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The Best Tiles for Tiny Bathrooms: Interview with the Expert

The Best Tiles for Tiny Bathrooms: Interview with the Expert

  1. Introduction
  2. 4 top tips for decorating tiny bathrooms
    1. Tip #1) Wood-effect tiles for natural warmth
    2. Tip #2) Big tiles, lots of light, and secret storage for small bathrooms
    3. Tip #3) Glossy tiles make small, dark bathrooms appear brighter and bigger
    4. Tip #4) Keep things dynamic with textured, natural tiles for tiny bathrooms
  3. Recapping Wioleta’s expert tips for your tiny bathrooms
  4. Why Tile Merchant?


We recently had the pleasure of welcoming one of Ireland’s foremost interior designers, Wioleta Kelly from Abbeyfeale Interiors, to our Ashbourne showroom for a look around. In this interview with Wioleta, we chose to focus on tiny bathrooms.

Wioleta works with hundreds of clients up and down the country, helping them to perfect the look and feel of their indoor spaces whatever the hurdles they face.

Outfitting small indoor spaces can be a real challenge at the best of times—from inadequate lighting and clutter to lack of storage space and more—so we decided we’d see what top tips she had for tiling and designing your tiny bathrooms.

If you want to know what the most common bathroom tiles are, or what’s the best tile for small bathrooms, you’ve come to the right place!

4 top tips for decorating tiny bathrooms

With these tips, you can make the most of your tiny bathroom and create a stylish, functional space that feels bigger than it really is. Read the interview below.

TM = Tile Merchant | WK = Wioleta Kelly

Tip #1) Wood-effect tiles for natural warmth

TM: Welcome to the Tile Merchant showroom Wioleta! Thank you for coming down. Now, if you were to choose one style of tile above all, for smaller bathrooms, what would it be?

WK: Wood-effect tiles! The trend for wood-effect tiles isn’t going anywhere, and I’m absolutely delighted to hear that you’re selling so many of them. Tiny bathrooms and their floors are going to benefit from wood-effect tiles. They just have the power to add so much warmth and texture to your bathroom.

TM: Absolutely, and what about how to create those textures?

WK: Well, you can lay these wood-effect tiles as normal, or you can use them to create a herringbone effect either on the wall or the floor. What I did recently, actually, in one of my projects, I used herringbone tiles on the wall behind the vanity unit and it added so much texture to the space. It just looked so luxurious.

TM: Yeah! They’re definitely a good solution for a bathroom, without the maintenance.

WK: In smaller bathrooms you can also use bigger tiles. So, like here, we have bigger format wood-effect tiles. And what’s super popular right now is oak, walnut, or bleached oak in these tiles. These are the colours I use all the time, and they’re absolutely gorgeous.

Tip #2) Big tiles, lots of light, and secret storage for small bathrooms

TM: Lots of our customers ask us how they can make small rooms feel bigger, Wioleta. And this question gets asked most when it comes to small bathrooms and tiny toilets. What’s the secret to transforming these spaces?

WK: Good question! If you’re wondering how to make your small bathroom appear bigger than what it is, the secret is in tiles. Do big tiles work in small bathrooms? The answer is YES! Large-format tiles especially — they will make your space appear much bigger. Everyone wants to get bigger tiles these days. They’re everywhere, and I’m very happy with that trend.

TM: Us, too! And, also, I suppose it has to do with the less grout you show as well?

WK: Oh, 100%.

TM: Always much better—less cleaning!

WK: As a busy mummy, I can guarantee you, yeah, less cleaning! That’s the main issue. Now, whilst large-format tiles are amazing for tiny bathrooms, there’s another secret for decorating small spaces. Lights. Lights are super important to make your bathroom appear bigger and brighter.

TM: Definitely, good tip, Wioleta. And what about storage?

WK: Oh yes, another tip for small bathrooms is to use space-saving furniture. So, for example, recessed mirror units are perfect for storage, especially for a busy family. And below this, a small vanity unit as well— ideal in a small bathroom; again with tonnes of storage. You don’t have to compromise on storage in small spaces, certainly not with Tile Merchant.

TM: (Laughs) Oh, thank you, Wioleta! We also see a big trend with people lifting the vanities up off the floor — it creates the illusion of space. Do you agree that that’s a good tip?

