Thursday, May 12, 2011

"What Were They Thinking Thursday??!!" - Shower Tile Borders

Apparently it has become popular to add a little border in your shower tile. I have even seen HGTV recommending this crazy idea! Let's face it, you can't afford to buy all the nice pretty expensive tile so instead of just wishing it luck in someone else's home, you buy a tiny strip of it and tack it up around the perimeter.

This does not look good! 

The first problem is that it cuts your shower in half visually and makes it look smaller.

 I don't even begin to guess what these people were thinking! Not only is the tiny border terrible but what the heck is that trim tile doing on the wall? Is it supposed to be a shelf?

 This is a great example of a small shower. Look how that horrible border cuts the shower in half. It would've been much better to just leave it off. 

The second problem is that they are under-scaled!

 Do I follow the line until I get to the prize at the end?

Beautiful shower but why did they ruin it with that ugly diagonal border? It would also look better with frameless glass but I know that stuff is pricey!

Again, another luxury shower ruined by badly placed border.

So what do you think? Am I just crazy to let this bother me or are you on my side? Well, let me show you some showers that got it right and you tell me which looks better, border or no border.

 When in doubt, stick with white! Let the walls be the color in the room. Paint is much cheaper than tile!

This is interesting. I think it works to put the mosaic there because it doesn't break up the shower, however  once you have your stuff up there you are probably not going to want to draw attention to your shampoo bottles! 

Very nice! But I could live without the white trim piece in the shower. I can see why they did it though because the tile is continuous from wainscot to shower. It would've looked better to leave that piece out of the shower and just stopped it where it intersects with the vertical piece. It is really under-scaled to be in the shower. Also, you can see that they had to cut the tile at the top of the shower. If they would've left off the trim piece they would've had more room for a full tile at the top.

 This is a great example of a tile trim piece being the correct scale. It is used to separate a wainscot with the rest of the shower and it works because it is the same tile, just installed differently. This keeps the color constant in the shower and doesn't really break it up visually. Adds interest without making the shower look smaller. 

 Here is a good example of using accent tile in the correct way. A detailed medallion looks great instead of just running a border around the perimeter.

 You could just always do the whole shower in mosaic! What do you think? Too much? If you do have a mosaic shower, make sure and keep the rest of the room very simple.

 Love this!

 This is a great kid's bathroom!!!

 Very pretty marble tile but what do you think about that border running over the shower curb? 

This is gorgeous! A great example of using mosaic tile on one wall in shower and then keeping the other walls neutral. I also love how they put the mosaic on the exterior of the shower curb and half wall.

 Wow, life's a beach in this bathroom! It makes me a little dizzy. The tile is definitely cool but everything else is just off the mark. The rugs, the towel bar interrupting the tile wall and the vanity mirror. 

So am I just too opinionated or do you agree that shower borders are horrible? Let me know what you think, we love getting comments!


Morgan @ said...

We're working on our bathroom now and I agree, borders these days can be tough! We nixed the border and did a solid mosaic shower and I love it.

Studio B Designs said...

Great Morgan, I can't wait to see pictures! BTW Olivia is adorable!

Anonymous said...

I'm a latecomer here, and stumbled upon your blog. I've been trying to select tile for a shower, and have chosen a beautiful quartzite. My contractor took me to some other jobs he had done, but I felt that adding another tile (white subway tile above the same quartzite we selected) or borders/medallions just took away from the beautiful natural stone showers. So I think you are right, 100%, but there are lots of others who are disagree!

Marsha B.

Studio B Designs said...

Yeah!! Send us a picture when you are done! It sounds like it's going to be beautiful! Brandy

Anonymous said... don't agree shower borders are horrible. Thanks for the border ideas.

Mark Daniels Bathroom Kitchen Remodeling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. Having a little accent is much more interesting than just having a bunch of plain square or rectangular tiles.

Anonymous said...

Def.not.i think one solid tile makes it feel like a cave and the plain old subway tile makes me feel like I need a straight jacket to match the sterile boring environment.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree! I think the borders usually take away from the look rather than enhance. And as you pointed out, there are other ways to add visual interest.

Studio B Designs said...

Finally someone who agrees! I sometimes equate it to a decorative toilet seat- Why??!! in the world would you want to attract attention to a toilet seat! And it cuts the room in 1/2 making the ceiling seem lower!

Penelope Lentz said...

Thanks for saving me from making a big mistake!

Anonymous said...

I don't like the border in the middle--as stated, it cuts the room in half. However, if you have a high ceiling, a carefully chose border adds visual interest an a little bling to an otherwise boring, cavernous space. Something not too high contrast and in scale with the other tiles.

Anonymous said...

You made me laugh!! I'm with you all the way! I'm designing our shower now and have noticed that the borders make me tilt my head, scratch,open and close my eyes. Shake my head and wonder what the accent lines are doing?!? Odd. Just odd. Glad you are so opinionated! Thanks for the laugh!

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Anonymous said...

