Ceramic tile can be used for color, design in bathroom

DESIGN LINE

December 20, 1992|By Rita St. Clair

Q: We've already decided to install all-white plumbing fixtures as part of the re-do of our master bath. But we're having trouble choosing material for the floor and walls. Please suggest something that's functional and cost-effective but which will also make a strong design statement.

A: Sometimes it's the simplest materials that make the strongest statements. What counts most is the way in which a particular material is used.

The selection you make also has to be easy to maintain in order to be functional and cost-effective. So, for all these reasons, I often recommend ceramic tiles for both the floor and walls.

Assuming that the surfaces in your master bath are in good condition, all you'll need to focus on is the color and texture of the tile. And today's ceramic manufacturing techniques afford plenty of options in both those regards. Since the room is going to have white fixtures, you may wish to choose a basic color for the tiles. The large pieces to be affixed to the walls and floor may even be white themselves, with one or two bright colors introduced as accents in the form of borders or inserts.

In the photo, Italian tiles by Antica Ceramica Rubiera were arranged in an unusual and dramatic pattern. Eight-by-8-inch white tiles form the overall field. A geometric border, made up of 3-by-8-inch tiles, runs around the room below the ceiling line. Underneath the border on the tub platform and the sink counter-top are floral-patterned tiles that produce an arbor-type motif. The same two decorative tile designs meanwhile create the effect of an area rug on the white ceramic floor. Finally, a few of the brightly colored patterned tiles were inserted at random on the white walls.

Not much else is needed to finish this bath, except, of course, for proper lighting.

I can appreciate that so lavish a use of ceramic tile may not suit your taste or your decorating budget. However, I do strongly urge that some sort of hard surfacing material be installed at least on the counter tops, back splashes, floor, and side walls around the tub and shower. It doesn't have to go all the way to the ceiling to perform the task of guarding against water damage.

Whatever material you choose -- ceramic tile, stone, stainless steel or plastic laminate -- please remember that these are more or less permanent surface treatments. As such, they must be considered differently than paint, wallpaper or carpeting, all of which can be removed relatively easily when styles change.

Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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