Learn how to tile a small bathroom that will leave a big impression on guests by using the right combination of materials.
When we think of focal points in our homes, our first thoughts generally go to the grand fireplace in the living room or a stunning gallery feature wall in the dining room. But who said that interior design should only be relegated to public spaces?
Not us! It's time to tackle the bathroom remodel you’ve been dreaming of. Whether taking a quick shower or guiltlessly lounging in a bathtub for hours, a small bathroom can be just as much an oasis as a large one.
You heard it here first; tiny bathrooms can have a mega impact. Make the most of your available square footage with our top bathroom tile designs made simple.
Designing a bathroom is like ordering a custom drink at Starbucks at 8:30 AM on a Monday — you need to be brave. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of sticking with basic and safe designs that don’t wow or impress, so don’t be afraid to throw in a splash of your personality.
From color palettes to floor plans, it’s makeover time!
Besides, of course, needing to be waterproof, tiling should have a modern but timeless aesthetic (so you don’t get sick of it just after a year).
If you’re shopping for tiles online or in a brochure, ask for samples from the manufacturer. One of the biggest headaches is finding something you think you like, buying it, and discovering that it looks slightly (or totally) different than what you thought it would.
When tile shopping, you’ll have to make a huge decision: matte vs. glossy tiles. Try mixing glossy and matte tiles by making the shower tiles matte for grip and the rest of the bathroom glossy for style. It doesn’t have to be only one or the other! Pro-Tip: Glossy tiles reflect light, so they can make a small bathroom feel much larger.
Matte tiles tend to be less slippery — ideal for hopping out of the shower. If you’re looking for a slip-resistant option, try porcelain tiles or quartz-heavy natural stones like mica schist floor tiles.
A little foresight can put the “pow” in powder room and make the space feel more intentional and dramatic.
For example, instead of going with the basic grid pattern with square tiles, tilt them for a diamond pattern or go with rectangular-shaped tiles for a classic vintage look. For the shower floor, one of the most popular patterns is the honeycomb pattern with smaller hexagon tiles. The possibilities are endless when you use your imagination.
Smaller bathrooms can easily feel cramped and visually crowded. Combat this by avoiding smaller floor tiles and utilizing large format pieces for a very modern look. The fewer grout lines, the better, especially with small rooms.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few tiles that are making a splash:
Typically, the shower floor tiling is a different color and pattern from the rest of the bathroom floor to create a division in the space. If you have a particularly narrow bathroom, you may want to “halve the wall.”
Halving the wall is when the bottom half of the wall tiles contrast with the upper half of the wall; this gives the bathroom the feeling of being wider than it actually is.
If you’re brave enough, use two materials most people don’t think about using in a bathroom: stone and wood.
These two materials create synergy and contrast each other to create an earthy, modern feeling. Use black stone for the floor tiling and dark wood paneling for the walls, or go with a brighter, natural material for a lighter look.
When you think outside the box, the style and sheer tenacity of the design will distract from the actual compact size of the bathroom and strike your guests with awe and envy.
To exude luxury in a small space, use gray slate for the walls and white marble for the flooring for that luxury hotel feeling.
This particular combo pairs well with chrome fixtures, while the stone and wood style goes well with black and brass fixtures. For an extra pop of fun and liveliness, paint the walls a bright amber or butterscotch and pair it with white hexagonal floor tiles for a summery feel.
Considering the lack of space, decor should lean into the minimalist style as much as possible in compact bathrooms. Countertops should be relatively clear, and organizers either under the vanity or next to it should be out of the way of foot traffic paths. The more you can keep hidden, the better.
Speaking of saving space, let’s talk about the shower door. If possible, opt for a sliding glass shower door — clear, not frosted. The glass keeps light flowing (creating the illusion of extra room), and if the door slides (or opens inward), you won’t have to worry about it accidentally knocking into that hanging statement light you love.
Depending on who you talk to, someone might suggest not tiling your own bathroom if you’re a first-timer; but to that we say, anything is possible with some TLC and determination! On the plus side, tiling a smaller bathroom means less space to cover. You can always speak with a design expert before embarking on a project, too.
If you’re up for the challenge, here’s some basic information you should know:
Bright, light colors can make tight spaces loom large. White walls are the classic go-to, but this isn’t your only option. Lighter colors like mint green or pastel yellow can make any room feel bigger.
If you don’t want to do an all-white bathroom, go for white tiles for the sink backsplash. Subway wall tiles work particularly well with modern bathrooms.
Accent walls are mostly associated with wallpaper or wood details like wainscoting. While you can totally add those fan-favorite details, you might like a few other options.
An accent wall is a fantastic opportunity to bring in some texture — use tiles! Colored tiles can be just as dynamic as wallpaper.
If you do have a dark accent wall, place it on either the same wall as the window or next to the window. Dark accent walls don’t usually work well in other parts of a bathroom because they can create a dank dungeon effect without natural lighting to offset it.
Your bathroom is more than just a place to clean up and lose hair ties — it’s a sanctuary for self-care and relaxation. The tiling you choose should inspire feelings of vibrancy and warmth at the same time through proper sizing and colorways.
Photo Credit: (Left) Architectural Digest
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