Small bathroom flooring ideas - from bold colours and striking patterns to soothing neutrals and more

Elegant flooring inspiration for compact bathing spaces, cloakrooms and petite en suites

(Image credit: Lapicida)

With the average UK bathroom not much bigger than the size of a king-size bed, the decorating scheme requires careful thought. 

Expanses of mirror, reflective surfaces and wall-hung fittings all improve the sense of overall space, but don’t feel limited to plain colours or neutral finishes when it comes to the bathroom floor.

The trend for patterned tiles and strong colour shows bold to be beautiful even in the smallest room. Many flooring companies offer free apps to help visualise the finish in your room and one of the real upsides of only needing a square metre or two 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 manufacturers’ advice around cleaning and care, especially for natural stone, and invest in the laying with the correct prep and substrate as well as tanking where necessary. 

Don’t forget the underfloor heating. It’s a must for year-round comfort and, with no need for radiators, it frees up wall space. The final touch is a luxury bathmat for a soft step out of the shower and a quick soak up of any puddles.

See more: Small bathroom ideas – stylish solutions for tiny spaces

What is the best flooring for a small bathroom?


Bathroom by Crosswater

(Image credit: Crosswater)

Whether you have a bath or a shower, spray and 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.

Consider the sub-floor. Ground-floor bathrooms on solid surfaces can be tanked and turned into wetrooms but flexible timber joists and boards can be trickier to seal effectively. 

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?


Floor and wall tiles by Topps Tiles

(Image credit: small-bathroom-flooring-ideas-Topps-Tiles)

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.


Lighting design by Lighting Design Studio 

(Image credit: Lighting Design Studio)

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 colours, 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 colour on the floor for an uplifting look that sparks joy.

Small bathroom flooring ideas

1. Carry the look up the wall

small-bathroom-flooring-ideas-CTD Tiles

Kingston White Brillo tile, £36.99 per sq m, CTD Tiles.

(Image credit: CTD Tiles)

Going the matchy matchy route 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. 

2. Trick the eye


Parisian Café Tri Rosa porcelain tiles, £74.70 per sq m, Ca’Pietra.

(Image credit: Ca'Pietra)

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 in a narrow space and brings some personality to the scheme. 

These Parisian Café Tri Rosa tiles are porcelain, designed to replicate old encaustic cement tiles. 

3. Introduce some colour


Okofloor, £62 per sq m, The Colour Flooring Company.

(Image credit: The Colour Flooring Company)

Linoleum and rubber are both natural products that have long-been used to add a pop of colour to the bathroom. 

Okofloor is the next generation – an even greener form of sheet flooring that is colourfast 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 colours.

4. Make a statement with monochromes


Bathrooms by DayTrue start at £8,000.

(Image credit: DayTrue)

Monochrome is timeless in the bathroom – 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. 

5. Go luxe with natural stone


Antique Marble Basketweave mosaic, £238.80 per sq m, Lapicida

(Image credit: Lapicida)

Real stone is the luxury option 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 – 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.

6. Try stone-look porcelain


Mimica Onyx Pearl Gloss Porcelain, from £46.80 per sq m, Mandarin Stone 

(Image credit: Mandarin Stone)

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. 

7. Consider wood-look luxury vinyl tile


Coal Grained Oak laid as parquet, from £55 per sq m, Amtico

(Image credit: Amtico)

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 practical way to get the look in a smaller room. 

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. 

8. Create a stylish grid pattern


Chalkstone Honeybee Bone tiles, £28.95 per sq m, Walls & Floors.

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

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 matt finish and are suitable for floors and walls. 

9. Aim for a balanced look


Mrs Jones Blue tiles, £17.99, per sq m, Tons of Tiles.

(Image credit: Tons of Tiles)

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. 

10. Create a cohesive scheme


SistemS and SistemU stoneware tiles by Marazzi, POA.

(Image credit: Marazzi)

No surface sits in isolation in the bathroom so think about how the various elements connect. 

This room has a clever 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. 

Hopefully these small bathroom flooring ideas, together with our advice and tips, will help you transform your space into one that is both practical and beautiful.