A limited floor area definitely shouldn’t limit your small bathroom flooring ideas. Pattern as well as color ranging from subtle neutrals to bold and vibrant hues can look fabulous in compact bathrooms, en suites and half baths.
What’s crucial with bathroom flooring ideas is that they are practical, coping with splashes and providing sufficient slip resistance for the room’s users, but satisfy these requirements and there are a multitude of decor choices available.
Be inspired to fulfill your small bathroom ideas with our selection of small bathroom flooring ideas and create a compact room that ticks the boxes for style and functionality.
Small bathroom flooring ideas
When it comes to planning your small bathroom flooring ideas, many flooring companies offer free apps to help visualize the finish in your room, and one of the real upsides of only needing a few square feet is that you can splash out on a super luxe finish.
Any floor covering you choose will have to be waterproof and anti-slip, as splashes are inevitable. Follow the manufacturer’s advice for cleaning and care, especially for natural stone, and invest in the laying of tiles with the correct prep and substrate as well as tanking where necessary.
Don’t forget to consider radiant floor heating for a bathroom when laying new flooring. The final touch is a luxury bathmat for a soft step out of the shower and a quick soak up of any puddles.
For some beautiful inspiration for bathroom ideas, explore our top small bathroom flooring ideas, from bathroom floor tile ideas and vinyl bathroom flooring to marble bathroom flooring and non-slip bathroom floors.
1. Choose checkerboard
Statement floors are ideal for small bathrooms as they bring instant personality without dominating a space. Currently trending yet imbued with timeless appeal, checkerboard floors would make a stylish choice for a bathroom suggests Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs. 'It doesn’t have to be traditional white and black,' he says. 'Instead, contrasting, or similar shades can be used to soften and warm the space.
'This type of flooring works well in half baths and smaller spaces, though it is best to work with smaller tiles so you can see much more of the pattern,' he adds.
2. Add texture with herringbone tiles
Tiling a compact bathroom floor with small herringbone marble tiles is a brilliant way to inject subtle texture into a muted color palette. With each tile boasting myriad tones and grain details, the overall effect is a shimmering surface that lifts the space.
One of the benefits of marble is that it can work well in a number of different properties, explains Louise Wicksteed, design director at Sims Hilditch. 'The smooth, sleek finish can create a contemporary, elegant finish suitable for a luxurious London home, or can be used to bring contrast to a more rustic family space full of exposed beams and natural materials,' she says.
3. Create the illusion of extra space
If you're looking to inject pattern into a small bathroom while keeping the walls pale and light reflective, you can't go wrong with a geometric floor, which can be a clever way to trick the eye, too.
‘Using a bold floor tile is a wonderfully effective way to elevate a bathroom – it grounds the room, emphasizes the sense of space and scale, and packs a chic punch without being too overwhelming,’ advises interior designer Samantha Todhunter.
When the boundary between one tile and another is not clearly defined it can give the illusion that the floor spans a greater area, so for a neat way to make a small bathroom floor appear larger try a tessellated geometric tile design.
4. Blur the boundaries
Using the same tiles over the walls and the floors is a clever way to create an illusion of space making it a good idea for small bathrooms. This technique cleverly disguises the boundaries of the floor helping to distract from its compact span. Opting for a pastel color will ensure the space stays bright and uplifting while also bringing personality.
'We designed this bathroom for my daughter Iris, eight, and wanted a feminine and age-appropriate bathroom, but also not a space she would tire of with age. The glamorous pink Luna Rose tiles that cover every surface were the perfect choice,' says Lee Thornley, founder of Bert & May.
5. Go with the grain
With its beautiful natural grain, wood is a fabulous way to bring warmth and texture to a small bathroom. But as an alternative to the real thing, consider wood-effect porcelain tiles. Available in a huge array of tones and textures, these tiles have the rustic appeal of real wood with the added benefits of being durable and easy to install and maintain, plus they are also compatible with radiant floor heating.
'Wood-effect tiles have grown in popularity in recent years and bring warmth, color and durability to any space with a wide array of styles and texture available,' says Harriet Goodacre, tile consultant at Topps Tiles. 'If you’re working with a small space, we advise going for a simple grain in light shades to ensure it doesn’t feel too claustrophobic.'
