What Size Tiles to Use?

Use larger tiles to make a small bathroom look bigger. A lot of people think by adding a bunch of smaller tiles will do the trick. This, however, is not the case. Smaller tiles can actually make the room appear smaller. By using larger tiles, you are tricking the mind into thinking that it is a larger space.

A floor will appear way more open with larger tiles rather than smaller ones. This is because of the use of less grout and an overall single appearance. You do not want the tile to be too busy. This will make it appear like the room is much smaller than what it really is.

5. Opt for a Glass Shower Door

Inspiration for the glass shower door of your dreams, courtesy of a Jenny Wolf–designed space. Emily Gilbert

If you’re starting your small bathroom design from scratch, consider scrapping the curtain entirely. “I also recommend glass shower doors in a small bath, as it will help to open up the space,” Wolf says.


11. A trio of tiles

(Image credit: Bert & May)

Nodding to a little maximalism and all the tile trends will make a small bathroom feel so much grander in design. For balance, choose one tile color and swap in different designs or choose one design and go for a trio of colors. They make for a more inviting space, drawing attention to the shower, brass fixtures and elegant design of the shower rail to create the illusion of more space.

2. Or Double Down on Dark Color

In Gilles Mendel’s Manhattan apartment, the bath’s vanity is granite and the black towels are by Calvin Klein Home. Joshua McHugh

15. Play with tile styles

(Image credit: Valspar)

Clever tile ideas can be used to create an interesting scheme whilst keeping things light, you can mix and match tile designs successfully.

Do consider teaming white metro tiles with marble. It may feel like it shouldn’t work on paper, but it does in reality. Tie it all together with white paint. The failsafe option for brightening up as Will Thompson, Head of Product Marketing explains:

‘A coat of paint can easily rejuvenate a bathroom by enhancing light within the space. At Valspar, we recommend using a lighter color for superior reflection that instantly brightens the room; darker more matte finishes absorb light, creating a shadier, moodier aesthetic within your bathroom. 

Whites, such as Valspar’s The Perfect White and Artic Fox, bounce light off surfaces and are great for achieving maximum brightness, no matter the shape or size of the bathroom.’

Design to create space

When it comes to small spaces, optical illusions are your friend!

They can help draw the eye to different areas that make a small bathroom feel much larger.

A mirror which also doubles as a medicine cabinet, is a great solution as it’s a classic space saving trick.

Even better, these days they come is some really great looking options.

Regardless of how much square footage you’re working with, sometimes just knowing the right tricks to create the illusion of space is all you need.

Using a small bathmat and hooks for towels rather than towel bars or bulky towel racks, will help make the room look as large as possible.

Adding hooks for robes and towels to the back of the bathroom door is another great space saving trick.

These popular adhesive hooks are my go to brand.

I also always use a few on the back of closet and bathroom doors throughout our home.

In addition, using larger floor tiles helps to make the space feel more open, regardless of the size of your bathroom.

Whereas smaller tiles could make the whole room look more confined.

Finally, my favorite optical illusion is to use a large mirror.

This will always give the illusion of more space.

In fact, you don’t need to limit yourself to just one mirror.

If there’s enough wall space, try to optimize any natural light sources with mirrors.

Not only do they bounce the light around the room, but mirrors add the illusion of more space.

This is another great tip for any room in your house, mirrors always add the illusion of depth and space.

Our beach house bathroom, from my post on how to p
Our beach house bathroom, from my post on how to paint over cultured marble.

19. Combine your bath and shower

If there isn’t room for a separate shower cubicle, install your shower over your bath.

This still gives you both options, while only taking up as much floor space as the bathtub.

9. Mirrors are key

(Image credit: House of Jade)

One of the simplest ways to make a small bathroom feel bigger is to invest in the best mirror ideas. If you can cope with a mirrored wall then do as it will double the appearance of your bathroom, however, they aren’t for everyone – we don’t all want to see ourselves that much. As an alternative, a good sized mirror placed above the basin will easily suffice and one with curvy corners will look more ‘friendly’ than an angular design.

