Bathroom design tips with river stones

Bathroom design tips with river stones

Whether creating a spa style bathroom, updating a beach house shower, or just looking to add texture and interest to the bathroom design, river stones are a great design option. Available in a range of sizes, colors and textures, netted river stones can enhance any space.

What are River Stone Tiles?

River stone tiles are netted sheets with smooth rocks, most from the coasts of Indonesia, attached. The sheets interlock into one another to create a field of smooth stones on the shower walls, shower floor, or bathroom floor.

River stones are available in several blends of color, multiple sizes, as well as depth. Rounded stones are available, which create a sense of texture and a massage for the feet when used on the floor. Flat or random sized stones can provide a similar appearance without the added texture and feel of the rocks underfoot.

Where Can River Stones Be Used in a Bathroom Design?

River stones can be used anywhere that tile is laid. Covering the bathroom or shower floor in river stones can provide a massage for the feet as the bather walks over them, while creating a peaceful, Zen, visual effect. River stones can also be used on the shower ceiling, and walls to further enhance this look.

Try laying river stones on the bathroom floor, into the shower floor, up one wall of the shower and over the ceiling. The shower head can be mounted from the ceiling, providing a water fall effect, while making a dramatic accent of the back of the shower.

For a simpler affect, try laying large format tiles in a single color on the bathroom floor and shower wall. Use river stones on the shower floor to break up the solid field of color while providing a spa feel in the shower. A border of river stones can be added to the shower walls at shoulder height to further enhance this look. Borders of river stones can also be used to outline mirrors, or create backsplashes behind vanities to further develop the spa feel of the room.

If creating a bathroom with a steam shower, which would inhibit the use of natural stone, try laying the river stones over the floor of the bathroom, and behind the vanity. Inside the shower, use glass “stones”, available from Akdo, to continue the look, without fear of the material absorbing the steam and discoloring over time.

Considerations When Installing River Stones

If possible, be sure to use river stones whose sheets interlock to one another. This will help to avoid an effect where each sheet appears separate from the next in the installation.

A dry layout should be done, to help make sure that the sheets can be interlocked closely with one another to give a seamless look. When approaching the edges of a floor or wall, pull the stones off of the sheets, and place them by hand, turning them as needed to give as flat an effect as possible.

River rocks which are rounded, and have not been sawed off at the top will require a great deal of grout to install properly. Seal the stones well prior to grouting to help clean the extra grout off, and apply the grout slowly in sections. Use a float to pack the grout in well to the spaces, as the grout will settle below the stones, as well in between. Take care not to over grout the stones by pouring in a great deal of grout at one time; the tops of the stones should round gently out of the grout, not be flush with it.

After installing, and grouting the sheets, a color enhancing sealer can be applied to bring out, and enhance the color of the stones to further highlight their beauty.

If using river stones with multiple colors, choose a field tile which picks up one of the colors as a background to the stones. Stones in one color, such as black, can use a contrasting field tile to help highlight the effect. The grout color should blend into the stones as closely as possible, as there will be a great deal of grout used in installation.

Add river rocks to any surface or area of the bathroom for a truly interesting, and design enhancing effect, and create a spa in the home today.


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