Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (2024)

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (1)

Small bathrooms can have so much untapped potential. It's easy to feel limited by the bite-size square footage, and unless your very small bathroom is a sweet powder room with no purpose save for handwashing before dinner time, it can also be extremely tricky to design, especially if you don't have professional help. Where do clean towels go? What about hooks for wet ones? Can a freestanding bathtub and separate shower fit, or will it look and feel too crowded?

There are so many crucial decisions to make when designing or renovating your bathroom, from plumbing fixtures and tile choices to paint colors and lighting. When you have a small space, you can either embrace it or work your hardest to make it feel bigger. Both are honorable pursuits. A small bathroom renovation is still a big job, no doubt. Done well, however, small spaces can be case studies in ease and efficiency, with personality to spare. You just need some inspiration and advice from design pros to start rethinking yours. Don't let the limited space stop you from living large!

That's right, before you throw in the bath towel and call a broker to help you find a new place, consider the following bathroom storage ideas, plus floor plan, window treatment, and styling solutions that will help your small bathroom look as good (and work as hard) as a big jack-and-jill or primary ensuite. Make every inch count with inspiration from these 64 small bathroom designs, and you'll forget how small your bathroom actually is.

1

Use the Windows

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (2)

To make an odd powder room layout work, designer Chauncey Boothby designed a curved, wall-hung wood vanity (finished to look like walnut) and floated an Isabelle Home mirror from a brass hook using grosgrain ribbon.

2

Extend the Vanity

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (3)

In designer Courtney Petit's Dallas home, an under-the-stairs bath is a nod to her late mother's beloved blue-and-white china. The durable quartz countertop continues behind the toilet, creating a useful ledge.

3

Mirror the Entire Wall

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (4)

In House Beautiful's 2023 Whole Home, designers Marita Simmons and Krysta Gibbons of Kipling House chose a floor-to-ceiling wall mirror for this bathroom in the ladies' lounge to make the tiny space feel that much bigger. Not only does the mirror create an optical illusion, but it also works to reflect light around the small room.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

4

Install Sconces on the Mirror

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (5)

Three traditional sconces were mounted on the mirrors of this small bathroom—designed by Sara Swabb of Storie Collective and Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens & Baths—to direct light where it’s needed. The mirror came from a creative solution: "While we originally envisioned one single mirror with hand-finished brass trim, it would have been too large to even get into the house," says Swabb. "Instead, we decided to save a little money by doing four separate mirrors with beveled edges, which turned out to be one of our favorite design details."

5

Go for Pearly White

Create a sense of openness by drenching the room in white, as design firm Toledo Geller did in this bathroom. The varying white marble tiles, white ceiling, and off-white window shade provide a bright yet soft atmosphere. Glass shower doors make the space feel larger, while the small brass table adds a pop of elegance.

6

Use Furniture for Counter Space

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (7)

To make up for the lack of counter space and storage in the bathroom of her Los Angeles home, designer Francesca Grace placed a small cabinet next to the sink. A simple wall hook holds a single hand towel, while the wide mirror reflects light and makes the space feel bigger.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

7

Source Vintage Statement Pieces

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (8)

If you don't have a ton of room to make a statement, do so with small vintage pieces. In the bathroom of a 1960s West Palm Beach, Florida, bungalow, Gillian Segal placed a delicate vintage sconce in between curved mirrors sourced from Mecox for a romantic touch.

8

Select Translucent Shades

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (9)

Ensure privacy without sacrificing light by picking out window shades that are translucent. The rattan shade in this bathroom by Becca Casey balances those needs while adding texture and warmth to the space.

9

Try a Floating Sink

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (10)

Save space by installing a floating sink instead of a pedestal sink or vanity. In this bathroom, designer Hecker Guthrie went with a sleek black-and-white one for high contrast. If you ever need more storage, you can always add some underneath.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

10

Take Inspiration From Nature

Craft a private oasis that's rooted in nature for optimal relaxation. If your home is blessed with natural elements like brick and stone, show them off. If not, introduce them where you can. Their textures can add so much dimension, as shown in this space by design firm Arent & Pyke with its floor-to-ceiling stone and mirror.

