Posted in: Homeowner tips, Selling a home

How to use tile to make a bathroom look bigger

subway tile and pedestal sink

Key insights

  • Jumbo-sized tiles are taking over smaller bathrooms and the trend can help small bathrooms appear much larger.
  • By extending tile into the shower or installing it in an unexpected pattern, homeowners can help make their bathrooms look more expansive.
  • Even the smallest bathroom can stand out when homeowners take advantage of easy lighting tricks, like adding lighting to mirrors and vanities.

The jumbo tile trend

Many homes have a slightly smaller half-bath just off the kitchen or main living space and in years past, these teeny-tiny rooms didn’t pack much of a punch. But in the HGTV era, every room is getting upgraded.

Rather than using the traditional 12-inch tile sizes, many homeowners and hopeful sellers are using jumbo-sized tile. The typical sizes for these larger tiles are 16 or 18 inches but some can be as large as 24 inches.

As this flooring expert explains, the grout between each tile can cause a room to appear smaller. By using larger tile in a bathroom, the grout is minimized and so is the busy-ness of the flooring. The result? A bathroom floor that draws less attention and helps the room appear larger overall.

How can I use jumbo tile to make my bathroom look larger?

The most common way to leverage these larger-sized tiles is to install them the same way you would a smaller, 12-inch tile. Typically, tiles are installed head-on to the bathroom’s entrance.

You could also try:

  • Installing the tile on a diagonal (called “on point”) so the exact size and shape of the bathroom isn’t given away by the number of squares.
  • Using grout that is the same color as the tile, so the flooring looks even less cluttered.
  • Using large rectangular tiles instead of square to create a unique, modern flooring pattern.

What else can I do to help my bathroom appear larger?

In addition to using larger tile, you may want to consider updating a few other features in the bathroom to help open it up.

Consider making the room monochromatic by matching the walls and ceiling to the color of your new tile. Whether or not you match the paint and tile, be sure that the bathroom’s walls are a pale, neutral color. Dark colors are the easiest way to close off a small space.

If the room has a stand-up shower, try extending your flooring tile into the shower stall. This can help the room look much more cohesive — especially if the shower door is made of clear glass.

What lighting tricks can I take advantage of?

Light is the easiest way to make a room appear larger, so consider the different ways you can help your bathroom reflect more light.

You can try:

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