bathroom tiling

Bathroom Wall Tile Height: What are the design choices?


The two most common bathroom wall tile heights include either tiling from the floor to ceiling or tiling from floor up to almost 36 inches.

Bathroom wall tile height is an important subject among many others when you plan to design your house bathrooms. As is usually the case in most design philosophies there is a new way and an old way. The new way utilizes the modern aesthetic open floor philosophy while the older way gives the house a more contemporary or Victorian era look.

It is gonna be a matter of your preference but if you are remodeling an older house that has the older design philosophy all throughout the house it is always better to reflect that philosophy in your bathroom as well. In such a scenario I would recommend to stay away from the modern looking plain aesthetic large bathroom tiles and go with the small Victorian classic tiles. This will keep the overall design philosophy of the house and the house will get a higher price when you decide to sell it. Similarly it is wise to not incorporate Spanish and older Victorian design era small tiles in your modern looking house.

What is the bathroom wall tile height for Victorian/Spanish/Contemporary designed houses?

The tile height for this design philosophy varies between 34 to 56 inches but the most common height is 36 inches. This will significantly reduce the cost of tiling both in labor and materials.

What is the bathroom wall tile height for modern designed houses?

For modern design houses you will have to fully tile the bathroom up to the ceiling. This can increase the costs. But it generally doesn’t cost a lot. As the modern tiles are pretty big they are easier to install and hence you will save significantly in labor costs altogether.

The older common methods of bathroom tiling and their respective heights used have been mentioned below.

  • Almost to the top
  • Floor to Ceiling
  • Classic Wainscoting
  • Contemporary Wainscoting

Almost to the top

Going almost to the top is a great way to flaunt the modern aesthetic. Generally you will tend to go up to the top of the shower with this design. You need to get a fell for this design by visiting a new construction area as many people decide to go with this and then they find out later that they are not satisfied with the look and have to get the top area also tiled. So decide beforehand to save extra costs in labor. The usual height is 1.5 feet below the ceiling.

Bathroom wall tile height

Floor to Ceiling

Going all the way up to the ceiling makes up the most of the modern aesthetic look. You need to decide one thing with this look. Do you want the tiles to be place vertically or horizontally. Both designs work but here again comes the matter of choice. I cannot give you a recommendation with this one as you will have to go with your gut on this one.

Classic Wainscoting

This is the classic choice. Classic wainscoting is marked by a border at the top and all mirrors and shower heads and towel racks are mounted above the border as is clearly visible in the image. This is the old aesthetic and will suit a classic looking house. It is the best option if you are remodeling an older house. The usual height is 36 inches.

Bathroom wall tile height

Contemporary Wainscoting

Contemporary wainscoting is different in essence that it usually does not have a top border. In the image you will see the vanity placed at level with the top of the tiling. This idea of contemporary wainscoting has creeped into the modern design aesthetic as well as it reduces the cost of tiling alot. The usual height is 36 inches.

Should you fully tile a small bathroom?

Yes you can and you probably should. Small bathrooms are quite tight and hence it is very common to get an accidental splash on the walls. So going with a fully tiles bathroom wall is the best way to prevent any unnecessary paint jobs on a regular basis. For a small bathroom it is further advisable to place the tiles vertically instead of horizontally as this would make the smaller space look taller than usual. It will prevent your eyes from constantly seeing the small bathroom as a claustrophobic space which usually happens when you place the tiles horizontally.

Should a bathroom be fully tiled?

Yes you can fully tile a bathroom. Fully tiling a bathroom means that you also place tiling on the ceiling in the shower. This can be a great addition to small bathrooms especially in apartments and it ensures that the bathrooms walls and ceiling both are protected from accidental splashes.


In the above article i have tried to explain the various common design philosophies and methods used for bathroom tiling and the various heights they usually use. In most of the cases it is better to discuss with your contractor about what sort of tiling he has done before and what are the costs gonna be for each one.

Find more articles on bathroom tiling here.

Find great options for bathroom tiles on amazon.

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