17. Install a pedestal basin

A pedestal basin creates more floor space due to its narrow size. This makes it an ideal option for a small bathroom.

Do check first though as you may need to get some pipework done before it can be installed.

5. Always opt for wall-hung units

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Whatever the size of your bathroom, wall-hung units – or failing that, units that stand on slim legs – are the best option for faking square footage, simply because you can see beneath them, right to the edges of the room. 

Wondering what to avoid if you want to make your bathroom feel bigger? A wall of fitted furniture. It will make the floor area, and therefore the entire space, look smaller. 

Either way, choose a design that’s the same color as your walls for a cohesive look, and consider wall-mounted taps, which allow for slimline basins and more space on the top of them for bathroom paraphernalia. 

Employ a monotone

Using different colours for fixtures or features is an absolute no-no in a small bathroom. You want to ensure that you use the same colour (a monotone) all through. Your choice of colour should be bright and radiant. Although dark colours can work the same, you would need more and brighter lights.

Lighten up

Harmonize your color palette by choosing pastel colors, neutral colors or different shades of white. “A light color palette in each element helps to give the sense of a larger space”, stresses Hodge, “and use a large format tile. It is important to have adequate lighting to keep the bathroom bright.” Make sure you know the placement of pot lighting before calling in the electrician. Don’t forget how effective sconces and candles can be for creating a warm, inviting glow.

Limit the Small Accessories

It should go without saying that clutter can wreak havoc on a small bathroom. Even if you’re organized, too many shelves or too many accessories looks busy and crowded. Use one decorative accessory instead, especially one that doubles for plenty of functionality. Here’s how to make a super-simple bath cabinet.

Replace the Bathroom Vanity Cabinet

Bathroom vanity cabinets offer many advantages, with one of the greatest advantages being the opportunity to store items below the sink and behind closed doors. But vanity cabinets, too, are space-wasters in small bathrooms.

For maximum room, replace your vanity cabinet with a cantilevered countertop or with a pedestal sink. Pedestal sinks can be self-installed and cost between $150 and $400. While pedestal sinks give you more floor space, keep in mind that your countertop space will shrink.


  • Flooring under the vanity cabinet may need to be filled in.
  • Use a pry bar to gently pull the cabinet away from the wall.
  • Remember to turn off the water supply before removing the sink.

The Spruce / Olivia Inman

Let the room breathe

You already had your plans; the plants are supposed to go there, ornaments near the door and some art on the wall. Sorry to break it to you, if you want your small bathroom to look twice its size, you have to abandon those plans. In this case, more is less. Use only a few deco options and let that room breathe.

Install a Table-Mounted Vessel Sink and Wall Mounted Faucet

Make your small bathroom feel bigger by installing a table-mounted vessel sink and wall mounted faucet.

Here’s everything you need to know to DIY this handsome project.

3. Take Advantage of Tile

Tile has featured in bathrooms and other wet areas for thousands of years because it works so well with moisture and has endless design and color possibilities. It makes the perfect non-porous material to have in a bathroom, where too much moisture can create detrimental problems such as mold and mildew. Many design guidelines advise using a small tile in a small bathroom, which makes sense initially. However, this technique actually creates a pattern with its grout lines that makes the bathroom seem smaller.

Small, black-and-white checks as tile, dark colors and patterns that create extra grout lines can all lead to a busy-looking floor or wall that seems to close things in rather than look expansive. Large, plain-colored tiles that do not feature fancy cuts or shapes will effectively create a clean look that extends that down-the-line look instead of cluttering it.

Nearly the same elements of design apply to tile in small bathrooms as do apply to the paint on the walls. Light, subtle pastel colors in the spectrum of white-beige-yellow, light blue and gray. Moreover, if you want to go wild with tile, it can create a decorative accent wall on the bathroom or shower. A small shower, for example, with a colored-tile wall and clear-glass doors will create a sense of depth.

