Choosing Tile for the Kids’ Bathroom

We’re getting ready to start our kids’ bathroom renovation and my goal is to really take you inside my brain as I’ve planned out this space. It’s one thing to just say, “Here are all of the pieces I chose for the room,” and another to really explain the “why” behind it all. So today, let’s talk about the kids’ bathroom tile. (Oh, and if you haven’t seen the design plan, you can find it right here!).

The Current Tile

Before we get to the new stuff, let’s take a look at this space when we bought the house in 2019. This bathroom was added on in the 90s and it came with builder-grade floor tile and a floral patterned shower tile. Both were very dated.

A look at our budget-friendly guest bathroom refresh

I did a phase one makeover by painting both the floor tile and the shower tile. That worked fine for a bit, but I’m really excited to have some new, fresh tile in here!

The Kids’ Bathroom Tile I Chose

Choosing the right kids' bathroom tile for our home

Here are the tiles I chose for the space. On the floor, we’ll be going with this mosaic hex tile with the fun pop of blue. Then, in the shower and halfway up the bathroom walls, we’re going with a classic subway tile.

Where to Shop for Tile

I looked at a lot of tile stores when I was planning out our kids’ bathroom and our main bathroom designs. I needed five different tiles, total, so it was a tad overwhelming at first. Here are the places I checked out…

  • Floor & Decor: This is where I got the kids’ bathroom tiles. They have good prices and a fairly large selection.
  • The Tile Shop: Their tile is a bit more high-end and they have great sales people to help you if you’re unsure of what you want. I got all of the tile for our main bathroom here.
  • The Tile Outlet: This is a local Chicago spot. I’ve gotten tile from here in the past and the tile from my mom’s bathrooms is from here. They have good prices and the people who work there are super knowledgeable.
  • Wayfair and Other Online Retailers: You can also order tile online, without seeing it in a store. If you do, I recommend getting some samples before you buy!
  • Lowe’s and Home Depot: Don’t forget the big box hardware stores. The patterned floor tile in our first-floor bathroom is from Lowe’s and it was a great price.

Let’s Talk Subway Tile

Kids' bathroom tile choices - I love using subway tile

So why did I choose subway tile? First, it’s cheap. Probably one of the least expensive tiles out there are plain white subway tiles. (Mine are $.15 for each piece.) We need a lot of it (920 pieces), since we’re tiling the entire shower up to the ceiling, and then all the way around the room, so it’s helpful that it isn’t pricey.

But besides the low price tag, I think subway tile is classic. It’s never going out of style and you can rest assured that if you use it in your home it will always be on-trend.

Patterns

How to remove grout haze on tile
Green Tile in Our Laundry Room – Running Bond Pattern

Here, we went with the standard subway tile pattern – it’s called “running bond” – where each tile is centered on one another. But there are so many awesome ways to change it up to give subway tile a whole new look.

Shower head with the creme cloe tile
Cream Tiles in our First-Floor Bathroom – Stacked Pattern

In our first floor bathroom, we stacked our tiles horizontally so it has a completely different look. It gives it a bit of edge and a modern feel.

You can also stack them vertically, use a herringbone pattern, chevron pattern, or even a basketweave! There are lots of subway tile pattern options and you can really get creative.

Grout Color and Spacers

How to choose the right subway tile

Finn and I used classic white subway tile when we DIY’ed the bathroom in our old condo. This was our first ever tiling job and we learned so much along the way. (Read: we made a lot of mistakes. Ha!)

Notches on subway tile create built-in spacers

At the time, I didn’t realize that subway tile comes with built-in notches that act as spacers. This means that you don’t have to even use spacers when installing it. Instead, the tiles can just be bumped right together because the notches create a built-in 1/16th inch grout line.

My best tips for tiling

In our condo bathroom, we used spacers and our grout lines were huge! I used so many freakin’ bags of grout, it was insane. I will never make that same mistake again.

In the kids’ bathroom, we won’t be using any extra spacers. We’ll just have the installers go with the built-in notches.

Our bathroom renovation reveal with subway tile

As for grout, you can really make a statement with it. In our condo bathroom, we went with the color “Silverado”, and it created a contrast against the white. Here, I want the room to look clean and clutter-free, so I’m going to choose a lighter color grout – not white, but probably a really light gray. I’ll choose that color once the pieces are in, so I can see how it pairs with the rest of the room.

Don’t Forget The Edges

Bullsnose tile is something to consider when choosing kids' bathroom tile

Whenever you’re tiling, you have to think about how the edges of your tile will look. If you just install the tile, you will see the unfinished side of the tiles, along the edge. You usually have two options here… You can use a Schluter piece – typically a metal or plastic edging – or a bullnose tile, which is your same tile, but with a rounded edge.

Creme shower tile

In our first-floor bathroom, I had my contractor use a tan Schluter piece to finish the edging. My mom did the same in her bathrooms. This is usually much cheaper, because it’s just one long piece of metal versus many specialty tile pieces.

Don't forget to choose schluter or bullnose when choosing kids' bathroom tile

For the kids’ bathroom tile, I’m going with a bullnose that matches the white subway tile. When choosing the tile, I made sure that there was a corresponding bullnose, so it would all match. The bullnose is a bit smaller than the subway tile – 2×6 vs. 3×6. The bullnose pieces will be placed along the top of the bathroom walls and they will also be used as the vertical edging in the shower area.

So long story short, make sure you have a plan for the tile edges!

My First Time Using Hex Tiles

Hexagon tiles when choosing kids' bathroom tile

I knew I wanted to do something different with the floor tile in the kids’ bathroom. We have patterned floor tile in our laundry room and first-floor bathroom, and I just wanted something completely different for this space.

Why Hex for a Kids’ Bathroom?

Choosing kids' bathroom tile

That’s when I fell in love with the idea of using a hexagon tile here. First, a mosaic tile like this one is great for a kids’ bathroom because it has a lot of grout lines. I know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t lots of grout lines bad because it means they’ll get dirty?” Well, my first priority is slipping. The more grout lines you have, the grippier it is! So this will be really nice for a kids’ bath.

Yes, there will be plenty of grout lines, but I’m planning to choose a light to medium gray color so it doesn’t look dirty immediately. I know people freak out about dirty grout whenever you mention tile, but honestly, these days the grout technology is pretty amazing. It often comes sealed and really protects against heavy staining. So don’t fret too much! And if your grout or tile does get dirty, I have this tutorial on how to clean and seal it!

I looked at lots of hexagon tiles and most of the patterned ones are black and white. I knew I wanted to go outside of the black and white box, so I considered getting a white mosaic and then a blue mosaic and removing the tiles to create my own pattern. But, then I found this exact one with the white and light blue flowers, and I figured it was meant to be!

What’s Next?

Our kids' bathroom before

The demo is set to begin soon and I cannot wait to get this project underway. I keep envisioning decorating the room in a cute way and giving the kids baths in here, and that warms my heart. But baby steps, people!

Catch Up On The Bathroom Renovation

More Tile Posts

I’ve done plenty of tile posts around here, including many projects I have installed myself. Here are some tips if you want to go that route…

Casey