Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (2022)

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Choosing tiles for a small bathroom – whether for walls or floors – can be a bit tricky. But fear not because we have plenty of tips and tricks here to help you make the right choice. We’ve put our bathroom design know-how together below to help you understand which tiles you need. From the ideal size of tile for your floor, to what will work with your walls to only enhance the sense of space, we've got you covered.

For even more small bathroom ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out our gorgeous gallery.

  • Find even more bathroom ideas in our main hub too.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (1)

(Image credit: Bert and May)

What's the best size tile for small bathrooms?

Small bathroom tiles: myths busted!

Myth 1: Don't use small tiles

There is a risk smaller tiles might be too busy in a small bathroom but if you have found some tiny tiles you are obsessed with of course you can still use them! Just keep them for small surface areas (shower, splashback, alcoves) and use bigger tiles to cover larger expanses.

Myth 2: Only use light coloured tiles

We know lighter colours make a room feel bigger and brighter, but that doesn't mean you should always shy away from using darker colours in smaller spaces. A dark tile can add a sense of depth as the parameters become less clear and, much like a lighter tile, can make a space feel bigger.

Myth 3: Avoid busy patterns

While we probably wouldn't recommend you go full floor to ceiling on every wall, patterned tiles definitely have a place in small bathroom. Just choose one wall or a splashback or just the floor to add pattern to and keep the rest plain.

Tile size shouldn’t be determined by bathroom size, despite what you may hear. A small bathroom can actually benefit from a large tile. With fewer grout lines the walls and floor are less cluttered and the room visually expanded.

(Video) Top 120 Modern Small bathroom design ideas | Small bathroom tiles design | Interior Decor Designs

Using smaller tiles, such as mosaics, will give you lots of grout lines, which can give the bathroom walls a grid-like appearance that can promote the feeling of being boxed in – making your bathroom feel smaller still.

This doesn’t mean you have to rule out small tiles out, however. If you've fallen for some beautiful mosaics, you can mix it up a bit by using different sized tiles in different zones of your bathroom, with smaller tiles being limited to the showering area, a larger format tile used in the majority of the room, and mosaic tiles in alcoves or recesses (spaces you don’t expect to feel generously-sized).

It can be hard to tell what size tile will work in a small bathroom when you're looking at it on the shelf of a tile shop, so it makes sense to request samples (a few to lay on a sample board if you can) to see them in situ.

Going to be tiling a bathroom wall yourself? Now would probably be the best time to mention we have an really easy to follow step-by-step guide to help you out.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (2)

(Image credit: Drummonds)

Does how you lay out the tiles make a difference?

A clever trick to use in small bathrooms is to lay your tiles in diagonal patterns, which tricks the eye into seeing the space as bigger than it really is. When you take a look at normal squared options they are fairly easy to count, but arrange them diagonally and your eyes are drawn to the longest dimensions of the room. Popular chevron patterns can do this well.

If a diagonal tile pattern doesn’t sound appealing, consider laying your tiles in brick bond. This is a popular choice for metro tiles, but helps limit the grid pattern effect mentioned earlier, which can emphasise the limited width and height of a room.

We have loads more clever ways to improve your bathroom, so make sure you go and check those out too.

(Image credit: Chris Snook )

Which colour tiles to choose for a small bathroom?

It’s a well-known rule that using lighter colours will help a small room look bigger, so apply that to your picking the right tile size for a small bathroom, too. Choosing lighter colours, such as white or cream, for your bathroom tiles will help reflect more light than darker colours would.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (4)

(Image credit: Fritz Fryer)

(Video) How to Tile a Small Bathroom Floor | DIY Bath Remodel

Another trick for getting the right tiles for a small bathroom is to use glossy, metallic or mother-of-pearl finish tiles, which will enhance the space by reflecting light, giving a sense of grander proportions.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (5)

(Image credit: Devon & Devon)

However, don’t shy away from dark colours– a darker tile can be used effectively to add a sense of depth to a space, either throughout the room or, on walls, as a pencil line around the width of the room, which will make it look longer and wider.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (6)

(Image credit: The Pure Bathroom Collection from Smiths Briten)

Patterned or plain tiles for a small bathroom?

