• How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger (and More Functional!)

  • Many people dream of having a large, spa-like bathroom. Unfortunately, not everyone gets this opportunity.  It can be either not affordable, not practical, or simply not structurally possible to remodel the space. But all hope is not lost! There are things you can do to give the illusion of a bigger bathroom. Many even have the benefit of making your bathroom more practical to use. Read on to learn more about how you can accomplish a few of these “magic tricks”! 

    Clutter…Be Gone! 

    First things, first! We often see toiletry products scattered on bathroom counters. If this situation applies to you, then you need to think about what products you actually need to have accessible and store what you do not use often. If your hamper is crammed into your small bathroom, it may be wise to move it to a nearby closet. Hampers take up lots of floor space and do not usually add to the appeal of a bathroom. Think twice about your free-standing bathroom storage. Take a look at the before and after below, the picture really says it all! 

    Additionally, designers are often not a fan of the plain, default packaging that comes with many branded products. For a cohesive look, they either choose products that are already packaged with a stylish, unifying theme or use refillable countertop accessories such as soap pumps and canisters. Making all your products match is a cost-effective way to create the illusion of a larger (and much neater) bathroom.  


    Wall and Floor Treatments  

    The same rules generally apply to wall and floor treatments. You may think that a dark wall color will make a room look smaller. However, if you use a very dark color (black bathrooms are in style right now), the painted walls will appear as if they are receding, and this will visually enlarge the space by giving it drama and depth. Want something other than just a solid color? You can also choose wallpaper with vertical stripes or a vertical pattern to give the illusion of a taller room. 

    Similarly, installing floor planks parallel to the longest wall in the room will make the room look larger. Large tiles that are at least 12” x 12” will also create this effect. 

    Bathroom Counters and Vanities 

    There are a variety of vanity styles to choose from. Some feature a pedestal-style sink. This style is compact but doesn’t have much counter space or under sink storage. While it has a small footprint and is often the most economical option, we do not recommend this type of sink if you want to, for example, do your makeup in front of your bathroom mirror or need storage space. Opt for a vanity with counter space and under-sink cabinet storage for a more functional space.  

    As far as faucets go, mounting them to the wall will also help free up your counters. As a bonus, this type of installation gives a modern, customized look to the bathroom.  

    Messy under-sink storage is a very common issue because of the J-pipe that makes the storage area less-accessible. But there are ways to take advantage of the vertical storage on the sides of the J-pipe. Your local cabinet maker can help install built-in shelves that pull-out for convenient access. The Container Store also sells good-quality drawer units in several sizes that are designed to fit under the sink. The cheapest option is to use stacking bins. You can find these at your local dollar store or in stores such as Target.  


    Consider whether a bathtub is necessary for the bathroom in question. Removing a bathtub will create more room for a spacious shower. Stand showers with stylish tile work are akin to luxury. Not having to deal with shower curtains that can are often an eyesore (and can easily grow mildew!) is a major plus.  

    Sliding shower doors are the smarter option for small bathrooms because they do not take up any space to operate compared to hinged doors. We have even come across designs where there are no doors or barriers at all. A major pro of a barrier-less design is that you will not have to worry about cleaning water spots or soap scum off the glass. To make a completely barrierless design successful, you must make sure the shower has a good drainage system.  

    Barn and Pocket Doors  

    Having a standard hinged door open inward towards the bathroom will make the room feel even smaller. The best doors to use are barn doors (pictured, below left) and pocket doors (below right). Both types of doors work in a similar fashion to sliding doors and require adequate wall space. Of the two, a barn door is the cheaper and less labor-intensive option. However, a pocket door looks very neatly tucked away and is a great option for those who are fans of minimalist design.  

    The Vertical Space on Your Walls 

    Because small bathrooms do not have a lot of floor or wide wall spaces to add storage, you should take advantage of vertical space. Think tall shelving units or wall-mounted shelves. Taller storage can also create the effect of a higher ceiling. For those who still prefer shower curtains, we’ve seen extra-long versions installed to create a similar effect. 

    Let the Light In  

    Natural light is very important to the overall look of a room, especially in the daytime. It also helps elevate your mood. A room of the same size that lacks windows will look smaller than one with windows. Having more light sources will also help light bounce off reflective surfaces such as mirrors and countertops, which contribute to the look of a larger room.  

    A skylight may be a good alternative for single-story homes if you cannot add a window due to interior walls. If you do have windows, pay attention to the shades or curtains you are choosing. There is no need for opaque or blackout shades in a bathroom. This will block off too much light. Get some light-filtering shades which will still offer enough privacy while brightening the room. You may even skip the curtains altogether by installing frosted glass or glass block windows for privacy.  

    Let Us Do the Dirty Work 

    Want to explore all the reno possibilities for your bathroom without having to put in too much work? Take things a step further and reach out to us. We will offer you solutions based on your overall vision and budget. We can help with any renovation–big or small! Contact us for a free estimate to get started! 

    Featured Image Credit: The Spruce