12 Timeless Shower Tile Designs That Will Never Go Out of Style

Stepping into a beautifully designed shower is one of life’s simple luxuries. As the warm water cascades over your body, the worries of the day seem to melt away. Surrounded by elegant tiles that stand the test of time, you feel a sense of timeless tranquility.

But achieving this type of refuge typically doesn’t happen by chance. It requires intentional design choices – selections made not on a whim or trend but crafted with longevity in mind.

As a designer and decor enthusiast based in Austin, I’ve seen fads come and go. Yet one element that always remains relevant is a well-conceived tile design. The right tiles can transform your bathroom into a sanctuary of style, today and for decades to come.

A contemporary shower space showcasing sleek

In this post, I’ll highlight 12 shower tile designs that promise to offer enduring elegance and versatility no matter how tastes may shift. Ranging from natural stone classics to bold patterns, these options check all the boxes: easy maintenance, visual appeal, and the ability to complement various aesthetics.

Timeless Design #1: Subway Tile

The quintessential subway tile needs no introduction. Its simple rectangular shape, often sized at 3 by 6 inches, delivers clean lines and minimal fuss. Dating back over a century when it graced the New York City subway system, this versatile tile fits perfectly in both vintage and modern spaces.

Beyond its iconic shape, subway tile shines thanks to its nearly endless color options. Whether cool white, dove grey, light blue, or even bold black, subway tile adapts effortlessly to any style. For a bit more flair, paint the grout or opt for a fun herringbone pattern.

A cozy terracotta tile

Timeless Design #2: Marble Tile

Few materials impart luxury quite like genuine marble. The intricate veining in each marble tile makes every piece feel special and unique. While a pricier proposition than ceramic or porcelain, marble’s beauty lies in part in its longevity — it can easily last 100 years with proper care.

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For showers, smaller marble mosaics create visual impact and hydrate the space with natural elegance. If working with a tighter budget, larger marble-look porcelain tiles mimic the beauty at a more affordable price point. Just be sure to seal the tiles properly post-installation.

A dual texture bathroom with one wall of the shower featuring large matte black tiles

Timeless Design #3: Classic Black and White

Sometimes simple is best. An enduring black and white palette needs little introduction. The high contrast makes quite a graphic statement, yet the color combo feels familiar like an old friend.

For a modern twist, play with unconventional patterns like asymmetrical mosaics or modern dots. Geometric designs also integrate seamlessly, creating plenty of visual pop.

If the ultra-bold black and white feels too stark, ease into the look with softer tones like dove grey and cream. The lighter pairing helps bathrooms feel fresh and spacious.

A gallery wall within a bathroom

Timeless Design #4: Moroccan Zellige Tile

Add an exotic yet timeless twist with Moroccan zellige tiles. These colorful handmade tiles date back over six centuries and remain trendy thanks to their artisanal charm. No two tiles ever match perfectly, reflecting the human touch behind mosaic patterns handed down through generations.

While intricate mosaic configurations beckon with ornate allure, even simply adding a zellige backsplash or accent wall imparts effortless style. Just take care to properly seal the tiles to prevent moisture damage and dulling of the vibrant glazes.

A minimalist shower design highlighting large

Timeless Design #5: Patterned Cement Tile

Pattern reigns supreme on handmade cement tiles. Traditional motifs like geometric shapes, starbursts, and floral designs adorn these tiles, many of which originate from historic French, Spanish, and English manufacturers.

Cement tiles offer the advantage of customization. Have a particular pattern or color scheme in mind? Many producers will work with clients to create personalized tiles to suit your vision.

Just don’t let the name fool you – today’s cement tiles contain higher ratios of clay, lending to increased durability and easier maintenance than their predecessors. Just be sure to properly seal them after installing to allow for safe cleaning.

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A serene bathroom with a shower adorned with natural slate stone tiles

Timeless Design #6: Textural Natural Stone Tiles

Sometimes you want to bring the outdoors in. Natural stones like travertine, limestone, and honed granite introduce earthy textures with style. These offer more depth and movement than uniform ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Go with larger format stones on the walls or floor for a seamless look. Mosaics also add visual dynamism when made from various natural stones. Just know that some stones like limestone or travertine require more regular sealing than granites.

