Small bathroom shower tile ideas: 15 space-enhancing designs

Transform a tiny space with small bathroom shower tile ideas that are big on personality and design interest.

dark blue herringbone tiles in shower, grey tiled shower floor, inset shelf
(Image credit: Mindy O’Connor/Wendy Concannon)

We often have to compromise when it comes to the size of our bathrooms, which means making the most of the space we do have and working out how to enhance it. 

If you've got a tiny bathroom, it's unlikely that you have a tub, so one of your focus areas will naturally be, the shower. And when this area looks so good when tiled, giving it some attention with the best small bathroom shower tile ideas around is a total no-brainer to help enhance your space on all levels. 

Lighter color schemes, pale floors and as much light as you can direct in will all help lift small bathroom tile ideas furthermore, but one way of highlighting this key element is by carefully choosing your shower tiles. 

Small bathroom shower tile ideas that make a statement

Clever use of shower tiles can make a small bathroom feel bigger almost instantly. By tricking the eye using different configurations, you can catch the light in all the right places to distract and add the perfect amount of design interest. 

Todd Prince, designer at Todd Prince Design notes how it's not just the tile that can have an effect but that grouting plays an important role too, 'Don’t forget the importance of grout color. Choose a grout color to blend with the tile color…that approach works best in small spaces because it allows the tile to remain the focus. Contrast grout colors interrupt the flow from tile to tile…thus making the space feel smaller.’ It's all about the finer detail, and you can really go to town by choosing stylish yet striking options that will make showering each morning, a sheer pleasure. Whether you're on a budget or not, there are stunning small shower tile looks to suit all tastes and budgets.

1. Small scale square tiles in blush pink 

shower with pink tiles, marble countertop, glass shower doors

(Image credit: Lisa Staton/Kara Mercer )

Blush pink tiles will add warmth to a shower that has little natural light. Choosing a smaller scale tile will concentrate the eye on the design rather than the size of the space, using white grout keeps the look fresh. Brass fixtures and fittings work brilliantly at enhancing pink bathroom schemes.

2. Consider the shape of your shower tile

bathroom with blue scalloped tiles in shower, shower curtain, grey and blue patterned floor tiles

(Image credit: Etch Design Group/Cate Black )

We tend to default to square or rectangular tiles, but there are actually plenty more cool and vibrant shapes to choose from, like this lovely scalloped shaped design. Easy on the eye and oh-so-pretty in this sky blue, these tiles give this shower a fabulously decorative element that’s offset by the white shower curtain with blue trim.

3. Select subway tile for a fresh clean feel

black and white bathroom with shower area with black crittall doors

(Image credit: Maestri Studio/Jenifer McNeil Baker )

Metro bathroom tiles make great additions for small showers and they are now a pretty timeless option also. Should you match the shower tile to the rest of your bathroom, you can help your shower space pop by choosing black crittall doors for definition.

4. Use mini hexagon tiles in shades of grey 

bathroom and shower with grey hex tiles, pink floor tiles, brass fixtures fittings, vanity

(Image credit: Interior Fox )

‘Working with white walls gives you endless opportunities to play with patterns elsewhere, for example an effective way to introduce a sense of style is through your choice a patterned tile, which adds both color and decorative interest. For this project in Portland, Oregon, we sourced these concrete tiles from Sarah Sherman Samuel that feature a contemporary pattern with clean lines – they balanced the room out perfectly without overpowering the space,’ say Jen and Mar, co-founders of Interior Fox

5. Lay your tiles vertically with a low ceiling

bathroom with cream wall tiles, dark wood floor, dark vanity, baskets, shower storage

(Image credit: M. Lavender Interiors/Cynthia Lynn)

Shower rooms come in all shapes and sizes, some smaller than we desire, but there are clever interior design tricks you can apply when tiling a shower to give a more spacious feel.

Choosing a pale shade will help a lot, but what will draw the eye up the most is selecting large format tiles and laying them vertically to add instant height.

6. Make a feature of your shower with inky blue tiles

blue bathroom with blue tiled shower, shower bench, white walls, white vanity, grey wall tiles, gold mirror

(Image credit: Maestri Studio/Jenifer McNeil Baker )

Love a dark and dramatic feel? These inky blue square tiles give this space a real focal point, which is highlighted by the white grout that ties in with the white walls and basin. 

Complete with a shower bench and inset shelf, this scheme looks great with black and gold too. 

7. Tile the floor instead of the walls 

bathroom with retro wall covering, taupe graphic floor tiles, walk in shower, wooden vanity

(Image credit: Kim Armstrong Interior Design)

You don’t always need to have ‘feature’ walls – how about patterned bathroom floor tiles instead? It’s truly eye-catching and keeps your focus down instead of up, also a good trick if you have low ceilings. Match the tiles to the rest of the scheme, these go really well with the Art Deco motif wallpaper and the vintage washstand.

