A Guide to Making Your Small Bathroom Look Larger

When it comes to a home bathroom, space is generally at a premium. Although the bathroom is one of the most important (and heavily used) rooms of the house, all too often it is lacking in open floor space and ends up feeling cluttered, small, and uncomfortable. Whether you living in a historic home with traditionally tiny bathrooms or your newer bathroom still feel like it is too small for your family, one of the top reasons for a bathroom remodel is to make the space feel larger—even when you aren’t investing in a down-to-the-studs renovation.

There are countless tips out there for making a small-size bathroom appear to be larger than it actually is. While major bath fixtures and features play a role in keeping your space light, open, and airy, it’s really the smallest details that add-up to make a big impact. When you want to get the most out of your tiny bathroom, without blowing your budget, there are specific areas of your room design that you will want to focus on during a bath remodel.

Making Your Color Scheme Work for Your Space

One of the first things that you notice about any bathroom is the color. It’s no surprise that the darker the color scheme, the smaller the space will look, and rich, saturated hues should be reserved for expansive bathrooms that have no issue with limited space.

To get the most out of your small home bathroom, stick to traditional, light colors that naturally reflect the light in the room. The most popular color and design choices for giving an illusion of openness to a small space include:

  • White-on-White: With the design trends for modern homes leaning towards bright pops of color, considering a white-on-white aesthetic may not be at the top of your list. However, this color scheme is the ideal choice for maximizing the visual space of a small bathroom, and it creates a sleek, seamless appearance that makes it a smart choice for high value and impact.
  • Textural Elements: Just because you are using a white or light-colored aesthetic in the bathroom doesn’t mean that it has to lack style! Elements such as natural stone, tile, molding, and unique hardware can give your bathroom a customized appearance and visual interest that takes the look from basic to luxurious.
  • Tone-on-Tone: Still not convinced about using white-on-white in your bathroom? Switching it up to a tone-on-tone design can have a similar effect without the stark look that comes with all-white color schemes. Whether you use soft grays, subtle blues, or inviting beige tones, focusing on one hue in the bathroom will create the inviting, serene look that you are going for while still reflecting ample light.

Think Outside the Box With Traditional Bathroom Fixtures

A solid tub-shower combo, cabinet-style vanity, and a closet for storage are all standard designs of a basic bathroom, but those traditional options won’t do much to help you make your space look larger. When dealing with a small bathroom, it’s time to break the mold when it comes to “standard” fixtures for the space, and there are several options available on today’s market when you need to think outside of the box:

  • Vanities: Instead of the clunky, heavy look of a classic vanity, consider opening up the room with a floating-style feature! By still offering storage in the form of drawers or shelves, these vanities are secured further up the wall to expose the space underneath—giving your room the appearance of greater depth.
  • Mirrors: Just like magicians use mirrors to accomplish their illusions, a stunning mirror feature in your small bathroom can instantly create the illusion of an open and expansive space. There are many different ways to accomplish this, from oversized, framed mirrors above the vanity to a full mirrored wall, and the best choice for you depends on your personal aesthetic.
  • Bath Features: Bathtubs may be a luxurious bathroom fixture, but they also take up a large amount of floor space—which isn’t ideal for a small bathroom. Instead, consider swapping your tub for a sleek, barrier-free shower that has continuous flooring with the rest of the room, and go for a glass panel door instead of a shower curtain to avoid breaking up the flow of the space.
  • Storage: Storage is an issue in many bathrooms, even those that don’t have an undersized layout. However, it is still an essential component for a functional space, and you can get extra storage in your small bath by adding open shelving, wall hooks, and inset cabinetry that allows you to cut down on visual clutter.
  • Lighting: Every bathroom should be designed around the need for bright, adequate lighting, and using multiple light sources can create dimension and light up every corner of the room. Consider incorporating a combination of ceiling lights, wall sconces, and edge-lighted mirrors to eliminate shadows and give your space a fresh, appealing atmosphere.

Consider the Overall Bathroom Layout and Design

Fixtures and color scheme are two of the top factors that you need to take into account when designing a plan to maximize the space within your bathroom, but you also need to consider how the smallest details will affect the overall design of the room. With bathrooms that are on the smaller side, choose a design that allows for:

  • Negative Space: If storage isn’t your top concern in your bathroom, it is worth compromising on larger storage options and focusing on creating negative space within the room. Small-scale vanities and a less-is-more approach can make the room look larger than it actually is by removing the cluttered look that would come with a standard-sized fixture.
  • Long Lines: Emphasizing the look of the longest wall in the bathroom is a great way to make the entire space appear larger, and adding a shelf, chair rail, or even a simple painted stripe can highlight the length of the room. Don’t have a long wall? Try going vertical with your design by incorporating a tall, thin mirror, getting creative with vertical lighting, or installing a tile accent to draw the eye from the floor to the celling.
  • Low-Profile Accents: Too many focal points in a bathroom can make the entire area feel closed-in and uninviting, so when you want to add some stylish accents, keep them low-profile. By adding a pop of color or personality closer to the floor, you still get the unique space that you envision—without cluttering-up what’s in your sightline.

Every household in the country has a bathroom, and every homeowner wants their bath to add value, comfort, and style to their home. While you might dream of a penthouse-sized bathroom with larger-than-life fixtures, that often isn’t the reality—but you don’t have to sacrifice on beauty and functionality just because your bathroom is small! With a few simple upgrades and some illusion-creating accents, you can turn your outdated, tiny bath into one of your favorite rooms of the house.


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