Small bathroom tile ideas: 12 ways to mimic a spacious bathroom

Decorating a bathroom on the small size can be tricky, but these small bathroom tile ideas are here to help

small bathroom tile ideas
(Image credit: Bert and May)

No room? No problem, these small bathroom tile ideas are here to help you create a bright and airy space. Not only can the right tiles create the allusion of space, but they are a great way to add colour and pattern into even the tiniest of rooms. 

From colour to tile size, shape and placement, we've put together 12 beautiful ideas that are guaranteed to transform your small bathroom space, in a big way.

Scroll down to find your favourite look and make sure you check out our bathroom ideas page for more beautiful inspiration too.

How do you make a small bathroom look bigger with tiles?

Tiles that reflect light are a great way to make a bathroom feel lighter, more spacious and more luxe, while laying floor tiles diagonally can make it look wider and longer too. Another trick to make a small bathroom feel bigger is to use the same wall and floor tiles, the running pattern helps to create drama that is perfect to mimic a bigger space.

All of our suggestions will open up your space and therefore, add an element of elegance that you just wouldn't expect from a box bathroom! To find advice on how to choose small bathroom tiles, be sure to check out our page.

1. Use reflective tiles to bounce the light

Glassworks Radiance silver mosaic gloss, 31.5 x 30.5cm, £299.95 per m2, Original Style

Glassworks Radiance silver mosaic gloss, 31.5cm x 30.5cm, £299.95 per m2, Original Style

(Image credit: Original Style)

Love the idea of dark tiles, despite your bathroom's modest proportions? As part of a modern bathroom design, pick tiles with a shimmering, multi-tonal effect. They'll add texture, depth and dimension, and will reflect light more than tiles with a flat finish. Picking small mosaic tiles can make a bathroom feel busier so limit them to one or two walls and contrast with large format floor tiles. 

2. Use pattern to create visual tricks 

High Society Glass Kennedy, 39.7 x 30.5cm, £649.74 per m2, all items shown, Fired Earth

High Society Glass Kennedy, 39.7cm x 30.5cm, £649.74 per m2, all items shown, Fired Earth

(Image credit: Fired Earth)

The basic rule of thumb for choosing patterned tiles for a small bathroom is to go for graphic designs that can be used cleverly to stretch the space (visually, at least). Here, a horizontal(ish) stripe will make a narrow bathroom feel wider. Match with large format, fuss-free floor tiles for the floor. If you need some advice on choosing bathroom floor tiles, be sure to go and check out our guide. 

3. Use diagonal lines to widen and lengthen walls

Small bathroom with wooden vanity unit and diagonal tiles

Spirit tiles by Original Style

(Image credit: Original Style)

Any tiles that create a diagonal pattern, however subtle, will create another visual trick: that of lengthening and widening walls. The same ruse can be used with plain tiles laid diagonally. If yours is a very narrow bathroom, avoid putting tiles on all four walls; instead, create contrast and interest with a paint colour. 

Psst... we have loads more ways to improve your bathroom, to help a small bathroom to look bigger. Go take a look!

4. Go for a statement wall behind the bath

Ted Baker Triangles range, four colours in each pack of 8 tiles, 23.7 x 23.7cm, £100 per pack, British Ceramic Tile

Ted Baker Triangles range, four colours in each pack of 8 tiles, 23.7cm x 23.7cm, £100 per pack, British Ceramic Tile

(Image credit: British Ceramic Tile)

Designing bathrooms on a budget, but would like to invest in luxury tiles? Go for a statement wall – preferably the one that frames the bath, since you'll look at it the most – and keep the other walls simple, perhaps painted with a toning shade. The upside of creating a feature wall? You notice it, not the room's modest size. 

5. Raise the ceiling with a vertical column of tiles

If your bathroom has a low ceiling, fitting tiles like this, in a vertical column, will draw the eye upwards to create the impression of a taller room. Which colour to choose? Pick light, toning shades.

Grey is everyone's favourite colour these days; we have grey bedrooms, grey living rooms, and, yes, grey bathrooms. To counteract the potential for a cold looking room, combine grey tiles with a warm oat or rusty shade. 

Cement Tech mini white tile, 25 x 40cm, Cement Tech mini grey decor tile, 25 x 40cm, Cement Tech mini anthracite tile (floor), 45 x 45cm, all tiles £24.99 per m2, Gemini Tiles.

