Joanna Gaines Proves How Bold Flooring Turns Basic Bathrooms Into Modern Showstoppers

Joanna Gaines is known for her stylish transformations on HGTV and the Magnolia Network. Many of these, in line with her much-adored modern farmhouse aesthetic, mix a sense of new with old, often incorporating classic materials and lines with innovative takes on pattern and color. This unique combination of influences is on full display in an episode of "Fixer Upper," where Gaines shows her expert blending of traditional and contemporary — particularly when it comes to the bathroom, a location generally known for being mundane. 

In the episode, Gaines brings new life to the bathroom via a dazzling black and white tiled floor, done in Marta Cement Tile. It's a classic pattern of diamonds and circles, yet with a botanical twist that makes it feel fresh and modern. As Gaines says, "What I love about this tile is it's super fun, but there is just a classic way about it."  

The tile, reminiscent of black-and-white diamond-patterned or checkerboard floors, offers a floral feel while being more playful than other black-and-white tile varieties. It's the perfect accompaniment to the black vanity and black framed mirrors that complete the room's timeless look. Reclaimed shiplap taken from elsewhere in the house adds a rustic element to the walls, while the clawfoot tub adds a touch of glamour. The overall effect is an eclectic mix of Gaines' favorite things, and it's a great example of how bathroom flooring can make a boring room into an exciting one. 

What is the flooring that Gaines chose, and why would you want it?

This cement patterned tile that Joanna Gaines showed off is perfect if you are looking for a classic yet whimsical statement with your bathroom flooring. In a bathroom with a simple and neutral look of black and white, the tile can be a focal point and statement piece. It looks stunning combined with the black furniture here, but it would also complement the more streamlined modern look of a white or light wood-toned vanity and accents, or a classic look with a darker wood-finished vanity. It would also make for a richly patterned backsplash tile on the walls that immediately draws your attention.

Depending on the other details in the room, the pattern of Joanna Gaines' floor choice can look vintage or very modern and contemporary, surely one of the reasons Gaines is an admirer. Because it is made of cement, the tile has a greater amount of durability than other materials like porcelain or clay and the pattern will not show dirt quite as readily as more simply designed varieties of tile. That said, even for those who aren't a fan of this particular look, Gaines' notion of using a bold, very noticeable flooring pattern to revive a stale bathroom is an example that others should follow — in most cases. 

Why you may want to avoid exciting bathroom flooring

While Joanna Gaines' pattern choice works perfectly in this bathroom remodel, it may not be right for certain design considerations and aesthetics. The dominance of the black coloring may not work in some spaces, depending on the amount of light. In addition, this is definitely a busier tile with a lot going on, which may make it a poor fit with small spaces or rooms with a lot of competing elements, colors, and patterns. Cement, as a floor material, can also be more porous to moisture and needs regular re-sealing, which may cause issues in a place that sees a lot of moisture. The cost of the Marta tile may also be prohibitive, costing around $22 per square foot, which comes in on the higher end for cement tile in general. 

If Gaines' black-and-white Marta tile choice is a poor match but you want a similar look, you can also go with a simple black-and-white diamond tile or a classic checkerboard-style tile. The Marta tiles are also available in a reversed version dominated by white and a softer sage green,  the latter of which is much less high-contrast and may function as more of a supporting role in your bathroom design rather than the star of the show.