10 effective ways to tile small spaces
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When you don’t have much room to work with but you want your bathroom to make an impact, small bathroom tile ideas are the perfect solution. There’s a huge array of shapes, styles and colours to choose from to add interest to your small bathroom, and clever use of tiles can even help to create the illusion of space.
The important thing to remember when considering tiling is that you want the final finish to be eye-catching, but not overwhelming. Especially important when the space in question is on the small size.
Small bathroom tile ideas
Whether you prefer large format tiles or small, intricate designs, there’s a style to suit you, and we’ve compiled 10 of our most inspirational small bathroom tile ideas to help you choose the perfect option.
1. Stick with a neutral palette
A go-to decorating trick in any small room, opting for a neutral colour palette will make a room feel bigger than it is. Stick to white bathroom tile ideas, and keep the rest of the room neutral too. That’s not to say that your options are limited though. Neutral needn’t be boring, as this bathroom, tiled all over with large-format marble-effect tiles demonstrates.
2. Make a statement with a feature wall
If all-neutral-everything isn’t for you, then fear not, as you can add colour by way of a feature wall. An accent wall will draw your eye to one part of the room – ideally the back wall to give your bathroom added depth.
You might also choose to emphasise the emptier part of the room, as this will draw attention to the most spacious-looking area. Create a feeling of space throughout any small bathroom layout.
3. Go half and half to create the illusion of height
If your bathroom has a low ceiling, then tiling the lower half of the wall and painting the upper half will create the impression of a taller room. This will also make it easier to hang artwork, shelves and mirrors.
The half-and-half tiled wall effect lends itself well to both traditional and contemporary bathrooms. Strike the perfect balance between the two with a traditional clawfoot tub contrasted against contemporary patterned flooring.
4. Choose large format tiles for an uncluttered look
It’s a common misconception that small bathrooms can only be decorated with small tiles. In fact, the labyrinth of grout lines between small-format tiles can in fact make a small space feel cluttered. Large format tiles have the opposite effect, with fewer grout lines helping to make the room feel more streamlined and spacious.
5. Go for glossy tiles for bouncing light
When your bathroom is on the small side, the key is to inject as much light into the room as possible to brighten it up and make it feel larger than it is. The reflective quality of glossy tiles means that they work wonders in bouncing light around the room. Patrick Stoner from the Trimline Group says that this is one of their top tips for decorating small bathrooms: ‘A polished tile will help to reflect light and give the room a brighter look.’
And you needn’t stick to white. This en-suite idea demonstrates how glossy pink tiles can have the same reflective effect. In this small bathroom, the glossy tiles are used in moderation – behind the vanity unit. If you do choose coloured tiles try keeping the rest of the room painted neutral to keep the space feeling light and bright.
6. Use small-format mosaic tiles in moderation
Too many grout lines can make a small bathroom feel cluttered, but that’s not to say that small-format mosaic tiles can’t be used in moderation! Pick a small area – perhaps a border, an alcove, the wall behind your vanity unit or an area in the shower – and make this the focal point.
Whether you choose to use small squares, rectangles or hexagons, this cloakroom tile idea is a surefire way to add impact to the room.
7. Be bold with patterned floor tiles
One trick to make your small bathroom feel bigger is to cover your floor with patterned tiles, like the Victorian-style tiles used in this bathroom. If you choose a patterned floor tile, then opt for simple white wall tiles to create the perfect balance and to avoid overwhelming the space.
8. Use tiles to create zones
Another trick to make a small bathroom feel bigger is using tiles and to create zones. Tile behind your toilet or vanity unit, in an alcove, or in your shower. This small bathroom is proof that less isn’t always more, with a decorative tiled shower enclosure and floor working together harmoniously in a way that is fun and playful without overwhelming the space.
9. Create an optical illusion
This bathroom may be small, but it certainly packs a punch! Pretty pink and white geometric tiles are taken from the floor up on to the wall, creating an optical illusion by giving the impression that the floor continues far beyond where it really ends.
This same effect also works in a bathroom where the bath is directly opposite the door – try running your floor tiles up the side of the bath to lengthen the room.
10. Play with interesting shapes for visual appeal
Using tiles in interesting shapes is a great way to add visual interest to the room, especially if you don’t want to experiment with colour. The white chevron tiles in this bathroom are visually striking, and their pattern also elongates the walls and adds a sense of height and space.
The neutral colour of the tiles works beautifully alongside the natural wooden furniture and the large mirror, with the whole look coming together in a way that feels light, bright and airy.
What colour tiles are best for small bathrooms?
In general, lighter coloured tiles are best in small bathrooms as they help to brighten the room and make the space feel bigger. That said, bright and dark colours can certainly be used in moderation, such as on a feature wall, as an accent or even on the floor.
Patrick Stoner from the Trimline Group agrees, saying that ‘we generally recommend using lighter pastel colour tiles for small bathrooms, and you can then add bolder colours in the form of accessories, like towels and bath mats’.
What size tiles should be used in a small bathroom?
Contrary to what you might think, large format tiles are generally better suited to small bathrooms, as larger tiles mean fewer grout lines. Too many busy grout lines can make your bathroom feel cluttered. That’s not to say that small tiles can’t be used too, they should just be used in moderation.
Which way should you lay tiles in a small bathroom?
In a small bathroom how you lay tiles is as an important factor as the design aesthetic. ‘The best way to lay tiles in a small bathroom is horizontally, as this will help to elongate the room,’ says Patrick. ‘A vertical tile, on the other hand, will make the room look taller.’