WK: Oh, 100%. Especially if you add some LED lights underneath, it will not only elevate your space but also make it bigger. And look, as a busy mummy I love floating bathrooms and vanity units, because they’re also easier to clean underneath, making cleaning the floor a whole lot quicker!

Tip #3) Glossy tiles make small, dark bathrooms appear brighter and bigger

TM: You mentioned lighting for tiny bathrooms, earlier. Can you speak a bit about how lighting helps to make these spaces appear bigger?

WK: Yes! I was just telling you about the importance of light, and yet there’s another rule to this. Shiny tiles. Glossy tiles that the light coming into the space can bounce off will make your space appear way bigger.

TM: Fabulous!

Tip #4) Keep things dynamic with textured, natural tiles for tiny bathrooms

TM: Okay, so far we’ve learned that compact storage, large tiles, floating vanities, and lots of light combined with glossy tiles which can rebound that light, are some of the best ways to make small bathrooms, tiny toilets, and little shower rooms appear much bigger than they actually are. Have you any last tips for us on this subject, Wioleta?

WK: Well, this bathroom I designed is a great example of how you can use natural elements as well as texture and wood-effect tiles to really bring a small space to life! It’s very important to remember that if you want to create a really luxurious space — something that’s going to be timeless — first of all you should use natural elements, like this gorgeous marble-effect tile, before then spicing it up with a tiny bit of colour.

TM: Right!

WK: Here we went for half-and-half, so we have the marble-effect tile on the bottom part of the wall, and the Moroccan-inspired metro green tile on the upper part of the wall. And this is an amazing way of making your space look more interesting — more polished-looking. Next, adding texture. Texture is used on everything in this space, from this gorgeous ribbed-glass shower panel and the textures on the shower tray, to the textures on this gorgeous metro wall tile in green, and then — last but not least — we have brass accessories, like these taps, which makes this space look ultra luxurious.

TM: Texture is literally everywhere you look!

WK: Right! This is something that will last for years to come and is definitely going to wow you, your family, and your visitors. One last thing, though. Every time you install tiles floor to ceiling, you still want to balance it off with a tiny bit of wood — you don’t want things to look too stark or too cold. Here is a perfect example of this — using a wood-effect tile on the floor, with a stressed look, too, which makes the small bathroom warmer and a tiny bit more folky.

Interior Designer Wioleta Kelly with Tile Merchant

Recapping Wioleta’s expert tips for your tiny bathrooms

With years of experience working at Abbeyfeale Interiors, Wioleta dispensed some invaluable insight into how to make small bathrooms and tiny toilet spaces look and feel not only much bigger, but also much more dynamic and eye-catching. To recap, her four top tips were:

  1. Opt for large-format tiles in your small bathroom. They’re easier to clean and will make your space look much bigger.
    1. Bonus tip: Choose a glossy finish so that the light bounces around the room.
  2. Use plenty of light in your tiny bathroom, to make the space feel light and bright and bigger than it actually is.
    1. Bonus tip: Vanity mirrors with built in bulbs are the perfect solution to introduce light without occupying too much space.
  3. Compact storage space and floating vanity units give the illusion of space without you having to compromise on storage.
  4. Natural, textured, colourful tiles like Tile Merchant’s wood-effect and marble-effect bathroom tiles help to keep your small Irish indoor spaces looking fresh, inviting, and dynamic, despite their size.

And that’s that! Four simple, straightforward tips from the interior design expert on how to make your small toilet or tiny bathroom both appear bigger and look better. Stay tuned on the Tile Merchant Style & Advice blog for further interviews with Wioleta

Why Tile Merchant?

Tile Merchant Ireland offers extremely competitive pricing on our entire range of tiles and likewise.

Tile Merchant stocks a huge range of wall and floor tiles and our prices are competitive for retail and trade. Our stock is widely available in our tile stores in Dublin and Ashbourne (Co. Meath) which are open 7 days a week.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to shop our tiles online, we can supply you with samples delivered for free.

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Article written by Calum

Cal Bannerman is a freelance writer, editor, podcaster and voice actor from the Scottish Borders. He runs the storytelling podcast "Stories from the Hearth" and lives in a wee Glasgow Flat with his partner and their cat".