Black, white and maroon make a timeless colour combination that is hard to beat and one which pairs well with a variety of architectural styles. The basic black and white elements act almost like ink on paper, allowing you to "draw" patterns you can fill with maroon, and the earthy colouring gives you a wide textural range that may include natural stone as well as the usual ceramic tiling possibilities.
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Give your shower surround real class using a "Greek Key" pattern as a top and bottom border. Use standard 4-inch tiles to cover all the walls in maroon first, leaving a 6-inch wide band at the bottom and top of the walls all around. Use 1-inch tiles to make the pattern across the borders using black tiles as the lines against a background of white tiles. Search images using "Greek key pattern" as keywords to find examples to follow in arranging your tiles.
Create a flower background with small octagonal tiles. Buy preglued tile sheets for ease of application, and carefully remove a "circle" of tiles in the centre of each sheet by pulling them off the backing. Sheets may be black or maroon for this example. Replace those tiles with a ring of white octagonal tiles of the same size, using tile adhesive to attach them. Place one black or maroon tile--whichever colour you have not used already for the background -- in the centre to finish each flower. When you have altered all the sheets, attach them to the walls as per the manufacturer's instructions. For added interest, alternate flower and background colours on each wall or in a checkerboard pattern over the whole shower.
Choose white or maroon as the predominant wall colour. Use 12-inch tiles to create large rectangles on every side of the shower centred within 6 inches from top, bottom and each side. Immediately next to the main colour, outline each rectangle with 1-inch black tiles. Follow the black row with 4-inch tiles in the remaining colour -- either white or maroon. Finish by outlining each rectangle with another row of 1-inch black tiles, which will close the gaps between the rectangles and complete the shower, giving each wall a neat, separately framed appearance.
For a rich, yet understated look try a classic black and white checkerboard pattern in natural stone, using 12-inch white marble and black slate tiles. Use a tile saw to cut off a 1-inch wide piece from each of the corners with the exception of those which will be applied along the top and bottom edges of the shower. Alternate the marble and slate tiles in straight rows. In the diagonal spaces created between the tiles, use maroon ceramic tiles, pink sandstone or red granite to accent the black and white pattern.
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