The Big Tile & Bathroom Trends for 2020

As yet another year nears an end, it is always important in business to reflect on where your industry is going. The Tile and Bathroom industry is fascinating in that trends are always changing – everyone wants that something different to wow their friends, to Instagram, or even just to please their other half (if possible). What also has to be said is that even though opinions are always changing, like everything, the trends come and go in a cycle. We see things from the past come back into style, and before you can even adapt, the have changed again. Anyway, from what we can see in our Ballymena showroom, we have decided to put together a list of styles we expect to be big in 2020. 

1. Everything Grey

2. Wetrooms

3. Slate Effect Shower Trays

4. Comfort Height Toilets

5. Inside Out Tiles

6. Black Tapware

7. Pattern Tiles

8. Marble Effect Tiles

9. Free Standing Baths


5 Reasons to Choose Wood Effect Tiles

Discover Why Ireland and the UK have gone Wood Effect Mad

Our Ballymena showroom changes with time. As trends across the country change, we adapt our space to showcase the styles to the people of Ireland. Because of this – and spending every day in the showroom, it is very easy for us to see the changing crazes with time. 5 Years ago, 90% of the tiles were cream tones. The past few years, the same can be said about grey tiles. A recent development in the market is the explosion of wood effect tiles. Obviously, these are tiles which have been manufactured to look like wood, but why are the people of Ballymena, Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Cork and Glasgow going crazy over this look? Why should you invest in this sort of tile?

1. Wood Effect Tiles are Gorgeous!

The number 1 reason why anyone buys anything for their home is because of how it looks. This couldn’t be more true for Timber Effect Tiles. Technology is amazing, and in the 21st century our manufacturers in Spain, Italy and further afield have incredible capabilities to create any look they desire. There are tiles to mimic Oak, Walnut, Beech and more, not to mention the wood ‘mixes’ such as Canapa from La Fenice (Right).

Other styles that can be captured using Timber Effect tiles is bleached effect or burnt wood. So whether you are making a feature of your floor, or if your trying to match a Kitchen Cupboard and Worktop colours, there will be a range of wood effect tiles available.

2. Timber Effect Tiles are Really Durable

We all work hard in our jobs and put loads of effort into saving. When we finally use the savings to spend in home improvement, we want this to be a long lasting investment. Tiles provide a perfect mix of durability and price. Most tiles these days are Porcelain bodied, which is a clay that is fired to 1500°C to form a solid tile. This is great as it means that tiles are extremely heat resistant, allowing them to take a lot more abuse than other flooring options such as carpet.

Tiles are also very hard compared to other flooring options. They will not scratch as easy and can come in a range of different surface finishes e.g. anti slip, semi polished etc. This means that you can walk across your living room floor with high heels on without stressing about what’s going to happen your new tiles. This also allows wood effect tiles to be utilised in commercial areas where high footfall may cause other flooring options problems.

3. Wood Effect Tiles can be used inside or outside!

It’s well known that wooden floors can be troublesome when exposed to water. This is when wood effect tiles can be a great alternative. Perhaps you want to have a wooden floor in your bathroom, for the rich look and feel that this brings. However, your friend Susan had a wooden floor in the bathroom and had loads of problems with the floor lifting due to the floor absorbing water and warping. Never worry, because you can still have your wood floor, without these problems – well, sort of. With tiles, as long as they are porcelain, they will not absorb any water and so can be used in areas that will will be exposed to it. Whether this be the kitchen, bathroom, shower or outside patio, wood effect tiles are a solid solution.

4. Your underfloor heating works better with Tiles

This is maybe a selling point for tiles in general, but if you have an underfloor heating system, its benefits are enhanced if you have a ceramic based flooring. This is due to their amazing thermal properties, as well as their great conductive nature. The thickness of flooring makes little effect however does increase the time it takes to heat up. A floor thickness of 20mm is best for a highly responsive system – the majority of our tile range are 10-12mm thick.

