Spanish Tiles Create a Splash in a Small Bath

Posted by William Buyok on

Are you wondering how to use Spanish tiles in a small bathroom to add visual interest and a strong splash of design sensibility? This article will walk you through how to approach the project, what tiles to use, and more. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Table of Contents


Finding the Right Design Using Spanish Tiles

Spanish tiles are a great way to add color and charm to just about any space.  In this post, I showcase how just a few hand-painted decorative tiles can brighten, cheer up, and add interest to even a small bathroom. I'll show you how we worked with the homeowner to find a design that worked with their budget. You will also see how we used these tiles for an accent wall, a shower niche, and around the bench and shower curb. You will also find a few great design tips on how to use these gorgeous tiles.

Barcelona La Ermita Spanish Tile Accent and Bench in Shower

Decorative Tiles Add a Splash of Interest to this Shower 

Project Parameters and Background

Avente Tile provided all the decorative tiles and plain blue bench tiles.  The 3"x12" white field tile and blue herringbone floor tiles were recommended by Avente and provided by another tile vendor.   

This small bathroom is in an apartment in Los Angeles, California.  The apartment was being created by converting a 1920s detached garage to an Accessory Dwelling Units or ADU. 

ADUs are additional living quarters on single-family lots that are independent of the primary dwelling unit.  You may have heard of them referred to as accessory apartments, second units, or granny flats. 

This apartment is about 360 sq ft and the bathroom is 8'x5' or 40 sq ft.  The bathroom has no windows or natural light.  Avente Tile was tasked with finding a way to keep the area bright and cheerful without breaking the bank.

Los Angeles ADU Floor Plan

Floor Plan for the ADU with Bathroom Plan

The apartment was primarily designed so that the property owner's mother would have a place to stay during the winter and eventually full-time if she was no longer able to completely care for herself.  The property owner let Avente know that she liked flowers, being outdoors, and was an oil painter with a penchant for landscapes.

Design Options and Recommendations

We recommended using 3"x12" plank-style subway tiles in a horizontal running bond layout to make the space seem larger.  We recommended a glass enclosure to keep any available light (as opposed to a shower curtain) even though that added considerable cost. We also recommended adding a bench to the shower to accommodate aging in place. And, a small niche for toiletries. The field tile needed to be an off-white or light neutral color to keep the space from being too dark. We presented two options: 

  1. A decorative accent or rug on the shower wall using any of our Barcelona La Ermita Quarter Design tiles on the main wall
  2. A horizontal accent strip of decorative 6"x6" tiles run at about 6' high on all three tiled walls

Here are the preliminary renderings we provided to help the owner get a sense of our two designs.

Option 2 for Los Angeles Shower Accent - Barcelona La Ermita Rug

Option 1 - Shower Accent Rug on Wall

Option 2 for Los Angeles Shower Accent - Spanish Alcala Accent Strip

Option 2 - Shower Accent Strip at 6'

Approved Design and Tile Choices

The owner really liked Option 1 because of the colors and flower motif. He accepted our recommendations for the bench, niche, and glass enclosure. So we proceeded with the recommended tiles for the project and provided details in rough sketches for the installer.


Los Angeles Shower Elevation Showing Niche

Shower Elevation Details for Shower Niche


LA Shower Elevation Details for Accent, Bench, and Shower Curb

Shower Elevation Details for Accent, Bench, and Shower Curb

The Reveal: Accent Rug, Niche, Bench and Shower Curb

Here are the photos after the project was finished starting with a wide angle shot of the entire shower from outside the glass enclosure.

Los Angeles Bathroom Showroom with Avente's Barcelona Accent Tiles - Wide Angle View

The Reveal of the Finished Shower with Avente's Spanish Tiles

The tiled accent rug on the shower wall is bright, colorful and full of cheer - a great way to start the day.

Barcelona La Ermita Spanish Tile Accent for Shower

Shower Wall Accent or Tile Rug with Barcelona La Ermita

Los Angeles Stanley Shower Wall Rug and Niche with Barcelona La Ermita

Shower Rug and Niche with Barcelona La Ermita Spanish Tile

Shower Bench Tiled with Barcelona Decorative Border Tiles and Yucatan Midnight Blue
Shower Bench with Barcelona and Yucatan Midnight Blue Tile

Detail of Shower Wall Accent Rug with Barcelona La Ermita
Shower Wall Accent Rug Detail of Barcelona La Ermita Tiles


Detail of Tiled Shower Bench & Curb with Barcelona Borders

Design Tip: Mix and Match Border Tiles

Look closely at the border tile on the bench, shower curb, niche and wall accent.

The curb uses the Barcelona San Francisco 3"x6" Border; the bench and niche use Barcelona La Merced 3"x6" Border; the accent rug use Barcelona La Ermita Border. Was that a mistake?

No, mixing borders from the same line of tiles is a great way to keep the design interesting and makes mixing the tiles easy because the tiles have a similar style and color palette.  There is nothing wrong with using all the same border tiles either if you want a more traditional design.

Detail of Tiled Shower Bench Showing Different Barcelona Border Tiles on Bench and Shower Floor

Shower Niche with Barcelona 6"x6" La Ermita and 3"x6" Border Tiles

Design Tip: How to Pair Decorative Spanish and Plain Tiles

Look closely at the white background color in the La Ermita tiles and the 3"x12" white field tiles. Notice that the white colors aren't a perfect match; but, they are close enough.

Additionally, look at the blue in the deco tiles and compare it to the blue tile on the bench and shower curb. You'll notice the same thing. The colors are different; but, harmonious. Rarely will you get the background color of a decorative tile to match exactly to the color of your field tile, and that's OK!

The subtle difference helps set them apart. The key is to avoid bright, pure whites. Instead, look for off-whites, antique whites, or ivory white - usually warm whites are the best choice to use with these tiles.

Additionally, you can tie different shades of a color together with a blend of plain tiles that embrace all the colors of the palette. In this project, we used the different blues shaded in the mini-herringbone floor tiles to help blend everything together. Remember, not everything will match exactly, especially when mixing decorative hand painted tiles with plain tiles.  But, that variation in color when executed with a careful eye will enhance the variation in the hand painted tiles and create a stunning design.

Avente Spanish Tiles Used in This Bathroom

Spanish bath tiles convey warmth and charm, creating an welcoming ambiance. With centuries-old tile designs, our versatile Barcelona ceramic tile collection includes borders, corners, and scaled decorative patterns in a 3"x3" and 6"x6" complete designs and a 6"x6" quarter designs. These tiles are great for counters, stair risers, backsplashes and accent walls.

Here are the tiles used in this project:

Get Started with Your Small Bathroom Design Using Spanish Tiles

I hope you enjoyed this tour showcasing how just a few decorative Spanish tiles can make a splash - even in a small bathroom. The photos help convey the warm, bright, and cheery ambience these tiles create. 

Are you ready for more Spanish tile bathroom inspiration?  To see more installations of our handcrafted tiles used in bathrooms, just visit our Blog of Bathroom Tiles

Ready to find the right tile for your project? Visit our collection of Barcelona Tiles and Classic Spanish Tiles.

Share this post

← Older Post