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8 min read

Tiling Ideas for Small, Unusual Bathrooms


8 min read

Tiling Ideas for Small, Unusual Bathrooms

FlooringTiling Ideas for Small, Unusual Bathrooms

Lacking in the idea department when it comes to choosing tiles for your tiny bathroom? Good. That means you haven’t yet entered the realm of failing to turn your snug space into a genuinely spacious-looking room. 

Do you know what could turn your interior decorating adventure into a real flop? Overlooking the size of the room. In fact, when it comes to interior decoration, it appears size really does matter. 

Colours, shower and toilet types, furniture, and the room's square footage limit and shape your decisions, as does tiling!

Tiling Your Bathroom Floor

bathroom flooring

Source: Canva

A bathroom floor must at least have the following three characteristics:

  • Non-porous 

  • Rot-proof 

  • Waterproof

As such, there are three main types of flooring that can be installed in a bathroom:

  • Tile

  • PVC

  • Wood

Next up, all things aesthetic. Tiles are second to none in the realm of interior decoration as they mimic all materials (leather, wood, textiles, stone, metal, etc.). 

Its main asset remains the wide array of colours to choose from. In a bathroom with a limited amount of floor space, colour can make or break it. Furthermore, there’s a range of finishes possible: glossy, satin, or pearl.

What kind of tile should you pick to design a small, yet modern bathroom?

small, modern bathroom

Source: Canva

Generally speaking, modern interior decorating relies on three materials:

  • Metal

  • Glass 

  • Cement

Tiles have the added bonus of mimicking both cement and metal. In terms of limitations here, it’s very ingrained in colour choices. While tiles can mimic metals very well, they’re often dark. Therefore, that leaves you with glass and cement as viable options. 

Nevertheless, don’t allow yourself to be charmed by the near-unlimited possibilities when it comes to glass. Since it’s available in all shapes and colours, a poor glass tile choice can quickly put a damper on your idea of a spacious-looking bathroom.

However, if you find yourself inspired and can hire a skilled expert, you can always add a beautiful mosaic to your small bathroom. A modern touch can make all the difference. 

Faux cement tiles are basically tailored-made for small bathrooms with a modern-inspired aesthetic. However, note that said type of tiling is often adorned with a chic or retro pattern. When it comes to a small bathroom floor, avoid them at all costs. Limit yourself to a plain, light-coloured tile. 

What tile colour works best in a small bathroom?

The true magic of colours is that they can help you resize a room at will. To create a sense of openness in your bathroom, you have to use colours that are on the cool side of the spectrum:

  • Green

  • Purple

  • Blue

These colours will not only visually make your space feel bigger, but will also instill a sense of calmness to it. Result: a tranquil setting that invites relaxation.

No doubt about it, bathrooms are meant for relaxing, and unwinding after a long day. There’s no secret about it. Your peepers are solely longing for solid colours with light tones and a glossy finish. 

Other than being pretty, a glossy finish is also meant to better reflect the sun’s rays or artificial light beam in your bathroom. To visually open up your space, it’s all about using subtle lighting techniques.

If you’re of the mindset that cool colours can give your small bathroom a sense of being flooded with colour, you can always fall back on neutral colours. In that case, stick with cool neutrals:

  • Taupe grey 

  • Spanish white

  • Powder pink

The goal here is to make your bathroom appear bigger without unnecessarily burdening it with colours and stuff. So you’ll need to find a balance between the tiling colour as well as that of the decorative items featured in your bathroom. 

How can you best choose bathroom colours?

When starting from scratch, the best thing is to get yourself a colour chart. That way, you’ll be able to better visualize the colour you’d like to have in your bathroom. 

Nonetheless, you may find it difficult when it comes to pairing the right colours together to ensure a viable outcome. 

For that, you can always use an online colour generator. With it, you’ll be able to generate several colours, and when placed side by side, you’ll quickly know whether they’re a good match or not. 

Small Bathroom Tiling Tips

small modern bathroom

Source: Canva

Ideally, steer clear of patterned tile. Although they can be very appealing, and striking even, in a small bathroom, tiles with patterns are likely to overwhelm the space.

In close quarters, you should limit your tiling ideas based on the following principles:

  • a light and uniform colour;

  • a glossy finish;

  • rectangular-shaped tiles;

  • tiles laid length-wise.

