Small bathrooms can be frustrating. Maybe there’s not enough storage. Perhaps the space feels cramped, so it’s impossible to relax at the end of a long day. Fortunately, you don’t need to feel limited. All it takes is clever strategy in order to make that small bathroom feel bigger. Below are some tips and tricks to help you create more breathing room.
Dark or bold colors can make a room appear smaller. That’s because darker shades reflect less light, which results in a heavier, closed-off impression. A sense of space starts with the color palette. Go for lighter colors and soft pastels to create an open feeling.
Recessed lighting is ideal for small bathrooms for three reasons. First, this type of lighting produces a soft glow that blurs sharp edges around the perimeter of the room. Second, recessed lighting allows you to install numerous light sources. The more light in the room, the bigger it will feel.
Last, other types of lighting — such as drum pendants or chandeliers — take up physical space. Even though they are usually above your head, those fixtures can still make the bathroom feel crowded.
When we think about showers, sinks and vanities, we typically imagine square or rectangular furniture. In a small bathroom, however, you can save more space by installing rounded fixtures in the corners. A curved shower, for example, eliminates the freestanding edge that juts into the room, providing more floor area. A curved pedestal sink sacrifices the storage of a vanity, but opens up space on the sides and below - creating an open feel.
This elongated wall niche is an efficient use of available space with modern styling
Storage is often an issue in small bathrooms, but installing bulky medicine cabinets, shelves or cabinetry takes valuable real estate. Where possible, look for recessed storage options. This could mean a medicine cabinet built into the wall, or a vanity with storage that extends into the wall behind it.
Built-in niches are another way to use wall voids to your advantage while giving the bathroom a modern look. In a small shower, recessed shelves are perfect for shampoo bottles and other necessities. Elsewhere in the bathroom, niches can be used to display baskets, bins and jars for functional, decorative storage.
Shower curtains — when closed — separate the shower or tub, making the room appear smaller. Even when you tuck those curtains to the side, they still add bulk. Instead, go with a glass shower or tub enclosure. It allows you to see into the stall, opening the room nicely.
There are some clever tricks you can use with tile in order to make the room feel larger. The first is to focus on lines. Geometrics such as zig zags or long subway tiles add a sense of directionality, which can help make a bathroom seem more spacious.
You can also use the same tile from the floor in the shower. When you add a different tile in the shower, it can give the room a “zoned” look, making it feel partitioned and small. Using similar tile throughout has the opposite effect, unifying the room to make it look bigger.
As with softer colors, mirrors reflect light to make the room feel larger. If possible, hang a large mirror above the vanity, from countertop to ceiling. It’s also possible to work in mirrors as part of the décor, just as you might hang artwork.
With these workarounds, you can transform a bathroom that feels cramped into a spacious oasis to relax. Combine a variety of these ideas to make the most of your small bathroom.
Excited to share her love of home design and décor with readers, Jaclyn Crawford started with ImproveNet in 2016. As a staff writer, she enjoys chronicling the latest trends and ways you can make your home the loveliest it can be. You may also find her in ImproveNet videos, sharing tips and trends for your home.