11

Put a Skirt on the Vanity

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (12)

Chintz brings a touch of the garden into the bathroom of this Southampton retreat, where Justine Cushing managed to fit in a dressing table and a matching chair that tucks underneath it thanks to a clever layout. The skirt hides other essential toiletries too.

12

Choose Graphic Accents

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (13)

Wavy contrasting floor tile, carried up the side of a built-in tub, unifies several surfaces in this bathroom by Atelier ND at actor Carice van Houten's Amsterdam home. A bright red towel warmer takes up barely any square footage and serves more than one function: storage and coziness.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

13

Personalize It With Your Monogram

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (14)

Alexander Reid personalized this small rental bathroom with a monogrammed shower curtain that also features a classic border. Pretty framed prints and a garden stool take up little space but go a long way as far as making it feel formal and polished.

14

Work Around the Roofline

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (15)

Don't let a quirky floor plan block your creativity or your dream small bathroom layout. In the primary bath of her home (a former church), designer Nathalie Chong set a tub into the dormer windows and squeezed in a double vanity. She emphasized the drama of the ceiling by using different size mirrors, making the slanted roofline work for her and dabbling in asymmetry.

15

Leave the Windows Bare

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (16)

Natural light is too important in a cramped space to block with curtains. If you can afford to keep the windows bare (i.e., there's enough privacy), focus on incorporating rich materials elsewhere to do the visual heavy lifting and skip the window treatments. A stone and bronze vanity, geometric floor tiles, and plaster walls do the trick in this small bathroom by Brigette Romanek.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

16

Keep Millwork Minimal

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (17)

Design firm Studio Shamshiri "chose minimal finishes and millwork that didn't distract from the nature outside" and used vertical space to play up the height of this bathroom. They also added sneaky storage via a floating custom cubby that spans the length of the double vanity and installed an equally long towel bar beneath it.

17

Soften the Lights

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (18)

"Everything feels sort of candlelit," says designer Jae Joo of this Boston home. The elegant powder room is no exception. Ambient lighting radiates a soft glow, wood finishes emit warmth, and the green floral wallpaper brings the entire room to life; together, these elements have a cocooning effect.

18

Use Fewer Materials

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (19)

Use the same materials on the shower stall and sink vanity, as Nina Barbiras of Fig NYC did in this bathroom. It makes a strong case for rich marbled veining and unpolished brass.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

19

Add a Skylight

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (20)

So your small bathroom doesn't have any wall space for windows... but what about a skylight? Studio DIAA opted for a Crystalite one, which floods the space with sunlight and maintains privacy.

20

Hang a Mirror Gallery Wall

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (21)

Besides looking incredibly charming, this collection of vintage mirrors in a Boston home by Cecilia Casagrande is also a great small-space solution: The mirrors move sunlight into every nook and cranny of the room. By painting the frames all in Farrow & Ball Pitch Black, the homeowner unified the quirky collection to feel cohesive. The Grow House Grow wallcovering adds flair.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Small bathrooms can be challenging to design due to their limited square footage. However, with the right inspiration and advice, you can make the most of your small bathroom and create a functional and stylish space. Here are some ideas and solutions from design professionals to help you maximize the potential of your small bathroom:

1. Use the Windows

  • Designer Chauncey Boothby created a curved, wall-hung wood vanity and floated a mirror from a brass hook using grosgrain ribbon to make an odd powder room layout work [[1]].

2. Extend the Vanity

  • In designer Courtney Petit's Dallas home, a bathroom under the stairs features a quartz countertop that extends behind the toilet, creating a useful ledge [[2]].

3. Mirror the Entire Wall

  • Designers Marita Simmons and Krysta Gibbons used a floor-to-ceiling wall mirror in House Beautiful's 2023 Whole Home to make a small bathroom feel larger. The mirror creates an optical illusion and reflects light around the space [[3]].

