Try This: Herringbone Marble Tile

Try This- Herringbone Marble TileThis past week we’ve been making some MAJOR progress on the master bathroom. It’s been our “late bloomer” you could say. While most of the other rooms were getting painted and stained and tiled, it was just sitting there, gutted, all summer with no attention whatsoever. But now, its moment has arrived!

I’ll wait to share full details on this room’s before/after transformation, but let me just tell you—it’s been epic. I think it’s going to win the award for “most improved” (and the kitchen is not too happy about that).

One of the most exciting updates is the herringbone tile floor. I shopped all over for tile and I’ll let you in on a little secret—it’s expensive! Like, make-you-wanna-cry-expensive. And even when you save your pennies by choosing less expensive tile options, the installation is still typically twice as much as installing wood. Since we did multiple rooms at once, the cost added up FAST, and we realized quickly that fancy, patterned marbles were not an option in our budget. So for the small part of our bathroom that is tile floor, we decided to go with the same super-basic 12×12 marble that we did for our kitchen, breakfast nook and sunroom. I loved it in those bigger spaces, but for our bathroom I was concerned that it wouldn’t look right. It’s a VERY small floor space and I really wanted small tile to give it a fuller, more patterned look (but again, my budget said “NO”).

One day when I was watching a contractor cut tile for our kitchen, I had the idea to cut down the 12×12 tile into strips to create a herringbone pattern for that small bathroom floor. It’s a lot of extra effort (and usually an extra cost) to add a lot of extra cuts, but I worked it out with our (AMAZING) tile guy, and he agreed to try it for us.

This simple technique took our bathroom floors from “pretty” to “pretty amazing”. It’s a great way to customize a less expensive tile to make it feel more expensive and custom.

We decided to cut down the 12×12 marble to 4×12 strips, so each piece has two extra cuts. The results are incredible! Here are a few photos from the first day they went down (they’re still pretty messy, so don’t judge).

Cut 12x12 marble into 4x12 strips for herringbone patternCut 12x12 marble into 4x12 strips for herringbone patternCut 12x12 marble into 4x12 strips for herringbone patternCut 12x12 marble into 4x12 strips for herringbone patternAUGH! It’s SO GOOD, right? I’m so happy we tried something a little different for this space. It feels like the perfect fit! Renovating is such a funny thing because it’s SO. BORING. for months and months and months, and then at the end, it’s kind of like fun overload when the finishes start coming in.

Try This- Herringbone Marble Tile Here’s how it’s looking today with white grout (the walls are going to be grouted with soon too).

I can’t wait to share more from our bathroom adventures (yep—adventures) with you. It’s been a crazy year, and I have learned more about homes and renovating than the rest of my life combined. For now I just wanted to pop in and share this quick tip for making less expensive marble tile look more custom! xx- Elsie

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. 

  • Do you know what the name/color of the tile is or the manufacturer? Where was it purchased? It’s stunning!

  • Hi! Looks gorgeous! I understand you don’t live there anymore, bet the new owners love it! I am going to do this exact same thing, except with honed porcelain 12×12 carrerra marble. Any tips that you remember?

  • Do you have any photos showing this tile pattern meeting the light wood flooring?

    • Hi! Sorry I don’t live in this house anymore or I would take one for you. 🙂

  • Do you have a bigger picture that includes more of the wooden floor to the tile? We are doing something similar, from our living room (with red oak) to kitchen (thinking light grey tile or laminate/vinyl) harring bone pattern. I was hoping to see what your ended up looking like so we can get a better idea. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi! Sorry I don’t but there are tons of great tile examples on Pinterest. That’s where I always go when I need a photo example for my contractor! 🙂

  • Love this idea!! and look! what size is your bathroom? trying to see what size herringbone pattern would be ideal in our 7 x 6 bathroom

  • I’m looking to do this same tile floor for my bathroom, can you tell me what “pattern” of marble this look is called.

  • Been searching for bathroom flooring inspiration for days and just found this post. It’s perfect! So pretty! Hoping to find a willing contractor! Thank you, and congrats on your beautiful reno!

  • I just found your blog and am I am in love with these floors. We are in the middle of an especially hellish master bath remodel and I would love to know what tile you used. Following you on everything now!

  • Hi. What a great idea! I would love to do something like this in my master bedroom. Can you tell me what kind of tile you used? Is it honed? How’s it holding up? What color grout did you use?

  • I just found your blog and am I am in love with these floors. We are in the middle of an especially hellish master bath remodel and I would love to know what tile you used. Following you on everything now!

    • I used 12×12 marble from a local discount store (probably the exact same thing exists at Lowe’s and The Home Depot). xx!

      • Do you recall if your tile contractor used a wet saw or tile cutter? Just curious because if tiles were cut with a wet saw, you would lose material due to the kerf of the blade. I am interested in tiling the same pattern in my bathroom and only tiles I can find at Blue or Orange are 3×6 subway tiles.

  • Looks amazing. I am looking to do the same thing in my very small bathroom. I’m struggling to find the right type marble and saw your post – what marble did you use? Carrera?

  • Hi Debra!
    It’s Bo Sullivan. Email me and I’ll get you his contact info! elsie AT abeautifulmess DOT com :))

  • Love it! Who is your tile guy? we live in the area and are planning to reno our bathrooms. We are looking for a tile person. thanks.

  • I was probably confusing, but I was saying this is much LESS expensive than most pretty marbles that come in patterns (like maybe half the price, depending). xoxo! Elsie

  • Sad that it’s so expensive, but I see that it was totally worth it because it looks so stunning!

  • Ilana,
    Yes- it really depends on your contractor. Mine did not charge extra, but it was a tiny space AND he was hired for a whole bunch of jobs at once so he did it for us without a charge. Patterned marble is quite a bit more than this 12×12 so it almost certainly saves money for almost everyone. The question is just how much!
    xx- Elsie

  • What a brilliant cost cutting idea. I know it would cost extra for the cuts but gathering it worked out cheaper in the end with this method and the results look amazing!

  • Making the tile patterned like that looks awesome! It’s funny you say renovation is boring. Because it’s so true! The fun part is the end when it all comes together and you get to decorate!

    ♥ Heather

  • These look great! I’m not a huge fan of herringbone but this works well. I think i still prefer a simple marble floor for the bathroom, instead bringing that texture up in the walls through either painting techniques or wallpaper. It’s great for a minimal effect however when it’s on the floor.


  • Thank you so much!! I’m so glad it worked! My first contractor refused to do it b.c he said it would “cut your feet” (I think he just didn’t wanna do it though, b.c my feet are fine!)
    I can’t wait to show you the finished look!
    xx- Elsie

    • I would think the cut tiles would have a sharp edge as well. Do you know if your contractor/tile guy filed the cut edges down at all?
      I love this look and would copy it in a heartbeat!

      • It’s not sharp at all (I walk on it with bare feet every day). It’s actually the same as the square tiles.

        I’m sure it would depend on the tile you sources, but ours did not need any sanding. If there is a problem, your tile guy will let you know!

        Hope that helps! Elsie

        • Hi Elsie,

          I know this project was a while ago, but my husband and I had a similar idea to cutting down marble tiles. Is it slippery at all? Planning on doing in kitchen and powder room and have two young kiddos who love to run around (I’m sure you know!).

  • We can’t wait either! 。◕ ‿ ◕。 Good luck with everything! – IVA

    Doll hair tutorial:

  • Dear Elsie, cutting tiles was a ingenious idea, herringbone add charm and match so well your bathroom proportions, it’s brilliant !

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.