What Color Tile Makes A Shower Look Bigger?

When renovating a bathroom whether you are using shower remodel services or not, one common question that pops up is, "What color tile makes a shower look bigger?" This is especially pertinent for homeowners grappling with limited space, aiming to create an illusion of a more expansive bathroom area. 

Light-colored tiles, such as white, cream, or light gray, make a shower look bigger by reflecting more light and creating a sense of openness. These colors help to visually expand the space, making it appear more spacious and airy.

Through strategic color selection, tile size, and placement, it's possible to visually enlarge a small shower space, making it appear more open and inviting. 

This article looks into the principles of color psychology, spatial design, and lighting to provide a comprehensive guide on selecting tiles that can make your shower look bigger.

The Magic of Color in Small Spaces

Light vs. Dark: Balancing Act

The choice between light and dark tiles in a shower space is a delicate balancing act that impacts the perceived size and ambiance of the room. 

Light-colored tiles tend to reflect more light, making a space feel open and airy, thus contributing to the illusion of a larger area. They are ideal for smaller showers, as they help to maximize the sense of space. 

On the other hand, dark tiles can add depth and sophistication to a shower, creating a cozy, intimate feel. However, they absorb more light, which might make a small shower feel even tighter. 

The key to using dark tiles effectively in a small space is to balance them with lighter elements, such as light-colored walls or strategic lighting, to avoid a claustrophobic effect. 

Incorporating both light and dark tiles can add contrast and visual interest, making the space more dynamic while still aiming to enhance the overall perception of size.

Color Psychology and Spatial Perception

Color psychology plays a significant role in spatial perception, influencing how we perceive the size and atmosphere of a space. Certain colors can evoke feelings of calmness, energy, or warmth, and they can also make a room feel larger or more enclosed. 

For instance, cool tones like light blues and greens are known to recede visually, making a shower feel more expansive and serene. These colors mimic the natural environment, promoting a sense of tranquility and openness.

Conversely, warm colors such as reds and oranges tend to advance towards the viewer, which can make a space feel cozier but also smaller.

In the context of a shower, using these colors might not be ideal if the goal is to create a perception of more space. However, they can be used in accents to inject energy and warmth into the room without overwhelming the senses.

Neutrals, including whites, beiges, and grays, are versatile and can expand space while providing a sophisticated backdrop that allows for flexible decor changes. They reflect light effectively, contributing to a brighter, more open feel in a shower.

Understanding color psychology and its impact on spatial perception is crucial when selecting tile colors for a shower. The right colors can transform a cramped shower into a more spacious retreat, enhancing both the physical and psychological comfort of the space.

What Color Tile Makes A Shower Look Bigger1

Optimal Tile Colors for Enhancing Shower Size

Optimal tile colors for enhancing the perceived size of a shower space primarily include light, neutral, and pastel shades. These colors are effective in reflecting light, thereby creating an illusion of a larger and more open area. 

Here are some specific color suggestions and their benefits:

1. White: White tiles are classic for creating a sense of spaciousness. They reflect the maximum amount of light, making the shower area appear brighter and more open.

2. Cream and Beige: These neutral colors add warmth to the space while still maintaining the light-reflective qualities needed to make the shower look bigger.

3. Light Gray: A modern and versatile option, light gray tiles offer the benefit of neutrality while providing a contemporary feel. They work well in creating a sense of depth without darkening the space.

4. Pastel Tones: Soft blues, greens, and pinks can also make a shower feel larger by adding a subtle hint of color. These hues help to create a serene and inviting atmosphere, mimicking the expansive nature of the sky or ocean.

5. Glossy Finishes: Regardless of color, tiles with a glossy finish can help enhance the sense of space by reflecting light. This not only makes the shower area appear larger but also more luxurious.

6. Metallic Accents: While not a primary tile color, incorporating small amounts of metallic accents through fixtures or mosaic tiles can add brightness and depth, further enhancing the perception of a larger space.

It's important to consider the overall bathroom design and lighting when choosing tile colors. Combining optimal tile colors with strategic lighting and reflective surfaces can amplify the effect, making even the smallest shower spaces feel more open and airy.

What Color Tile Makes A Shower Look Bigger2

Material Matters: Reflectivity and Texture

Material selection, including reflectivity and texture, significantly influences the visual perception of space in a shower. 

These elements can either amplify the feeling of openness or inadvertently create a sense of confinement. 

Here’s how these factors play into enhancing the size of your shower area:


Reflective surfaces play a pivotal role in making a shower appear larger. Glossy tiles or those with a glazed finish can mirror light, contributing to a brighter and more expansive feel. 

Materials such as ceramic, porcelain, and glass tiles are excellent choices for maximizing light reflection. 

The reflected light bounces around the room, eliminating shadows and dark corners, thus creating an illusion of a more spacious environment.


While texture adds depth and interest to a space, it's important to strike the right balance. Highly textured tiles can add a tactile dimension to the shower but may also absorb light rather than reflect it, potentially making the space feel smaller. 

Smooth, lightly textured tiles can provide the best of both worlds by offering visual interest without significantly compromising on reflectivity. 

When considering texture, it's also essential to think about cleaning and maintenance, as heavily textured surfaces can be more challenging to keep clean.

Combining Reflectivity and Texture

For the optimal effect, consider combining reflective and textured materials strategically. For instance, use glossy, light-colored tiles on most surfaces to maximize light reflection and perceived space, then incorporate areas of subtle texture for added depth and character. 

This approach can prevent the shower from feeling too sterile while still keeping the space feeling open and airy.

What Color Tile Makes A Shower Look Bigger3

FAQs on Making a Shower Look Bigger with Tile Color

How do light-colored tiles make a shower look bigger?

Light-colored tiles reflect more light than darker shades, which helps to create an illusion of a more spacious area. 

Can dark tiles be used in a small shower?

Yes, dark tiles can be used strategically in a small shower to add depth and elegance. To prevent the space from feeling too enclosed, balance dark tiles with lighter colors on other surfaces and ensure there is ample lighting to enhance the sense of space.

Do glossy tiles help in making a shower appear larger?

Glossy tiles are effective in reflecting light, which can help to make a small shower space appear larger. Their reflective surface can brighten the room and create a sense of depth that adds to the illusion of more space.

What is the best tile size for a small shower?

Larger tiles can make a small shower feel bigger because they have fewer grout lines, which creates a more seamless look that visually expands the space. 

How does tile orientation affect the perception of space?

Tile orientation can influence the perception of a shower's dimensions. Vertical tile placement can make walls appear taller, while horizontal placement can make the space seem wider. 

Making a Shower Look Bigger with Tile Color

Selecting the right color, size, and texture of tiles can significantly impact the perceived size of a shower, transforming a small bathroom into a seemingly more spacious sanctuary. 

Light-colored tiles, glossy finishes, and strategic use of mirrors and lighting can all contribute to creating the illusion of a larger space. 

It's important to consider how different elements interact with each other, from the reflectivity of the tiles to the orientation and size of the tile pattern, to achieve the desired effect.

Video of this post:

PDF version:

You may also be interested in these topics about Shower Tile...

Do you live in Ahwatukee, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe,  Sun Lakes, Laveen, or South Phoenix?

Ready to talk about your remodeling needs?

Take the next step...

About the author

Hi my name is Jeremy Maher. My wife, 2 kids and I went through Contractor Nightmares for 3 years straight.

Ben, Mark, and I teamed up to start Phoenix Home Remodeling to help homeowners remodel without the common contractor nightmares.

Learn more about Jeremy's expertise and topics he likes to write about on his author page.