Using Glass Tile Accents in Your Bathroom Remodel? Here is Something You Should Know

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In our recent bathroom renovation we decided to install a shower tile accent border using glass tiles – the ones you see in the photo below.

However, they didn’t come out exactly as I had planned. So, I will share what I learned with you.

Thankfully, I was happy with the finished look – but when they were grouted, they actually looked much darker than they did in the box.

shower wall with white subway tile and a stripe of glass tile accents

Why I Decided to Use Glass Tile Accents for the Shower Border

Glass tiles were kind of the “new” thing when we did our remodel (“New” – because I haven’t used them before).

For the overall bathroom, I decided to go with neutral colors.

I wanted a timeless look because I know that I won’t redo the bathroom for quite some time.

Neutral colors are great for longevity, but they can be kind of boring.

So using some glass tile accents seemed to be a good way to add a little pizzaz without going overboard with patterns and color.

Choosing the Glass Tile Color

Overall for this bathroom, I used warm, natural tones.

The shower is a cream colored subway tile.

The floors and tub surround are a porcelain tile that mimics natural stone.

I didn’t want to use natural stone because:

  • It costs more than porcelain and
  • I wanted easy maintenance (I can barely handle my already busy life, I don’t need tile that demands special attention too.)

This tile in the floor and tub surround has a lot of variation in it but it picks up on the cream color as well as some almond tones.

These are the Bathroom Tile Accents That I Chose

The bathroom glass tile accents that I chose.

Given the warm colors of the rest of the bathroom, I felt that the glass tile accent pictured above would fit the space perfectly.

The tile that you see underneath is the floor tile and the tub surround.

The glass is penny round and the colors incorporate an olive, sand, and rose color glass.

These are some of my favorite muted shades all put together.

I was really excited to see them on the wall.

Why The Glass Tiles Look Darker When Installed

However, things don’t always turn out the way you expect.

When my amazing tile guy installed these bathroom tile accents, they didn’t look the way that I thought they would.

What I didn’t realize – and what no one told me, is that the glass will appear much darker when tiled in.

It makes sense because the sample is not grouted and the light gets in and around each individual tile.

Glass, being glass, allows that light to pass through.

So, those soft shades of olive, gold, and sand actually appear like brown, taupe, and beige – as pictured in the image below.

Much darker, don’t you think?

A Possible Solution I Wish I Had Known About

I am not sure if the following product was available when we did our bathroom renovation – but apparently there is a special Glass Tile Adhesive that is specifically designed for use with glass tiles.

This ultra white base might make a difference in how the grouted in tiles look.

I can’t say because we didn’t use it – but it is worth mentioning.

Follow These Glass Tile Tips

Now, I am not saying that this effect will happen to everyone, as I do not have much experience with glass tiles.

Once you select your glass tiles, I would ask both the tile store personnel and your installer whether it will look darker when grouted.

Many tile stores have samples that are already grouted in.

You can compare the ungrouted sample to the grouted one to get a feel for what it will look like on the wall.

And if they don’t have your particular color choice already grouted, then they might have something similar that is grouted.

Take a close look at this to see how the colors change, and then try to imagine what your choice would look like.

A comparison of the two - before and after.

Have You Used Glass Tile Accents?

In my experience, glass tile accents appear darker once they are grouted on the wall than they do in the ungrouted sample.

So, I want to know if you have had the same experience as I did.

Leave a comment below and tell me if your bathroom tile accents came out looking the way that you thought they would.

See how we handled the tricky issue of having a window in the shower in this post.

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  1. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I chose iridescent glass tiles with colors of copper, mother of peal, and brown. I chose a darker grout thinking it would match the most of the tiles and fade away. Now it only makes sense that the color will change against a dark grout. I did more research and found that there is specific mortar for glass tiles. Thanks so much for the heads up!!

  2. Did your tiler use glass tile (whiter) adhesive behind the glass tiles? I caught that in our shower just in time! I haven’t posted about it yet, but it’s in the plans….

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