What size of tile is best for my project?

Tiles have become an extremely popular choice of décor. Manufacturers have risen to the increase in demand and hunger for varied designs with a myriad of different sizes and styles. Choosing the right size tile for a project can be a very daunting and personal decision. However, there are some basics that should be considered and may help you to narrow down the selection and put you on the right track.

Large or small tiles?

Let's start by explaining what we mean when we talk about tile sizes. A small tile can be considered anything up to 200x200mm. A medium tile can be considered anything from 200x200mm up to 600x400mm. A large tile is from 600x600 up to 900x450mm and extra large from 750x750mm upwards. Now this does not cover every size but it gives you a basic understanding of the common sizes available.

The correct size of tile for your project depends on the size of the room and the design style you are adopting. When installing small tiles there will inevitably be more grout joints. Like any surface that is decorated, busy patterns or breaks in the surface such as grout joints will make the surface appear slightly smaller as the eye is drawn to the interruptions in tiling. Think about a room that has been painted with a light plain colour, it will seem larger than if it were decorated with bold floral wallpaper. Large tiles will give a more spacious appeal and relaxing free flowing aesthetic.

Smaller tiles can give you more options with fitting patterns and when used with a contrasting grout can create an interesting feature. If you have a large open-plan space and want to add a contemporary or minimalist design then a large tile such as 800x800mm or 1200x600mm may be just the ticket. Even a large wood effect tile such as 1200x200mm may be suitable. If on the other hand you want a country cottage or traditional style project, then you may wish to choose a smaller tile and use the grout joints to compliment the design with a carefully selected grout colour.

Will a big tile make a small space look bigger?

This is a common question and one without an easy answer. The best way to think about this is to think of a tile size in proportion to the room space. For example in a small cloakroom a 300x600mm tile may look big and create less grout joints, making the room feel larger. While a 1200x600mm tile will probably be too big whilst generating even fewer joints. This size tile can look clumsy if out of proportion to the room, creating unsightly small cuts and even dwarfing the room. In this case you are better off thinking about the tile size as a ratio to the room size.

A small bathroom can be made to look longer or wider if a rectangle shaped tile is used. Installing these in a portrait fashion will stretch out the grout joints giving the illusion of a longer or wider room. Either a 200x600mm or 300x600mm will be suitable for small bathroom walls and floors. Small tiles in a small room can add an eye-catching talking point, especially a tile with a beautiful pattern such as the nikea sephia range. This may make the floor or wall seem small but if the remaining surfaces are relatively plain and uncluttered then they can add to the ambience rather than detracting from the size of the room.

How fitting patterns impact the look

While tile sizes do have an impact on the feeling of space, the same can be said for fitting patterns. If a rectangular shaped tile is fitted on the floor in a landscape fashion running across the entrance, the room will appear wider. If the same tile is fitted in a portrait style then the room will appear longer. This is because the eye and brain work to interpret the surrounding décor and considers grout joints to be break in the surface area. Thus creating the illusion of a smaller or larger space. Fitting square floor tiles in a diamond pattern can also make the room appear larger. While fitting brick shaped tiles in a herringbone style on walls can look visually stunning but can make the room feel smaller.

Metro White Herringbone

Brooklyn Grey Tile

What is the right size tile to fit?

It's quite often the case that tiles will be purchased by the homeowner before hiring a professional tiler. The tiler will see the tiles and let out a big sigh, this isn't due to the fact that they haven't yet had their morning coffee. Planning an installation in order for all cuts to look balanced and in proportion with the room, with a high quality tiled finish is a bit of an art.

The wrong sized tiles can create many awkward cuts and generate a high amount of wastage. Imagine a small cloakroom with 1200x600mm tiles fitted. It will be hard for the installer to cut around any furnishings, windows and doors etc while keeping the right visual balance in the room. A medium size tile such as a 300x600mm will be easier to manipulate around this space and will look far more appealing. Just as a large tile can be awkward to fit in a small space, the same can be said for a small tile in a large space. A large open plan area is going to look far more balanced with a large tile, it will also be easier and faster to install and easier to maintain.

The angle of the surface that is being tiled also needs to be considered. For example, if a wet room floor is being tiled a larger tile may be challenging to install and maintain the angle required for the water to flow towards the drain trap. A smaller tile will be easier to manipulate and allow the water to exit the floor at the correct rate in order to stop any puddling.

What else needs to be considered?

While it's easy to get hung up about tile sizes, it's worth taking a minute to consider the different finishes that are on offer as these can also have a dramatic impact on the project. A large dark tile in a small room can make it look smaller than a light medium sized gloss tile. A large bathroom may look fantastic with a mosaic finish shower adding an eye-catching feature rather than large tiles throughout. Gloss finishes tend to make a dark room look larger as they reflect any available light. Whilst a matt or satin tile can take the edge off of any harsh light making a softer calm environment. Consider these factors when also thinking about what size tile is needed and you will be on the right path for that well balanced dream project.

We recommend that you order a sample before making a final decision. Lay the sample down in situ for a few days. Look at any changes in light throughout the day and see how the tile adapts to those changes. This will give you another great indication of the correct tile to choose. If you have any further questions you can call our customer support team on 01473 805 959, or contact us via livechat online @ totaltiles.co.uk.