Our Interior Design Expert Names The Best Type Of Flooring To Make A Small Bathroom Feel Bigger

A small bathroom can be unnerving. Even if it has the room you need for storage, towels, and functionality, it takes just a few days of clutter or a rough morning to make you feel as if that space is just too small. One possibility for making this space work is changing out the flooring. While it doesn't necessarily add any room for a hamper to keep the clothes off the floor, it may make the space feel bigger.

There are lots of ways to make a small bathroom work, but from a design perspective, updating the flooring could make the visual impact you need first thing in the morning. Cliff Tan, architect, and feng shui expert at Dear Modern, provided an exclusive interview with House Digest to offer insight into what really works in this space. He stated, "To make a small space feel larger, use flooring that looks as uniform as possible, so you can use plain, large tiles, with grouting that is similar to the tiles to achieve a continuous, plain look." Those bigger tiles can give off the impression that the entire space is larger while creating a backdrop for your aesthetic goals.

He also noted, "There is no single rule to make a bathroom feel larger. While I mentioned that large format tiles can make a space bigger, you could go the opposite route and use mosaic tiles to get the same continuous look or even lay the tiles diagonally."

Choosing the right tile for a small bathroom matters

A simple trip to the average home improvement store should yield dozens of tile options to select from, especially if you check out the smaller, independent tile retailers. How do you choose? Cliff Tan shared several tips with House Digest. When asked about what colors to consider, he said, "The colors and textures depend on the rest of the bathroom. To make a space feel larger, go for colors that are the same as each other to get a sense of continuity without breaking the room up too much." While bathrooms traditionally have a lot of white in them, consider alternative options, including gray, light blues, and other colors you enjoy, but keep them the same throughout. "To add interest, you can use contrasting colors for the fixture," shared Tan. That allows for continuity while still giving you some boost of style and color where you need it and, often, in the direct sight line when scanning the space.

The other concern for many is budget, but Tan offered some steps to keeping your investment better in line with your budget. "With bathrooms, to get the best bang for your buck, go for simpler materials. Instead of natural stone, you may go for composite tiles or even porcelain or ceramic." Expect to pay between $2 and $30 per square foot, on average, to retile the bathroom floor.

Bringing it all together and then maintaining it

In his interview with House Digest, Cliff Tan offered a few more tips on transforming this space. "Ultimately, what makes a bathroom nice is the colors, textures, and lighting, all of which can be achieved with simpler materials as long as thoughtfully chosen." It's easy to become overwhelmed with flooring choices, and when you want to transform a small bathroom on a budget, keep the materials as simple as possible. A new floor is a great way to add a fresh new take on this space — a take that is striking from the first step in the morning.

When choosing a product, don't overlook the challenging work that will go into maintaining it either. Not many people like to spend their days scrubbing tile. Tan offered suggestions about choosing the right products with maintenance in mind. "The best types of flooring for bathrooms are the ones that require [the] least maintenance. Porcelain or ceramic tiles are good, or if using natural stone, ensure that they are sealed." These products can be affordable and easy to maintain and may even last a lifetime for many property owners. "So ultimately, the maintenance is limited to usual mopping and cleaning."

A final tip offered by Tan is to make it your own. "... Have fun and try different ideas!" After all, this is the bathroom you need to use to get ready for the day. Make it energizing for you.