A small bathroom doesn’t have to feel cramped and cluttered. With some clever design ideas and storage solutions, you can create a beautiful, functional compact bathroom for both him and her. Whether you want separate spaces or a shared oasis, these tips will help you maximize every inch for an efficient and stylish makeover.

Assessing Your Small Bathroom’s Needs and Style

Before remodeling a compact bathroom, take time to evaluate how you and other household members use the space. Consider these questions:

  • How many people regularly use this bathroom? Do you need privacy options or individual storage spaces?
  • What are your priorities – a soothing spa atmosphere or efficient functionality?
  • What activities take place in the bathroom – getting ready, unwinding, laundry, etc.?
  • What style or aesthetic do you want to create? Modern, traditional, coastal, rustic?
  • What is your color palette? Cool tones like blues and grays or warm hues like tans and roses?
  • What is your budget? Focus on one or two elements like tile or vanities.

Thinking through these details will help guide your design plans. Browse magazines, websites and stores for inspiration. Work within your bathroom’s existing footprint and plumbing to keep costs down. Having a vision ahead of time allows you to create a cohesive, intentional look.

Brightening Up a Dark Small Bathroom

Lack of natural light is a common issue in compact bathrooms. Here are great tips to make a dark small bathroom brighter and feel more open:

  • Paint the walls and ceiling crisp white or very light colors to maximize reflections. Avoid dark tones.
  • Choose glass or acrylic over solid surfaces for shower walls and bathroom windows. This keeps things transparent and airy.
  • Install lighting in multiple areas – pot lights in the ceiling, sconces by the mirror, under cabinet fixtures.
  • Use reflective materials like marble tile, nickel fixtures and glossy counters. Metallics add shimmer.
  • Add mirrors! Hang one above the vanity and use mirrored cabinets for storage that doubles reflections.
  • Keep things sparse and decluttered. Less visual busyness makes the room feel cleaner and bigger.

With strategic colors, surfaces and mirrors, you can give a windowless or dim bathroom a bright, fresh ambiance. Maximize every bit of existing light.

Creating Separate Spaces and Storage in a Shared Bathroom

Sharing a compact bathroom with your partner can work with thoughtful planning. Here are tips for carving out individual spaces:

  • If possible, have two separate vanity/sink areas. Floating wall cabinets keep the floor clear.
  • Use divider walls or drapes to section off the toilet and tub/shower zone.
  • Incorporate two medicine cabinets, hanging racks or shelving units for private storage.
  • Display each person’s decorative items on their own wall or corner. Art, mirrors, etc.
  • Use his/hers towels in different colors; assign each person a vanity drawer.
  • Install privacy locks on the main door if needed.
  • Have adequate lighting at each vanity/mirror space.
  • Incorporate two waste bins and outlets for hair tools by each prep zone.

Get creative with organizational hacks like over-the-toilet shelves and multi-tiered carts. Taking the time to personalize and customize your shared bathroom makes it feel special for both of you.

Picking Paint Colors for a Small Bathroom

Strategic use of color is key when designing a small bath. Cool tones like blues, greens and grays can make compact rooms feel more spacious. Here are handy guidelines for picking paint colors:

  • Light, neutral shades make walls visually recede. Try soft gray, beige, taupe or greige.
  • Add drama with a deeper tone on an accent wall behind the vanity or tub. Try navy or slate blue.
  • Coordinate with tile colors for a cohesive palette. A cream vanity works with both white and beige tiles.
  • Incorporate pops of color with hand towels, art and accessories that are inexpensive to swap out.
  • Stick to a cool color scheme or warm color scheme rather than mixing both. Match fixtures accordingly.
  • Paint the ceiling bright white or the lightest shade on walls to add height. Dark ceilings drop visually.

With strategically painted walls and accent tones, even the most compact bathroom can feel tranquil and put-together.

Cool and Contemporary Styles for Small Bathrooms

If you want a sleek, contemporary aesthetic, here are some great ideas:

  • Go for wall-mounted or floating vanities and toilets to save visual space. Add subtle LED lighting strips.
  • Use subway tile or rectangular polished tiles on walls and floors. Graphic black and white is timeless.
  • Choose vessel, bowl or square undermount sinks for modern appeal. Stainless steel, glass and porcelain are sleek options.
  • Frameless glass for the mirror and shower enclosure keeps things streamlined.
  • Metallic finishes in silver, nickel and chrome have an ultra-modern vibe.
  • Seamless shower niches provide invisible storage.

Minimalism is key for contemporary style in a small bathroom. Focus on clean lines, geometric shapes, neutral colors and eliminating clutter.

