How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

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Choose space-saving designs

There are certain parts of your bathroom design that will definitely need to be there for the sake of utility.

However, you don’t need to sacrifice as much space as you might think to make sure the room serves it’s purpose.

If you’re looking for space-saving options, medicine cabinets, a sliding door or pocket door, and wall-hung toilets all give you a little bit more space to play with.

You can also use cute boxes or floating shelves to store what you need but keep it tucked out of sight when you aren’t using it.

Open shelving is a great way to save space and add a bit of style.

Speaking of open shelves, these adhesive shelves are an easy and affordable way to add some sleek storage to any small space.

In addition, I also love this live edge bath caddy for creating an extra surface in the bathroom.

Perfect for a candle or small plant, this handy caddy is the best way to make a little extra room on the counter, where you really need it.

Also, when looking to save space in a small bathroom area, a convenient shower caddy is a must.

Stash away all those unsightly bottles of shampoo and conditioner as well as soap and razors.

Finally, if you have under the sink storage,I love this useful little product.

These under the counter shelves are a quick and inexpensive way to extend your storage space two fold.

bathroom vanity poweder room image via Megan Rae Ibathroom vanity poweder room image via Megan Rae Interiors

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10. Bright shutters for a pop of color and privacy

(Image credit: California Shutters)

Shutters are a great type of window treatment and work well to dress bathroom windows for much-needed privacy, while still retaining light. A half shutter option is definitely worth considering as you don’t need full shutters in a bathroom. Blinds work from top to bottom so essentially block out the top half of the window, so this solves that problem perfectly. Have them painted to match your scheme, they could work to add an accent color and look striking.

Limit the Small Accessories

It should go without saying that clutter can wreak havoc on a small bathroom. Even if you’re organized, too many shelves or too many accessories looks busy and crowded. Use one decorative accessory instead, especially one that doubles for plenty of functionality. Here’s how to make a super-simple bath cabinet.

5. Strategize the Shower

In a three-quarter bath with shower only, you can look into many enclosure options that will alleviate some of the cramped conditions, literally and visually. Some quadrant shower enclosures feature doors that swing inward and form fit to the interior. Others slide back and forth, which creates more space because it eliminates the need for a door to swing outward. The shower enclosures also come with many sleek options.

Some people want or need both a tub and a shower, so combine the two and add some kind of feature to the shower wall, perhaps a dazzling color on one or two walls and a clear-glass enclosure or shower curtain. There are different-sized bathtubs designed with the small-bathroom user in mind and for the purpose of saving space.

Replace the Bathroom Vanity Cabinet

Bathroom vanity cabinets offer many advantages, with one of the greatest advantages being the opportunity to store items below the sink and behind closed doors. But vanity cabinets, too, are space-wasters in small bathrooms.

For maximum room, replace your vanity cabinet with a cantilevered countertop or with a pedestal sink. Pedestal sinks can be self-installed and cost between $150 and $400. While pedestal sinks give you more floor space, keep in mind that your countertop space will shrink.

You can recover some of that lost storage space by installing a medicine cabinet. Medicine cabinets install flush with the wall and practically disappear.

Tips

  • The flooring under the vanity cabinet may need to be filled in. It's usually best to refloor the entire bathroom.
  • Use a pry bar to gently pull the cabinet away from the wall.
  • Remember to turn off the water supply before removing the sink.

The Spruce / Olivia Inman

Upgrade the lights

The importance of good lighting cannot be stressed enough, particularly if space is short and there isn’t enough natural light flowing in. Any room looks bigger if it is well-lit, so when you’re stuck with a small bathroom, make sure the light fixtures are not adding to the cramped feel. Keep the lampshades neutral-hued to create an airy, diffused-light appearance. For further brightness, try installing a pendant light in front of a mirror, which will bounce more light around the room.

14. Don’t skip on bold color

(Image credit: Penny Morrison / Mike Garlick)

Bathroom color ideas can be included in your plans to make a small bathroom look bigger, but choose them with caution.

A light and airy bathroom can be achieved with pastel paint shades and pretty fabrics. Keep the wall color bright and uplifting – this delightful sky blue is ideal and reflects the natural light from the window.

Drapes should be kept on the wispy side. A cotton lawn or voile would work well so they don’t block the window. Opt for furniture that’s not chunky; thin legs are preferable in this case and no dark wood as it will look heavy visually. 

‘And don’t forget about lighting,’ says renowned London interior designer Penny Morrison (opens in new tab). ‘Good lighting is essential in a bathroom, mirrors should have at least one if not two wall lights, above or on both sides as well as downlights.’

16. Eliminate the clutter

The less items on display in your bathroom, the larger it will look and the more practically it will function.

If you don’t use all those products, get rid of them or store them somewhere else.

If there isn’t room for the laundry basket without it getting in the way, find a new home for it in another room.

This will instantly make your room look and feel bigger by creating more space.

14. Recess your shelves into the walls

Building shelving into the walls is practical as well as aesthetically pleasing. It frees up space in your bathroom as nothing is protruding from the walls.

It also keeps the lines unbroken, making the room look even larger.

2. Use Paint, Texture, Pattern to Your Advantage

Many creative individuals pick and apply amazing p

Many creative individuals pick and apply amazing paint jobs, but end up disappointed with the result, despite good planning and sound technique. Not everyone studies the subtleties of color, texture and pattern and how the eye reacts to combinations of them.

