The Best Bathroom Splashback Tiles To Get The Most Bang For Your Buck


Luxury shower with large calacatta viola Antiqua marble slabs on the wall and creating a bath shelf. On top of the wall is clé ceramic square tiles in a beige colour. Also shown is a brushed brass waterfall shower and a matching handheld shower. Sitting on the shelf is a dangling plant and Aesop shampoo and a cream-coloured soap dish.

Image Source | Krista Collard Interiors


Splashbacks are a great addition to many interior spaces, including kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Depending on your style aesthetic and colour palette, there are a range of tile options available for classy, elegant, and timeless splashbacks. But, what gives you the most bang for your buck in arguably the hardest working room in your house, the bathroom? Let’s take a look.


Marble

Carrara marble tile backsplash behind a white stand alone tub. Black bath tray with a flower vase and nail brush. A grey turkish towel draped over the side. Brass tapware mounted in the wall. Teal blue and grey flower Spanish tiles on the floor. A natural timber stool with a towel sitting just next to the tub.

Image Source | Krista Collard Interiors

If you want a truly stunning splashback that will stand the test of time, you can’t go past marble. As well as other natural stones such as slate and quartz, marble is a great material to use throughout your home and pairs effortlessly with almost any decor and style. For truly natural marble, you’re looking at anywhere from $300 and up per square metre and that's before installation, which absolutely must be done by a professional.


While nothing beats natural stone, the great thing about modern technology is that there are cheaper alternatives to natural marble if you want the same look without breaking the bank. Engineered marble tiles are digitally printed to replicate the natural stone at a fraction of the cost. For this option, you’re looking at $130+ for tiles alone, or $520 for materials and installation.


Ceramic

Grey ceramic subway tiles with white grout. A semi recessed round sink with a brass tap and marble vanity and brass mirror. Also on the vanity a flowering plant in a blush pink planter and a grey and white striped Turkish hand towel. A marble tray holds soaps and lotions from Aesop.

Image Source | Krista Collard Interiors

Ceramic is one of the most common materials for splashback tiles, and despite having many colourful and textural options, they’re still usually the most affordable option available. Ceramic tiles are made from a mixture of clay that is baked at a high temperature and covered in a hardening glaze to ensure they are strong and water resistant. Because of their sturdiness, ease to clean and affordability, ceramic tiles are used around the world in both kitchen and bathroom splashbacks.

Ceramic tiles come in a range of styles and colours which vary in price. Your options are endless with solid colours or patterns, gloss or matte, as well as various shapes and sizes. Depending on your chosen style, ceramic tiles will set you back $10-$50 per square metre in Australia and are a great DIY option. If you’re looking for a simple, affordable option with your pick of colours, patterns, size, shape and gloss, ceramic is the way to go.

Porcelain

Large porcelain tiles make a backsplash behind a timber vanity with a basin and tap on top. A white vase sits next to the basin holding skinny branches.

Image Source | Mandarin Stone

Similar to ceramic, porcelain tiles are composed of different clays that are then fired, although this time they are baked at even higher temperatures. This helps make the tiles non-porous, so they don’t need to be glazed in order to be protected. Because of this process and the finer materials used, these tiles are much tougher than ceramic. This means that they are a slightly more expensive option, however, compared to other splashback options, they’re still a relatively cost-effective choice.

Porcelain tiles in Australia cost around $40-$80 per square metre, and can also be installed yourself, although they are a little harder to cut than ceramic. The cost of tiles is again dependent on your style choice, with patterned tiles and unusual shapes costing more than simpler designs. If you’re looking to save money on porcelain, subway tiles in solid colours are your best bet.

Glass

A green glass vertical subway tile backsplash sits behind a terrazzo vanity and with a ceramic basin and a brass tap on top.

Image Source | Homes to Love

In the last decade, glass tiles have become increasingly popular due to their modern finish and reflective properties. Available in a range of colours, glass tiles are known for their high shine, naturally reflecting light around the room. Glass tiles are non-porous and stain-resistant, so make a great splashback with a low upkeep, as well as providing a sophisticated, modern look.


Glass tiles are much more delicate than ceramic and porcelain, making them more expensive and difficult to install. I wouldn’t recommend installing a glass splashback unless you have significant experience. With this in mind, you’re looking at $330+ per square metre for materials and installation, plus additional fees for extra cuts around power points etc. However, it may be worth spending the extra money on a small splashback area if a modern, low-upkeep tile is what you’re after.


Extra Tips

A black marble floating vanity sits inside a white nook with a clé square tile background. A black ceramic baskin sits on top with chrome wall mounted tapware and a black and brass framed mirror above. Hanging to the left is a single pendant. Also to the left is a large vase with wildflowers and a framed piece of art sitting behind.

Image Source | Amber Interiors

Splashbacks can really make or break room, so it’s important to get your look right, even when you have a tight budget. Here’s some final tips to consider before you buy your tiles:

  • Size matters. If you choose small, intricate tiles, they will be more difficult to install. This means lots of frustration if you’re doing it yourself, and a heftier price tag if you call in some help. In contrast, large tiles can be heavy and difficult to manoeuvre, so they aren’t necessarily your best bet. Choosing a mid sized tile in a standard shape (e.g. subway) will be easiest to install, and is one of the most versatile finishes.

  • Think about upkeep. Keeping your splashback clean is important in any room, especially if your tiles are reflective. Glass tiles can be the easiest to remove marks from, but also show up any streaks and smudges from your cleaning (just think or your mirrors!). In contrast, marble can take a bit more scrubbing but marks won’t show up - although many stones need resealing over time, so the extra cost is also important to factor in.

  • Know your stuff before you DIY. If you’ve not done any tiling before, there are a few basic steps to take to ensure you’re not yelling at the wall. Make sure you clean excess tile adhesive off both the tile face and between tiles before you grout for an expert finish. You should also use proper tile spacers (not wedges) to get all your lines straight and evenly spaced.

What tiles will you be using in your splashback? Contact me today to plan the perfect feature for your home.

Lower North Shore of Sydney, Australia. She is wearing a white and grey tweed blazer with a white cami underneath, jeans and black framed glasses. Her hair is dark blonde and she is smiling with her legs crossed and her arm rested on a marble and walnut side table surrounded by native Australian flowers and plants. A watercolour abstract painting in a matted and brass frame hangs on the wall behind her as do charcoal drapes.

Krista Collard Interiors is a full service design-build firm focusing on creating timeless spaces that honour sustainability and functionality across the Greater Sydney area.


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