16 Great Tile Ideas for Small Bathrooms

bathroom with black tile
Studio McGee
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    Tile as a Design Element in Small Bathrooms

    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 16 examples of how tile can be used for specific design effects in small bathrooms. 

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    White Tiles to Create Openness

    As designers know, white surfaces make a space feel more open, and nowhere is this truer than in bathrooms with wall and floor tile. In this bathroom from The DIY Playbook, white subway tiles installed in a classic stretch-bond pattern combine with mosaic floor tiles to create a surprisingly spacious feeling. Floor tiles with small black insets "ground" the floor and keep it distinct from the walls. 

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    Large Tiles Can Work

    Conventional wisdom says that small spaces call for small tiles Think again. Large tiles can actually trick the brain into thinking the space is bigger than it is. Consider this cozy bathroom from Bless'er House, where beadboard wainscoting and black-and-white wallpaper add visual interest, and the large hexagon floor tiles form a uniform setting for the wall elements.

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    Diagonal Tile Pattern for Visual Interest

    Not only does this modern bathroom from The Glitter Guide feature 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. 

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    Large Square Marble Tiles

    This stunning little space from 2 Bees in a Pod utilizes large marble tile flooring, which helps to widen the space. The deep royal blue vanity and wallpaper help to give the small space a more robust feel and add depth. If you want to use bold colors in your bathroom, use large neutral tiles with narrow grout lines that won't distract from the focal point. 

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    Bubble Gum Pink Bathroom

    We can't get enough of this retro-inspired pink bathroom from blogger Emily Henderson. The pink tile flooring, ripe with a mid-century modern feeling, attracts the eye and creates a long focal point throughout the room. By keeping the rest of the room mostly a stark white, the bathroom appears roomy and spacious in spite of its small size.    

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    White and Black for Drama

    The black hexagon tiles in this 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. 

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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 from Decor Pad 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. 

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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 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. 

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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.

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    Stretch-Bond Pattern for Classic Appeal

    Despite its small size, this modern bathroom spotted on beckiowens's Instagram page 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. 

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    Grout Lines as a Design Element

    bathroom with clawfoot tub
    Instagram / alittlewhitelite

    The reason large tiles work better in small bathrooms is because they reduce the number of grout lines that can create distracting visual clutter. But this bathroom spotted on Instagram via alittlewhitelite proves that with the right design, stark grout lines can actually become a design element for a small space. By keeping the black lines isolated to the wall only, the eye is drawn up towards the ceiling, an effect that helps open up the bathroom. 

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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 bathroom from At Home in Love are just glossy enough to create the feel of a larger bathroom without looking dated. 

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    Pure White Floor Tiles as Backdrop for Patterned Walls

    The bright floor tiles seen in this bathroom from Driven by Decor are pure white, creating a light, airy space. If you want to experiment with patterned wallpaper like the geometric one seen here, keep the rest of the space neutral. In a small bathroom, visually complex walls usually call for a neutral flooring that doesn't compete. 

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    Floor Tiles Extended into Shower

    Rather than changing up the floor tiles in the shower stall, the designer of this bathroom from Deuce Cities Henhouse extends the floor tiles through the entire room. This creates a seamless, uniform design that expands the visual feeling of the space.

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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 A Beautiful Mess 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. 

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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 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 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.