6. Use contrasting colors with floor tiles
In this 19th Century style bathroom, the beautiful Victorian tiles in contrasting colors blue and yellow make a stand out feature of the small flooring space.
George Miller, Designer at Neptune states it’s all about quality and not quantity in small bathrooms, ‘choosing flooring for a smaller space, like a bijou bathroom or cloakroom, shouldn’t feel limiting. In fact, with a smaller area to cover, you can afford to invest in quality materials that will make a statement’.
When choosing colors for your bathroom floor tiles, using the color wheel will ensure you create harmonious and stylish color combinations that can stand the test of time.
7. Add a rug for comfort
Bathroom rug ideas are not typically an essential addition to a bathroom space, but they can help to create a relaxing and cozy atmosphere in a room that is often viewed to be clinical and purely practical.
Rugs are often used in larger bathrooms with expansive floor areas, however, they can work just as well in small bathroom spaces to create an enhanced, cozy space that is warm and inviting.
If you want to avoid using color through wallpaper designs or paint on the walls, adding a rug to your small bathroom space is a simple and easy way to inject character and personality without the space feeling too overwhelming.
8. Go all-white
White bathroom ideas are some of the most popular when it comes to designing and decorating bathrooms in the home. White is a color associated with purity and cleanliness and is a very practical choice for the bathroom when it comes to cleaning.
To create a truly tranquil bathroom space, an all-white scheme with matching white flooring will make a small bathroom feel much bigger and brighter.
Whether you choose white tiles, vinyl or painted floorboards, an all-white design for small bathroom flooring ideas is timeless, and allows for you to easily adapt and tweak the scheme later down the line. You can then simply add color and texture through your accessories, fixtures and fittings.
9. Be bold with black
Black flooring in a small bathroom space can create an enduring atmosphere of refined elegance, from luxurious marble to vinyl, there are an array of options to choose from.
A very practical and long-lasting choice for a small bathroom space, black bathroom flooring can pretty much coordinate with any other color, allowing for you to easily pick and choose other colors when decorating to begin with and later down the line if you want to make changes.
Black vinyl flooring, like the 'Back to Black Vamp' flooring shown in the above image from Amtico Flooring, is easy to clean and can effortlessly coordinate with both traditional and contemporary styled spaces. When paired with white tiles, black flooring can create a sophisticated, classic look, it also works well with other neutral shades and natural materials such as marble and wood.
10. Create an intricate tile design
A small bathroom floor is a great place to go all out for bathroom tile ideas. As there is not as much space to cover, creating an intricate tile design will make a small bathroom feel elegant and luxurious.
George Miller, Designer at Neptune states, ‘creating a pattern, no matter how simple, from tiles or timber in neutral tones is also a great way to add interest underfoot without overwhelming smaller spaces’.
In this gray bathroom, the beautiful herringbone design adds visual interest to the gray and white scheme. The marble tiles used in this classic, intricate pattern create a stylish design statement that celebrates traditional techniques in a modern bathroom space.
11. Elevate a blue scheme
Blue bathroom ideas remain one of the most popular and versatile choices for when decorating a bathroom space.
With its connections to the sky and the ocean, the color blue is guaranteed to evoke feelings of calm and relaxation, perfect for a bathroom. With many bathrooms using blue paint and tiles, or finished with blue accessories, why not take your design one step further with blue flooring.
Whether you choose a decorative blue floor tile, or large, block color vinyl designs, blue flooring can lift a small bathroom space, enhancing your existing blue scheme by adding character and charm to your floor space.
12. Carry the look up the wall
Matching bathroom floor tiles with wall tiles will open out the space, especially if you pick a pale tone with a natural pattern, such as these Carrara marble-effect tiles.
Stick to one uniform tile or look for ranges that offer different shapes in the same finish for added creative interest.
13. Trick the eye
Geometric tiles can shake up perceptions of a small space. Here they unfold like a long carpet, leading the eye up to the skylight and beyond. It’s a great trick to use when you lay bathroom floor tiles in a narrow space, as it brings some personality to the scheme.
These Parisian Café Tri Rosa tiles are porcelain, designed to replicate old encaustic cement tiles.
14. Introduce some color
Linoleum and rubber are both natural products that have long-been used to add a pop of color to the bathroom.
