How to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger – 12 Simple Ideas
Find out how to make a small bathroom look bigger with these simple ideas and practical tips.
With homes getting smaller (and tiny homes trending), bathroom sizes are being reduced. Whether planning, renovating, or decorating a small bathroom, you’ll want it to look as spacious as possible.
What are the best ways to make small bathrooms look and feel bigger?
To make a small bathroom look bigger, utilize natural and artificial lighting for brightness. Select materials that amplify light, such as pale colors, bright wallpaper, luxe finishes, and mirrors. Save space with compact fixtures and use storage space wisely to minimize clutter.
Despite being some of the most-used rooms in any home, bathrooms often have a limited footprint or are squeezed into awkwardly shaped nooks.
Still, a bathroom must contain the fixtures, storage, and light necessary for grooming and hygiene. We’d like to share our ideas on how to make a small bathroom look bigger.
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12 Genius Ideas on How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger
To make a small bathroom appear bigger, find ways to save space. This will give you scope for creativity to enhance your space using gorgeous design ideas.
#1. Let There Be Light
Any room feels bigger if it is well-lit, especially with natural light.
- Windows are a gift to cramped spaces, opening them out to daylight. Consider adding a window to a tiny bathroom.
- Install a skylight to make your small bathroom bright and airy. Pairing a skylight with a small window allows sunlight to stream in.
- Choose window treatments that allow as much light as possible, such as translucent curtains or entirely bare windows (privacy and nosey neighbors allowing, of course).
- Flood windowless or small-windowed bathrooms with artificial lighting to brighten them up.
- Add exceptionally bright lighting around mirrors.
- Include more than one source of artificial light. For example, combine softer diffused lights around a mirror with brighter pendant lamps.
There are three bold approaches to enhancing space in a small bathroom using color. Yes, I know they’re contradictory! Interior design is inspiring because, for every suggestion, you’ll find the opposite from another designer. (Here are the best paint colors that make a room look bigger.)
#2. Going Light and Bright
Most interior experts advise using light color palettes for smaller spaces, especially bathrooms. Pale colors reflect light and make a room feel open and airy.
- Ideal color choices for walls, ceilings, and fixtures are neutrals, like white, grey, beige, cream, taupe, and pastels.
- To create the illusion of height, paint or tile the lower half of the wall with a slightly darker shade and the upper walls and ceiling a lighter shade. The contrast adds depth to the walls.
#3. Dark on Dark
The opposite approach to color in small spaces also applies. I love tiny bathrooms designed around layers of dark, dramatic shades and the illusion of depth it creates. But there are a couple of conditions if you are bold enough to turn to the dark side:
- Use a high-gloss paint or tile to reflect as much light as possible, as dark colors can absorb brightness.
- Up the number of light fittings to avoid dark nooks – you want stars in the night sky, not a haunted toilet.
(Here are the best paint colors for small bathrooms without windows.)
#4. Color Popping
A third approach to color is using vivid colors and eye-catching patterns to distract from the smaller dimensions.
- Wallpaper is a fantastic tool to add interest to a small bathroom. The print doesn’t have to be delicate, as large graphic prints are exciting and make a space look bigger because of the illusionary scale.
- Choose a colorful vanity or fixture as a focal point within a more muted color scheme.
You can still embrace your dream of a luxe home spa if your bathroom is tiny. Choose gorgeous materials that reflect and bounce light around the bathroom. These are my favorite materials for opulent small bathrooms.
Use a more expensive material, like marble, as you will only need a little of it. To benefit from its magnificence, carry through the material from vanity to other fixtures.
Tiles are a traditional bathroom material because of their durability and waterproof nature. They can also become a tool to enhance your bathroom space if used wisely.
- Use smaller ceramic and glass tiles from floor to ceiling to create impact and play with scale in a smaller space.
- Extending the same tiles throughout the bathroom creates depth through a single unbroken surface: match tiles on the vanity, in the shower, and on the walls.
- Unusually shaped tiles add interest without overwhelming a small space with color. Consider fish scale, hexagonal, or herringbone tiles in a muted color.
- Textured tiles add a tactile element in a small bathroom, especially if you prefer neutral colors.
- Large tiles on the floor help to make a bathroom look bigger.
Here are the most popular bathroom floor tiles available out there.
#7. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Mirrors are an outstanding design feature for small bathrooms because they reflect light, immediately creating a sense of space. (You can also use mirrors to make a dark room look brighter).
Mirrors also echo design touches, like beautiful brass towel racks and cabinet handles, adding cohesion to the scheme overall.