5. Wood Effect Tiles will Retain Their Look

When we like something, we like for it to stay that way. We don’t choose a floor for it to look differently next year, any why should we? With wood effect tiles, once installed, the tile will retain its look and keep its colour regardless of how much light it is exposed to. Also, they will not absorb anything that is spilled, rather only the surface will absorb anything, and this can be easily fixed with a soft sponge.

Bathroom Refurbishment: What should my budget be?

Lots of the traffic through our Ballymena showroom is people who are doing their research to gather a budget for their project. Confused about whats required and what isn’t, its difficult for them to know how much cash is required for their bathroom refurbishment. For your convenience, we have put together a quick guide to give you an idea of what you need. We have included floor tiles, wall tiles, sanitary ware and bathroom furniture.

Bathroom Layout

Bathroom Layout chosen for case study

In order for this case study to be useful and relevant, I wanted to chose a common bathroom size in the UK and Ireland. The average bathroom is smaller than people think, at 2.5m long and 1.5m wide. There is a 800mm internal door opening inwards to the bathroom and a 750mm window on the external wall. A standard family bathroom should contain a toilet, sink or vanity unit, bath, radiator and taps for the basin and bath. Tiles will be chosen due to their impermeable nature.

What about the Tiles?

The wall and floor is a great area for creating aesthetic appeal and individuality within your bathroom and so these must be considered in the case study. 

Wall Tiles - Popular Subway Style Tiles in White for a Clean and Light Feel

I decided to choose the ever popular Metro Tiles as they provide a style that almost everyone loves! These subway tiles are used in bathrooms across the UK including Hotels, Bars and Private Bathrooms. They have a light gloss for light to reflect off and the slight bevelled edge provides a depth the to room to give it an added feature. They come in a vast range of colours so all tastes and colour schemes can be accommodated meaning it is a good tile to base the case study on. At £14.95 per square metre, its hard to argue against them.

Floor Tiles - Colour Scheme chooses the Dream Range


Whilst the point in this article is provide you an idea of what budget you could kit out a bathroom with, its important to maintain a realistic approach when doing so. In other words, the selections must complement each other in colour scheme and style. With a small floor space, we want to keep eyes away from the floor and attract them to the larger wall area (See our blog on Tips to Make a Bathroom Feel Bigger). I have opted for the Dream Range, and more specifically Dream Marengo. This 45×45 Matte tile is a light grey colour which will contrast well with the White Metro tiles on the wall and suit well in our colour scheme. We sell this range for £9.95 per SQM.

We need some Sanitaryware!

What’s a bathroom without, well, the bath, or the toilet or sink? Options are limited for the bath in a space this size, so we’ve opted for the standard 1500mm Lotus Bath from Sonas Bathrooms Ireland.  We sell these baths for £149.95. Next, we have decided to use the Belmont 550mm Vanity Unit and Basin in White to maintain our colour Scheme. This unit is generously priced at £95.95. This unit comes in a variety of sizes and also comes in a Wood Effect finish if you are trying to create a differently styled space. Finally, the toilet itself. We have chose the Denver Toilet due to its simplicity. This fully shrouded close coupled toilet features the eco friendly dual flush system and allows your to hide all pipework within itself. This set will set us back £127.95.


Bathroom Accessories

We could draw the line after sanitaryware but in reality, when you are drawing up a budget, you want it to be for everything you require and not just the bare bones, because you only fool yourself. In my opinion, every bathroom needs a towel rail or radiator and also a mirror, so we are going to include these costs. 

The Grand Total...

15 SQM of White Metro Tiles (Allows 10% Extra for Cuts) = £224.25

4.125 SQM of Dream Marengo (Allows 10% Extra for Cuts) = £41.04

1500mm Lotus Bath & Panel = £189.95

550mm Belmonth Vanity Unit = £95.95

Denver Toilet = £127.95

500mm White Radiator = £58.32

Cosmos Bath & Basin Taps = £98.90

Erin 550mm Mirror = £41.95

Adhesive & Grout for Tiles = £110

Budget = £988.31 inc VAT

Remember however that this does not include fitting (which we do not provide). This case study was based on what we consider an average bathroom within UK and Ireland. Your budget may have to be more if your room is larger than this, or if you want to have a much larger choice in product. Your budget may also be less if you omit some of elements, tile less of the room or have a smaller bathroom to begin with e.g. an en-suite. 

