19 Clever Decorating Tricks to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

We're sharing the space-saving tricks only top interior designers have up their sleeves—until now.

Previous
1/19 View as List
Next

Choose functional, space-saving lights

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-BiggerVenus Angel/Shutterstock

"If space is limited in a bathroom, the correct lighting is essential," says Daniel Jensen of NYC Interior Design. "Wall sconces mounted on the mirror and cove lights installed behind the mirror are functional options that create the right ambiance, without taking up any additional space. If the ceilings are low or the bathroom is small, overhead lighting should be avoided." Find out the seven ways you're cleaning your bathroom wrong.

Avoid patterned wallpaper

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-Biggerbikeriderlondon/Shutterstock

As much as we all dream of making our home bathroom look like it belongs in a trendy hotel, small bathrooms cannot be covered in wild patterns. "Avoid patterns of any sort," says Jill Shadek Homepolish designer. "Save that fun wallpaper you've been dying to use for a larger room or an accent wall, as it's certain to make the already small space seem even tighter."

Definitely buy a statement mirror

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-BiggerJodie Johnson/Shutterstock

If there's one item you need to get right in a small bathroom design, it's your choice of mirror. You may think that a dainty or modest mirror will enlarge your wall space, and a massive mirror will overwhelm the cramped space, but the opposite is actually true. "One of the best ways to have a bathroom feel more open is to install a large mirror above the sink," says Jensen. "In rooms with low ceilings, placing the mirror closer to the ceiling will create the illusion of a larger space.

Make sure the floor tiles continue into the shower

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-BiggerVladitto/Shutterstock

Covering a small bathroom's floor with a single, continuous tile style is an easy and effective way to trick the human eye into seeing a larger space. "Sectioning off the bathroom with different patterns and tones can make a small space feel smaller and more crowded," says Alyssa Alon Homepolish designer. "Instead, have the floor tile continue into the shower floor so it gives the illusion of a bigger space." Here's how to clean a bathroom fast.

Build any shelving into the walls

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-BiggerAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Jensen says that many small bathrooms "have wasted space beyond their walls." So if you want to know how to make a small bathroom look bigger, "install open, built-in shelves inside the wall that look like they are part of the room, rather than sticking out as a separate piece of furniture," Jensen advises. "Ideally the built-in shelves would be painted the same color as the walls for a seamless integration." Keep this in mind the next time you want hang bulky shelves above the toilet! Instead, choose built-in shelves that can store flowers that keep your bathroom smelling fresh.

Match the color of your walls and ceiling

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-Bigger Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

If your bathroom ceiling is white while the walls are dark blue, the white up top will only make the low ceiling more pronounced and noticeable. Instead, an excellent small bathroom idea is to "match the tile color as closely as possible to the walls and the ceiling. The closer you can get the colors, the less transitions there will be and the larger the space will appear. This same trick works if you paint the ceiling the same color as the walls," Shadek says. Check out tips for how to make your bath towels last longer.

Install a hanging toilet

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-BiggerPhotographee.eu/Shutterstock

When space is scarce in a small bathroom, Alon says a great way to open up the room is to install a wall-hung toilet. Even if the area beneath the hanging toilet isn't going to be utilized, being able to see the floor tile instead of a bulky, porcelain throne creates the illusion of space.

Ditch the idea of a bathtub

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-BiggerTr1sha/Shutterstock

As much as we all love to soak after a long day, a small bathroom doesn't afford enough space for a comfortable, freestanding tub. And, let's face it, the tubs built and tucked into walls aren't large enough to comfortably use either. So instead of forcing a small tub to fit, Jensen recommends ditching the tiny bathtub altogether, and instead choosing a stand-up shower with glass walls. "Stand-up showers with floor-to-ceiling glass partitions are the best choice when designing small bathrooms," he says. "Bathtubs are often too large or take up a lot of space in bathrooms and are therefore not the best choice for smaller rooms." Here are 11 ways to make the most of your shower.

Pay attention to the scale of your fixtures

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-Biggerretouchist/Shutterstock

In a small bathroom, the last thing you need are fixtures that further crowd the space. "Select bathroom fixtures that are the right scale for the space is important," instructs Jensen. "Often bathtubs, sinks, and toilets are the wrong size or are too large for bathrooms. If you are redoing a bathroom it's helpful to draw the items in the space to be able to visualize how they will look." Keep them sleek and minimally sized for best results. For serious inspiration on transforming a small space, check out this couple that created a mini guest house.

Recess your medicine cabinet

Clever-Decorating-Tips-to-Make-a-Small-Bathroom-Look-BiggerGts/Shutterstock

You may not mind the look of a protruding medicine cabinet, after all, it will only take up a few extra inches of space, right? Well, as Shadek points out, even fixtures as thin as medicine cabinets can clutter your sink area or take up precious walk room. "Recess storage into the wall. Building the medicine cabinet into the wall will decrease the amount of clutter elsewhere in the room and create the illusion of a larger space."

Previous
1/19 View as List
Next

Become more interesting every week!

The Reader's Digest "Read Up" Newsletter

We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.