8. Wrap tiles in a windowless shower room

neutral shower tiles in a stripe deign, brass double shower, shower bench, small square tiles on floor

(Image credit: JL Design)

Not every bathroom has windows, in this instance create a shower room that oozes style and texture with tiles that have a textured almost stripy design. These natural shades give a much-needed warmth without making it feel too dark, aided of course by the paler floor tiles contrast in size against the large format wall designs. 

9. Mosaics will add shimmer and shine 

cream mosaic tiles in shower/bathroom with larger cream tiles on wall and floor, glass wall

(Image credit: Jessica Lagrange Interiors )

Mosaics originate from Roman times, they used them for floor and wall decoration and they often depicted stories as well as artwork. Today they are widely used in bathrooms as they’re cost-effective and come in many eye-catching colors and finishes. In a shower, you can use glass mosaic tiles as they’re waterproof so you’ll have peace of mind that they’ll do the trick in both decoration and functionality. 

10. Add drama with jet black

black, white and grey bathroom with black tiles in shower, shower over tub, white shower curtain, patterned floor tiles

(Image credit: Etch Design Group/Cate Black )

When your actual shower space is small you have two choices, either you go light and bright, or, dark and dramatic. 

This tiny shower is given a new lease of life with the large black metro tiles that surround the mini tub. The look is softened by the hex tiles in shades of grey and white which gives the space a decorative finish.

11. Play with how you layer your shower tiles 

dark blue herringbone tiles in shower, grey tiled shower floor, inset shelf

(Image credit: Mindy O’Connor)

A herringbone layout will certainly add interest to a small shower, these tiles automatically draw your eye in and therefore detract from the size of the space. Having a design with a shimmery finish will help to bounce the light in too as you can see in this smart shower room. In contrast, the floor features mosaic tiles in gray hues and act as the most perfect neutral to the midnight blue ties. 

12. Blend different bathing spaces

bathroom with zoned tub and shower areas/glass wall, grey walls, pale grey wall tiles, herringbone floor tiles, blue black, stool, towels, pendant

(Image credit: Todd Prince Design/Kathryn MacDonald)

This cleverly designed bathroom has created cohesion using a taupe tile across both the tub and shower space. The flooring unites them furthermore and the three different tile textures result in a modern space that's full of character.

13. Let the floor tile overflow

marble bathroom with marble wall/shower tiles, dark marble floor, enclosed shower, wood/marble vanity

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway Design Studio + Shop/Chad Mellon)

‘These custom dark marble floors that continue into the shower contrast the white thick countertops and tiled walls perfectly, it’s all about balancing dark and light tones to achieve a well-curated look, ’ says Lindye Galloway, founder and chief creative officer at Lindye Galloway Design Studio + Shop.

14. Use a mixture of tile shapes to create interest 

walk shower with neutral tiles, mosaics, shower bench, chrome shower

(Image credit: Waterworks )

To make a teeny walk-in shower light, airy and oh-so-stylish, you need to use a couple of design features. Firstly, choosing a neutral scheme will tick the first two boxes, secondly, have a play around with scale. On the walls and shower bench we have rectangular tiles laid horizontally, while the rest are mosaics. This is the clever part – with mosaics you can let all your creative juices flow by coming up with all manner of designs, as you can see here with the tiled section above the shower bench, the graduated layout really creates a subtle, yet stylish view. 

15. Add a touch of black and white

walk in shower with bold graphic black and white floor tiles, glass shower door, square tiled walls

(Image credit: Living with Lolo/Life Created )

If you want to dabble in a monochromatic scheme but feel a little unsure, then opt for small changes to start with. These graphic black and white floor tiles flow into the shower and give enough of a 'wow' statement without needing anything else other than white tiles on the walls. They also distract the eye perfectly from the small space. 

What size tile should I use in a small shower?

'Use rectangular tiles on a shower wall such as 2 x 8, 3 x 12, or 4 x 16 to elongate the space. These sizes of tile can be installed vertically or horizontally for maximum impact. Don’t use square tiles on shower walls.  They create grid patterns making spaces feel choppy and rigid,’ explains Todd Prince, designer at Todd Prince Design

‘Honestly, you can go with small or large tiles in small showers; it all depends on the right aesthetic,’ says Stephanie Lindsey, RID, NCIDQ, ASID, principal designer at Etch Design Group

What's the best direction to lay tile in a small shower?

‘If the shower is narrow from left to right, you want to have the tiles be installed horizontally so that it visually elongates the width. If the ceiling is low, you'll want to install the tiles vertically so that the long edge of the tile is running up/down and can visually make the ceiling feel higher,’ advises Stephanie Lindsey, RID, NCIDQ, ASID, principal designer at Etch Design Group

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 18 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie has a passion for flowers and colour and has recently launched an online styling course, Style with Blooms.

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