If you ave any difficulty in getting ideas together and would like to discuss your project with us, be in contact or book a meeting with us in our custom built consultancy room.

What is Water Pressure?

If a new bathroom refurbishment is on the horizon, or if you are having problems with water appliances leaking in your house, you may have had the word “Low Water Pressure” or “High Water Pressure” thrown in your direction.

Water pressure is a standard used to describe the rate at which water may flow in plumbing fixtures. The unit for this is the “Bar”, this is the force required to shoot water straight into the air to a height of 10 metres A house’s water pressure is basically determined by it’s elevation in relation to the reservoir which feeds it water. Homes in the hills above a reservoir would struggle with low water pressure as they would rely onwater being pumped, whereas houses at low elevations would be able to rely on the natural water head of the falling water to drive water pressure.

The adjacent diagram, prepared by Anglian Water clearly shows the difference in water pressures between houses. If you still aren’t sure if you have high or low water pressure, then follow our simple instructions below:

  • Turn off all taps, washing machines, dishwashers and all other water using appliances.
  •  Turn a tap on full power and fill a measuring jug up for ten seconds. Record how much water was collected.
  • Multiply this by 6 to get flow rate in litres per minute.

For example, if you collect 1.2 litres of water in the 10 seconds, then your flow rate is 12 litres per minute. Our general guide is:

  • Less than 10 Litres per Minute is Poor Water Pressure
  • Between 10 and 15 Litres per Minute is Acceptable Water Pressure
  • Above 15 Litres per Minute is Good Water Pressure

All of our Taps & Brassware products show a minimum operating pressure to ensure that the product can perform to its maximum.

Do you have a small Bathroom? Want to make it feel bigger?

I would estimate 50% of the kind people from across Northern Ireland who come into our Ballymena showroom looking for a new bathroom suite tell us “My Bathroom is Tiny” or “There’s no Room for X, Y or Z”. Whilst this may be true for a number of these people, it does not mean that their options should be limited. It does however mean that some extra care must be put in to maximise what space is available in their bathroom.

In our Ballymena showroom, 25 minutes from Belfast (Some may say they do it in 20), we have dozens of Bathroom settings, all complete with toilets, vanity units, mirrors, showers and baths. We try to replicate real life constraints with space, shape and light to give our customers a true idea of how certain configurations work best for certain circumstances.

1. Make a Plan of your Bathroom

The first thing that we would recommend someone to do before even coming into the shop is to draw a plan of their bathroom, marking any doors and windows and where these open. Draw it to scale and then make cardboard shower trays, baths, toilets and vanity units, at the same scale. The standard sizes to use for these are:

  • Shower Tray – 900x900mm Quadrant, 1200×900 Offset Quadrant, 1200×900 Rectangle
  • Bath – 1700x700mm, 1500x700mm
  • Toilet – 625x360mm
  • Vanity Unit – 600x425mm


Once this is done, you can play about with different sizes and layouts to find what works best for you. Having this done before coming into the showroom makes it clear to you what is on your shopping list. Although it isn’t very high tech, this is a very effective way of tailoring your bathroom layout.

Whatever floorspace your Bathroom has - keep it!

If you have a small floor space, don’t choose products which eat away at this, as this is a common mistake made by people with small bathrooms. Why spend time choosing your dream floor tiles just to set a large vanity unit on top and hide a lot of them? Most modern vanity unit ranges have wall hung options, which will open up the room by showing more of your floor tiles, and whilst this may compromise on the storage capacity of the vanity unit, it is worth it. Have a look at how we maximised the space in our small bathroom in our Ballymena showroom by using the wall hung Otto Plus Vanity Unit.

This vanity unit still offers two generous sized drawers that can be used for storage whilst also preserving any of the little floor space that we have to show off the gorgeous 800×800 Grotto Tiles. We also made use of a wall hung back to the wall toilet pan, to help maximise floor space. The storage space that may have been lost by the use of a wall hung vanity unit has been offset by the shelf that our concealed cistern provides.