A sophisticated shower adorned with ivory herringbone tiles on the walls

Timeless Design #7: Classic White Hexagon Tile

The hexagon shape brings a certain whimsical charm, dating back centuries in various civilizations. Today it’s found resurgence thanks to options like the classic white hexagon that pairs neatly alongside any color scheme or tile style.

Group multiple small hexagons together or go for larger individual hex tiles depending on your aesthetic vision. Use varying sizes too for more fluid shapes. Just don’t overdo the layout by covering every wall. Instead apply judiciously as accents, borders, or backsplashes to keep the hex magic alive.

A spacious walk in shower featuring a combination of marble and terracotta tiles

Timeless Design #8: Modern Geometric Tile

For contemporary style that transcends trends, turn to modern takes on geometry. We’re talking the full gamut: triangles, lines, curves, dots, squares, rectangles, rhombuses…you name it.

Group varying geometrics together on walls or floors or choose one shape for a bolder standalone statement. Metallic mosaics or 3D tiles also add light-catching dimension when backlit. Just be careful not to overdo it — adhere to the “less is more” principle to keep the look refined.

A tranquil bathroom featuring textured ceramic tiles in a soft beige

Timeless Design #9: Classic Basketweave Tile

The basketweave pattern wins fans with its tight, interlocking design typically comprised of squares and rectangles. Mimicking textile or ceramics, it brings dimension and tactile appeal.

White remains the most popular basketweave tile color, but the pattern pops beautifully in black as well. Or choose two coordinating colors for more contrast. Just avoid overly trendy hues or eclectic color combinations to maintain timelessness.

A vibrant shower niche accented with hand painted tiles featuring intricate floral motifs

Timeless Design #10: Bold Large-Format Tiles

Bigger is better when it comes to large-format tiles. Oversized options like 12×24 inch tiles or larger establish clean lines and expansive surfaces, giving any space a modern edge. These especially help modest rooms feel grander.

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Porcelain and ceramic tiles best facilitate the large sizing and durable installation. Just limit embellished textures or intricate patterns since they diminish the coveted seamless effect. A touch of mosaic tile on one wall balances the look.

An eco conscious bathroom showcasing a shower lined with recycled glass tiles in a kaleidoscope of greens

Timeless Design #11: Classic Glass Tile

Few materials impart such glossy brilliance as glass tile. Its luminous glint captures light beautifully in any space. Classic clear, white, or colored glass tiles especially exude timeless elegance with their familiar transparency.

Smaller glass mosaic tiles populate walls and niches with kaleidoscopic charm as well. For longevity, use manufacturer-approved setting materials and sealants to prevent scratches and water penetration behind the tile. Treat them gently during cleaning too.

An innovative shower space displaying a dynamic mix of geometric tiles in varying shades of blue and gray

Timeless Design #12: Sustainable Recycled Tile

Eco-friendly design continues its rise, and sustainable recycled tiles check all the boxes. Often made from pre-consumer industrial waste, porcelain, or reclaimed glass, these tiles sidestep additional waste while proffering serious style.

Look for recycled content tiles certified by organizations like LEED or FloorScore. Besides their green benefits, recycled tiles perform comparably to conventional counterparts in durability and application. Just vet product warranties since quality varies across manufacturers.

An opulent shower space with floor to ceiling Carrara marble tiles

Key Takeaways

While trends ebb and flow when it comes to tile design, some choices simply prove immutable. By turning to time-honored shapes, enduring color schemes, and high quality materials, you’re setting up your bathroom for longstanding elegance.

Remember too that tile placement makes all the difference. Thoughtful layouts keep designs fresh yet classic. Don’t hesitate to also weave varying patterns and textures, just adhere to the ethos of quality over quantity when embellishing.

Your shower ultimately offers respite from the outside world. Surround yourself with tiles that soothe rather than overwhelm the senses for a truly timeless sanctuary. With some savvy planning and tile selections, your bathroom will provide an elegant retreat for years to come.