Which to choose? Patterned tiles, especially busy ones, will inevitably make walls advance visually, which means they'll make a bathroom feel smaller. However, if you'd like to use patterned tiles to add character, put them below dado rail height, and use plain, light-coloured tiles above. Taking this approach will draw the eye upwards and across the room, making it feel larger and lighter.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (7)

(Image credit: Mandarin Stone)

Where to tile in a small bathroom

More from Period Living

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (8)

(Image credit: Period Living)

Period Livingis the UK's best-selling period homes magazine. Get inspiration, ideas and advice straight to your door every month with asubscription (opens in new tab).

(Video) Bathroom and Kitchen Tile || My Top Tile Tips ||

A small bathroom can feel unwelcoming and clinical if it's tiled from floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall but, to enhance the feeling of space in the room, you need to aim for as much decorative flow as possible. In other words, if the placement of the fixtures and fittings means that there will only be small gaps of painted wall between, say, a bath splashback and a basin one, it's better to tile across the length of the wall and to limit the changes in tiling levels than to interrupt the tiling.

If you find you are tiling the majority of your walls, just make sure you choose a bathroom floor tile that doesn't look too matchy-matchy. A entirely white tiled bathroom? Weird vibes. Choose a patterned floor tile to add some contrast you wall tiles (or vice versa), we have loads of inspiring patterned tiles over in our gallery.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (9)

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

How to calculate how many tiles you need for a bathroom

Measure up and calculate the number of tiles you need before you head out to buy them. To make life easier for you, there are many tile calculators (opens in new tab) available online. You can also go to your local retailer armed with the measurements and they should be happy to help you out.

Make sure to add on an extra 10 per cent to allow for breakages, cuttings, waste and pattern matching. You don’t want to be halfway through tiling your bathroom before you realise that you don’t have enough to finish the job.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (10)

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

Choosing the right tile materials for a small bathroom

Travertine, marble, limestone, slate and granite are all natural stone options for small bathroom tiles, each with its own natural properties. Slate in particular is great for bathrooms, as it has low porosity and its riven texture is non-slip, while stones such as marble, travertine and limestone can be polished to a high shine for a stunning finish, but need to be sealed. If you need any more advice of choosing natural stone flooring then check out our guide.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are usually a more affordable manmade option, and there is huge scope in the range of finishes available. From those that mimic stone and even wood, to bright colours, decorative patterns, high glosses and raised prints. We have plenty more ideas and tips on choosing ceramic and porcelain tiles.

Mosaics, in stone, glass or ceramic, look beautiful over smaller areas, such as behind the basin, and give a sense of having been meticulously laid. They are also available in sheets for easy installation.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (11)

(Image credit: Tile GIant)

Choosing the right grouting for a small bathroom

It might seem like a minor thing, but the grout you choose for laying your tiles could make a big difference. It depends on the look you are going for, but we think in a small bathroom the fewer grout lines the better. As we have said many a time previously, that doesn't mean you have to shy away from small tiles, it just means using a grout that matches them. The smaller the tile, the more essential this becomes.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (12)

(Video) How to Choose Bathroom Tile

(Image credit: Fiona Murray)

Of course, stark grout lines can make a bit of design statement and can work well in small bathroom. Metro tiles or simple rectangular tiles are the perfect example of when choosing a contrasting grout, even in a small bathroom, looks super stylish.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (13)

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

Change the proportions of tiles in a small bathroom with tile stickers

If you are renting and have been blessed with a small bathroom or if you are trying to decorate on a tight budget, you probably don't have the option of ripping out all the tiles and replacing them with new ones. The answer? Tile stickers. You can pick out a tile design that suits your small bathroom better and stick them over the top of your existing ones. Etsy (opens in new tab) and Dunelm (opens in new tab) both do loads of designs that are really affordable.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (14)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Expand a small bathroom with floor tiles

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (15)

(Image credit: Meir)

How cool is this bathroom? And it's actually a pretty small space too, it's just been made to look bigger with the clever choice of floor tiles. The fading colours draw the eye to the end of the room, giving the illusion that the room is longer than it is and running the tiles up the side of the bath only adds to lengthening the room. We love the sunset colours used here but if you are more into a monochrome bathroom this would work really well fading black into white.

Looking for tiles for your small bathroom? (16)

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

A subtle way to add interest without closing in the look of a small bathroom is by using texture. Tiles with 3D surfaces instantly grab attention, whether they’re in small-scale mosaic patterns, regimented ribbed designs or feature undulating wave effects. Opting for white or neutral colourway will give you the confidence to play around with the design, combining textured tiles with co-ordinating smooth ones to divide up the space, or to create a feature panel that will highlight a basin or shower area.

