Inspired by The Block NZ's impressive bathroom tiles? An expert shares how to bring the magic into your own family bathroom

Chloe & Ben's family bathroom.
Chloe & Ben's family bathroom. Photo credit: The Block NZ on Three

Family bathroom week on the Block NZ — it's notably the hardest week each year, and the most common culprit for an unfinished room.

But this week, not only did all our Redemption teams finish, they created stunning, light and bright spaces with sky high tiled feature walls, wet room approaches and stand out finishes — all with a little guidance from the experts at The Tile Depot. 

We even saw judge Jason Bonham so impressed he was lost for words: a Block NZ first, by all accounts. So how can Block NZ fans bring this faultless style into their own bathrooms? 

 We talked to The Tile Depot's Head of Design Karen Syddall about what made this week's rooms so successful, and how to capture that magic in our own homes. 

It's easy being green 

And no, we don't just mean opting for eco-friendly options — although of course that's never a bad thing. In this case, we mean literally. Green is heavily on trend and this week we saw two of the Block teams utilise the stunning natural shade in their tile choices. 

Maree and James created a feature wall with Tribeca Sage subway tiles arranged vertically to the ceiling, while Christchurch couple Quinn and Ben opted for the earthy tones in their Argile Khaki square tiles

Syddall says the use of green "has really taken off". 

"2022 has seen an increase in a wide range of really earthy colours that really connect to nature, with green certainly proving to be the most popular," she told Newshub.

Maree & James' family bathroom.
Maree & James' family bathroom. Photo credit: The Block NZ on Three

"Green is a calming and restorative colour, renowned for its symbolism and connection to nature, balance and harmony." 

It's all down to a little thing she calls "biophilic design". 

"[That] is the term for the trending of interiors that draw upon connections to nature, be it obvious designs of flora and fauna, the extensive use of organic materials and handmade-effect products, as well as colours that evoke those connections to the outdoors," she explained. 

As we saw in the high scoring bathrooms this week, green tiles also work well with other popular bathroom colours and textures, including stone, wood, marble and even cement-effect designs. 

"It also works well with any metallic finish… it is just so versatile." 

Lay it your way

The lean towards mosaic and subway tiles shows no sign of slowing, according to Syddall.  This week we saw several of our Block NZ teams use them to great effect. 

"They are both classic tile formats that are just being reimagined constantly in new materials, finishes, designs and colourways," she says. 

Where Quinn and Ben impressed the judges "by just going for it" with a room tiled in vertically laid Sticks White Mosaic tiles, both the Yellow Team and Blue Teams opted for vertically stacked  subway tiles for an ultra-chic and timeless look. Maree and James went for vertical 60x246 Tribeca Sage tiles while Chloe and Ben opted for vertically laid 60x246 Tribeca Oatmeal tiles

Syddall says she's "a big fan of a small format tile", due to the individual creativity that can be shown through application. 

"Both subways and mosaics give a huge amount of creative freedom in the way they can be laid, so are a great way to create a truly bespoke space," she said. 

"They open up so many possibilities of colours, textures and laying patterns that can really influence the character, mood of a room and make the room unique to the homeowner."

Quinn & Ben's family bathroom.
Quinn & Ben's family bathroom. Photo credit: The Block NZ on Three

Natural and neutral 

There's a reason why often the Block NZ teams are left scrambling at the end of bathroom week — renovating and decorating a bathroom is a huge job. That means when it comes to your own home, you want a timeless style that will age elegantly for the years to come.  

Using natural, neutral tones is a great way to make sure your space won't date, and can be jazzed up with colourful and textural towels and accessories. 

Chloe and Ben were dubbed the "masters of neutrals" with their Frammenta Perla tiles, while Maree and James opted for the Frammenta Bianco. Both these large Italian glazed Terrazzo porcelain tiles give a natural look, while still standing out. 

Syddall says natural look floor tiles in glazed porcelain are one of the key trends they're seeing in 2022.

"Classic stone designs have a timeless appeal. Porcelain designs that look like natural stone are always sought after and — depending on the style — cannot be pinpointed to a particular period in time when they were 'on trend'," she explained. 

"I always feel nature doesn't date, so it's always a good choice to get longevity out of a look." 

Think of the space 

Both the Blue Team's Chloe and Ben and the Purple Team's Stacy and Adam opted for 'wet room' bathroom styles —  waterproofing the bathroom space so the shower area was flush with the rest of the room. This was finished with large terrazzo & travertine-effect porcelain tiles on the floor and walls to give the appearance of a "high end hotel".

Syddall advises that it's important to think of the practicalities when it comes to choosing tiles for a family bathroom. While high gloss porcelain tiles look stunning on the walls and ceiling, it's best to avoid a polished tile on the bathroom floor, says Syddall, as these can be slippery.

Stacy and Adam's family bathroom.
Stacy and Adam's family bathroom. Photo credit: The Block NZ on Three

"Aside from colour and design it's the finish of the tile that is most crucial for your family’s safety. Polished tiles might give that high-end luxury resort aesthetic, but they are incredibly slippery when wet," she explains. "So although there are many flooring grade high gloss tiles around, we definitely recommend using only matt finishes on the bathroom floor. But you don’t want to be too rough or textured, as they will be harder to clean". 

The Orange Team opted for a 100x100 Argile Khaki option which is a porcelain range with R9 anti-slip standard, while the Purple Team went for Cross Cut Greige, which has an R10 slip resistant rating and a matching R10 anti-slip version available.

Check it once, check it twice

We've all done it: you've loved something in the store only to get it home and it didn't look quite right. Well your home is just the same — only more permanent. Syddall says that's why The Tile Depot team recommend taking your tiles home to make sure they work in the space — especially when playing with different types of light as this week the teams have done with varying recessed lighting options, skylights and feature lights. 

"We always recommend borrowing tile samples, if you come in store we can loan full sized pieces on most of our range," says Syddall. "These should be viewed in-situ in daylight and evening light before making a final decision. They never look quite the same as they do in a showroom and can vary hugely from day to night!"

If you're searching for the perfect tiles for your next project, take a look at The Tile Depot which has over 1,000 products available and are a family focused business established in 1995. 

This article was created for The Tile Depot, partner of The Block NZ on Three.