Tips on Choosing Tile Size and Style for a Small Bathroom

Written by benna crawford
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Tips on Choosing Tile Size and Style for a Small Bathroom
The right tiles can help to expand a small bathroom (bathroom image by Vonora from Fotolia.com)

If you can't change the square footage, change the experience. A tiny bathroom becomes an expansive flash of light, the edge of a sea and sky, an earthy bit of woods, with the right tile and accessories. One very big tip when re-tiling a very small bathroom: the tile is a prominent feature so let it be the focal point of the room.

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A Sea of Glass

Give your diminutive bathroom a case of the blues and get happy with it. Use very small, ocean blue, mosaic-stained glass tiles, floor to ceiling, on the wall that you face when entering the bathroom. Pick up one of the sea blues in the stained glass tile and cover the other three walls in glass tile in that colour and size, also floor to ceiling. Lay white subway tile on the floor and use an all-white porcelain tub, toilet and pedestal sink. A mirror framed in the mosaic stained glass tile goes over the sink. (Leave the mirror unframed if that is the mosaic wall.) Choose blue or white towels, a fluffy white bath mat, clear plastic shower curtain or glass partial shower wall and a wooden waste-paper basket. The glass tiles add visual depth to the walls and the bathroom becomes a skyscape or seascape instead of a cramped room.

White Light and Stripes

Fool the eye by running horizontal stripes of coloured rectangular tile around a small bathroom--one stripe at chair rail or towel bar height and another two or three feet above that. The rest of the tile in the bathroom should be white: subway tiles with white painted walls, white penny-tile floor and white porcelain tub and toilet. Add a large, unframed mirror over the sink. The mirror, the all-white tile background and the glossy white paint reflect light all around the room and make the walls "disappear." A clear acrylic waste-paper basket, clear shower curtain and tempered glass sink on a small cabinet provide more texture without adding clutter to the colour scheme. Towels that pick up the colour in the tile bands bring the room alive. Keep all grooming and bath supplies in the cabinet and the bathroom will seem much bigger than it actually is.

An Earthy Alcove

A tiny bathroom becomes a miniature stage set with precise tile treatment and fixtures. A ceiling-to-floor wall of chocolate-brown and earth-toned small tiles--glass or ceramic--behind the sink runs into a floor of large, square, glossy black tiles. A low, one-piece toilet is chocolate porcelain; the sink is a wall-hung slab of chocolate granite with platinum-finished faucets/taps and exposed pipes. A deep shower stall is tiled in mixed, small, black, chocolate and cream tiles halfway up the wall and faux-painted in cream stucco up to and across the ceiling. The shower curtain is cream with a spare tree trunk and bare branches design. A simple round mirror hangs by a chain against the tiled wall over the sink. Towels are mud- and cream-coloured and a round wastebasket is made of polished wood. Bright lighting and a bonsai help this bathroom to feel like a small clearing in the woods.

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