Most people think of travertine as an outdoor paving option. It has that raw, stereotypical stone character that recalls Ancient Greek and Roman ruins. The right travertine tile can instantly turn your home from a cookie cutter modern home to a stately iconic space, just like pantheons and colosseums. It paints your style as classic and sophisticated.
But there are lots of other ways to use travertine, and the bathroom is one of them. It doesn’t seem like the most intuitive choice, but it works really well. Travertine is porous, but it can handle all that bathroom moisture. It’s a low-slip material, both dry and wet. Here are some suggestions on how to line your bathroom with travertine.
1. Select the right finish
Travertine has many fine holes and pores, and this makes it good for pool sides and water-soaked areas. The pores make it harder to fall on the travertine, and any water that the rock absorbs will soak back into the ground or be drained into the sewers. However, for indoor use, this might be a problem, because the absorbed liquid will stay on the house floors.
This accumulated water can weaken the walls and floors, causing potential collapse. This is easily fixed though. Use travertine that has been honed or tumbled, to minimise liquid absorption. Honed travertine is smooth and matte, while tumbled travertine tiles bathroom have that typical old-world stone appearance, great for cultured themes and styles.
2. Use it in the shower
Travertine is ideal for shower floors and walls because it doesn’t show dirt or accumulate scum. Its nature makes the stains slip right off, and the walls won’t get slippery or slimy. To clean your travertine, invest in a high-quality squeegee. This will easily get rid of stains, and you won’t really need to scrub or scour your shower.
For best results, clean soon after use, so that the stains are loose and easy to remove. Of course, you might not want to wash right after a bath, so when you need to clean it, you can run the hot shower for a few minutes to steam it up, then squeegee off the dirt.
3. Bathtubs and sinks
Give your sinks, tubs, and wash basins a special touch by constructing them out of travertine. It will make bath time feel special, evoking that classic bath ambience. To heighten the effect, decorate your floor and walls with colourful mosaics, just like the roman baths.
To accompany the travertine, use faucets, taps, and fixtures that work with the stone. Instead of using shiny industrial chrome and stainless steel, consider using taps in copper, brass, or bronze. It doesn’t have to be the actual metal since that can be problematic. Talk to your plumber and decorator about rustic copper paint, or brass plating for your faucets.
4. Try a little colour
While the most common colour for travertine is sandy brown, there are other options. You can find it in mocha, or even silver. Try different combinations and variations to make your bathroom pop. Alternatively, you can pair your travertine with bright borders and decorative accents made with other types of stone.
Even if you don’t want to mix and match your tiles, you can add colour to your bathroom through soap dishes, bath curtains, toilet seat covers, bath rugs, or even the reusable bottles for your soaps, hand creams, and bath oils. They can all be part of your bathroom décor. Dark coloured mortar or grout can also be used for effect.
5. Slab it on for more style
Tile seems to be the go-to choice for bathroom walls and floors, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider using an unbroken slab for a different design result. You can even cut your tiles into irregular shapes and sizes to create a cracked wall effect which can be quite eye-catching. This is an interesting compromise between slide and tile.
As we mentioned before, you can use grout to good effect with these uneven slab pieces. They become part of the pattern, and this works on both the walls and the floor. The only downside of visible grout is it needs more attention when cleaning the bathroom. You’ll have to carefully wash the grouting to get rid of dirt build-up, so smaller gaps are better.
6. Try some on the counter
Bathroom counters are spaces that don’t get much thought, but they can elevate the style of your whole bathroom. Rather than positioning your sink right out of the wall, build a travertine counter around it. It offers a nice surface for makeup and shaving creams, and for ensuite spaces or rooms linked to the baby room, it makes a good changing table.
Counters also provide additional storage space. If you’re more adventurous, you might even install a travertine bathroom cabinet with a mirrored front. Be careful though. It’s heavy, so have it professionally installed to make sure it doesn’t fall and cause dangerous accidents.
7. Highlight the backsplash
If you’re not ready to commit to a full travertine counter or wall, start with a subtle touch. Above the sink or below the bathroom cabinet, you can highlight the backsplash with some travertine tile. Do the rest of the wall in contrasting tile so that the backsplash stands out.
Depending on the effect you’re going for, you could use a light backsplash and a dark wall and vice versa, or you could blend the two areas of the wall. In the latter case, use similar coloured tiles so that the main difference will be in texture.
8. All over the floor
Most of the time, when people are working on décor, they focus on the walls and appliances. They don’t pay much attention to the floor, which is a waste because the floor can change the entire tone of the room. As you re-do your bathroom, begin from the ground up.
Travertine flooring can be tile or slab, solid or grouted, patterned or plain. Mop it after use to keep it dry and prevent your bathroom from getting humid. While you don’t have to worry about mould on natural stone, the vapour can still make your bathroom unpleasantly musty.