What Size Tiles Should You Use In a Small Bathroom?

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Choosing tiles for bathrooms can be tricky since they require special grouting arrangements to prevent accidental slips and falls. And since they are most likely one of the smallest areas in your home, you’ll need to consider how to maximize the space or have the illusion of a bigger one. 

Fortunately, you can rectify these problems by simply choosing the correct tile sizes. In fact, with proper planning and a little research, you can easily achieve the perfect balance of aesthetics and functionality – all without having to go through costly miscalculations.

man installing bathroom tiles on wall

Recommended Tiles Size Chart For a Small Bathroom

AreaRecommended Tile Size
Bathroom Floor1 x 1-inch to 12 x 12-inches
Bathroom Wall4 x 4-inches to 12 x 24-inches
Shower Floor1 x 1-inch
Shower Wall1 x 1-inch to 4 x 4-inches

Small Bathroom Floor Tile Sizes

man tiling bathroom floor

Among all the areas in your bathroom, the floor outside the shower is probably the most forgiving one. These present the greatest range of tile size possibilities as well as design options. 

Ideal bathroom floor tile size: Anywhere between 1 x 1-inch mosaic tiles to larger format tiles of up to 12 x 12 inches. 

However, from a visual standpoint, 4 x 4-inch tiles are generally recommended for smaller bathrooms. These give the illusion of more space while providing enough seams to provide adequate friction for your feet. But, don’t let this deter you from choosing smaller or larger format variants. 

In fact, 1 x 1-inch mosaic tiles often provide the most generous amount of grip as they require more grout. Although, you may have to consider that using these may give your bathroom a more cramped or busier look. 

On the other hand, 12 x 24-inch tiles are a popular option for many homeowners as they give the appearance of a bigger space. They also give you more room for error as they can easily be cut with wet tile saws or rail tile cutters. Just make sure to calculate your bathroom’s square footage before opting to go with these large format tiles.

Small Bathroom Wall Tile Sizes

man installing bathroom wall tiles

While the safest bet for bathroom walls is the standard 4 x 4-inch tiles, you may want to consider that these are often longer than they are high. On that note, selecting tiles that are of the same ratio can help with generating more space. 

Ideal bathroom wall tile size: 4 x 4-inches to 12 x 24-inches

Subway tiles are a popular choice for many as they offer a 2:1 ratio (width x length) that works well with bathroom walls. Likewise, listellos are a great decorative alternative for those that want to mix and match different types of tile sizes. However, as a general rule of thumb, you may want to opt for tiles with fewer seams as they require more grout and, in turn, more time and effort to clean and maintain. 

Shower Floor Tile Sizes

man putting 4” tiles

While bathroom floors are more lenient when selecting tile sizes, shower floors require a little more thought and planning. Generally, you may want to opt for smaller-sized tiles starting with 4 x 4 inches all the way down to 1 x 1-inch variants.

Ideal shower floor tile size: 1×1-inch

Essentially, smaller tiles give your installer – or you, if you’re doing it DIY – more room to efficiently contour your flooring to direct water flow to a centrally located drain. Likewise, these also allocate more room for grout to provide increased grip for your feet, preventing those nasty falls and slips. 

Optional Recommendation: You may also want to research carefully on your chosen tile manufacturer. You can often find their coefficient of friction (COF) ratings in printed or online literature, giving you more insight into whether they’re suitable options for your shower flooring. 

Shower Wall Tile Sizes

man installing shower wall tiles

Shower walls typically fare better with 4 x 4-inch tiles. While 1 x 1-inch tiles or anything matching your shower floor can be more aesthetically pleasing, you may find that more grout will equal more time and effort spent cleaning as they tend to accumulate a lot of grime – or even mold – in a short time. 

Ideal shower wall tile size: 1×1-inch to 4 x 4-inches

But, to give you an easier time, you can simply match them with your existing bathroom floor tiles that are generally recommended to have 2:1 ratio (width x length) tiles. But, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you opt to go for more unconventional types of shower wall tiles like ceramic or glass that are actually easier to clean and look stunning when properly designed. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Creative

Using smaller tiles, such as mosaics, gives smaller bathrooms a more grid-like and busy appearance, but this doesn’t mean you must take them out of the equation. In fact, if you use additional decorative pieces like listellos and mix and match them with larger formats, you could end with a more visually pleasing bathroom. Likewise, using smaller tiles in alcoves and recesses can provide a stunning accent piece when done right. 

At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to get creative and explore your options. Don’t be bound by guidelines because, simply put; they’re just there to guide you, not dictate how you’re supposed to design your bathroom. 

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Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. With over 15 years of hands-on experience in home ownership, lawn care, and gardening, Aaron is a seasoned expert in areas like lawn care, DIY, HVAC, and pest control.

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