big or small tiles: which are better?

Are you planning on tiling your home, but are yet to decide on what size of tile to use? With advantages and disadvantages of each, read this article to find out what you need to know about big and small tiles when redesigning your home.

If you have ever been thinking about tiling your home, you’re no doubt aware that the size of the tiles you decide to use can play a big role in how your updated room will look. Are you after something stylish and patterned, or do you want to make a small room appear bigger?

Should you pick big or small tiles?

Well, to help make this decision easier, and to ensure that you pick the right tile size for your home, we’ve broken down what you need to know about the differences between big and small tiles, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.




What should you consider before choosing your tile size?


Before touching on the pros and cons of each tile size, let’s first look at what you need to consider before narrowing down your options. Generally speaking, you should consider the following five areas:

- Room style: consider your room’s current style and which sized tiles are likely to go best with it. Certain sizes may work better as bathroom tiles or kitchen tiles.

- Room size: how big is your room? Is it large and spread out or small and in need of being visually widened? What you want to get out of your tiles: are you after a stylistic pattern on your wall and floors or do you want something simple and functional? Does your home provide a more traditional or contemporary aesthetic?

- Grout lines: more tiles mean more grout lines, so you need to be sure how much grout you want to be able to see with your tile layout and how busy this could make it look. For more information on grout lines, read our guide on the space you should leave between your tiles.

- Your budget: the size of your budget will have a big role in dictating how many tiles you can purchase, as well as their size.




What are the pros and cons of large format tiles?


When it comes to tile sizes, plenty of people subscribe to the idea that bigger is better. However, there’s more to the pros and cons of large format tiles than may first meet the eye.

The advantages of large tiles

The following key advantages are most commonly associated with using large tiles in your home:

- Fewer tiles: one of the main advantages that large tiles have over their smaller counterparts is the fact that you’ll most likely need less of them to complete your project, potentially saving you both time and money.

- Fewer grout lines: alongside fewer tiles, another key advantage to large tiles is the minimal amount of grout required for your layout. This offers your room a more seamless finish and reduces how busy your room will look on a visual level.

- The illusion of space: no matter how large your room is, larger tiles will always help to make a space look that much bigger than it is, making them especially perfect for small rooms that you want to widen out.

- Easy maintenance: having bigger and few tiles also means that cleaning and maintaining them is that much easier. You have fewer tiles and fewer gaps to worry about when cleaning and it can be easier to spot dirt patches on individual tiles.


The disadvantages of big tiles

As with any type of tile, while there are several pros to large tiles, there are some important disadvantages to bear in mind as well, including the following:

- More prone to cracking: due to their large size and inflexibility, large tiles are prone to cracking under extreme temperature conditions or when dropped or knocked, meaning you’ll have to spend money having any damaged tiles replaced.

- Can be challenging to install: being heavier and bigger than smaller tiles, large tiles can be tricky to get installed correctly. In most cases, you will likely need to invest in the help of a professional if you want to use larger tiles in your home.

- Awkward cut-offs: when installing any tiles, there will come a point in the laying process where you will need to cut tiles to fit the layout of your room. This can be more awkward with larger tiles due to their bigger size, and you will likely find you have more tile wastage to deal with at the end of your project.

- Can be costly: while bigger tiles might cost you less when it comes to how many you need, they will cost you more individually, which could work out as costing you more overall, depending on how many tiles you need to complete your installation.




What are the pros and cons of small format tiles?


Now that we’ve looked at the advantages and disadvantages of big tiles, let’s turn our attention instead to small tiles – such as metro tiles - and examine what pros and cons they can offer your home.

The advantages of small tiles

When it comes to small tiles, they can offer you three key advantages over bigger tiles for installation in your home:

- Pattern and colour variety: first and foremost, small tiles enable you to style your room exactly how you want it, allowing for striking colour and pattern combinations that larger tiles simply can’t provide.

- Simple to lay: due to their size and weight, it is very easy to lay small tiles yourself, meaning you don’t need to spend money employing an expert to finish your project.

- Less material loss: being smaller overall, when making cuts at the end of your installation process to fill in any tile gaps, you’ll quickly find that you’ll waste much less material in this process than if you were using larger tiles.


The disadvantages of small tiles

Of course, with the benefits of smaller tiles also come some important disadvantages that you need to be aware of:

- Often expensive in bulk: although cheaper individually, when buying multiple small tiles, you may very well find that this costs you more overall when compared to buying larger tiles.

- Be careful of busy visuals: due to their nature, and the number of tiles you may need to use, if installed poorly, small tiles can look very visually busy, especially when you consider how much grout you may need to use to join your tiles together.




Is it easier to tile with large or small tiles?


When it comes to installing new flooring, is it easier to lay large or small tiles? Well, though larger tiles cover a more significant area, and so you require fewer of them, they can be trickier to install than small or metro tiles.

This typically comes down to larger format tiles simply being bigger and heavier to handle, while any inaccuracy is amplified as leaning lines will show more prominently. On the other hand, small tiles can be handled with ease, and any technical installation inaccuracies can be more-easily corrected as you tile the rest of your floor or wall.




Examples of where to use small and large tiles


With those advantages and disadvantages out of the way, you may still be wondering where in your home small and large tiles are best suited to be installed. The answer to this is that both tile sizes can be used in any room, though there are some specific spaces where you may want to use them to get their full effect.

For example, if you have a small or galley-style kitchen, we recommend installing larger-sized rectangular floor tiles, such as 600x300mm or 600x400mm. This will give the illusion of a wider floor area rather than the room being long and thin. It will also cost you much less than if you were to use multiple smaller tiles.

On the other hand, if you have a wider bathroom and want to get more creative with the wall tiling, you can use smaller tiles for pattern effects to create a visual feast and really give your bathroom a distinct feel.


How to create the illusion of space with big tiles

Increased space, whether visual or physical is something that all of us look out for in our homes, and while bigger tiles are almost always better for accomplishing this, the following four steps can be used with any tile set-up to enhance the visual space of your room:

- Use lighter-coloured tiles: lighter colourer tiles help to create a warm atmosphere, blending with natural light to make a space feel brighter and bigger.

- Use a gloss finish: reflective in nature, tiles with a glossy finish will enhance the brightening effect provided by your lighter colours.

- Use a complementary grout colour: make sure you pick a grout that matches and blends in with your tiles instead of framing them. This will make your tiles stand out less and form a more seamless finish.

- Used a grid layout: a grid layout, much like a colour-matching grout, will draw less attention to the size of your space.




And there you have it, that’s everything you need to know about the difference between large and small tiles in your home, which should make choosing the tile size you need easier.

Of course, if you have any more questions, then get in touch with our team of experts. They’ll be happy to answer and advise on any questions you may have and don’t forget you can browse our tile installation advice guides for more informative pieces like this one.