This $0 Design Hack Is a Game-Changer for Bathroom Renos (Kitchens, Too!)

<span>Credit: <a href="https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/authors/esteban-cortez" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Esteban Cortez;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Esteban Cortez</a></span> <span class="copyright">Credit: <a href="https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/authors/esteban-cortez" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Esteban Cortez;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Esteban Cortez</a></span>

There are many different shapes, sizes, and styles of tile available for your bathroom or kitchen — and on top of that, there are tons of different ways to arrange those options. You can keep it uniform with one type of tile, you can create a pattern, or you can add intermittent pops of color for a bespoke look.

Wallpapered toilet area and pink and green tiles in shower of newly renovated bathroom
Credit: Carrie Goldin Credit: Carrie Goldin

If you go with one of the latter two options, consider taking a page from homeowner Carrie Goldin’s book. Carrie recently had her bathroom renovated, and to communicate to her contractors the exact layout she wanted for her shower tile, she reached for a tool you’ve probably used (and maybe hated) before: Excel. (Note: Google Sheets would also work if you don’t pay for the Microsoft Office Suite.) Carrie used the computer program to create a spreadsheet of her dream layout, with each cell representing a tile.

“I looked and looked for an inspiration pic online but could not find exactly what I was looking to do,” Carrie says. “I went to a local tile shop in search of some budget solid tiles I could mix up. After deciding what percentage I wanted for my pop (the pink), I printed Excel sheets with the number of tiles for each of the four walls. Each sheet matched the number of tiles on each wall, and I just shaded in the ones I wanted pink.”

Tile layouts using excel spreadsheets.
Credit: Carrie Goldin Credit: Carrie Goldin
Tile layouts using excel spreadsheets.
Credit: Carrie Goldin Credit: Carrie Goldin

In other words, create your own inspiration pic! Carrie’s Excel plan tracks with her takeaway from the bathroom renovation: “I learned to cut out the middle person when at all possible,” she says. “Go directly to the skilled source and handle logistics, supplies, materials, and timelines by yourself.”

Carrie printed her Excel sheets out and went the old-school pencil and paper route, but if your tiles are oriented horizontally, you could even keep your design digital and use colors that closely match your tile — something like this, which I made in Google Sheets.

Tile layouts using Google Sheets
The design I made. Credit: Sarah Everett Credit: Sarah Everett

(Editor’s note: Even I, Sarah Everett, the opposite of a Google Sheets wiz, could create this pattern. It’s that easy!) Plus, it’s a lot easier to rearrange on a sheet (printed or digital) than it is with actual tile and grout. Thanks for the tip, Carrie!

Read more about Goldin’s bathroom renovation here.