10 ways to add style to a small space

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  • The cloakroom or downstairs loo is often the poor relation when it comes to bathrooms, but you can try out clever cloakroom tile ideas that you might not want to risk in a bigger room. It’s not seen as a major space, so be bold in your choices and use it as a ‘test’ space to try out ideas.

    However, sometimes the small bathroom space is awkward, some are under the stairs for example, so there are sloping ceilings to take into consideration, and you may need storage, but is there room for it? It takes a bit of clever thinking, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, you just need to think outside the (ahem) box. Sometimes putting in a back-to-the-wall loo is a smart design trick, as although you lose a part of the room, you also gain a shelf which can be really useful. And there are small-scale vanity units designed for cloakrooms that are great for storing cleaning products.

    ‘Tiles can really bring a small space to life, especially in a tiny bathroom. Try to be creative with the way you lay your tiles – think focal point splashbacks, interesting layouts etc.’ says Amanda Telford, Marketing Manager of CTD tiles.

    ‘There are so many ways to use rectangular metro tiles for instance, whether that’s stacking them horizontally, which can make the room appear larger, or creating a herringbone effect for maximum impact. Small bathrooms are often a place where you can be a bit bolder with your design choices, consider opting for pinks, greens, blues for a designer statement.’

    Cloakroom tile ideas

    If you have fallen in love with expensive tiles, then this is the ideal place to use them as you won’t need as many, so you can indulge yourself without feeling too guilty.

    If you are worried about colour or pattern being overpowering in a small space, consider lighter colour schemes and pale floors, and choose tiles that are smaller in size such as mosaics.There are more ideas here  https://www.idealhome.co.uk/bathroom/bathroom-ideas/cloakroom-ideas-185615

    1. Choose smaller scale tiles

    Image credit: Ca Pietra; Brasserie Glass Sand tiles, £183.08 per m2

    Hexagonal tiles are hugely popular for modern bathrooms, but if you are using them as a cloakroom tile idea, choose a smaller size so the proportions suit the size of the room. This design is made from recycled glass that oozes eco appeal. The room has been further enhanced with a small size hexagonal basin too, and add a touch of luxury with a marble-effect counter top. These tiles can also be used on the floor.

    2. Box in the toilet system to provide a shelf

    Cloakroom with grey trees wallpaper

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Jon Day

    Back-to-the-wall loos are a great idea in a small space, as although they take up more room, as you have to build a false wall to hide the cistern. But turn this into a positive by using the wall as a handy shelf for storage or to dress with accessories. The boxed in structure provides the ideal place to decorate with tiles, to make it more purposeful.

    This false wall has been tiled with square tiles with a subtle pattern so it’s easy to keep clean and the tiles team perfectly with a characterful Cole & Son wallpaper.

    3. Go monochrome

    eco friendly

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    If you’re worried about too much pattern in a small space, choose a simple black and white bathroom colour scheme like this. Classic metro tiles on the walls are unobtrusive but the floor adds the wow factor in a geometric pattern. It really lifts the space and has impact.

    4. Trick the eye

    Downstairs cloakroom toilet with pale aqua wall tiles

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Claire Davies

    Tiling up to ¾ height of the wall means a small room like a cloakroom looks taller than it really is. Tiles can take all the knocks that might be thrown at it, and are easy to clean, especially if you have young children. These elegant, pale grey metro tiles have an uneven edge and a rippled surface for a slightly rustic look. Finish them off with a tiled border in a subtly different shade.

    5. Continue the pattern

    monochrome patterned tile cloakroom

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    There has been a trend recently for the floor tiles to continue onto the wall. Here, large-scale Victorian-style tiles are used on the floor and behind the basin which is a great idea in a small space. It’s a big pattern but it works well in this cloakroom and the tile design complements the traditional fittings.

    6. Clever use of space

    small cloakroom bathroom with flamingo wallpaper

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

    This cloakroom takes the back-to-the-wall loo idea to another level. Building out the wall has created an alcove which is the perfect size for this wall-hung basin. Then the whole thing has been tiled in white metro tiles. It’s such a neat solution. Then the upper part of the wall has a fabulously indulgent flamingo wallpaper on it, in two different colours.