Creating a Spa Look for Her

Women often appreciate a soothing, spa-like ambiance in the bathroom. Here are tips for a relaxing feminine space:

  • Incorporate soft, organic shapes with curved shower rods, oval sinks and vanities with rounded edges.
  • Use tranquil colors like pale blue-green, lavender, dove gray and creamy ivory.
  • Natural textures like stone, wood, wicker and linen add cozy warmth. Display fresh flowers and plants.
  • Include candles, essential oils, soft lighting and relaxing music to appeal to the senses.
  • Use fabric shower curtains, textured rugs and padded seats for comfort.
  • Floating shelves, corner caddies and cabinets keep necessities organized but out of sight.

Focus on textures, colors and accessories that evoke the pampering atmosphere of a spa without taking up valuable space.

Clever Storage Solutions for Small Bathrooms

Lack of storage is a common small bathroom headache. Here are excellent space-saving solutions:

  • Install extra-deep drawers that hold more under the vanity. Use dividers and compartments.
  • Hang a floor-to-ceiling narrow shelving unit for folded towels and toiletries.
  • Maximize cabinet space with organizers like lazy susans, pull-out baskets and multi-tier racks.
  • Add a sink skirt or vanity front to conceal pipes while stashing items.
  • Use the back of the door to mount racks, hooks and over-the-door storage units.
  • Tuck shelves into wasted alcoves like above the toilet or in a corner by the tub.
  • Opt for dual purpose furniture like a cabinet bench with storage inside.

Take advantage of every nook and cranny. Built-ins keep necessities organized while maintaining a streamlined look.

Luxurious Touches for His Small Bathroom

For guys who want to feel pampered in a small shared bathroom, incorporate luxe masculine details:

  • Hang a wall mirror with integrated storage behind for bath essentials and discretely tucking away clutter.
  • Install a smart hi-tech shower system with customized settings and entertainment features.
  • Choose sleek modern sconces, fog-free heated mirrors, and USB outlets for shaving and gadgets.
  • Opt for an open or corner shower with a built-in bench, niche shelves, and a large rainfall showerhead.
  • Include a sitting area with a leather bench or chair so he can relax comfortably.
  • Use dark wood accents and cabinets for masculinity along with leather bins and trays.
  • Display unique decanters and containers for grooming products.

Focus on quality over quantity – pick one or two luxury personal touches to make his time in the bathroom a pleasant ritual.

Stylish Compact Toilets and Sinks

Petite toilets and vessels sinks are space-saving options for small bathrooms. Here are attractive choices:


  • Back-to-wall toilets save space and are easy to clean. However, the tank is built into the wall.
  • Wall-faced toilets have a concealed tank for a streamlined look. Requires tank installation behind the wall.
  • Corner toilets wedge into a tight area. Round bowls save space.
  • Compact elongated bowls are slightly shorter but allow comfortable sitting.

Vessel Sinks:

  • Glass, metal, and porcelain vessels sit on the vanity surface, not inset. Many shapes fit corners.
  • Small squared-off vanity sinks keep things compact. Undermount for easy cleaning.
  • Pedestal sinks are narrow and sleek. Allow for floor cleaning underneath.
  • Wall-mounted faucets and floating vanities visually open up floor space.

Smart sink and toilet selection ensures that even the tiniest bathroom feels open, not squished.

Using Color Schemes and Patterns to Expand Small Bathrooms

Strategically using color and pattern visually expands compact bathrooms:

  • Monochromatic palettes (different tones of one color) subtly widen space. Try soft blues or grays.
  • Avoid strong color contrasts and busy prints that emphasize limits. Stick to neutral solids or soft stripes.
  • Direct eye upward with vertical tile patterns, wallpaper or painted stripes beside taller elements.
  • Add horizontal bands at eye level on walls and edges of the ceiling to elongate dimensions.
  • Painting or tiling the ceiling a lighter color expands height. Dark ceilings drop visually.
  • Place floor tile on the diagonal to create the illusion of more depth. Extending into the shower area expands the look seamlessly.
  • Keep things light and bright. Dark colors absorb light and make small spaces feel more confined.

Enhance the proportions of your compact bathroom with simple, thoughtful color blocking and patterns.

Taking Advantage of Natural Light

Any natural light a small bathroom gets should be maximized. Here’s how:

  • Use sheer white or light curtains in windows to allow daylight to stream through.
  • Paint walls white or very light colors that will brightly reflect and diffuse natural light.
  • Use glass blocks or textured glass in shower walls to let light pass through while obscuring completely.
  • Install skylights if possible. Position them strategically to brighten darker corners.
  • Place mirrors across from or near windows so they can amplify light reflections throughout the room.
  • Avoid closing in the room by the window with a bulky vanity or storage unit. Keep it open.
  • Supplement ample daylight with strategically placed electric lighting. Dimming lets you control mood.

