When the time comes to renovate your small bathroom, there are many things to consider: Should you stick with bright colors? Is it time to ditch that bulky tub? Can large tiles work in a small space? Designing a small bathroom means you'll have to be clever and purposeful with every decision, and your bathroom's tile is one of the first things you'll notice when you step into the room.
Here are some examples of how tile can be used for specific design effects in small bathrooms.
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Diagonal Tile Pattern for Visual Interest
Not only does this modern bathroom from The Glitter Guide feature have a tall mirror that helps to extend the space, but the subtle, glossy subway tile is laid in a herringbone pattern, drawing your eye to the longest part of the room. It also provides an element of refreshing surprise, since a diagonal pattern with subway tile is unexpected.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different tilework patterns, just make sure to plan ahead. When it comes to small spaces, there's little room for error.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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White and Black for Drama
The black hexagon tiles in this grayscale bathroom from Studio McGee are not for the faint of heart, but they are the perfect anchor for a classy and sophisticated space with white subway tile covering the lower walls. We love any excuse to use moody floral wallpaper, especially in small spaces. Floor-to-ceiling tile work can sometimes make a small space feel claustrophobic, so consider tiling only partway up the wall, as seen here.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Chevron Stripes for Contrast in White Bathroom
Similar to a diagonal pattern, chevron stripe tile work visually elongates the space, adding a sense of depth. This bathroom photographed by Donna Dotan Photography looks much larger than it is, partially due to the chevron stripe floor tiles and the stark white color palette, which doesn't contribute any visual clutter. The glass shower door further helps to create a more fully open and airy space.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Large, Light-Colored Tiles Brighten a Dark Room
The large beige floor tiles laid in a plain stack-bond pattern, as shown in this elegant bathroom from Rooms for Rent Blog, keep things simple and act as a subtle base for the black wainscoting. The light-colored tiles help reflect more light and widen the space in a room dominated by dark hues.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Floor-To-Ceiling Mosaic Tiles Add Height
Though we've said that larger tiles can create the illusion of more space, that doesn't mean you have to forgo using smaller mosaic tiles. This enviable powder room from Style Curator uses small hexagon tile work to draw the eye upward toward the ceiling and open up the space. Plus, the floating vanity takes up less square footage than a conventional one while cutting down on the clutter factor.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Stretch-Bond Pattern for Classic Appeal
Despite its small size, this sleek bathroom spotted on Becki Owens's Instagram is big on style. There are many different tiles used in this room, which add a lot of visual interest and distract from the smallness of the space. The stretch-bond pattern used on the walls is a great choice—it avoids the claustrophobic feel that a grid pattern can sometimes create, and also visually extends the wall space.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Glossy Wall Tiles Reflect Light
Though glossy tiles are a no-no for the bathroom floor, using them on walls can reflect even more light and make a small bathroom feel spacious. The pale green tiles used in this simple bathroom from At Home in Love are just glossy enough to create the feel of a larger bathroom without looking dated.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Bold Graphic Tiles to Make a Statement
Graphic tiles can make a bold statement—and the Escher-like pattern in this jazzy bathroom from Suzy Hoodless is definitely bold. But it works because it's used with restraint, being used only on the floor and partway up the sink wall. Limited use is a good guideline to follow when using graphic tiles—if you take them all the way to the ceiling, they'll quickly become overwhelming and disorienting. The visual effect of extending the floor tile partway up the wall tends to elongate the space.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Black Floor Tiles for Contrast
Just as a room with highly patterned wall calls for a light-colored floor, white walls may call for a dark floor. This cozy little bathroom from Reena Sotropa may be small, but it doesn't feel cramped. The small black mosaic tiles would feel overwhelming if used throughout the walls, but by keeping them confined to just the floor, the rest of the room feels airy and light.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Large Tiles Can Work
Conventional wisdom says that small spaces call for small tiles—but think again. Large tiles can actually trick the brain into thinking the space is bigger than it is. This cozy bathroom from Cathie Hong does just that, where the patterned floor tile add visual interest, and the large subway tile on the walls form a uniform setting for rest of the bathroom's decor.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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White Tiles to Create Openness
White surfaces make a space feel more open, and nowhere is this more true than in bathrooms with wall and floor tile. In this bathroom from Gray Space Interior Design, white subway tiles installed in a classic stretch-bond pattern combine with dark gray floor tiles to create a surprisingly spacious feeling.