Tiles are the most exciting part of any bathroom makeover for some, a dreaded task for others. So, what’s the best tile to use for your bathroom? Are large ones better than small ones? And how about mixing styles.
Fortunately, there are many benefits of using large tiles in a bathroom. For one, you have the flexibility of choosing between a variety of ceramic and porcelain tiles. Large tiles are also great if you like a minimal look, want to save costs on tiling, or simply don’t like too much grout.
But what defines a large tile? Are there any downsides to using large tiles? These and other frequently asked questions are answered below.
While you can use any tile you like in your house, interior designers and contractors may have a different say in the matter.
One example of a time you don’t want to use large tiles on a bathroom floor is if you have a small bathroom – in this case, large tiles can create an odd effect or look strange.
The same counts if you’re using too large a tile in your shower or as a wall finish.
So, what’s the best size tile for the room you’re working with?
Generally, small shower floors will look great with a 1-inch square tile, while larger ones will look best when using a 1 to 4-inch square tile.
The rest of the bathroom floor tiles will look best when the tile is between 1 to 12-inch squares. Some modern bathrooms may even benefit from using larger-format tiles.
Showers are the one part of your bathroom that you may want to sacrifice using large tiles – the largest size many people recommend is 4 inches by 4 inches, while others prefer 1 by 1 inch tiles.
Many people prefer using smaller tiles because the person installing the tiles can contour the tiles towards the center of the shower (or towards the drain) to allow the water to drain properly.
If you install too large tiles in your shower, you don’t only run the risk of breaking a tile that isn’t properly laid on the pitch, but you also risk the tiles being too smooth.
The last tile you want in your shower is a smooth, slippery one that you can fall on.
Ideally, your shower should have smaller tiles for many grout lines that will create friction and allow your feet to grip something while you shower.
There is, however, an option if you want to use large tiles in your shower.
When you use large tiles in your shower, you want to select a tile with a high Coefficient of Friction (or COF).
Tile manufacturers and their respective retail companies list the COF on the tile packaging or the website.
So, when using a large tile for your shower, you want to ensure the tile has a COF of 0.6 or above.
Using a tile of this caliber will ensure that your feet have something to grip on when you’re showering, which will prevent unwanted injury.
While your shower space is a bit limited with what size tile you can choose, your bathroom floor has no limit.
In fact, if you have a large bathroom, using large-scale tiles will make the bathroom feel super modern and make it a whole lot easier to clean.
The problem with large format tiles is that you want to ensure that the professional installing the tile knows what they’re doing.
Because the tiles are so large, it’s easy to mess them up when laying the tile, and because large tiles tend to be simple in pattern and color, a bad job will easily be identified.
Often a 12-square-inch tile is used when tiling bathroom floors because they are simple to cut with either a wet tile saw or a rail tile cutter.
To best determine the number of large tiles you’ll need to tile your bathroom, you want to calculate the room’s square footage and divide that number by a single tile square footage.
The resulting number will be the number of tiles you’ll need.
A good layout option when you’re using larger tiles – especially in small bathrooms – would be four or more tiles down and a minimum of three tiles along the room’s width.
If the tiles amount to less than this, you risk having the flooring look a bit awkward in the small room.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of floor tiles out there.
Tiles will vary in shape, size, pattern, and style. Each of these is important when selecting the perfect tile for your small bathroom.
So, how can you make the best of a large tile in a small bathroom?
Here are five tips for choosing a tile for your small powder room to make it look its best:
1. Choose A Large Rectangular Tile
Small bathrooms can easily look a lot bigger with the right tile size and placement.
If you want to use a large tile in your small bathroom, opt for a large rectangular style that you can lay in the same direction as the longest wall.
Laying the tile in this manner will make the floor seem longer, making the bathroom feel longer and larger.
The best rectangular tile size will be either a 4 by 24-inch or 12 by 24-inch tile. These tiles are large enough to easily clean while still adding the much-needed design element to the bathroom.
2. If You’re Using Large Patterned Tiles…
Using tiles with patterns or shapes is a great way to add some personality to a small space.
Some of the most luxurious-looking bathrooms utilize patterned tiles.
To make patterned tile work in your small bathroom, you want to ensure that you stick to one or two colors on the tile.
The pattern will make the floor look busy, so keep the walls simple and neutral – especially if you choose a bold patterned or colored floor tile.
