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Bathroom Flooring Materials and Trends

Material, layout, color and finish: so many decisions to make when selecting your gorgeous new bathroom floor. We took a close look at some designer strategies for this hardworking surface.

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Photo: Lauren Rubin Architecture. From: Lauren Rubin Architecture.

Modern Mosaic

From a design perspective, flooring choices can be assertive or subtle, the focal point of a space or a tie-in. In this sweet bathroom straddling centuries of design, a gorgeous marble mosaic floor is used to pull together the pale blue-gray floating vanity and the white subway tiled walls. The gloss of the ceramic wall tile echoes natural light from nearby windows, while the matte stone floor has its attractive pattern and color undiminished by reflection.

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Photo: Dustin Peck Photography. From: Lauren Clement.

Elements of Texture

The handsome black-and-white quartz countertops take the lead in this tasteful main bathroom, with a subtle gray floor tile contributing texture and warmth. Porcelain tile is now available in nontraditional patterns, like metals and fabrics. These offerings can lend a discrete organic presence to your design, and some contribute practicalities like a textured surface. Glazed tile can be a slip concern in active bathrooms but using smaller tiles to increase grout lines also improves traction.

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Photo: Rennai Hoefer. From: Blissful Design Studio.

Faux Wood Planks

A freestanding faucet emerges from pretty planks laid in a herringbone pattern to serve a soaking tub in this cozy bathing alcove. Is that a wood floor, or is it not? We've learned that porcelain tile likes to play dress-up. Vinyl and laminate flooring can wear convincing costumes too, serving up your desired style with better moisture resistance and less maintenance than natural originals. Vinyl flooring is made with PVC, so its water handling capabilities are virtually unlimited. Laminate is another layered product that, in waterproof versions, promises to withstand the rigors of active bathrooms.

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Photo: Tomas Espinoza. From: Tiffany Brooks.

Pretty Porcelain

A restful charcoal porcelain tile was used for the main bathroom floor of HGTV Smart Home 2020. It joins the ceiling in a graceful gray counterpoint to the white walls, furniture and fixtures. Porcelain is the most durable of clay-based tiles, resisting water, stains and damage from drops. The material is also a master mimic of higher-maintenance flooring favorites like solid wood and natural stone. The porcelain here is emulating a soothing, attractive slate.

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