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What tiles should I use for a small bathroom?

Bathrooms aren’t usually the largest space in the house and small bathrooms are pretty much the norm in the UK. However, just because you’re limited on space, doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to have a cramped bathroom. With a few design tricks and a little help from your tiles, you can open up the space creating a light, airy bathroom.

Here are some tips for using the right tiles for smaller spaces.

The right tile material

Typically, bathroom tiles are available in ceramics (including porcelains), glass and natural stone materials. Fortunately, you can use any of these materials in a small bathroom. The effect of each different material will create a space that is uniquely yours.

Tile size for small bathrooms

It was once recommended that small spaces benefitted from small tiles. However, the grouting lines that come with many tiles can create a cluttered effect making the room feel smaller. Similarly, you might want to avoid tiles with busy patterns as these can also create these lines.

Larger tiles can help to expand your space visually as long as they do not require a lot of cutting to fit in awkward corners. If you have a lot of corners or your fittings are rather close to each other, then smaller tiles with a matching (rather than contrasting) grout will add the most to your bathroom.

You may also want to consider using splash panels to cut out the need for grouting altogether. This could save you money while creating the illusion of space, but it can only be done if fixtures are not already built into the walls.

 

Colours and gloss effects

Two things that will truly complement the appearance of your bathroom are colour and the level of gloss on your tiles.

As is commonly known, whites and lighter colours, such as pastels, will make a space feel a bit bigger. This is especially true when mixed with bright, natural lighting. Don’t worry if you would rather incorporate a few darker elements into your bathroom - you can use a mixture of light and dark to create contrast, such as dark slate tiles on the floor, while maintaining a lighter colour on the wall.

Alternatively, consider creating a splash back behind the basin with a few, carefully chosen mosaic tiles. The trick is not to allow dark colours to overpower the space.

Choose a high level of gloss when selecting the wall tiles for your bathroom as this will help to bounce light around the room, getting it into the smaller, tighter corners and wrapping it around your furniture. Just keep in mind that you will need to clean gloss tiles more frequently than those with a matt finish, but they are easily cleaned.

For more information, see our guide to matt and gloss tiles.

How to tile the bathroom

One of the best tricks for designing a small bathroom is to use wall tiles simply where they are needed to protect the walls from direct water - that means the shower or bath area, and possibly behind the basin. Complement this with single-colour, moisture-resistant paint on the remaining walls for a stunning effect no matter what type of style or mood you want to create. Tiling all the way up the wall, or avoiding tiles altogether will help to open your space.

Above all, careful planning and preparation are key to enlivening and designing your small bathroom, making the most of the space available.

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