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Architecture/tile size issue


Hi Brendan,

We're currently constructing a small studio type room in our area. The area is 8 X 17 square feet. My mom and I are arguing about the floor tiles to be used. I don't see any problems using 2X2 square feet tiles:

But my mom thinks those tiles are ideal for bigger and wider rooms, and spacious areas. She feels that 2 X 2 sq. feet tiles are not proportionate to the small room. She prefers the 1 X 1 square foot tiles:

I prefer the 2 X 2 sq. feet tiles because I've found some cheap granite tiles that really look good. For 1 X 1, the granite tiles are expensive, so our only choice is ceramic and there are few options.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.

Best regards,

Amended tile image
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Hi John,
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately it comes down to taste and fashion more than anything else, rather than any specific design reasoning though there is a little of that. Larger tiles can sometimes dominate a space with large open areas and place more visual focus elsewhere, maybe the walls, where as smaller tiles, or the check pattern in the second image can focus some attention towards the ground finish.

There is a fashion for larger and larger floor tiles nowadays, with smaller or more intricate or patterned/textured tiles on the walls but this works best with the cleaner line and more minimal styling associated with modern interior design. The pale white space with the large tiles you've shown is a good example of this modernist, minimalist look, with cool shades and slick handleless drawers. I like it personally, but the second image shows a warmer more relaxed space, probable one better suited to messy piles of clothing as its a laundry, though it is a little more conservative/old fashioned.(that's not to say unfashionable, just not in fashion)

Personally I love a large tile, and as you've shown in the first image, quite large tiles don't necessarily make a small, narrow space look disproportionate, but it does depend on the space and what furniture and light there is. The second image is much 'busier' visually, there's the check pattern on the floor, the patterned tiles on the wall, the texture of the baskets, etc.

I've done a quick Photoshop exercise on the two images you gave me to show their opposites - large tiles in the laundry and smaller tiles in the kitchen. You can see how the bigger tiles change the focus visually.

Having had arguments with my parents about design when younger, the only advice I can give is to make a space that suits the person that will use it most and for longer and their taste most of all. If it is to be your mum's sewing or art room for example, then let her pick the tiles. (though try and push her away from the sepia two-tone check pattern please lol). If its a space for you for the next several years, then maybe you should have a little more say in the choice of tiles. If its shared or a family space, then compromise and negotiate. One option might be to go for a matching grout with the smaller tiles and no checked pattern, which make them blend into a larger surface, or vice versa, go with contrasting grout for the larger tiles, to break up the floor a little more.

There is also a number of websites that can maybe help you - browse and find images of a room or the tiles that is similar to yours and see what they actually might look like. Look at what others have done and pick images that you both enjoy and find a common ground.

Good luck!


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Brendan Cotter


Domestic extensions, planning permissions, house renovations, using solar power, renovation, adding value to a property, getting a house that the client wants


Im a graduate architect, with a Bachelor of Architecture from DIT, Ireland. I have a number of years of experience as both a design architect and a site architect, and have brought domestic projects through from initial client meetings through planning to construction and to completion and handover

Bachelor of Architecture, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland

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