I agree that those borders all look horrible, but I think most of the "all mosaic" showers. Most mosaics I've seen sold are really poorly done - horrible color selections with way too much contrast for widespread use. The showers that were all mosaic just looked completely garrish and distasteful to me, and the high contrast in many of them made it look like the shower was warp-driving through a star field; incredibly way too busy. I would say that any widespread use of 1x1 tiles should be solid color, or a mosaic of very subtle variation so as to add texture and warmth, but not distract the eye.

Anonymous said...

"When in doubt, stick with white! Let the walls be the color in the room. Paint is much cheaper than tile!"

Agreed, but seriously, if you're going with a white subway and light green border, don't use dark bronze fixtures. Really. Just don't do it.

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Anonymous said...

The "Beach" tile bathroom is gorgeous; It's like escaping on some fantasy just when going to the bathroom

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Donna Cognac said...

Totally agree. These borders are a mistake. Especially in a space that you want to look and feel larger....more spacious. Good on you for pointing it out.

Alan Heikkila said...

I was thinking of a border until I found your page. Thanks.

Dana Perez said...

These are really beautiful frameless shower screens, nowadays people choose shower screens for more durable and could last for a longer of time!

Anonymous said...

This is an old post but ... I couldn't disagree with you more. There's a history of tile borders and if one is working with a historic house, the borders are perfectly appropriate.

Brenda Griffith said...

Had to laugh. I just redid our downstairs bathroom in tile and put in the tile border you hate. I love it. The line draws the eye around the space, it runs across the top of the tile wainscot on the back wall and through the floor to ceiling tile in the shower tying them together. The proportions are good and I think it makes the space look less sterile (from another comment) and less blocky and composed of adjacent rectangles of tile. I was amused to see that one example you called "gorgeous! A great example of using mosaic tile on one wall in shower and then keeping the other walls neutral" has a thin border of the mosaic running through the neutral walls and I think those lines are what saves it from being too blocky. The line running from the shower across the floor is also one of the highlights of that bathroom. In answer to "what they were thinking", they clearly have a different aesthetic than you do and it just that: different. It's certainly not less valid or worse.

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Anonymous said...

it seems you hate ALL accent strips. I disagree. They shouldn't be in the middle of the shower (cut it in half like you said) or run all over the place as some of your examples do. But the right classy border up higher on the wall and on the simple side (about 6 tiles wide) can be a very nice focal point. Depends on what else is going on in the room.

Anonymous said...

You state "a detailed medallion looks great", but I think they are distracting and make me wonder why some tiles get framed in the middle of a wall as though it is some sort of "art".

Anonymous said...

As I said to my sister, "We are different". That doesn't mean some of us are wrong and some of us are right. It just means it's OK to like different things. I personally think the tile borders are fabulous.

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Anonymous said...

I have to say that I am so tired of subway tile. And in a bathroom with all walls and shower tiled, my immediate gut reaction was institution. It reminded me of the old hospitals I did my internships in. Sterile!

Anonymous said...

It's just you....decorative tile trim in showers is just more interesting. I redid my bathroom with a walk in shower with a single border of 4" decorative hand painted Mexican Talavera tile. It turned out gorgeous with the terracotta tile used in the rest of shower and floor. It takes me on vacation every single morning.

Chandra said...

If you like a border, then add one. If you don't... If adding a border, my advice is to keep it simple, don't over do it. Always keep in mind the resale .... even if you plan on dying in this home, someday it will have to be sold... even if it's by the surviving family members... Keep the tile relatively neutral, not too overly trendy, and release your personality with the paint and fixtures - the not so permanent things. Personally - a simple border can tie a shower to the rest of the bathroom, the bedroom, and possibly the rest of the house if used in other places. When a border is placed higher on the wall in a small bathroom, it will bring your eyes up - helps you to see the vertical space as well - you won't just see the small footprint. Just my opinion though.

saymyname said...

How are the fades with the mosaics created?

Brandy said...

They will have to be laid tiny tile by tile. Very laborious.

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Coronado said...

I think most of them look fine (except for the few examples with poor color choices), and Jessica is just a fussy judgmental cunt :)

Unknown said...

If you actually look at the tile work in a subway it usually has a line of different tile work with the name of stop. It makes sense to me if using "subway" tiles to have it look like that.

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Unknown said...

I was beginning to think I was the crazy one for not liking it. But yes, I shudder every time I see some stupid strip of mosaic tile just there. like , oh everyone is doing this, it must be pretty! But no, it just ruins the tile that was there. Like, why in a subway tiled shower do people think that running a line of mosaic will make it look good? No only does it not look good, but it takes away from the classic and clean and non fussy look of subway tile! Thank you, thank you for voicing this! Please people stop doing it!

Anonymous said...

I AGREE!!! I absolutely hate the stripe in the shower stalls! It's a trend that is long-overdue to die. We're putting in two showers at the new house and NEITHER of them are getting a stripe. Pure, clean, large marble tile on both, zero embellishments, borders, bottle niches, nothing! Cleaner and less grout lines to clean up later and whatever you stick in that stripe today may not be so popular in 20 years. I can't wait to see how many people have to rip out their shower tile jobs when this trend becomes horribly unpopular. Believe me, it will. Remember mirrored walls of the 70s? Anyone like those now? Nope! How about shag carpet? How "red kitchens". Sorry, trends are to risky in a long-term installation like tile.

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