Small bathrooms can be a pain point in any home. And if the bathroom is shared between siblings or guests, it can become a tight spot when everyone is getting ready, causing frustration. While it’s easy to blame it on the small bathroom, it can also be created by the cosmetic clutter scattered across the vanity, the mismatched materials and colors or a darkly lit area.
Basically, you want to give a small bathroom room to breathe and make it feel less cramped. Many tricks of the trade are simply an illusion to make a room feel bigger than it truly is. Ready for a complete bathroom restoration? Here are seven ways to make a small bathroom feel bigger without sacrificing amenities and comfort.
1. Mount a Large Vanity Mirror
Mirrors offer an optical illusion and trick our eyes to believe there’s more space. Plus, they actually reflect more light into the room, which is even more beneficial if it’s natural sunlight. If your vanity has a smaller mirror mounted above, replace it with something more substantial, like the highest magnification mirror. Seek out a large mirror the same length as your vanity and approximately three feet high. Consider a frameless mirror as well.
When looking for the perfect bathroom mirror, make sure it has sufficient hardware to support itself. You could also seek out a standing floor mirror, flip it horizontally and attach hardware. More importantly, any mirror you mount in a moisture-prone space should have a tarnish-resistant coating.
2. Welcome Natural Lighting
Ample lighting is a must-have in any bathroom space–and for small spaces, this goes double. But you can’t beat natural lighting, especially since this is where you apply makeup and ready yourself for the day. Remove any dirt and grime from existing bathroom windows, even those hard-to-reach skylights. Get rid of curtains and sheers, replacing them with more translucent rolling shades or frosted privacy screens.
3. Install a New Bathroom Vanity Cabinet
For a bathroom with limited storage space, vanities should not be overlooked. If you have a vanity with an open base, replace it with something that can provide a more hidden storage solution. Create a few cabinets and drawers to hold toiletries, cleaning supplies or extra towels and linens. With a small bathroom, you have to make the most of every square inch.
However, on the flip side, if you have an extra small bathroom like a powder room intended for guests, consider a pedestal sink. Pedestal sinks can open up a small floor plan and make the room feel bigger.
4. For Decorations, Less Is More
While it’s tempting to try and add character to a small bathroom, it can quickly turn into clutter. Instead, remember that less is more. Cut back on the decorations and artwork, aiming for a minimal look with just a few functional items. Roll out a cozy bath rug and hang some framed art to make it more inviting, but avoid adding multiple trays filled with cosmetics and nail polish. For these items, store them in a decorative closed storage container. When adding decor, greenery can add a nice spa-like touch, too.
5. Keep a Light Color Palette, Free of Lines
For small bathrooms, stick to a light, neutral and muted color palette that blends the space together, erasing lines that tend to divide the space visually.
For example, many bathrooms are designed with wainscoting or tiles, reaching halfway up the wall. When design sensibilities would tell you to accent this area in a different color, you actually want to avoid this with small bathrooms. Instead, try to keep the bathroom color palette one consistent hue. Ideally, wall tiling should extend all the way to the ceiling.
Another way you can open up a small bathroom is to swap out wide baseboards with narrow ones and remove crown moldings altogether to add some height to the bathroom.
6. Install Frameless Glass Shower Doors
Since the shower stall is one of the largest components of a bathroom, make sure it doesn’t block off and obscure half the space. If you have a standing shower or bath/shower combination, give it a major update with a frameless glass shower door. When you add this layer of transparency, you can make a small bathroom feel bigger and deeper.
Even a bath/shower combo with a curtain can make a space feel cramped. But with tempered glass doors–even if they’re frosted for privacy–you can open up a space and even allow for natural sunlight to flood in. Since you are opening this otherwise private space, give that an update as well with a beautiful new tile surround. If possible, eliminate the need for storage racks by creating built-ins shelves within the surround.
Overall, tempered glass can open up many different areas. Use tempered glass shelves to stack towels or even create a partition between the toilet and vanity space. There are many uses!
7. Use Similar Materials and Finishes
An eclectic mix of materials is wonderful for a boho-inspired living room. But when it comes to small bathroom spaces, keep finishes consistent. Otherwise, you will create a bathroom that feels cramped, busy and fussy. Instead, aim for no more than two to three materials and finishes.
Carry the flooring material–whether it resembles wood, stone or tile–upward on the walls and along the vanity backsplash or shower surround. Also, when it comes to the floors, choose a large tile size or flooring in a light color. Closely match the vanity countertop with the shower/tub surround. If your vanity faucet set, shower head, towel rods and cabinet pulls are all mismatched finishes, replace them with a more cohesive one. Remove natural wood wainscoting or paint it over in the same color as the walls.