Bathroom Tile Sizing: Is Bigger Better?

When deciding on tiling for your bathroom, many factors come into play. Whether it’s for the flooring or walls, homeowners are left with various styles, colors and designs to choose from. Quite possibly the biggest decision you have to make when tiling your bathroom is the size of the tile you want.

In the past, you’ve probably heard interior designers and anybody who has had their bathroom done say that bigger tiles would make your bathroom look small. However, there has been a recent spike in the sizes of tiles. 20 years ago, 8×8 and 4 x 4 tiles were the norms, but now homeowners have the option of 12×12, 18×18, 12×24 and even sizes like 24×48, 36×36 and 48×48. The question present is: are bigger tiles better, or do they have a negative effect on your bathroom?


Are big tiles better in a small bathroom?

To be honest, the size of the tile doesn’t truly matter because the color and shape of the tile are what truly determines if a room looks smaller or bigger. Smaller bathrooms can actually benefit from bigger tiles because if there are fewer grout lines, then the walls and floors look less cluttered and the room visually expands.


Even though big tiles can work in your bathroom, that doesn’t mean you need to rule out small tiles completely. It really comes down to personal preference and the condition of your floor. If your floor isn’t flat, then homeowners naturally tend to lean towards smaller tiles because it works better. Larger tiles lie unevenly on floors that aren’t flat, which causes lippage. For those that are unaware of what lippage is, it’s an uneven surface of a floor because the tiles or stones aren’t laid to a uniform level.


Homeowners can use bigger tiles to their advantage because smaller tiles, such as mosaics, create a lot of grout lines, meaning the bathroom walls will look like a grid and can cause anybody inside of it to feel trapped. However, this problem can be avoided by using different sized tiles. Your best bet is to request several sizes of samples so that you can see what best fits in your bathroom, but the myth that big tiles reduce the look of your bathroom is simply untrue. It can actually be beneficial to its appearance, but it’s difficult to say whether or not they’re better in a small bathroom because each and everyone is different.


Tips for choosing the best tile for your bathroom

American home improvement television show host Bob Vila, on his website bobvila.com, offered some great do’s and don’ts when making the decision on bathroom tiles.


  • Carefully measure the space in your bathroom because accurate measurements are the most important part of the project, especially when it’s an awkward layout. Making any mistakes here can create huge design problems and ruin the project completely. What you want to do is calculate the number of tiles needed for the walls and floor by multiplying the length of the area you are covering by the width to find the square footage. Then you add extra footage for waste.
  • Always consider small-scale because it has the potential to expand limited square footage. One-inch tiles on the walls, floors, shower enclosures, and ceilings fool the brain into thinking that the space is larger because there are so many round or square tiles together. If you choose mosaic tiling, make sure to consider glass because it reflects light around the wall and ceiling, which creates an illusion of a deeper, wider and larger room.
  • Keeping it simple is essential to making sure your bathroom feels open and spacious. If you put too many colors together, it can overwhelm the space and actually make it feel smaller than it actually is. Choosing a single, light color can make the room feel more spacious. If you want a variety of colors, choose pale ones that are a few shades lighter or darker than the other.
  • Setting a diagonal pattern can also work in your favor. Tiles set in this pattern can help the bathroom appear larger than it actually is because it places emphasis on the length and width simultaneously. Obviously, a diagonal pattern will take a little more work, but it’s a great option if you want your bathroom to look big.


  • Try not to be money-sensitive and buy the smallest amount of tiles possible to save a few extra bucks. Running of materials while you are working can be annoying and disrupt the process that is already time-consuming. The worst feeling is getting halfway through the project and having to go back to the store just to find out that they don’t have the tiles you need anymore. Vila recommends that you buy 15 or 20 percent more tiles than you actually need so that you can fix any miscalculations, breakages, and bad cut tiles. It’s also worthy to note that having these extra tiles can come in handy down the road if a tile were to become damaged or ruined.
  • As mentioned before, you would be doing yourself an injustice if you didn’t consider larger tiles. Vila reiterates this point, making it clear that small, 1-inch tiles and large tiles can cause smaller bathrooms to appear larger. Our brain sees a bigger tile and tricks us into thinking that the room is larger than it actually is.
  • Minimal preparation has the potential to give you nightmares if you don’t plan for the project properly. You must ensure that the surface you are working on is clean, smooth and solid. If not, soft floors can cause the tiles to loosen and fall off. That’s why you give Tandem Contracting a call when tiling your bathroom. Our experts will make sure the correct preparation is done so that your bathroom is everything you want it to be.
  • Do not use glossy tiles and polished stone in a bathroom no matter how luxurious it is. These are extremely slick, and if any water were to get on them, they can be extremely slippery and cause someone to get hurt.

Importance of fixtures when it comes to the size of the bathroom

One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make that has a profound impact on the look of their bathroom is not placing the fixtures properly.  If your bathroom is naturally small, putting in large taps, sinks and other things will make it look filled and overcrowded, which in return makes the bathroom look tiny.


Instead, you should choose sleek, smaller fixtures that compliment your bathroom so everything remains consistent. If everything is proportional and the tiling is laid down properly, your bathroom will not only have a large look because of the tiling, but the sink and other fixtures will help the bathroom look spacious.

Ensuring that your bathroom is perfect in every aspect is something that we all want, which is why it’s always worth hiring skilled, tenured experts who can get the job done in a professional and timely manner. If you’re a homeowner ready to give your bathroom a new look get in touch with Tandem Contracting at either 973-864-3100 or by filling out this contact form.

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