How to Choose the Right Size Tiles

Tiles, like any aspect of design, are a totally individual choice. What I may love, you may think is awful and you might adore something I wouldn’t particularly care for in my own home. This, of course, is the beauty of our own individuality and explains why there is just so much incredible diversity when it comes to choosing a style, colour or finish of tile to grace your home.


However, there are a few things to bear in mind when considering the size of the tiles you choose. If you have a smaller space or a large space, what are the best sizes to choose? Should you choose from smaller tiles to marry with the size of a petite space? Will large tiles automatically make things look larger? Well, it’s not entirely cut and dry but it really depends upon your own personal circumstances and the room itself you have to decorate.

While it will certainly help in making a decision by ordering samples (it’s really simple to do here on Tile Mountain if you weren’t aware of that already) and you might want to give our Tile Visualiser a try (also really simple, see our guide here), sometimes it’s difficult to picture exactly what those tiles will look like in our home. The amount of natural light we get, the location of our fixtures and fittings, ceiling heights and available wall space all play a role in how our finished space will look.


One thing to bear in mind (and there are some exceptions to this rule) is to purchase tiles relative to the amount of space you have. So a really large area (perhaps an open plan kitchen/dining room) can probably handle really large format tiles. If you have a medium size bathroom, you might want to go with a medium-sized tile to suit. And the most petite of cloakrooms may look best with smaller, mosaic style tiles.


However, one thing to bear in mind is grout lines and this will make an impact on the final result and whether the space will look smaller or larger as a result of your hard work. The more grout lines you have, the busier your wall or floor will look and this may have a tendency to make a smaller space look even more bijou. It may be good to go with a medium sized tile instead to reduce that grid-like appearance that results from grout lines and give the illusion of a larger space.


On the other side of this advice is that a smaller bathroom for instance might have some difficult angles which means, practically speaking, a larger tile is going to need more cuts to fit around those items. If your toilet is located quite close to your shower, for instance, those tiles running along both may require more work than using a smaller tile that will fit better around them.


One thing that you can do to ensure your tiles make a room look larger is to use a grout colour that is similar to the colour of the tiles you choose. This will then make that grid disappear more and your tiles will no longer look ‘framed’ and more seamless.


One area you can usually get away with smaller tiles is inside a shower cubicle. More grout lines actually mean better traction and less slipping so choosing a small or mosaic tile for this area with a larger tile in the rest of the space may be a great compromise.


Bear in mind as well, the more different sizes you use within a space, the busier and therefore more compact it will look. So if you are looking to visually expand a space, using only one or two different styles may be a better option than having 4 or 5 different tiles all playing off each other.


Consider as well the placement of your tiles. If you lay tiles diagonally on the floor rather than in a grid pattern, your eye will be fooled into thinking it’s a larger area simply by the play of perspective on our eyes. The busier and smaller the pattern (for instance in a weave or thatch pattern) can make a room look visually smaller. Consider laying rectangular tiles opposite to a rectangular room’s shape. So a narrow room will look larger with the long side of the rectangle running perpendicular to the longest walls.


Lastly, while sizes play a role, do also consider the colour and finish of your tiles in terms of how they will expand or contract in a space. Lighter colours and reflective glossy surfaces will make the most of whatever light you do have and will thus make a space look bigger. Darker colours and matt finishes – while very chic and on trend now – can visually make for a cosier looking space. Not that there’s anything wrong with dark, dramatic spaces but if you are trying to make it look bigger, this might not be your best bet – stick to paler shades.

I hope you’ve found our guide helpful today in choosing the sizes of tiles that work best with your individual project!