Cement Tech mini white tile, 25 x 40cm, Cement Tech mini grey decor tile, 25 x 40cm, Cement Tech mini anthracite tile (floor), 45 x 45cm, all tiles £24.99 per m2, Gemini Tiles

(Image credit: Gemini Tiles)

6. Going for dark tiles? Invest in contrast and lighting

Fusion black matt porcelain chevron tiles, £70.70 per m2, Mandarin Stone.

Fusion black matt porcelain chevron tiles, £70.70 per m2, Mandarin Stone

(Image credit: Mandarin Stone)

A black bathroom can look very chic and inviting, and keeping to just one colour means that you can really go to town with different textures and patterns. In a small bathroom, pick a colourful or warm metallic contrast for bathroom furniture, towels or accessories to lift the scheme. Invest in good lighting and a large mirror, too. Both will make the room feel more spacious.

For more black bathroom design ideas, go take a look at our gallery. 

7. How to introduce a colourful tile to a small bathroom

Pink Pradena star tile, 20 x 20cm, £125 per m2, Bert & May

Pink Pradena star tile, 20cm x 20cm, £125 per m2, Bert & May

(Image credit: Bert & May)

Want to introduce colour and pattern to your small bathroom walls? Picking a design with a warm colour scheme – like this dusty rose – will make the space feel welcoming; sticking to very plain finishes (whether towels, bathroom window treatments or flooring) and sleek lines elsewhere in the room will help it feel as big as possible, too.

8. Tile below the dado rail only

Lillången wall cabinet with 1 door, £30, Lillången washbasin cabinet with 1 door, £85, Dynan open storage, £35, Dynan cabinet with door, £25, Dynan wall shelf, £15, Lillholmen wall lamp, £12, Vågsjön bath towel, £4, all Ikea


(Image credit: Ikea)

Metro tiles are endlessly fashionable – but also great for use within a small bathroom. Why? The strong horizontal lines they create when on the walls create the widening effect we mentioned earlier. Limiting the tiles (any tiles for that matter) to beneath dado rail level, with a paler paint colour above, will also make the room feel taller. Win win.

If you love these classic tiles as much as we do, go and check out these beautiful ways to use metro tiles

9. Create a wall/floor contrast

Nyans indigo blue tiles (floor), 59.3 x 98cm, £39.95 per m2, Hoxley frost tiles (wall), 20 x 20cm, £49.95 per m2, Walls & Floors


(Image credit: Walls & Floors)

Want to introduce dark tiles while keeping the bathroom as light, bright and spacious-feeling as possible? This is the perfect tile combo: dark bathroom floor tiles and pale-coloured bathroom wall tiles. 

10. Pick an all-over tile in a shower room

Palazzo porcelain marble effect tiles, 120 x 120cm and 120 x 240cm, £150 per m2, Stone & Ceramic Warehouse


(Image credit: Stone & Ceramic Warehouse)

Got a shower room or wet room? Stretch space visually by using the same tile throughout; it'll also give you a smart, contemporary look – and make for super-easy cleaning. Choose an off-white tile with a marble effect for warmth, texture and interest. 

If you fancy adding a wet room, go and have a read of our guide to get you started and be sure to check out our page on how to design a bathroom from scratch too.

11. Pick an on trend scalloped tile 

En suite bathroom by Topps Tiles

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

As we have mentioned, you don't need to tile a whole load of space in a small bathroom for it to have an impact. Try instead using a bold tile, in a brave shade or interesting shape, for the inside of your shower. Scalloped tiles are such a big trend right now (in fact they even made it into out round up of the top interior trends), and these Syren tiles from Topps Tiles come in five glorious sea-inspired hues. 

12. Expand your space with clever floor tiles 

Small bathroom with sunset tiles

(Image credit: Meir)

We love this idea and obsessed with this very cool bathroom. It's a pretty small space too, it's just been made to look bigger with the clever choice of floor tiles. The fading colours draw the eye to the end of the room, giving the illusion that the room is longer than it is and running the tiles up the side of the bath only adds to lengthening the room. We love the sunset colours used here but if you are more into a monochrome bathroom this would work really well fading black into white. 

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