A tiled shower or shower/tub combination can also

A tiled shower or shower/tub combination can also have built-in, recessed cubbyholes and nooks to store bathing supplies, and some people consider that a high priority so they can get rid of the various gadgets made to add storage in small bathrooms such as suction-cup baskets or hooks and caddies that hang around the showerhead.

Tile works anywhere in the bathroom: As a sink backsplash, for the floor, in the shower and around the tub. Some builders and contractors will stop the tile an inch or more short of the ceiling and then cap the tile with some type of molding, but placing the shower-wall tile all the way to ceiling or right up to a window as its sill is another design trick to eliminate lines that segment the room. Some people go with all the same tile for the floor and walls to make that long, clean, uninterrupted line that makes a room seem bigger.

Opt for minimal style

One of the worst things you can do in a small room is over design it.

The same holds true for a smaller bathroom.

Cramming tons of bric-a-brac or lots of storage into the bathroom is going to make the room feel cramped.

Instead, opt for light-colored walls and ceilings and if possible, use the natural light from a window.

When it comes to wall paint color, remember light colors tend to open a space up, whereas the inverse of this is true for dark colors.

If it’s a windowless bathroom, a great looking, bright light fixture is essential.

Ideally, a fixture with more than one light bulb.

Keep everything clean and sleek is an effective way to make the space feel as large as possible.

Streamline any window treatments (if you’re lucky enough to have a window.)

You’ll want to stay away from anything too heavy or over powering to the eye.

Keep it light.

If your bathroom is a full bath with a shower, think about using a glass shower door in your bathroom design.

This sliding glass shower door is the one we prefer.

We used it in several recent bathroom renovations, including the beach house we recently sold,

A shower curtain, while pretty and functional, will cut off the space by blocking your eye off from the rest of the walls and ceiling.

Something you’ll want to avoid in a small bathroom set up.

image from our beach house remodel: view the origiimage from our beach house remodel: view the original post here

A small vanity can make a big impact

“My most recommended WETSTYLE piece for a small bathroom is the M Metro series wall-mount vanities. These cabinets give the user a great amount of storage, top notch quality, and space saving design.  The bathroom will feel larger without losing precious hidden space.  The beautiful wood veneers help to give a natural warmth to the space without feeling like a heavy piece of furniture,” adds Michael Hodge.

5. Strategize the Shower

In a three-quarter bath with shower only, you can look into many enclosure options that will alleviate some of the cramped conditions, literally and visually. Some quadrant shower enclosures feature doors that swing inward and form fit to the interior. Others slide back and forth, which creates more space because it eliminates the need for a door to swing outward. The shower enclosures also come with many sleek options.

Some people want or need both a tub and a shower, so combine the two and add some kind of feature to the shower wall, perhaps a dazzling color on one or two walls and a clear-glass enclosure or shower curtain. There are different-sized bathtubs designed with the small-bathroom user in mind and for the purpose of saving space.

Use Similar Materials Throughout the Bathroom

Having a wide variety of dissimilar materials in the bathroom can be chaotic, leading to a feeling that the bathroom is cramped and busy. If your small bathroom has, for example, striated marble tile on the floor, glass mosaic on the wainscot, painted drywall above the wainscot, ceramic tile in the shower, and even more, you have an overload of dissimilar materials.

Consider toning down the visual noise by switching out some of the materials for similar materials. Tile wainscot in the bathroom (not in the shower or tub) can usually be removed in favor of a wall system of drywall and baseboards. A ceramic tile countertop can be removed and replaced with a quartz countertop that closely matches the look of the shower/tub surround.

Costs for this type of improvement can be expensive, ranging from $200 to $400 for removing wall tile, on up to $1,000 to $5,000 to replace a floor, shower, and or countertop. But these are major remodels that result in a wholly new bathroom and can lead to higher resale value for your home.


  • If tile cannot be removed, consider painting over the tile.
  • When looking at colors, choose lighter colors for a more airy feeling.
  • If replacing floor tile, use larger format tile.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *