Transforming a small bathroom into a chic oasis can seem daunting, but it’s entirely possible with some strategic design choices. This article will provide 10 tips for designing stylish little bathrooms that feel open and inviting, not cramped and claustrophobic. From layouts and storage to colors and decor, read on for ideas to make the most of your petite powder room.

Optimize the Layout

A thoughtful layout is key to maximizing both function and flair in a small bathroom. Arrange fixtures and amenities in a way that enhances flow and accessibility.

Use the Perimeter

Focus most features along the walls, which leaves the middle of the floor open and roomy. Place the toilet and tub or shower on opposite ends to create privacy. Use the back of the door for a towel bar or rack.

Adjust Sink Placement

Avoid cramming a bulky vanity along one wall. Either center it on a wall or tuck it into a corner to open up floor space. Pedestal and wall-mounted sinks have minimal footprints.

Stack Storage

Install floor-to-ceiling shelving or cabinets to store towels and toiletries. Built-in niches and shelves also provide storage without taking up space.

Add a Window

Natural light makes any bathroom feel more expansive. If adding a window isn’t possible, use a skylight or swap a solid door for one with frosted glass panes.

Scale Down Fixtures

When working with a modest footprint, standard sized fixtures can overwhelm. Seek out narrower and shallower versions to better suit the room.

Select Compact Toilets

Elongated and round bowl models are available in shorter depths. Or install a wall-mounted toilet to save space.

Choose a Petite Tub

Avoid large soaking tubs in favor of compact models. Slipper tubs fit along one wall and corner tubs optimize unused space.

Downsize the Vanity

Narrow vanities around 20-24 inches wide maximize roominess. Wall-mounted faucets also conserve surface area.

Use Space-Savvy Sinks

Vessel, pedestal, and floating sinks take up less space than traditional undermount styles. Round sinks are more compact than rectangular.

Install a Skinny Shower

Slim showers 28-32 inches wide make the most of snug floorplans. Showerheads on slide bars allow adjustments for different heights.

Maximize Lighting

Proper illumination prevents a cramped vibe. Use lighting strategies to make the room appear open and airy.

Add More Lamps

Supplement overhead lighting with accent lamps, such as sconces by the mirror and vanity. Install fixtures that shine light both up and down.

Use Reflective Surfaces

Mirrors visually double space. Place mirrored cabinets and large mirrors on walls to expand the room. Glossy tiles and metal finishes also amplify light.

Paint It Bright

Bright white or very pale colors make small bathrooms appear larger. Deeper hues can close in the space.

Choose Sheer Window Treatments

Unobstructed windows allow maximum sunshine. Curtains in lightweight, translucent fabrics disperse natural light.

Incorporate Multifunctional Furniture

Make every piece earn its place by selecting furnishings that serve dual purposes. Multifunctionality is a small bath’s best friend!

Use Storage Benches

Benches with lifting seats or drawers store extra toiletries and towels. They provide seating and stash spaces.

Install a Wall-Hung Cabinet

Floating cabinets above the toilet add storage without taking up floor area. Use it to store toilet paper and other essentials.

Choose All-In-One Vanities

Vanities that incorporate the sink and storage drawers maximize efficiency. Determine your must-have features, like pull-out trays for organizing toiletries.

Add a Fold-Down Wall Shelf

Install a shelf that folds flush to the wall when not in use. Pull it down to create an instant surface for toiletries when needed.

Use Ladder Towel Racks

Ladder-style racks mount on the wall, so towels can hang on each rung. This vertical storage approach leaves the floor clear.

Strategically Use Color and Patterns

Color and patterns visually expand or contract space. Use these techniques to make a petite bath feel more expansive.

Paint Ceilings Light Colors

Painting the ceiling white or a very pale shade makes it appear higher. Avoid darker colors that will lower the ceiling visually.

Use Large-Scale Tile

Select fewer large tile pieces rather than many small ones, which emphasizes crampedness. Lay tile on the diagonal to make floors look bigger.

Add Contrast with Paint

Painting one wall a darker accent color makes the other walls appear to recede, expanding the room. Stick with subtle contrasts.

Limit Busy Patterns

Visual clutter shrinks space further. Use solid colored shower curtains and towels instead of busy prints when possible.

