How to make your small bathroom feel bigger

small bathroom design

Our top design and decorating tips for making your small bathroom feel a lot bigger 

When you think of your dream bathroom, what do you see? 

Maybe it’s a quiet sanctuary where you can take long soaks in a freestanding, claw-foot bathtub before a large window that fills the room with sunlight by day and moonlight by night. A spacious vanity rounds out the space, with a few area rugs thrown in for a touch of cozy comfort.

Although this is a lovely picture, the truth is that most bathrooms don’t quite fit this bill. Huge bathrooms aren’t the standard in most homes, and that’s okay because smaller bathrooms have a lot going for them. (They’re easier to clean, for one!) And with the right elements and design touches, they can inspire the same sense of luxury, comfort, and spaciousness. 

Here are a few design tips for making your small bathroom feel bigger. 

bathroom color depth

Color to create space and depth

The right paint color can make all the difference in how big (or small) your bathroom feels. 

Traditional wisdom says that light colors are best for small spaces because they can brighten up dark, cramped areas and make the room feel much more expansive. This is especially true if you’ve got a window that lets in the sun. Light-colored walls will reflect that natural light and instantly create a sense of airy spaciousness.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should forget about dark colors altogether. They can do a lot to maximize a small bathroom by creating the illusion of depth, particularly in windowless bathrooms. Dark-colored walls also provide an excellent backdrop for your fixtures, drawing the eye to the details and distracting from the size of the room. 

The one thing you should avoid? Mixing and matching light and dark colors. To make the most of their size-enhancing powers, commit to going either light or dark. 

bathroom mirrors

Mirrors to trick the eye

Mirrors are a tried-and-true method for amplifying the volume of a room. They do not only double what you’re seeing, but they also reflect light to make a room seem much, much larger. 

The bigger the mirror, the bigger the effect, so we recommend finding the largest mirror that will fit in the space. If you can swing it, get a whole mirrored wall. It maximizes the illusion of size and lets you check out your entire outfit — from hairdo to tippy toe — at a glance. 

bathroom glass shower door

Glass shower doors

One key to making a small bathroom feel bigger is not cutting the space with an unnecessary enclosure or dominating it with an imposing element or appliance. 

The bathtub or shower is usually the most prominent item in the room, so the best way to make sure it doesn’t end up visually overpowering is to fit it with a glass shower door. This opens up the space instead of hiding a large part of the room from view. 

Frameless shower and tub enclosures are even better. They use thick tempered glass held at the corners, without the visual distraction of joints and hinges. 

Another approach is to remove the door entirely. A doorless shower creates a strikingly minimalist look that is both elegant and space-enhancing. Just make sure you have adequate drainage for the floor and remove anything that won’t survive a strong splash of water. 

bathroom lighting

Lighting in strategic spaces

Concealed lighting is a clever touch that opens up space on the wall and ceiling; it also keeps the eye moving and helps the room feels bigger than it is. Install your lights underneath the vanity or behind the mirror for a sleek, minimalistic look that is also very flattering. 

bathroom functional and fashionable pieces

Functional and fashionable pieces

Flex your creative muscles when considering your small bathroom design by looking for smaller, compact pieces that take up less space and add a unique flourish. 

Some of our favorite ways to do this are with a floating toilet or Japanese-style soaking tub (if you decide to have a tub at all). Items like these are incredible space-savers; they are also eye-catching and gorgeous, infusing the atmosphere with the zen-like serenity of a spa. Ultra-relaxing and ultra-functional are a win-win. 

While we’re on the topic of floating pieces, we have to mention floating faucets. They look exceptional and take up basically no space on your vanity. They’re another fabulous way to streamline your small bathroom design and make it stunning in one fell swoop. 

bathroom curve sharp edges

Curves over sharp edges

Sharp corners get noticed, and not in a good way. They call attention to themselves and can make a room feel tight and boxed-in. 

Curved pieces are an immediate antidote. You’d be surprised by how much extra space a curved shower can save in a tiny bathroom. Plus, it blends into the space in a far more natural way, making the room feel relaxed and flow-y. 

bathroom space-saving shelving

Space-saving shelving

Clutter adds a tremendous amount of distraction and “weight” to a room and can make a small bathroom feel overloaded. 

Since small bathrooms rarely have a lot of hidden storage area, consider building a niche into the wall above your vanity or toilet. A niche is a genius way to have essential bathroom items close at hand while keeping countertops and other surfaces clear, so the room feels lighter and breezier. 

The bottom line on small bathrooms

When you’re short on space, you have to be high on creativity. So, bring an inspired eye to every element of small bathroom designs, and you’ll find there is plenty of room for improvement everywhere you look. Contact us if you’d like help with the perfect design for your small bathroom.