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How to Plan Your Shower Tile Layout

Planning the tile layout of your shower is an important step in any bathroom remodel. When designing your shower, think about its size, shape, and where you want to place  your fixtures. After you pick out your shower tiles, use the guide below to make sure your shower has the best layout possible for your space.

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Measure Your Space

The first step in planning your shower layout is to measure the space. Be sure to measure the height, width, and depth of your shower. Measure the space between the shower walls and other bathroom fixtures like the toilet or vanity.

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Consider Your Fixtures

Once you have measured your space, you need to consider the placement of your shower fixtures. The most common shower fixtures include the shower head, shower arm, diverter valve, and hand shower. You may also want to include additional fixtures, such as a body spray or rain shower head.

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Create a Layout

Once you have considered the placement of your fixtures, you can start to create a layout for your shower. Use a piece of graph paper to create a scale drawing of your shower. This will help you visualize the layout and make any necessary adjustments.

When creating your layout, be sure to allow for enough space between the fixtures and the shower walls. You'll also want to leave enough space for you to move around comfortable in the shower.

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Prepping Your Shower Walls for Tile

Before you mark the tile layout on your shower walls, it is important to prep the walls properly. This will help to ensure your tiles are installed correctly and that they last for many years to come.

To prep your shower walls, you will need to:

  1. Remove any existing tile or wall covering.
  2. Repair any damage to the walls, such as holes or cracks.
  3. Install a backer board on the walls if there isn't one already. This will create a solid surface for attaching your tiles. When tiling walls, it's recommended to use a ½ inch backer board.
  4. Install a moisture barrier on the walls by taping the seams of the backerboard.  This will help to prevent water from seeping into the walls and causing damage. Consider running a bead of silicone caulk down the corners of your shower in addition to taping them. This will help minimize any cracking from the expansion and contraction of the tile over time.

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Mark the Tile Layout

Once you have prepared your shower walls, you are ready to mark the tile layout.


  1. Start by finding the center point of the wall. To do this, measure the width of the wall and divide it in half. Then, measure the height of the wall and divide that in half as well. The place where the two points intersect will be your center point. Mark the center point on the wall with a pencil.
  2. Draw a vertical line down the center of the wall with a pencil or chalk. This will be your center line.
  3. Draw a horizontal line across the wall at the center point. This will be your horizontal center line.
  4. Place a tile on the wall at the intersection of the two lines.
  5. Use a level to make sure the tile is level.
  6. Mark the outline of the tile on the wall with a pencil.
  7. Remove the tile and measure the width of the tile plus the width of a spacer.
  8. Mark the next tile location on the wall with a pencil.
  9. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you have marked the entire wall with tile locations. Planning your tile grid in this way helps you anticipate any cuts that may be necessary when you reach the corners.
  10. Once you have marked the entire wall with tile locations, you can start installing the tiles.

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Install the Shower Tile

Once you have marked the tile layout, you can start tiling the shower wall. Start by placing the first row of the tiles at the shower's bottom and continue adding one row at a time. Utilize the centerline you established to place your first tile and work your way out to the corners.

When installing tiles, it's important to use a level to make sure your tiles are straight. You'll also want to use tile spacers to ensure that the tiles are even spaced.

Visit our How to Lay Tile page for a complete guide on installing tile.

Tips for Planning Your Shower Layout

Here are a few tips for planning your shower layout:

  • Consider the size and shape of your shower when planning the tile layout for your shower wall.
  • Place your shower fixtures at a comfortable height for all users.
  • Plan your tile layout in a grid system before installing the tile to ensure a nice, consistent layout.
  • Install your shower tiles one row at a time to ensure that you maintain level grout lines from wall-to-wall.
  • Use a level to make sure that your tiles are straight.
  • Use tile spacers to ensure that your tiles are evenly spaced.

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By following these tips, you can plan a shower layout that is both functional and stylish. Take the time to plan ahead and you'll be sure to create a shower that you love.