We’ve yet to discuss the last two points, meaning the shape of the tiling and how they’re laid. These details are crucial when designing a small bathroom. They’ll make the room appear even bigger, turning it into a vast space, at least visually speaking. According to Yanick Dupré, Dupré Carrelage Inc., it’s best to use 24-inch by 24-inch rectified ceramic tiles in a bathroom. 

Don’t try to create a contrasting effect between your bathroom floor and walls. The flooring guidelines in terms of colour equally apply to wall treatments:

  • light and uniform colours;

  • cool or neutral colours;

  • glossy finish.

Whites, creams, and pastels are all colours toward which you should turn to preserve the illusion of spaciousness within the room.

Black and white tiling: Yay or nay?

Yes, but only if you’re playing off the space’s visual dimensions. While white is by far the best colour to use in a small bathroom, black is quite the opposite. However, it can work wonders. The trick here is to know precisely where and how to use it. 

And there’s only one area where black is most suited, and that’s the far-end wall. If your small bathroom is rectangular in shape, lay light-coloured tiles along both side walls and dark tiling at either end. 

Here’s an alternative: Lay black tiles on a piece of furniture in a completely white space, or tile your entire walk-in shower with black tiles. Offsetting your shower space from the rest of the room can have a really satisfying outcome. 

How to Pick the Right Tile for a Windowless Bathroom

small modern bathroom

Source: Canva

To make up for the lack of natural lighting, the answer remains the same—opt for a light and uniform-coloured tile with a glossy finish. The secret to a brightly lit small bathroom is in the tiling’s glossiness. Shiny tiles reflect the ambient lighting’s glow in all directions.

To fully benefit from artificial lighting, you can also use mirrors to your advantage. Light bounces off mirrors and can make a room feel bigger than it actually is. In a small bathroom, even a medium-sized mirror will appear staggering. If the mirror has built-in lighting that efficiently lights up the fixture, it’ll be even more vital in creating a visually spacious bathroom. 

Use Lighting to Visually Enhance the Space

In a small bathroom, there are two types of lighting to consider:

  • Task lighting

  • Ambient lighting

Task lighting is white, cold, and bright. True to its name, it’s designed to light up a workspace to better carry out specific tasks. When it comes to bathrooms specifically, it allows you to safely wax, shave, or do your skincare. Task lighting is thus positioned over the sink, typically in a flush mount fixture levelled above the mirror. 

As for ambient lighting, it really shouldn’t be overlooked. Avoid thinking about saving money by limiting yourself to task lighting only. This type of lighting won’t showcase the glossy aspect of your tiles. 

Ambient lighting consists of several light fixtures embedded into your ceiling. It lights up your shower area, toilet, and sink as well. Without ambient lighting, all the work you put into designing your bathroom to make it look bigger will go to waste. 

Final piece of advice to make your bathroom look bigger:

small modern bathroom

Source: Canva

Visually enhancing the space available in your small bathroom rests on, as mentioned above, the following elements:

  • Light and uniform tiling on walls and floor

  • Wall-mounted furniture

  • One or more mirrors

  • Task and ambient lighting

  • Black accents, items or sections in the room, at will

The size and installation technique of your tile are also important details to consider when wanting to create a sense of spaciousness in a small bathroom. But most importantly, you really don’t want to mess with the desired effect by misjudging the tile layout. 

Picture yourself standing in your bathroom’s doorway. Your eyes are focused on the beautiful, rectangular-shaped Spanish white tiles, the light is perfectly bouncing off of them. Its lengthwise installation coats your bathroom in such a way that it appears to stretch on for miles. That is, at least, until your eyes settle on the shower base, then your toilet, and the spell’s broken. Now you’re realizing that those two—indispensable—bathroom features have basically rendered your efforts futile. 

Rest assured, all is not lost. 

To create a sense of spaciousness in a small bathroom, you really don’t have much of a choice other than to play off continuity. To do so, elements in your bathroom shouldn’t disrupt the visual flow. 

A walk-in shower is the first answer to this pursuit of visual spaciousness. By tiling the shower base with the same tile as the rest of the bathroom, you’re using the space to your as efficiently as possible. 

The same concept applies to your toilet and other furniture. Choose them according to their installation method. If you happen to have them all wall-mounted, you’ll have achieved the basics: maintaining a sense of space in a confined and often enclosed environment. 

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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