Bathroom Remodel Quick Tip: Tile Size & Orientation

There are a couple small things that make a big difference when selecting your floor tile and determining the orientation.

  1. The size of your tiles should be proportionate to the size of your bathroom. Most big box home improvement stores have a good variety of stock tile to choose from. But, they also limit the size options. This becomes problematic when they only offer 18″-24″ tiles and you have a small to medium-sized bathroom. Large tiles in a small bathroom won’t work because you don’t have enough room to create a discernible pattern. It’s really unappealing and can make the bathroom feel even smaller. If you can’t find 12″ or 8″ tiles at your usual home improvement store, try a specialty store that can order almost any tile you want in any size. The exception: if you have a large bathroom and plenty of room to show off 18″ tiles, go for it. Large tiles in a large bathroom can make a grand impression.

    Large tiles square to wall.

    Large tiles in a small bathroom can make the room feel even smaller

  2. Choose an orientation that gives the bathroom more character. Laying your floor tiles in a checkerboard orientation square to the walls is certainly the easy route because it requires relatively little detail work, but this shortcut will leave your bathroom looking plain. Want proof? Look at any public restroom and you’ll see the tile pattern that requires the least amount of handiwork. Two better options that create a more visually appealing aesthetic: turn the tiles exactly 45 degrees so they are diagonal, or offset the tiles in a brick pattern. This last tip is especially important for rectangular tiles.

    Tiles square to the walls

    Tiles square to the walls

Which of these flooring options appeal most to you?


Small square tiles in brick pattern


Square tiles in a diagonal orientation