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Should you tile all walls in a small bathroom?
Room planning

Should you tile all walls in a small bathroom?

Posted by Rebecca Doody in Room planning | 1 year ago 6 min read

Redecorating, revamping or completely redeveloping your bathroom? Planning ahead is important, and whether you tile your walls or paint them is a decision you need to make. We look at the details...

Renovations often come with many decisions to make, one of which will be whether you want to fully tile your bathroom or not. You could either opt for tiling the entire bathroom from ceiling to floor or opt for merely tiling up the wet areas. This includes shower enclosures, around a bathtub area and the washbasin space. As its name suggests, a wet area is any space that is likely to get wet in the course of normal bathroom usage.

Half tiled bathroom ideas have risen in popularity among the bathroom renovation world. Making your wet room a half tile bathroom, fully tile, tiled walls, wall tiles and bathroom wall.

Metro tile range

Fully tiled bathrooms

Fully tiled bathroom walls are tiled from floor to ceiling and might even allow you to do away with window sills since those will also have been tiled over. However, there are certain implications to choosing this way of renovation. Firstly, fully tiling the bathroom will mean that more tiles are needed than if you had chosen a half-tiled design. 

This means that there will be a higher labour cost incurred, and more time will also be needed to lay the tiles. 

There are also benefits associated with this type of design. The first is that the cost of skirting boards will be saved since tiles can be laid directly on the finished floor surface. This also gets you the secondary benefit of saving on the subsequent installation, painting and decorating of the boards. 

Since there will be no finish skimming needed, even more time and money is saved since contractors would not need to wait for the skim coat to dry off before proceeding to the next step. 

Lastly, since you would not need the walls painted, the cost of labour and materials on this is also saved. Do note of course that the preparations needed for your wall might differ compared to if you were intending to skim and paint the wall. This could include factors such as how flat or how straight the walls are and the strength of the walls since tiles would add to the load they bear. An experienced bathroom fitter or tiler would be best placed to advise you on these considerations. 

Metro subway dark grey bevelled gloss wall tile 100mm x 200mm

Cost-wise, wall tiling usually goes at £40 per square metre. This cost would account for basic tiles, labour costs as well as the cost of fitting materials such as grout or adhesives. This cost does not include any preparation costs such as reboarding, should your current bathroom require the existing tiles to be stripped off.

Various factors could cause this price to increase, such as having border inlays, choosing tiles which are very small, choosing trims made of metal compared to plastic, opting for more premium tiles, or opting for tiles made of natural materials such as stone or porcelain. 

Half tiled bathrooms

Unlike fully tiled bathrooms, half tiled bathrooms have a mix of both tiled and painted areas. The tiling is usually done in wet areas only, such as in shower enclosures or near the toilet bowl.

By opting for this type of design, you could potentially save on cost. Since fewer tiles are required in the design, accordingly, there will be lesser material costs, as well as labour costs since less time is needed for the tiles to be laid by the worker. However, do note that if you opt for feature tiles to be used to give your bathroom some extra oomph; the cost could go up since feature tiles are likely to be more expensive than regular ones. 

You might also want to consider the following factors which could drive up the costs of having a half-tiled bathroom. Firstly, skirting boards will be needed to cover the junctions between the walls and the floor in the untitled areas. There will be costs involved in the purchase of the skirting boards, as well as the fitting and painting of them. 

Bolsena beige split face stone effect matt wall tile 150mm x 610mm

For the untitled areas, the walls will also need to be skimmed if there will be any other decorations placed there. It is quite unsightly to simply have a plain wall, so decorations are often needed, which will need time and money to find and purchase. 

Though opting for a half tiled design will save you money on the tiles themselves, as well as the costs associated with laying tiles, you need to account for the cost of replastering areas which are not tiled, the cost of painting such areas, the cost to purchase, fit and paint all skirting boards. In the end, the cost of opting for a half tiled bathroom may even add up to be the same or more costly than opting for a fully tiled bathroom. In this case, the choice boils down to one of preference. 

Choosing the correct tiles

Regardless of which design it is you opt for, you will need to choose the right tiles for your bathroom. If you have a small bathroom, then you should definitely read on for the following tips and tricks on how the right tiles can help your bathroom appear larger and more spacious. 

Opt for larger tiles

With small tiles, they might appear too busy in a bathroom that is already small. By opting for larger tiles, the bathroom will benefit from the optical illusion of a larger size. If you find small tiles that you really cannot give up, try using them only for smaller areas as a decor tile, while using larger tiles for the bulk of the surface area. 

Be mindful of the tile colour selected

While lighter colours will make your bathroom appear brighter and bigger given that they can reflect more light, don’t instantly strike all darker-colored tiles off your list. By using darker-coloured tiles in small quantities, a sense of depth is added, allowing a small bathroom to appear larger than it is. 

Metro tile range


Armed with the information above, you should be able to decide whether or not tiling the full wall space is for you. There are benefits to doing this, but you may decide that a half tiled approach is more suitable.

Shop bathroom tiles

If you’re ready to buy your new bathroom tiles, why not browse our fabulous selection today? Simply click on the image below to begin.

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Author, Rebecca Doody

Posted by Rebecca Doody in Room planning | 1 year ago

Originally from Somerset, Rebecca is our resident copywriter who takes care of all things product related. Rebecca loves the modern interior style with both neutral and bold influences to create a statement look.

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