How to use tile zoning in your bathroom

We pull together our best advice for tile zoning, including material thickness and how to signal functionality in a bathroom

Tile zoning sample tiles

Tiles, on a functional level, are used to zone a space and whether that’s a kitchen splash back or a shower,  you’ll see them used in small contrasting amounts all over your home.

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Frameless book-matched marble cupboard

However, when I talk about ‘tile zoning’, I mean something slightly different. This is where you might see an area set apart visually by using tiles to shape the understanding of space, all on the same plane. This could be tiles set against wood on a floor for a water-resistant or practical zone, or it could even mean using different colours or styles of tiles to section off areas.

Kitchen floor grey and black tile zoning

When using tile zoning, try not to over-design your space – the best ways to use it are where a different type of flooring could be useful, such as in a kitchen in an open-plan space, rather than simply as a quirky design element.

It’s an idea that looks innovative and a lot of fun, but be cautious, the more outlandish the design idea, the sooner you’ll likely tire of it.

Flooring might not be the best place to make a huge artistic statement as it’s expensive (not to mention difficult) to change up and evolve with different schemes, but here’s how we’d approach functional tile zoning.

First up, the threshold is so important.

Pay attention to this detail to ensure the overall look remains sleekly designed. Wherever possible, avoid a raised, defined border between two materials such as tile and wood.

This is definitely something to consider when planning. Look at any differences in thickness between your materials and think about how the laying pattern might affect installation.

Consider how this zoning will affect the flow of the space.

Bathroom tile zoning pathway
Bathroom from Mereway Group
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While zoning with tiles won’t actually present any physical barriers or prevent you from using the space, it could affect its functional appearance. The bathroom above, for example, uses tiles to create a path through the space which completely changes how you understand it and signals the practicality of the room.