Even those that master all those elements might still spend considerable time analyzing all the illusions and effects that light creates. It all points to the widely accepted fact that the color, texture and pattern or design on the walls and floor directly affect the overall look and feel of a room.

Patterned wallpaper may seem like the thing to do in order to distract from the fact that a bathroom is small, but a smooth, one-toned color creates an expanse of wall and floor that appears bigger than its dark and intricate counterparts do. For example, a patterned paint job or wallpaper lends a feeling of clutter and crowdedness, while a clean, non-patterned, non-textured paint job or tile will immediately make your bathroom space seem bigger.

Decrease Color Contrasts and Dividing Lines

Dividing lines and sharp contrasts between colors serve only to make the bathroom feel smaller. Wherever possible, erase or blur lines between items.

For example, a wainscot that is painted a different color from the wall should instead match the wall color.

Crown molding is a visual stop. When your eye travels upward, crown molding painted a different color from the walls or ceiling makes the room look smaller. So, consider painting crown molding the same color as the ceiling or the walls.

Wall tiling that ends halfway up the wall can be extended to the ceiling—or removed entirely. Paint and tools for this type of simple painting project will range from $50 to $150.

Tips

  • If the choice is between a light or a dark color in the bathroom, go with the light color.
  • Tall baseboards can be replaced with shorter baseboards for less of an imposing feel. Most small bathrooms cannot visually support tall baseboards.
  • Removing crown moldings altogether will provide an even greater sense of openness. Crown molding is more appropriate in larger spaces, such as dining rooms, living rooms, and hallways.

Employ a monotone

Using different colours for fixtures or features is an absolute no-no in a small bathroom. You want to ensure that you use the same colour (a monotone) all through. Your choice of colour should be bright and radiant. Although dark colours can work the same, you would need more and brighter lights.

Natural light is never enough

Let mother nature work for you. Open your windows and let enough light flow in and bounce off either your tile or glossy wall finish. This aerates your bathroom, gives it the impression of space, and is sure to make any bathroom look bigger. This is the easiest of the tips to accomplish, and the results are mind-boggling, considering all you have to do is open a few blinds or windows.

Install a Table-Mounted Vessel Sink and Wall Mounted Faucet

Make your small bathroom feel bigger by installing a table-mounted vessel sink and wall mounted faucet.

Here’s everything you need to know to DIY this handsome project.

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Design to create space

When it comes to small spaces, optical illusions are your friend!

They can help draw the eye to different areas that make a small bathroom feel much larger.

A mirror which also doubles as a medicine cabinet, is a great solution as it’s a classic space saving trick.

Even better, these days they come is some really great looking options.

Regardless of how much square footage you’re working with, sometimes just knowing the right tricks to create the illusion of space is all you need.

Using a small bathmat and hooks for towels rather than towel bars or bulky towel racks, will help make the room look as large as possible.

Adding hooks for robes and towels to the back of the bathroom door is another great space saving trick.

These popular adhesive hooks are my go to brand.

I also always use a few on the back of closet and bathroom doors throughout our home.

In addition, using larger floor tiles helps to make the space feel more open, regardless of the size of your bathroom.

Whereas smaller tiles could make the whole room look more confined.

Finally, my favorite optical illusion is to use a large mirror.

This will always give the illusion of more space.

In fact, you don’t need to limit yourself to just one mirror.

If there’s enough wall space, try to optimize any natural light sources with mirrors.

Not only do they bounce the light around the room, but mirrors add the illusion of more space.

This is another great tip for any room in your house, mirrors always add the illusion of depth and space.

Our beach house bathroom, from my post on how to p
Our beach house bathroom, from my post on how to paint over cultured marble.

12. Neutral expansive tones

(Image credit: Coat)

A pale scheme will always be a winner when it comes to making a small bathroom feel bigger. Dark shades can feel oppressive and will definitely make the space feel the opposite. So opt for light and airy shades teamed with white sanitaryware and pale wood units. Keep flooring light too, a slight texture can work well, but keep it subtle. The idea is for it to feel fresh and bright.

How Will You Tile Your Small Bathroom?

With clever use of tile, small bathrooms can be re

With clever use of tile, small bathrooms can be remodeled to appear more spacious. There are so many options available that retiling your bathroom can be an exciting project that will leave you with a feeling of satisfaction each time you step into your spacious bathroom space. 

See 21 Tips for Perfect Bathroom Tile for links to all my best bathroom tile resources, including posts about how to choose the best tile materials, the best tile size, the best tile colors, and the best tile finish for your project.

Be sure to get the FREE Bathtubber Tile Calculator. Simply fill out the form below and we’ll send it straight to your inbox. You’ll be able to quickly determine exactly how much tile you’ll need for your job and how much it will cost.

Use the walls for smart storage

When space is short, it’s time to make clever use of the walls. By building shelves onto or into them, you can maximize storage without adding clutter to an already small room. Shelving above the toilet, behind the door, inside the shower and around the window are some of the ways to make a small bathroom appear spacious. The average cost of professionally installing recessed shelves is $411 per unit, but you may be able to lower the expense by doing it yourself.

18. Use bold wallpaper selectively

(Image credit: VSP Interiors)

When planning a bathroom, we immediately think we have to use light colors in every form, all the way, but, that’s not necessarily true. It’s how you use them that matters.

This bathroom designed by VSP Interiors has a beautiful bold red basin unit, rich colored wood floor and a bold, quite large print wallpaper. 

But it works for several reasons. The white painted tongue and groove panelling, the white marble countertop and the large mirror, and these are all tricks of the interior design trade for you to copy.

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