(Video) ✅ TOP 10 Ideas for SMALL BATHROOMS | Interior Design Ideas and Home Decor | Tips and Trends

More tiling know-how:

  • How to choose the right size tiles for a small kitchen
  • How to tile a splashback
  • How to paint tiles
  • Watch the Real Homes Show for more small space ideas

FAQs

What size tile looks best in a small bathroom? ›

While some bathrooms can look great with large and small tiles, your best bet to enlarge a small bathroom is to opt for a medium-sized tile, no larger than 1' x 1'. The best way to decide what size tile will work in your space is to bring home samples prior to tile installation in Flint, MI.

Is it better to have small or large tiles in a small bathroom? ›

A small bathroom can actually benefit from a large tile. With fewer grout lines the walls and floor are less cluttered and the room visually expands.

What is the best kind of flooring for a small bathroom? ›

Ceramic tiles are an easy favorite in bathrooms, especially on the floors. They're very water-resistant, easy to clean, and they're incredibly versatile, coming in essentially every shape or color.

What tile makes a small shower look bigger? ›

'Pale colored tiles can make a small shower space look bigger as they reflect more light than darker colors, creating a light and airy feel. Using the same tiles on the walls and the floor in a bathroom will enhance the feeling of space by creating a continuous look.

How do you tile a small bathroom to make it look bigger? ›

Use Light Colors to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

That is because darker colors absorb more light and light colors reflect light. This same principle applies if you want your bathroom to appear bigger. Using white or light neutral-colored tiles will instantly make your bathroom look bigger.

Should floor tiles be darker than walls? ›

As a general rule of thumb, it is best for a bathroom floor to be a darker shade than the accompanying walls and ceiling. However, if your personal preference dictates, you can choose to be adventurous and go against the grain in this regard.

Which Colour tiles is best for bathroom? ›

White tile is probably the most popular solution in our bathrooms. Why? White brightens the interior. It gives a sense of order and lightness.

What kind of bathroom tile is easiest to clean? ›

The four bathroom tiles that are the easiest to clean are natural stone tile, glass tile, polished porcelain tile, and vinyl tile. Bathroom tiles should be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria build-up. Bathroom tiles that aren't consistently cleaned can often accumulate mold and dirt.

Which tile is best for bathroom walls? ›

Ceramic tiles are the most suited and most preferred tiles when it comes to bathrooms. Glazed or polished ceramic tiles make a great option for the walls of your bathroom however they aren't best suited for the floor as they can be slippery when wet.

What colors make a small bathroom look bigger? ›

1. Coordinate the Colors. So what colors make a bathroom look bigger? According to basic design principles, light colors such as white, crème, pastel blue, gray or yellow will visually expand a room, while dark colors such as a deep red, green or brown, will make a room feel smaller.

What color floor is best for a small bathroom? ›

White is a color associated with purity and cleanliness and is a very practical choice for the bathroom when it comes to cleaning. To create a truly tranquil bathroom space, an all-white scheme with matching white flooring will make a small bathroom feel much bigger and brighter.

What is the best color for bathroom floor? ›

Light and cool toned shades, especially white and grays, and other light neutrals. Neutral colors, especially light ones are the most popular. Bathrooms tend to be smaller than other rooms in the house (and often have fewer windows), so going lighter tends to work better. Lighter colors make the space look larger.

What direction should you lay tile in a small bathroom? ›

'The best way to lay tiles in a small bathroom is horizontally, as this will help to elongate the room,' says Patrick.

How do you lay 12x24 tile in a small bathroom? ›

For a much smaller space, such as the bathroom, it's best to lay down the tiles the long way, where the longer side is set vertically. Visually, a long and narrow direction lengthens a small room.

How do you tile a small bathroom? ›

How to Tile a Small Bathroom Floor | DIY Bath Remodel - YouTube

Should a small bathroom be fully tiled? ›

Should a bathroom be fully tiled? No, it doesn't have to be. Traditionally, tiles are used in wet areas of a bathroom (around the bath and within the shower enclosure) as a means to waterproof walls but there are now alternative materials to add a decorative, waterproofing to bathroom walls.