    7. Make an impact

    understairs cloakroom

    Image credit: Walls and Floors

    Make a statement with a classic understairs cupboard converted into a cloakroom. To make a feature of the facing wall, a clever cloakroom tile idea is to use two tile colours. It’s the same square tile but it has been placed in a diamond pattern, with white at the bottom and grey on the upper part of the wall. The grey theme has then been used on the floor tiles too, with a pattern to add a subtle design feature. Then to enhance the monochrome look, choose a black tap, black and white mirror and black accessories – using the back of the door is a brilliant idea for a shelf.

    Buy now: Vernice Storm tiles, £36.95 m2, Walls and Floors

    8. Go bold

    cloakroom room aqua marine tiles

    Image credit: Fired Earth

    Really splash out and use a strong colour in the cloakroom such as this deep aqua shade. The tiles are long and thin and have been laid horizontally to make the space look wider. They also have a rippled finish which picks up the light and adds interest in a small space. White grouting really makes them pop. This would be great in an en-suite and tied into a bedroom colour scheme. Check out other ideas here https://www.idealhome.co.uk/bathroom/bathroom-ideas/en-suite-bathroom-ideas-90944

    Buy now: Onda Aquamarine tile, £67.20 m2, Fired Earth

    9. Introduce pattern with tiles

    downstairs cloackroom with aqua blue wall tiles

    Image credit: Crosswater; Glide II collection starting from £75

    Doesn’t this look fabulous? it’s another hex tile in a fab Art-Deco-inspired design with a stylish white sun-ray effect. Tiling the whole wall is a good cloakroom tile idea and makes it easy to keep clean, and there is no need for a separate splashback which might break up the space. The addition of a dark grout adds a wonderful contrast rather than the more usual white. Similar tiles are Palm Springs Blue £63 m2 from Porcelain Superstore https://www.porcelainsuperstore.co.uk/collections/bathroom-tiles?page=2.
    Then to pull the whole scheme together, the back to the wall WC has blue boxing. A warm wood-effect floor prevents the room from looking too cold.

    10. Make the floor the hero

    patterned tile bathroom floor

    Image credit: CTD Tiles

    Using large, patterned floor tiles brings the attention down and adds interest without being overpowering. It’s a good way to ramp up a plain cloakroom. The addition of a grey border tile at the bottom and a pale aqua tile at dado height adds subtle colour to tie into the colours in the floor – a great cloakroom tile idea.

    Buy now: Havana Silver floor tiles, £54.99 per m2, CTD Tiles 

    What size tiles are best for a small cloakroom?

    ‘Large-format floor tiles are great for small spaces as they have fewer grout lines which gives a more seamless appearance’ says Louisa Swannell, head of creative design at Walls and Floors. ‘Laying flooring in a herringbone format can also have a space-enhancing effect, as this layout tricks the eye and makes the room appear longer.’

    ‘It’s important to consider the size of the space, and find a harmonious balance between your decor; too much intricate pattern could make a small space feel cluttered. Bright, light colours and glossy finishes are great for small spaces as they bounce light around the room.’

    Should a cloakroom be tiled?

    Whether or not a cloakroom should be tiled is ultimately a matter of personal choice. But the experts say: ‘The cloakroom must meet a variety of different needs, and is often only allowed the smallest space in the house.’ says Emma Merry of Emma Merry Styling.  ‘Everything in the room must serve a purpose and tiling is no different. There are no rules, but when I’m designing a cloakroom, I nearly always opt for a tiled floor, it just makes cleaning a dream, especially around the loo and sink. For me, when budgets allow, I’ll advise clients to go for half-height wall tiling around the whole room.’

    ‘As a guest bathroom and for families with young children the cloakroom needs to take all that’s thrown at it’ Emma continues. ‘Tiling the bottom half of the walls enables everything to be wiped clean quickly and easily, so it’s much more hygienic.
    To avoid the tiles overwhelming a small space, I’ve regularly teamed them with strong wallpaper prints that I like, and take it up and over the ceiling too. It creates a look that shows the space has its own unique character and opens up the ceiling area to inject interest into the scheme.’

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