Admittedly, mirrors mean a lot of glass to shine, but the gorgeous bright result is worth it.
There are many ways you can use mirrors to make your bathroom look bigger:
- Position at least one mirror for both practical and aesthetic effects. We all need a clear reflection for grooming and beauty routines.
- Station a mirror to catch natural light from windows or a skylight. We recommend a pivotable mirror.
- Place an oversized mirror above the vanity. A tall mirror creates the illusion of height.
- Surround a single mirror with wall lights for a glamorous Hollywood effect. Avoid a dark, heavy frame that will break up the wall space.
- Backlight the mirror with reflective tiles or lights for a chic, minimalist look.
- Install a decorative pendant light in front of the mirror to reflect the sparkling light into the room.
- Create a gallery of smaller mirrors. I display my collection as artwork in a mirror gallery.
- Cover a wall with floor-to-ceiling mirrors to reflect light through the open door, especially if your bathroom is windowless. This design feature will double your space (and encourage you to love your reflection!).
- Use mirrors to cover bathroom fittings, such as your vanity cabinet, adding to a sense of space.
If you’re lucky enough to be renovating a small bathroom, you can create a functional layout of fixtures that will use every inch of the bathroom’s floor plan to its best advantage.
#8. Ways with Doors
Standard hinged doors need a lot of space to open, so replace your door with one of these styles:
- Sliding doors on a rail run parallel to the wall.
- Pocket doors fold away to open room for storage and fixtures.
#9. Shrink the Size
A bathroom needs to be functional – leaving out a shower or space for toiletries is not an option. But make the most of available areas:
- Install a compact corner sink, especially in a powder room.
- Wall-mounted faucets are easy to clean, as well as being on trend. They allow for a smaller basin.
- Choose a pedestal sink or a vanity cabinet with narrow legs.
- A smaller Japanese soaking or slipper tub means you don’t have to sacrifice your evening bubble bath.
- Wall-mounted vanities are an excellent way to avoid clutter. Choose large drawers or deep shelves for extra storage.
- Install tall, thin cabinets to utilize vertical space.
#10. Open the Shower
A shower is a great space saver. Use these ideas to make the most of your shower space:
- Including only a shower rather than a tub is a significant space saver. Or locate your shower over the tub.
- Create a wet room where there are no shower doors. It’s essential to spend money on good ventilation in this case. Water build-up causes damp problems, so install a good extractor fan and underfloor heating. There’s nothing nicer than stepping out of a shower onto a cozy floor – definitely one of my life’s luxuries.
- Replacing a heavy shower door or curtain with a glass shower door opens up the space.
- A clear glass door reflects light and makes the room brighter.
- Drape a shower curtain from the ceiling to elongate the room.
Space for Storage
No matter how limited your bathroom space is, you still need to store necessities. However, filling the floor space with cupboards makes a bathroom feel cramped.
Living with tiny bathrooms has taught me some fantastic space-saving storage tricks.
#11. Creative Use of Cabinets
Make the most of cabinet space by working creatively:
- Cluttered surfaces make your bathroom seem smaller, so an easy fix is to do a Marie Kondo (declutter your bathroom). Throw out duplicates, empty bottles, and never-used items, including those hideous purple towels your mother-in-law gave you last Christmas.
- Opt for storage areas with doors or curtains to hide clutter.
- I like to decant my favorite toiletries into beautiful containers to display and keep storage space for unsightly items.
- Keep cabinets organized using custom-sized bottles, boxes, and trays to make the most of your storage space.
#12. Adding Shelf-Space
Some bathrooms only have a little space for additional storage cupboards. Add shelves to avoid using precious floor space.
- A shelf or shower niche is excellent for toiletries. Add a hook for a face cloth.
- Build a narrow ledge along the tub or wall as extra shelving that doesn’t intrude into the bathroom space.
- Glass floating shelves add to the illusion of space and reflect light, especially under a mirror.
- Hang a caddy or place a flat bath shelf over the tub for necessities. (I include books, candles, and wine on this list.)
- Attach a towel rack to a cabinet’s side to free the walls. Or include a towel ladder that’s charming and practical.
- Open shelves can look chaotic, so organize your towels in wicker baskets, your soaps in pretty bowls, or your toilet paper in plastic bins.
Final Thoughts on How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Larger
The best way to make a small bathroom look bigger is to include as much light as possible, use reflective finishes, and choose compact fixtures. Clever storage reduces clutter and opens floorspace.