Spreading natural light makes a bathroom feel larger and more vibrant. Take full advantage of any windows or opportunities for skylights.

Breathing Life Into a Windowless Small Bathroom

It’s possible to make a windowless small bathroom feel vibrant and fresh. Here are great ideas:

  • Paint it in cheerful, light colors like sunny yellow or robin’s egg blue for personality. Add whimsical art.
  • Open up space by removing any unnecessary built-ins or bulky cabinets. Floating shelves are space-savers.
  • Add plenty of correctly placed lighting, like recessed ceiling lights and sconces flanking the mirror.
  • Incorporate mirrors strategically to add depth and the illusion of windows. Hang one horizontally above the sink.
  • Use glossy tile and fixtures to reflect light around. Polished nickel or stainless steel adds shine.
  • Bring in life with lush potted plants, fresh flowers and garden-themed accessories.
  • Crack the door when possible to allow natural light and air circulation from other rooms
  • Install a slim vertical window to borrow light from an adjoining room if feasible.

Getting creative with colors, mirrors and biophilic elements keeps a small windowless bath feeling fresh.

Rethinking Doors in a Small Bathroom

Standard hinged doors can cramp a small bathroom’s style. Consider alternatives:

  • A pocket door slides directly into the wall, saving up to 7 inches of floor space when opened.
  • Barn style sliding doors stack without needing clearance space. Try frosted glass for privacy.
  • Saloon-style doors have a fun vintage vibe with the ability to open half at a time.
  • Use a lightweight curtain or beads over the doorway in lieu of a rigid door.
  • Open sight lines by removing the door completely if the bathroom has adequate privacy.
  • If sticking with a regular door, choose a narrow 15″-24” one and install a space-saving pocket knob.

With some adjustments to doorway options, even a few stolen inches make a noticeable difference in tight bathrooms.

Choosing Flooring for Small Bath Spaces

Flooring can make or break a compact bath design. Use these tips in selecting surfaces:

  • Smaller tiles like mosaics, subway and hexagons create a spacious look compared to oversized tiles.
  • Stick with lighter grout colors. Dark grout makes tile patterns look tighter.
  • Use larger tiles or planks vertically to add the illusion of height on walls.
  • Glass, metal and stone tiles have high reflectivity to bounce light around.
  • One consistent flooring material throughout expands the space visually.
  • If mixing materials, use the same sizes and orientation for a streamlined effect.
  • Porcelain, ceramic, and natural stone stand up well to moisture. Avoid real wood.

Strategic flooring enhances small bathroom spaces instead of chopping them up visually. Light, continuous, reflective materials work best.

FAQs About Remodeling a Small Bathroom:

What are the most important things to keep in mind when remodeling a small bathroom?

Maximize every inch of space, create hidden storage, use space-saving fixtures, make lighting a priority, and stick to a coherent style and color palette. Focus on functionality mixed with personal touches that enhance enjoyment of the space.

What storage solutions work best in tight bathrooms?

Built-in shelves in alcoves, medicine cabinets, under sink storage, recessed panels behind mirrors, corner shelves, waterproof cabinets with bins, and freestanding shelving units maximize storage discreetly.

How much should I budget for a small bathroom remodel?

The national average for a minor remodel is $19,134 and for a complete overhaul is $63,000 according to HomeAdvisor. Focus on one or two elements like shower replacement or vanity upgrade to control costs.

Should I remodel my small bathroom myself or hire a contractor?

For significant changes, a qualified professional ensures proper permits, inspections, load-bearing adjustments, and installs for optimal function and longevity. But smaller DIY projects like paint, art, organizers are manageable.

What permits do I need to remodel my bathroom?

Permits are required for plumbing, electrical, ventilation and structural work. The contractor usually files these, but homeowners should verify all needed permits are in place before starting a remodel.

Transforming a Small Bathroom – Final Takeaways

With clever design tricks and custom storage, even the tiniest bathroom can be both functional and beautiful. Focus on making the most of existing space, not expanding overall footprint. Choosing space-conscious fixtures and multifunctional furnishings also helps maximize every inch. Don’t be afraid to mix masculine and feminine elements in shared small bathrooms for a personalized oasis. Keeping things fresh and decluttered prevents a cramped feeling. Use light, pattern and color strategically to create the illusion of spaciousness. The strategies shared above allow you to craft your dream bath sanctuary no matter the size. Get inspired by magazines, websites and stores then make savvy choices within your budget to create a bathroom that both she and he adore.

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