Today, Tina asks:

I have a small bathroom I’m shopping for new tile for, and I just don’t know what to do!  What size of tile should I go with?  I’ve heard that I should go with small tiles and I’ve also heard that I need to stay with big!  Which way is it?

Don’t despair you are not the only one that is confused with tile ideas for a small bathroom!  For most of my life I’ve been told that in small bathrooms you are supposed to use small tiles.  The school of thought on this is that it makes the room look bigger.  As you might have guessed, this isn’t always the case.  Now experts are telling us that “bigger is better”, that if we use a huge tile in a small space that will visually add to the dimensions of our space.  Quite frankly it makes my head hurt just trying to figure out which is what.  So I’ve come up with a couple of simple questions to help you when you go shopping for new tile.



#1 Does your small bathroom have a lot of different patterns, textures or colors going on? If the answer is no, please move on to #2. Otherwise  you want to be careful adding more “busy patterns” to the floor.  Because that is what small (and by small I mean 4″ x 4″ or smaller tiles) tiles do to your space, they create another pattern.  You might want to go with something larger, more neutral and a solid or low contrast design.  In a small space with other visual demanding design aspects I’d stick with tile that was at least 12″x 12″.  Having less grout lines thereby less pattern will help make your room look bigger.  And choosing a grout that blends with the base color of your tile will also keep your patter to a minimum.

#2 Since your small bathroom doesn’t have a lot of patterns, textures or colors then you can go wild. Now you might even want to add a border, but don’t have to be afraid of mosaics options though.  You can use all the small tiles your heart dreams of.  Heck, you can even use a contrasting grout and it won’t make your room look smaller.  The problems with small tiles in a room with other strong design features is that there is just too darn much going on.  And your eyes get tired trying to figure it all out.  So if your bathroom is closer to a blank slate you can use the small tiles without causing visual chaos.

#3 How many tiles can you get width wise at your narrowest width and how many can you get at your widest? This is an important question because if you are going with really large tiles, say 20″ x 20″ and you can only get 1 1/2 tiles across your narrowest space it may look funny.  You need to space them out so that you can get at least 2 whole tiles, preferably 3 in that space.  On the other side if your widest spot has too many tiles to count, you might want to consider going with something a little larger.  So it doesn’t just look like an expanse of small tiles!

If you take these three questions into consideration, choosing tiles for your small bathroom gets a lot easier.  If you’re still not sure and happen to be more of a visual person, lay some tiles down in that space and see how it feels.  You can cut the sizes out of paper and lay them on the floor just to give you a visual of the size and shape of the tile.  Play around with that until you find something that feels right to you, because at the end of the day it’s your space.  So go ahead and put the tile into your small bathroom that makes you happy.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!

Written by Amanda Hartley