4. Install Sconces on the Mirror

  • Three traditional sconces were mounted on mirrors in a small bathroom designed by Sara Swabb and Tanya Smith-Shiflett. The mirrors have beveled edges and reflect light where it's needed [[4]].

5. Go for Pearly White

  • Design firm Toledo Geller created a sense of openness in a small bathroom by using varying white marble tiles, a white ceiling, and an off-white window shade. Glass shower doors and a small brass table add elegance [[5]].

6. Use Furniture for Counter Space

  • Designer Francesca Grace placed a small cabinet next to the sink in her Los Angeles home's bathroom to make up for the lack of counter space. A wide mirror reflects light and makes the space feel bigger [[6]].

7. Source Vintage Statement Pieces

  • In a 1960s West Palm Beach bungalow, Gillian Segal used small vintage pieces, such as a delicate vintage sconce and curved mirrors, to make a statement in a small bathroom [[7]].

8. Select Translucent Shades

  • Choosing translucent window shades ensures privacy while allowing light to enter the bathroom. A rattan shade adds texture and warmth to the space [[8]].

9. Try a Floating Sink

  • Installing a floating sink instead of a pedestal sink or vanity saves space. Designer Hecker Guthrie used a sleek black-and-white floating sink for high contrast in a small bathroom [[9]].

10. Take Inspiration From Nature

  • Design firm Arent & Pyke created a private oasis in a small bathroom by incorporating natural elements like floor-to-ceiling stone and mirrors [[10]].

11. Put a Skirt on the Vanity

  • Justine Cushing added a touch of the garden to her Southampton retreat's bathroom by using chintz and a skirted vanity. The skirt also hides essential toiletries [[11]].

12. Choose Graphic Accents

  • Atelier ND used wavy contrasting floor tiles carried up the side of a built-in tub to unify surfaces in a small bathroom. A bright red towel warmer adds storage and coziness [[12]].

13. Personalize It With Your Monogram

  • Alexander Reid personalized a small rental bathroom with a monogrammed shower curtain and framed prints. A garden stool adds a formal and polished touch [[13]].

14. Work Around the Roofline

  • Designer Nathalie Chong made use of a quirky floor plan in her former church home's primary bathroom. She set a tub into the dormer windows and installed a double vanity with different size mirrors to emphasize the drama of the ceiling [[14]].

15. Leave the Windows Bare

  • In a small bathroom by Brigette Romanek, natural light is preserved by leaving the windows bare. The use of stone and bronze vanity, geometric floor tiles, and plaster walls adds visual interest [[15]].

16. Keep Millwork Minimal

  • Design firm Studio Shamshiri used minimal finishes and millwork to create a bathroom that doesn't distract from the nature outside. Vertical space was utilized with a floating custom cubby and towel bar [[16]].

17. Soften the Lights

  • Designer Jae Joo created an elegant powder room with soft ambient lighting, warm wood finishes, and green floral wallpaper. The combination of these elements creates a cocooning effect [[17]].

18. Use Fewer Materials

  • Fig NYC used the same materials on the shower stall and sink vanity in a small bathroom, showcasing rich marbled veining and unpolished brass [[18]].

19. Add a Skylight

  • If your small bathroom lacks wall space for windows, consider adding a skylight. Studio DIAA used a Crystalite skylight to flood the space with sunlight while maintaining privacy [[19]].

20. Hang a Mirror Gallery Wall

  • A collection of vintage mirrors in a Boston home by Cecilia Casagrande not only adds charm but also moves sunlight into every corner of the room. Painting the frames in a unified color creates a cohesive look [[20]].

These ideas and solutions can help you transform your small bathroom into a functional and visually appealing space. Remember, with the right design choices, you can make every inch count!

Designers Rely on This Trick to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Bigger (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6249

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-12-23

Address: 4653 O'Kon Hill, Lake Juanstad, AR 65469

Phone: +494124489301

Job: Marketing Representative

Hobby: Reading, Ice skating, Foraging, BASE jumping, Hiking, Skateboarding, Kayaking

Introduction: My name is Cheryll Lueilwitz, I am a sparkling, clean, super, lucky, joyous, outstanding, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.