What colors should you avoid in a bathroom? ›

Worst
  • According to Apartment Therapy and others, greige (gray-beige) is among the worst choices for a bathroom. ...
  • In a similar vein, overly earthy colors should also be avoided. ...
  • You definitely want to avoid cringy color combos like yellow and brown in a bathroom.

What kind of tile makes a bathroom look bigger? ›

Horizontal floor tiles are successful in making the room look less cramped, and making your small bathroom appear that much larger.

Are beige tiles outdated? ›

So, are beige tiles outdated? Not necessarily. You just need a good complementary color to liven up the room, and there are several different hues on the color grid that are sure to do the trick.

What color tile shows the least dirt? ›

Patterened tiles or tiles with a variety of shades or colors on a single tile will hide the dirt much better than a solid-colored tile. And tile that is cream, tan, and oatmeal is light enough to not show any watermarks while still being dark enough for dirt, dust, and hair to blend in.

What is the best tile to keep clean in a shower? ›

Porcelain tiles have seen extreme demand when it comes to tiling. People prefer these as they offer a modern look and are also relatively easy to clean. You can find different porcelain tiles, but the easiest to clean tile is the polished or glazed porcelain tile.

What color grout is easiest to keep clean? ›

What color grout is easiest to keep clean? The grout color that's easiest to keep clean is likely to be a neutral shade such as a gray, or a tone of beige. These are super-practical choices for both kitchen and bathroom tile, and will demand less maintenance to stay looking good as new.

Which Colour of tiles is best for white walls? ›

The Best Floor Color for White Walls
  • White floor, white walls: Going all white can create a fresh and clean modern look. ...
  • Black floors, white walls: If you have a larger room, black floors can look dramatic and sophisticated.

Which tile size is best for walls? ›

Bathroom Tile Size Advice: Floors, Walls, Showers & Tubs
AreaRecommended Sizes
Small shower walls1-inch square to 4-inch square
Moderate or large shower walls4-inch to 15-inch by 30-inch
Bathroom floor1-inch square to 12-inch square, or up to large-format
Bathroom walls4-inch square up to 12-inch by 24-inch
1 more row
1 Sept 2021

Where should a mirror be placed in a small bathroom? ›

The most common place to hang a bathroom mirror is above the vanity unit, as this allows you to look in the mirror while brushing your teeth.

What is the most popular bathroom vanity color? ›

Traditionally, white has been the most popular bathroom vanity color for years. It never really goes out of style, and there are many different kinds of white, not just “paper” white. Because it's been so popular for so long, there is always the danger of overusing it.

What color bathrooms are in style? ›

According to top interior designers, modern blue, light green, and warmer neutral bathroom color schemes are popular in 2022. These are a continuation of 2021's best bathroom color trends in many ways. In a similar fashion, shades like taupe, all-white bathrooms, and warm natural undertones are also trending this year.

Do you put flooring under toilet? ›

If you're installing a new floor, pedestal sink, and toilet, you should install the laminate flooring first so it's under the sink and toilet. Because laminate flooring floats above the sub-floor on top of underlayment, it will expand and contract slightly with the temperature and humidity of the room.

What is the best thing to put on a bathroom floor? ›

The most popular choice for bathrooms is tile. Specifically, ceramic and porcelain tiles are great options for bathrooms. Tile flooring is resilient, waterproof, available in a variety of colors and designs, and generally less expensive than other hard surface options.

What is the best waterproof flooring for a bathroom? ›

Waterproof flooring like vinyl or tile offers the best of bathroom flooring. In addition to being waterproof, these options are durable, low-maintenance, stylish, and cheaper than real stone or wood. Waterproof vinyl and tile each win the title of best bathroom flooring.

What is trending in bathroom 2022? ›

Natural And Spa-like Surfaces, Combined

Perhaps the biggest bathroom trend you can expect to see in 2022 is an emphasis on serene, smooth surfaces and understated, organic materials. Think: large slabs of monochromatic stone, matte black fixtures and light oak-wood surfaces that are naturally elegant.

What is the most popular bathroom tile? ›

Porcelain and ceramic tile are the most popular and budget-friendly choices. They come in a dizzying array of sizes, patterns, and colors. They're also generally easy to install, clean, and maintain over the years. They are also moisture-, stain-, and scratch-resistant.

