How to choose the tile size for a bathroom

Written by darryl brooks
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How to choose the tile size for a bathroom
Tile comes in many sizes. Choosing the right one can make a difference. (bathroom image by Mikhail Olykainen from

Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or plan on hiring someone else, you will need to select the tile you want to use in your bathroom. Choosing the right colours and style are important decisions, but no less so than choosing the right size.

Choosing a tile that is too small will make the bathroom look busy and can lead to higher maintenance in keeping the grout clean. Choosing a tile that is too large, can make the bathroom look smaller and the installation more difficult.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Poster board
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Measure the areas that are going to receive tile. Take note of all the widths, lengths and heights of areas. A 12-inch tile may look OK on a large floor but will look silly on a 24-inch vanity. Draw a rough plan of the bathroom showing the dimensions you measured.

  2. 2

    Go to a home remodel, tile or decor store that has displays set up showing tile installations in bathrooms. Find those that are pleasing to your eye and compare the measurements to those in your plan. Try to narrow it down to two sizes. Four-inch and 6-inch tiles are common for all areas of bathrooms. If the size warrants, 8-inch tiles may look nice. Only in very large bathrooms do 12-inch tiles make sense.

  3. 3

    Draw a grid on both sides of your poster board using the two sizes you selected. Now place the poster in various areas of your bath and step back to take a look. Tape it to the wall of the tub or shower. Lay it over the vanity top. Which of these sizes blends best with the size of the area you are looking at? Choose the one that looks right to you.

Tips and warnings

  • Also think about the layout of the tile and the cuts that will be needed. On a standard 24-inch vanity, 4-, 6- and 8-inch tiles all work well. If your vanity is not a standard size, think about how the tile will fit. You don’t want to end up with a tiny cut at the back.
  • Remember, you aren't limited to one size. There is no problem using 6-inch tiles in the shower, 4-inch tiles on the vanity and 8-inch tiles on the floor.
  • For many years, 1-inch mosaic tile was standard for bathroom floors. Many people like this retro look but the grout joints can be difficult to maintain. Even sealed grout needs cleaning and maintenance.

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