Okofloor is the next generation; an even greener form of sheet flooring that is colorfast and suitable for use with underfloor heating. Made from organic castor and rapeseed oils, it has a subtly textured finish and is available in seven modern colors.
15. Make a statement with monochromes
Monochrome bathroom tile ideas are timeless – think Art Deco black and white. The irregular laying pattern of these diagonal striped tiles creates interesting movement – are they chevrons or stripes or both?
While running the patterns across the bath panel boosts the sense of floor space and doubles the impact.
16. Go luxe with natural stone
Real stone is the luxury bathroom idea that will bring unique pattern and texture to your floor. Stone needs proper sealing and there are some cleaning products that should be avoided, but it has solidity, it holds warmth well and has enduring style. Check that joists can take the extra weight, although this is unlikely to be a problem in a small bathroom.
‘When you are laying stone on a suspended floor, look for a minimum of 20mm thickness to reduce flexing and floor movement underneath,’ advises James Cherrington, Director of Lapicida. ‘Good sub-floor preparation is essential.’
Lapicida offers a range of natural stones and mosaics as well as porcelain tiles that replicate the effect.
17. Try stone-look porcelain
Stone effects on a porcelain tile combine a sense of luxury with practicality and affordability, and the current trend for onyx is a real gem.
Mandarin Stone has taken inspiration from this mineral, capturing much of its reflective qualities, depth and character in a porcelain tile, which looks every bit as precious as the real thing.
18. Consider wood-look luxury vinyl tile
You can use real wood in a bathroom. Engineered planks have the stability to weather the changes in temperature and humidity, but luxury vinyl can be a better and more practical idea for small bathrooms.
Luxury vinyl tiles are built of several layers of material compressed at high temperatures to give stability and a tough finish, and are available in a wide range of wood effects.
19. Create a stylish grid pattern
Smaller tiles work well in compact spaces and are easier to cut around awkward fittings. The hexagon continues to be a popular motif, creating a more organic patterning than squares and rectangles. Many ranges have matching tiles in squarer formats too so you can get creative with your tile-laying.
These porcelain Chalkstone Honeybee Bone tiles have a matte finish and are suitable for floors and walls.
20. Aim for a balanced look
Adding a little pattern can be a beautiful thing, but do consider the balance of the room. A small patterned floor in an all-white room may get lost but a matching splash back boosts its presence and creates a beautifully layered scheme.
21. Create a cohesive scheme
No surface sits in isolation in the bathroom, so think about how the various elements connect.
This clever small bathroom idea uses a mix of two dark floor tiles, one with a wood effect and one plain, and the change in texture separates the bathing zone from the shower. It is a subtle effect but one that feels very considered, picking up on the timber of the vanity and window frames.
What is the best flooring for a small bathroom?
First things first, it's important to consider the best flooring for a small bathroom. Whether you have a bath or a shower, splashes are likely to reach the whole floor, so it needs to be practical. Anti-slip, easy to care for and totally waterproof are the essentials, and make sure it’s compatible with underfloor heating too.
Tiles, lino, stone, quality vinyl and rubber all make good floor coverings but a lot rests on the way it is laid, so always use a recommended professional for installation.
What is the best tile size for a small bathroom?
So, you've got your design sorted, now it's time to consider the best tile size for your small bathroom.
Small tiles have the advantage of being easy to cut and fit around pipework and fittings but they are not the only solution. Large format tiles continue to be popular and can give a smart, almost grout-free finish in a small space. But they need to be laid properly, with full tiles running down the centre and cut tiles off to the sides.
Choose a shade of grout that will blend. Matching floor and wall tiles can really open out the space, but do go for something with a bit of character and warmth.
What are latest trends for flooring in a small bathroom?
If you're struggling for inspiration, why not look to some of the latest tile trends for flooring in small bathrooms?
As we continue to spend more time at home, there is an overarching trend for quality and durability in all rooms as well as a need for privacy and retreat in our bathrooms.
Natural materials, dark bathroom color ideas, texture and the opulence of metallic glazes on tiles give a luxurious feel and a timeless quality. At the brighter end of the spectrum, sparkling white wall tiles can be teamed with patterned tiles or block color on the floor for an uplifting look that sparks joy.
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Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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