Which is better light or dark floor tiles? ›

If disguising dirt is important to you, light flooring is the clear winner. In general, dirt and debris will be far less noticeable on light floors compared to darker tones. This is certainly an advantage for busy households with kids or pets.

What tiles to use to make bathroom look bigger? ›

Choose Large-Format Tiles

Large format tiles (tiles that are larger than 60cm x 60cm) will make your bathroom feel bigger than it really is. Firstly, there will be fewer grout lines, so your walls & floors will look more seamless & less cluttered & restrictive. Secondly, the scale will make your space feel larger.

Should a small bathroom be fully tiled? ›

Should a bathroom be fully tiled? No, it doesn't have to be. Traditionally, tiles are used in wet areas of a bathroom (around the bath and within the shower enclosure) as a means to waterproof walls but there are now alternative materials to add a decorative, waterproofing to bathroom walls.

Does large tile make a small room look larger? ›

1. Larger Tiles Make Small Rooms Appear Bigger. Because grout lines are thinner and fewer as part of the layout, smaller rooms appear bigger when using larger tiles. Large-format tiles make floors look more streamlined – therefore, creating the illusion of more space.

How do you lay 12x24 tile in a small bathroom? ›

For a much smaller space, such as the bathroom, it's best to lay down the tiles the long way, where the longer side is set vertically. Visually, a long and narrow direction lengthens a small room.

What color to paint a small bathroom to make it look bigger? ›

1. Coordinate the Colors. So what colors make a bathroom look bigger? According to basic design principles, light colors such as white, crème, pastel blue, gray or yellow will visually expand a room, while dark colors such as a deep red, green or brown, will make a room feel smaller.

Which Colour tiles is best for bathroom? ›

White tile is probably the most popular solution in our bathrooms. Why? White brightens the interior. It gives a sense of order and lightness.

What are the 2022 bathroom trends? ›

Natural And Spa-like Surfaces, Combined

Perhaps the biggest bathroom trend you can expect to see in 2022 is an emphasis on serene, smooth surfaces and understated, organic materials. Think: large slabs of monochromatic stone, matte black fixtures and light oak-wood surfaces that are naturally elegant.

Should I tile to the ceiling in my bathroom? ›

If your bathroom tends to get humid or you are installing a steam shower, you should tile the ceiling to help protect it from moisture. Otherwise, the best time to install tile on the ceiling is if you are doing an accent wall in the shower, and want to extend the tile overhead.

Do you need tiles behind toilet? ›

Do you need to tile behind a toilet? No, tiles are only necessary where, because of damp or splashes, the wall must be protected from water ingress. The toilet is a self-contained bathroom artefact and, as such, presents no risk to adjacent walls of spreading damp.

What is the most popular tile size? ›

Over the years, tile sizes have grown dramatically. 20 years ago, 8×8 floor tiles and 4×4 wall tiles were in fashion and the more common sizes, but now, the more common and fashionable sizes include 12×12, 18×18, 12×24, and even larger for floor tiles, and 8×10 and larger for wall tiles.

What color floor is best for small rooms? ›

Light, Airy Colors

Lighter shades of colors, such as blue, teal, and earth tones are possibilities as well, giving a more open, airy, and uplifting vibe than darker shades. Blonde, light brown, or even whitewashed hardwood flooring can also make the most of this technique.

What colors make a room look bigger and brighter? ›

So, what colors make a room look bigger? For an optimum effect, go with soft tones like off-white, blues, and greens, and always remember that brighter rooms feel bigger and more inviting. And here's another hack: Try painting your wall trim and moldings in a lighter color than your walls.

How much does it cost to tile a small bathroom? ›

'The average cost of installing new bathroom tiles is about $2,000, or $12.50 per square foot, including labor, but costs can range from $450 to $10,000 depending on labor, bathroom size and tile choice,' says Bailey Carson, home care expert at Angi (opens in new tab).

What direction should tile be laid in a bathroom? ›

It really depends on what you hope to achieve visually for this room. If you run them vertically you are giving the illusion of lengthening the room, run them horizontally and you are widening the room. General rule of thumb is to run them the length of the room, but this dosen't always have to be the case.

Which way do you lay tile to make a room look bigger? ›

The way you have your tile installed can have an effect on whether or not your room looks longer as well. One trick is to install your tile diagonally or sometimes called “on point”. This helps break up the room a little and also will make your tiles look bigger in addition to your room feel larger.

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