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Different homeowners will have unique ideas about what small bathroom designs mean to them. Someone who's single and spends a lot of time on the road might want a spa-like retreat where he or she can come home and relax with a glass of wine and candles; a family of four might want a cheerful, playful room for young children; and an older, retired couple might be keen on a bathroom that's contemporary and incorporates universal design elements.

Consider the following three small bathroom design ideas that each incorporate tile in unique ways:

Opt for Black to Recreate a Luxury Hotel Spa

Working professionals who may spend days or weeks on the road often prefer bathrooms that look and feel like hotel spas, which they typically don't get to enjoy when they're on call for a client. If the bathroom is tight on space, you can still achieve this look by focusing on the details. Glossy, dark tile surfaces that reflect candlelight—and places to perch candles and glasses of wine—are key. Consider incorporating Evening Fields tile to achieve the look of a tiny, exclusive spa without going overboard. Or create a luxurious bathroom surround with Color Appeal in Sea Cliff Blend to draw interest to a mirror overhanging the sink—a large mirror will also make the space feel more open. For a less monochromatic appearance, break up the black with some dark brown or gray tiles.

Photo features Color Appeal in Sea Cliff Blend in Glass & Natural Stone 3 x Random Mosaic on the wall.

Add Sparks of Color to Recreate the Ocean

Families with young children likely want small bathroom designs that are lively, inviting and playful: watery playgrounds where youngsters can splash with rubber ducks in the tub and squirt each other with water guns as they get cleaned up. If you're working with a small bathroom, remember that parents will want to get young tykes in the water and cleaned up quickly. Get kids excited about bath time with Color Appeal mosaics in vibrant yellow, cherry, orange peel or Hawaiian ocean on the bathtub surround. Consider recreating big waves around the tub with a lively blend of blue and green glass tiles so youngsters can pretend they're in the ocean, lake or a local pond. Repeat the theme around the bathroom sink surround to encourage children to develop good hand-washing and tooth-brushing habits. Finish off the blue ocean theme with matching blue tiles on the floor.

Use Neutrals for Clean, Classic Lines

Retired couples who are no longer occupied with busy jobs or taking care of children will have different needs than young families or busy professionals. Luckily, a small bathroom isn't a problem when it's designed correctly. Retirees will likely want a bathroom that incorporates the elements of universal design, which is a method of constructing living spaces that are safer, easier, and more convenient for everyone. Reclaim precious bathroom space by removing the tub and opting for a walk-in shower with a bench. To reduce the need of constantly bending over during daily hygiene routines, consider increasing the vanity height and install storage space underneath. These couples don't want to sacrifice style, of course, but they're looking for a design that's primarily practical. You might select Historic Bridge in calming neutrals for various surfaces. By keeping the look streamlined and useful, you're more likely to design a space that is attractive to younger visitors, as well.

Whether you're creating a bathroom for yourself or a client, it's difficult to go astray if you start with an idea of what small bathroom designs look like. Interview your clients first about how they intend to use the room. Show them pictures of similar projects you've completed in other functional modern homes. Display tiles, prop them up in the bathroom, and see how they look under various lights. Help clients visualize their dream bathroom. Whether it's a spa-like retreat for busy professionals, a water playground for young families, or a practical bathroom for older couples, it's hard to go wrong with the right tiles.