General Home Design

Matte Vs. Glossy Tiles For The Shower: Which to Choose?

You are considering giving your bathroom a major lift while still making it safe for everyone in your home. It’s time to do a retiling. You may be contemplating, however, on what tile finish to use, whether matte or glossy. We have done the research to deliver you the most helpful guide for your convenience.

Choosing between matte and glossy tiles for your shower is a matter of personal preference. Below is a comparative table of their major elements.

Matte TilesGlossy Tiles
TextureUneven and rustic.Smooth and shiny. It reflects light.
ColorSubdued, natural, and earthly.Bright and flashy.
Room AmbianceCalming and relaxing. It evokes tranquility.Vibrant and full of energy. It enhances natural light and makes the room look bigger.
CleaningLess frequent but more elbow grease to clean.More frequent since grime and dirt readily cling and are highly visible.
Other ElementsThe porous surface gives traction.The smooth surface is very slippery when wet.

Choosing between matte and glossy tiles can be a bit challenging. With the diverse array of colors and patterns available, the question still remains: Which one is best for your shower? Stay on this page as we discuss in detail the unique attributes as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each option to choose from.

Comparison between matte and glossy tiles, Matte Vs. Glossy Tiles For The Shower: Which to Choose?

Why Should You Choose Matte Tiles?

Getting matte tiles is a subtle approach in bathroom design. It creates a peaceful and relaxing vibe to the space. Below are the reasons why to choose matte tiles:

Modern bathroom interior

Rustic Finish

Matte tiles give a classic touch with their traditional and reserved finish. By infusing a more natural look, it evokes an earthly allure and a rustic charm. Much more, it can closely replicate wood, cement, and even stone-effect textures.

If you are looking into a farmhouse theme for your bathroom, the matte finish is the popular choice.

Tranquil and Calm Colors

If you intend to have a more comforting and minimalistic atmosphere, matte tiles are the perfect option. With its reserved hues, matte colors afford a tranquil and cozy ambiance. The subtle tones are white, creme, coarse, graphite, and lead. The rustic hues are tan, copper, and bronze.

Durable and Slip-Resistant

While giving subdued colors, matte tiles are textured. The uneven finish gives more traction although it may not be completely slip-proof. The slip-resistant element makes it safe to walk on it and move around. This is particularly useful especially if there are kids or elderly who frequently use the bathroom.

Matte tiles are also durable, you would never think to get them replaced for many years. It can withstand constant exposure to humidity and steam, even if the surface is constantly wet.

Requires Less Cleaning

Textured and uneven surfaces can obscure dried water droplets, smudges, and other stains like the shower wall in the photo below. If you are the type who doesn’t do a lot of cleaning in-between uses, matte tiles are perfect.

Shower on tiles and chrome fittings

Due to their porous surface, frequent cleaning is not needed. But when it’s time to clean, you need a lot of effort to make the tiles spotless clean. 

Why Should You Choose Glossy Tiles?

Luxury white bathroom in modern house

Getting glossy tiles is a vibrant approach to designing your bathroom. It creates an energetic atmosphere while it complements the decor of your home interiors. Below are the reasons why to choose glossy tiles:

Brightens the Room

This is one of the prominent elements of glossy tiles. Their shine can brighten up the entire space. The reflective quality can intensify the artificial and natural light coming through. The reflective surface bounces off light reaching up every corner, thus creating a lively atmosphere.

Glossy tiles are perfect for a bathroom with even less natural light. The light reflects throughout the space to brighten a drab-looking bathroom without the need for installing expensive lighting fixtures.

Enlarges the Room

The ability to brighten up the room is complemented by giving an illusion of space, especially for narrow bathrooms. Among the living spaces in most homes, bathrooms are the least in terms of floor area. The light reflection can open up the smaller spaces, making the room look wider than it actually is.