The best large format patterned tile for a small bathroom should be a 12-square-inch tile.
3. Consider Laying The Large Tiles Diagonally
An easy way to make a small room feel larger is to lay the tiles diagonally.
Laying tiles in a standard square pattern makes it fairly easy to count them, making it easy to identify how small the room is.
If, however, you arrange the tiles in a diagonal pattern, your eyes see the longest dimension of the room more easily – a great example of this is a chevron pattern.
Diagonal tiles aren’t for everyone, though, in which case you can look at laying your tile in a brick bond pattern (a style often used for subway tiles).
The best tile for this style is a rectangular tile with a 1:2 aspect ratio.
4. Select Light-Colored Tiles
An important rule in room design is choosing lighter colors for a small room to make the space feel airier and, therefore, bigger.
This design rule applies to small bathrooms, their color, and the size and color of the tile.
When you have a small bathroom and want a safe tile option, opt for white or cream-colored tiles – these will reflect more light than a darker-colored tile would.
However, if you want to make a statement, going with a dark color tile, like navy or black, can add depth to the room if you balance it by using the right proportions and lighter colors to complement it.
5. Don’t Forget About The Tile Finish
A smart way to make a small bathroom look larger through tiles is to select a tile with a glossy, pearl, sateen, or metallic finish.
Selecting tiles like this will make the floor feel larger because light easily reflects off these tiles, which will brighten up the room, even if you go for a tile that isn’t white.
You can go about laying tile on your bathroom floor in many ways.
For one, you can hire a professional to do it for you, eliminating the stress of doing it yourself.
Alternatively, you can also choose to do it yourself. If that is the case, continue reading.
There are various things to look out for when it comes to laying large tiles in your bathroom.
For one, you want to evaluate what type of subfloor you have. If you’re working on concrete, it will require a different process than if you’re working on plywood or vinyl flooring.
If you want a good post about laying tiles, this post by the Family Handyman will cover all you need to know about laying large tiles in your bathroom.
Tiling a bathroom is a challenge in more than one way.
To help, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about using large tiles on a bathroom floor.
Of course, you can! In fact, using large tiles will make a small bathroom feel larger and make a medium to a large bathroom feel even more grandiose.
When choosing a large tile for your bathroom, make sure to choose one that will suit your fixtures and design elements you intend on adding once the tiling is finished.
Small bathrooms can benefit from the use of large tiles.
Because there are few grout lines and the tile has one predominant style, the floor will look less cluttered, which will help the room to feel larger.
This effect will be heightened if you use a light-colored tile with a gloss or moderate sheen finish.
Yes, you can use large tiles for your shower floor. There are some things to be mindful of, though.
You want to check that the tile won’t crack or break when placed on the slope towards the drainage hole.
Additionally, you want to ensure that the tile isn’t slippery – this could cause serious injury. Ideally, you want your tile to have a COF above 0.6.
You can find the COF of your specific tile on the manufacturing details or the product website.
When laid properly, large tiles will be much easier to install, maintain, and clean than smaller tiles.
Using larger tiles means you’ll save on labor costs, too, since the tiler won’t have to cut down, lay, and grout as many tiles as they would when working with something like a penny tile.
The size of tile you select for your bathroom depends entirely on your personal preferences and the condition of your existing floor.
If you’re tiling an old bathroom, smaller tiles will work better to hide the imperfections and prevent damage to the tile itself because it molds better to all the imperfections in the floor.
Placing large tiles on an uneven floor can break or create lippages that don’t look as professional.
The best tile to make your bathroom look larger is an elongated or rectangular one.
The sizes and shapes of tiles will add length to your small powder room, which can create an elongated effect – ultimately making the bathroom look larger than it is.
Using large tiles in a bathroom is a great way to make the room feel larger and sleeker.
Selecting a large tile will also make cleaning the floor easier and may even save on costs compared to small tiles.
Just ensure that if you use large tiles in a shower that you check the COF of the tile to avoid slipping and injuring yourself in the shower.
Also, ensure that you or the professional installing the tile does a good job – it’s very easy to see mistakes in tiling, especially when using a large tile.
But most of all, remember to have fun with the tile’s color, pattern, size, and finish – this is a rather permanent fixture in your house, and you wouldn’t want to redo it anytime soon.