3. Be Smart with Your Bathroom Colour Scheme

Creating a feeling of space is very much a visual illusion, and the greatest tool that we have available to us to influence visuals is colour. Colour is very important in creating the spacious bathroom you long for. Whether that be the colour of the wall tiles, the colour of the floor tiles, the colour of your vanity unit or colour of accessories, it is important that this be planned to make sure everything complements the theme you choose. Not only must you like the colours but it must suit the bathroom and everything else in it. Like everything, colours come and go in cycles. 5 years ago everything was cream and brown, and recently the majority of people are after grey.

ANZA Lifestyle

The whole point of colour is to attract the eye. So, if we want the room to feel bigger, we want to attract the eye to areas we have more of. In small rooms, we have a lot more wall area than floor and so its important that the eye is drawn to the walls. This is done by using brighter tones on the wall which will reflect any light available in the room. The floor can then be a slightly darker tone, to create the contrast and clearly define the floor and wall area. It is advised that natural tones such as beige, cream, white, and light grey are utilised throughout, as this will maximise the light available. 

Praga LS Web

Tile texture is also a great opportunity to make your room unique, whilst sticking to the light and natural tones. Look how the Praga Wave range is used to add character to the room and draw attention to the walls.

Its important to decide on a colour scheme good and early in your project so you can focus your tile shopping on the styles that suit your room. 

4. Bathroom Mirrors and Light

The most important aspect to space in any room is light, or the lack of it. In small bathrooms. it is vital to have sufficient light, whether this be natural light or artificial light. It is best to mix both sources to find optimum lighting conditions.

LED lights are common on most mirrors these days, which have a dual benefit for making bathrooms feel bigger. A larger mirror can make a room feel twice as big, couple this with effective lighting and you are well on your way to a larger bathroom. Back-lit mirrors, paired with glossy wall tiles are a very effective and popular way of emitting light throughout the entire room.


Lighting is particularly important in bathrooms as tasks such as shaving and applying makeup are performed. Because of this, you should always look for smart ways to introduce light in ways you may not have considered. Click the images below to learn more about our unusual lighting options

5. Bath or Shower? Is the bathroom big enough for both?

We all love the idea of coming home for a relaxing bath, but how many of us actually do it? When was the last time you had a bath? Did you just hop into the shower instead? Through our time in the industry we have seen a sharp decline in the amount of people who want baths, and the majority that we do sell are for decoration. It isn’t just us who appreciates this trend. According to Carmen Fishwick, only 4% of the British Public take a regular bath, with more than 3 quarters of people stating they prefer the speed of a shower. With this in mind, you must ask yourself; Do we really need a bath? Should I utilise the space I have with a bigger and better shower? 

The new popular trend these days is to take out the bath and replace it with a large, walk-in shower. With this comes a less cluttered feel to the bathroom, with more open space. A glass screen is used as a boundary for the shower, and with trays coming as large as required, you certainly won’t lose out on washing space. The good thing about modern trays are that the majority are low profile and so they will not look as chunky and will be slick and minimal looking. “Slate Effect” Trays can also be used, if different colours to the standard white are required. This allows colour schemes to be implemented into the shower design. An added bonus of these trays are that they can be cut into shape, allowing awkward spaces to be utilised in the shower.

Another modern trend is to double up the function of the bath to be a Shower Bath. Manufacturers now produce dedicated “L” and “P” shaped baths which allow for extra standing room at one end. This allows you to install a shower on the wall at one end and then use the bath as a shower tray when you want a shower instead of a bath. 

P Shape Bath
L Shape Shower Bath

If you require any assistance in choosing the layout, colour scheme or configuration of yor bathroom then please contact us on 02825632343, email us at or contact us on Facebook @justtilesni.

Alternatively, come and visit our tile and bathroom showroom in Ballymena:

Unit 22a Pennybridge Industrial Estate


Country Antrim

Northern Ireland


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