Keep it Classy, Black and White Bathroom Inspiration

Amy Cuker, down2earth interior design’s owner and lead designer, continues to share with us her interior design inspiration for an upcoming bathroom overhaul. 

What’s black and white and stylish all over? A black and white bathroom of course.  I already have one in my house – I remodeled it a few years ago but kept the rounded medicine cabinet and the vintage shower door and shower wall tiles, so it has a very classic feel.  Here’s a peek:

Cuker Master Bathroom

However, now it’s time to tackle the hall bath, and this time what’s needed is a complete gut/renovation.   I like the idea of using black and white again – it is classic and will play nicely with the other 2nd floor bathroom.   But since we have to start from scratch in this room, I’m free to explore some fixtures and tile that are little more fun and contemporary.   And let us not forget that I dream of a yellow vanity, which will surely pack a punch.   Let the tub in this image be a stand in for the vanity I envision, and you’ll see what I mean:

Bathroom Inspiration, Yellow Tub

So what would form a pleasant backdrop for this lively vanity?   At the same time, I’m looking for something that will have a sense of humor and be timeless?   How about a large scale arabesque tile on the floor?

Arabesque Tile

Photo from Pinterest

Yes, arabesque patterns are everywhere, but I have rarely seen it at this scale.

Or maybe a wacky hexagon tile, like this one from Nemo Tile:

Maybe a little optical illusion, like these intriguing tiles from Ann Sacks:

Ann Sacks Rhythm Mosaics

Rythme Mosaics by Ann Sacks Tile & Stone

Another graphically interesting option is the Savoy Mosaics series from Ann Sacks Tile & Stone:

Savoy Mosaics by Ann Sacks Tile & Stone

My aim is to pair an interesting solid black floor tile with a more basic white wall tile and some kind of ‘wow’ tile in the niche that I’ll design for shampoo and soap.

When it comes to basic white wall tile, there are so very many choices.  So why not make a green choice?   Although I love the zero-waste commitment that Heath Ceramics makes, I’m finding more flexibility in size with a company called Mercury Mosaics.   The clay they use is locally sourced in the Midwest and they never throw any of it away. Their glazes contain no harmful ingredients.

After their tile is fired, they inspect each piece to make sure it’s suitable for our client’s project. If a tile is rejected, it is repurposed to become class tile. They use this class tile to teach Mosaics Classes. When they accumulate too much tile to store, they’ll donate the extra to local schools or organizations for them to make meaningful murals together.  So I feel good throwing my support their way, and there will be so many shapes of tile to choose from!   Check them out here:



Another vendor with oh so many shapes to choose from, as well as some environmentally friendly offerings is Fireclay Tile.

For the shower niche, I’m completely intrigued by this tile from Fireclay tile.


Photo from Instagram

The niche will be a little accent that ties the black and white together, and what’s even better is that Fireclay Tile is first tile company to be certified as a Benefit Corporation.   They do this by using sustainable manufacturing practices and recycled materials, and taking employee welfare seriously.

I intend to frame the shower niche in black to really make it pop:


Photo from Pinterest


Who wants plain white wall paint?   Not me!   But with all the pattern already going on, I think I need something a little subtle.   How about one of these small scale patterns from Spoonflower?


And finally, for the jewelry.  I always think of lighting and hardware as the jewelry of a bathroom.   We used gold hardware in this black and white bathroom I designed in Doylestown, PA.

Photo by Rebecca McAlpin, Click here to see more of our Belmont Project

And lots of folks use matte black fixtures in bathrooms, to great success.

But I am thinking that with the high contrast between the floor and wall tile, the eye could use a little rest.   Polished nickel hardware is in the lead.   Sconces on either side of the vanity are the best way to achieve even light, and I’m thinking about a fixture like the Ascenseur 2-Light Sconce from Restoration Hardware. And maybe the Union Filament Milk Glass Wide Flush mount in Polished Nickel can play a supporting role as the ceiling fixture.


I like the hardware to be in dialogue with the lighting.   And while both pretty basic in form, I enjoy the way Adeline and Bistro Pulls from RH mimic the shape of the sconce.


Next stop:  a trip to my favorite plumbing supply showroom to pick faucets and fixtures that harmonize.   Remember to look for brass fittings, not plastic!

Can’t wait to show you the final product, late in 2020.   Til then, here’s to the timeless style of black, white, and silver!

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