Easy to Clean

The reflective and smooth surfaces of glossy tiles make them extremely easy to clean and maintain. You can simply wipe to restore their sparkle and shine. The surface is flat with no recesses, hence, any dirt or residue doesn’t cling. The surface is also resistant to harsh chemicals and liquids making it easy to maintain.

Cleaning concept trace sponge on a dirty wall tiles

A drawback of glossy tiles is that grime buildup can be readily noticed. The reflective surface can show soap scum and water stains quickly, thus, frequent cleaning is required.

Due to its smooth and glossy finish, you can apply this type on the walls but never on the floor of the shower or tub because it is very slippery when wet. It is also dangerous when you fall against glossy tiles because you will slide right to the floor unlike if is a textured finish.

Combining Glossy and Matte Tiles

The latest trends in bathroom design combine matte and glossy finishes of the same color to create patterned effects. The fusion of smooth and textured gives a tactile space to add to the functionality of bathrooms.

Typically, matte tiles are for the floor to prevent slippage and glossy tiles are for the walls to brighten the functional space. The reflective element of the glossy finish enhances the patterned design next to the matte texture, despite both finishes having the same color.

Which Tiles are Best for Shower Walls?

Tiles have rigid characteristics that make them perfect for walling as they are for flooring your bathroom. They are durable and moisture resistant which makes them better than wood materials. Below are some of the best tile types to choose for your shower:

Glazed Ceramic

The glazed surface keeps off the moisture which makes it easy to maintain. It makes surface scratches less visible. And lastly, it acts as a sealant to the porous material of the tile that would otherwise harbor mold. There are different colors and designs that easily blend with the bathroom design.

If you are looking for resilient yet economical tiles, then glazed ceramic tiles are a safe choice. Their major drawback is that they chip easily and discolor fast.

See this glazed ceeramic tiles on Amazon.

Glazed Porcelain

Porcelain is better than ceramic due to its durability, water absorption, less discoloration, and chipping resistance. Another advantage is that porcelain retains more heat, which makes it perfect for steam showers. There are also a variety of colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes available in the market.

Since porcelain is a lot better than ceramic, then glazed porcelain tiles are expensive compared to glazed ceramic tiles.

See this glazed porcelain tiles on Amazon.

Natural Stone

A high-end choice that comes in many styles such as limestone, granite, slate, marble, and travertine, natural stone gives a distinctive design to your shower tiles. These are durable, but natural rocks are more porous than any other tile type that requires extensive care.

There are also high maintenance costs since stone tile sealants are regularly applied to preserve the porous surface and to prevent costly repairs for damage and replacements in the future.

See this natural stone tile on Amazon.

See this natural stone sealer on Amazon.


Glass tiles give the modern look to bathroom design with their unique and transparent element. The variations are translucent, misty, mosaic, or with little designs. They provide the illusion that the shower space is bigger than it actually is.

They are durable and water-resistant. They are easy to maintain with a glass cleaner to preserve their luster and sparkle.

See this glass tile on Amazon.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Tiles for the Shower?

Installing tiles for your shower or bathroom may run from a range of $7 to $25 per square foot for materials and labor. The material cost is $3 to $10 per square foot while the labor cost will range from $5 to $14 per square foot. Basically, the total project cost greatly depends on the area being covered and the quality and size of the tile being used.

On average, the tile installation costs vary depending on your location and the statutory labor rates. Lastly, when purchasing tiles, you need to have a buffer allowance of 10% to allow for breakage and cutting wastes.

In Closing

A matte or glossy tile finish, or a combination of both, can significantly dictate the overall design and atmosphere of your bathroom. There are many factors to consider before making your decision. 

You also need to analyze the best elements of each type and how your bathroom design will be integrated into the overall design of your interiors. Both types give a different visual effect. Each has its pros and cons. Choose which one is the most appropriate to suit your taste and lifestyle and also your budget.

For more design ideas for your bathroom, check out these posts:

25 Awesome Bathroom Walls Ideas

What Are Woody Candle Scents?