Slate or Porcelain Tile in the Bathroom?

Recently, during a consultation,  I walked into a bathroom that was very much like this one:

Source – fun post on bathrooms in the 2000’s

 Okay this is actually not that bad compared to the one I saw (which was more like this one), but unless you plan to live in your house for the next 20 years—don’t do it!

The reason I say this is because it’s like painting your bathroom walls dark blue or green, once you get tired of it, you’re stuck with it until you take it out! It’s certainly personal but it’s why I prefer the more timeless look of white or cream.


If you love this [the slate or dark] look, confine it to the flooring (above). I still think white or a light coordinating colour (for the walls) looks clean, just like a bathroom should be!

Love this bathroom by David Jiminez

A bathroom big enough for a claw foot tub is such a luxury Source

Remember my post on “When is White just Right?” Well I might have missed White or Cream Tile – it’s just right in bathrooms in my opinion (the powder room being the exception which is the jewelry box of the main floor).

What do you think my lovelies? Has the slate trend of the 2000’s gone too far?

We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous email consultation packages here.

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Related posts:

How to know if the Tile you have selected has the Right Undertones

How to Shop for Wallpaper

Glamorous White Kitchen

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  1. I love all these great comments, this is awesome! My issue with slate is that it's like painting your bathroom dark blue or green or something. And there is no changing it (without a big expense) once you decide you don't like it anymore. And I agree, keep it in a mountain log home or something, home cause that's where at least it's themed with everything else.

  2. I agree with you, Maria. I've never cared for the one of the heavier, dark stones on the walls. I'm a light and airy bath person. It does feel cleaner and fresher to me. But that's just me. I know some of my friends and family love hte heavy, dark Tuscan look. It makes me feel claustrophobic. Can't wait for help with our master which is way overdue for an overhaul.

  3. Love white or cream bathrooms. I dont think they can be beat. Clean, fresh, spa like….classic. I love your point of view.

    Hate slate on shower walls. Ok fine for an entry floor but in a bath, no never. I find it so masculine and as another reader commented cavelike. It's just not pretty or lasting.

    We had a customer in the store last week gushing about her new house with her slate bathroom and all the pretty colours. I was horrified. I personally find it way too heavy and thought, what was she thinking. To each his own…

    Great post, right on the mark!

  4. I don't know. I am a huge fan of slate. It is so pretty and it has so many beautiful colors. But Wite is fresh and clean. I think both are great!

  5. Marie, I see your point about the limitations of the dark slate. I saw that slate on a friend's bathroom and it really did not match the rest of the house. It felt like you had just walked into an old monastery. A group of church friends and I re-did the entire house to help out this friend who bought the house cheap after her husband died suddenly. It was in a gorgeous neighborhood but had been re-possessed. We updated the whole house, new wallpaper, re-texturing the walls, painting, appliances, laying tile on the floors..but that bathroom was one thing we couldn't do anything about. It was so sad that she was stuck.

    Marie, thanks for the nice comment on my blog! That is so sweet of you. :o)

  6. I was never a fan of slate on shower walls. Too cave-like, always seemed cold and uninviting — and I always wondered how clean it really was. To me it is just a cold, dank, depressing look. Lighter colors are my style.

    • Marie, You know I know next to nothing about as a total amateur, all I can say is how these bathrooms make me ‘feel’. The first bathroom feels grungy to me..not appealing. It makes me think 70’s. The second one is very interesting! I like the natural tones and surfaces..but it’s a bit too modern for me. It seems a little cramped too. The third one, all white, seems just a tad bit sterile although it is very pretty. But I’m sort of tired of getting stuck with white and after 22 years of renting..that is really tired! Ha! However,like Goldlocks and the Three bears, I have to say that the last bathroom is ‘just right’! Of course, it may be that I’m partial to that green. But it seems like that design combines a little bit of color for some pizazz but keeps the nice fresh look of the white too. The best of both worlds! Now I have some ideas for how to work on our bathroom this summer! Thanks!

  7. Linda at Lime in the Coconut!

    Well if the slate trend is anything like the brown and rust multicolored tie dye looking tile of the 70's that we ripped out of two bathrooms…run for the hills!!!

  8. I like slate, but I think what is in the picture is too busy for such a small space. Maybe a dark stone tile that had less variation. White is good too! Though sometimes it can look too sterile. Maybe a happy medium?

  9. Laura Neuman/PepperJack Interiors

    I live and design near the Sierra Nevadas in California and the slate look has crept down the mountains, out of the lodges and into urban homes around here. Coupled with the low cost of the material I'm afraid that folks will continue to want it in my area. So I work hard to show them alternatives. I go crazy with this because folks also want to couple it into a Craftsman look which is my least favorite of all.

    I have seen a honed slate slab on a counter in a kitchen that was beautiful! Coupled with white and other light colors….

  10. I prefer white tiles for the bathrooms…and white, fluffy towels. That's my next project…
    I am so looking forward to removing all the terra cotta carpet from all the bathrooms…the laminate cabinets, too.(Why would anyone put carpet in bathrooms? Especially the pool bath…)

  11. tile is easier to clean first of all… also there are more color options… I always used tile because of these characteristics… have a great weekend!

  12. I think I’ve now decided on Travertine. As much as I love slate, I don’t want it to affect my resale value—or 5 years from now question my design choice. Thanks for the help!