Choose One Focal Point

Decorate with one bold pattern, like graphic floor tile or wallpaper. Too many competing prints overwhelm.

Decorate with Multipurpose Accents

When space is tight, decorative items must also serve a function. Seek accents that contribute style and utility.

Use Plants

Plants freshen air while adding color and visual interest. Choose plants well-suited to the bathroom’s lighting and humidity.

Install Corner Shelves

Small floating corner shelves increase space for decorative accents or toiletries. Enhance with subtle lighting.

Hang Artwork

Arm’s length of wall space is all you need to hang art. Choose one impactful piece or do a tight cluster of frames.

Get Creative with Storage

Incorporate character with antique boxes and baskets for storing odds and ends. Or display rolled towels in ceramic vases.

Add Candles

Candles boost ambiance on sinks, tubs, and shelves. Opt for unscented or very subtly scented varieties.

Opt for Multi-Functional Surfaces

With less square footage, surfaces must multitask. Specify materials that handle moisture, are easily cleaned, and coordinate with the decor.

Use Quartz Countertops

Quartz resists stains, stands up to heavy use, and comes in numerous colors and patterns resembling stone and concrete.

Select Porcelain Floor Tile

Porcelain tile is water resistant, durable, and easy to clean. Mosaic styles creatively suit small spaces.

Install Wood-Look Porcelain

Achieve the warmth of wood with the functionality of porcelain. Many realistic wood-look tiles are suitable for bathrooms.

Choose Acrylic Tub Surrounds

Acrylic surrounds are nonporous, so water won’t seep into crevices. Easy-clean finishes resist soap scum and mildew.

Use Waterproof Wallcoverings

From panelling to wallpaper, waterproof wallcoverings handle high humidity. Washable finishes allow quick cleanup.

Maintain Order with Smart Storage

Staying organized is critical in a petite bath. Tailor storage to keep everything in its place, off counters and the floor.

Use Bins and Baskets

Designate baskets or bins for categories of items, like towels or toiletries. Nesting styles conserve space when not all are in use.

Install Shelves in the Shower

Shower niches provide storage for shampoo, razors, and other shower essentials that would otherwise clutter sinks.

Mount Undersink Organizers

Modular organizers stand upright to maximize unused space beneath sinks. Customize compartments to your storage needs.

Choose a Slim tower

Narrow freestanding cabinets between 3-7 inches wide provide vertical storage for toilet paper, tissues, and other essentials.

Use Tension Rods

Install tension rods in corners, behind doors, or between studs for hanging extra towels or robes. These temporary rods maximize every bit of space.

FAQs About Designing Chic Little Bathrooms

How can I make my small bathroom look more spacious?

Use strategies like a light, neutral color palette, large-scale tile and mirrors to reflect light and “expand” the space. Don’t clutter with unnecessary furnishings. Floating vanities and sinks open up floor area.

What colors make a small bathroom look bigger?

Light, neutral shades of white, beige and gray visually recede to make walls appear farther apart. Paint the ceiling a pale shade so it appears higher. Accent with brighter colors in moderation.

What flooring is best for small bathrooms?

Large, durable porcelain tile creates an unbroken visual expanse to make floors look bigger. Mosaic tile and hex patterns can also suit petite bathrooms. Avoid small tile, which emphasizes crampedness.

Should mirrors be floor to ceiling in small bathrooms?

Not necessarily. Well-placed mirrors at key locations like above sinks and on accent walls can reflect light and add visual interest without overwhelming. Avoid covering every wall, which can close in the room.

What is the best layout for a small bathroom?

Focus plumbing fixtures along the perimeter to keep the middle open. Place the toilet and shower/tub at opposite ends. Floating sinks and vanities maximize floor space. Create organized storage for toiletries and supplies.

How do you arrange bathroom furniture?

Allow 36-42 inches for traffic flow between fixtures and furnishings. Put the most used items, like the toilet and sink, in the easiest to access spots. Use corner spaces for narrow tubs. Place towels near showers and sinks for convenience.


While diminutive in size, small bathrooms can still impress with style and function using deliberate designs. Concentrate on opening up floor space, amplifying light, and taking advantage of every inch for storage. With creative layouts and multipurpose furnishings, you can transform even the most modest bathroom into a relaxing oasis. Use these 10 tips to overcome small spaces and achieve a gorgeous, glamorous look and feel.