’t have an intrinsic pattern of their own.’
The terracotta tile used in the master bathroom perhaps best demonstrates how this variation in tile color adds softness to the bathroom, especially with the warm neutral tile and grout color combination.
The master bathroom tile layout gives a modern twist to a traditional brick bond that feels charmingly rustic but also fresh and exciting.
The guest bathroom is undoubtedly the most subtle use of this idea, but shows how it can serve a purpose in a completely different way. The use of a light tile and matching grout does not create the same contrast as the other spaces, but still provides a sense of texture, while the non-uniformity of oversized horizontal jointing versus the narrow lines between the tiles vertically evens out some of rhythm at the bathroom walls.
‘The right choice of grout color is essential,’ Jessica says of the chunky grout trend. “We use an amazing grout company called Grout 360 (opens in new tab) that will custom fit anything. The options are endless and become their own design detail.’
It shows that this property is just dipping its toes into the potential design applications of this bathroom trend.
Where can I buy tiles online?
Everyone’s favorite DIY store has a surprisingly wide selection of tile to consider for your bathroom reno.
You might not expect to find tiles on Wayfair, but there are plenty of innovative options if you don’t mind not seeing samples before you buy.
For your everyday porcelain and ceramic tiles, Lowes has a great selection to choose from in modern styles.