How to Use 3D Tiles for Your Bathroom

by | Last updated Jun 21, 2023 | Bathroom Design, Interior Design, Materials & Finishes

Color, pattern, texture, and accessory variations are some of the ways to enhance a bathroom design. One unique option to elevate your bathroom is to incorporate 3D tiles.

Most tiles are flat, but 3D tiles have three-dimensional surfaces with ins and outs, creating depth in the tile design. 3D Tiles are good for accent walls and adding detail to a bathroom. Depending on the design, some 3D tiles are difficult to cut and wrap around a corner. You should not use 3D tiles on a floor and only put them on walls. 

Understanding your options is essential for making informed decisions on your bathroom design. 3D tiles are an excellent accent tile to be used in certain areas to add depth and character to a bathroom.

I am Jorge Fontan, an architect in New York and owner of NYC-based architecture firm Fontan Architecture. In this post, I am going to show you a few examples of our projects where we used 3D tiles in bathrooms. We will also discuss some of the thought process behind the decisions and some details to consider when choosing your tiles.


Alternating 3D Tiles and Standard Tiles

This first example shows a bathroom with two types of tiles, creating an alternating striping effect. One of the tiles is a 3D tile, and the other is a flat tile. Both are the same color, just the texture is different. The 3D tile has horizontal groves in it to give it texture. Adding a different tile and a three-dimensional surface makes the bathroom more dynamic.

3D Tile Bathroom Walls

3D Tile Bathroom Walls


Below is a close-up picture of the 3D tile pattern. One crucial point about this tile is that it can wrap around corners. Not all 3D tiles will be easy to cut and match up at the corners. This one has a stripe pattern that is consistent from tile to tile. Some designs may be irregular, and when they join on a corner may not look good.
These tiles are porcelain. There are different ways to do an outside corner on a porcelain tile. Sometimes you can miter cut the tiles. A miter cut is cutting both tiles with a 45-degree angle to put them together at a 90-degree corner. A miter cut is ideal. You never want to do a but joint with porcelain tiles it will just look bad. Not all tiles work for miter cuts. The ability to miter depends on the tile. We always want to get the contractor’s opinion and discuss it with the manufacturer. When we cannot do a miter cut on a tile, we use edge strips like the metal strip you see below.

3D Tile Pattern

3D Tile Pattern Close-Up in a Gray Bathroom


Wood Look 3D Tiles

This next bathroom has a porcelain tile that looks like wood. This tile came on sheets with grooves to give the wood slat look. Porcelain is an excellent material for a bathroom and is much more durable than wood. The tile’s performance in a wet area is why we used the wood look tile in this shower.

Wood Slat Look 3D Tiles

Wood Slat Look 3D Tiles


The following picture shows the bathroom niche, made of the same wood look porcelain tiles. This material provides a spa-like feel by adding warmth and texture. This type of tile is an easy way to bring something extra to a bathroom design.

3D Tile Bathroom Niche

3D Tile Bathroom Niche


3D Tile Accent Wall

This next bathroom has a 3D tile accent wall. We made a section of one wall out of 3D tiles. Minimizing the area creates a great little accent. Sometimes using the 3D tile more sparingly will help them stand out more. These tiles are porcelain. We have another post if you want to read about Why Porcelain is Good for a Bathroom.

Bathroom with 3D Accent Tile

Bathroom with 3D Accent Tile (Chelsea, Manhattan, NY)


On the left side of the photo below, you can see a close-up of the 3D tile’s ins and outs. The most important thing I can tell you about designing a bathroom is that it all has to work together. We keep it classy and try not to go over the top. In this bathroom, we again used two tiles that matched in color but not texture to make it a more subtle nice touch.

Texture Porcelain Tile in a bathroom with Chrome Fixtures

Texture Porcelain Tile Bathroom (Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC)


Bathrooms With 3D Tiles

Always think of bathrooms as a whole. All the parts must come together in one cohesive design. It is great to add a little contrast. Please go for it. But do it intentionally, not haphazardly.


Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post on the 3D Tiles for the Bathroom.

I hope this was helpful. Contact us at Fontan Architecture directly if you want to speak with an architect about a potential project.


Contact Fontan Architecture

Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.