Designing a small bathroom that feels luxurious and designer can be a challenge. With limited square footage, every inch must be utilized efficiently while still allowing for beauty and function. However, with clever layouts, spatial illusions, and smart choices, small bathrooms can stretch beyond their physical dimensions to feel open, airy, and even palatial. Here are 5 stunning small bathroom designs that maximize space and stretch design imagination.
Utilizing Natural Light and Reflective Surfaces
Incorporating natural light and reflective surfaces are two of the best tricks for making a small bathroom feel more expansive. Floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights, and even just large mirrors can give the illusion of more space by reflecting and amplifying light. Consider the following tips:
- Install the largest possible window and opt for low-iron glass to maximize clarity. East or north facing windows get the best natural light.
- Add a skylight or solar tube to shower areas lacking windows.
- Use lightly colored tiles or paint on walls to bounce and diffuse light. Soft blue, green, and gray are soothing hues.
- Incorporate large mirrors, like a full wall mirror or mirrored medicine cabinet.
- Use reflective tile, glass, or metal finishes on surfaces like the tub, vanity, or backsplash.
- Avoid dark colors, busy patterns, and materials that absorb light.
Proper lighting transforms even a windowless or awkwardly laid out bathroom into a bright, airy oasis, crucial for small spaces.
Clever Storage Solutions
In compact bathrooms every inch of storage is precious real estate. Carefully planned built-ins, cabinets, shelves, and organizational tools can streamline clutter and free up visual space. Consider these storage expanding ideas:
- Install floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and shelving on empty walls. Opt for open shelves near the vanity and closed cabinets elsewhere.
- Use drawer organizers, lazy susans, and pull-out trays in cabinets to maximize vertical space.
- Have a niche cut in the shower wall for shampoo, soap, and razors.
- Add a recessed medicine cabinet above the toilet.
- Use space under sinks for rolled towels or baskets.
- Consider vessel sinks to free up counter space.
- Use an over-the-toilet storage unit or hanging wall cabinets.
- Install rain shower heads to allow more room for shelving in the shower.
- Use a sliding barn door rather than a swinging door to save space.
Strategic storage solutions hide everyday bathroom clutter while keeping necessities easily accessible yet out of sight.
Illusion of Larger Size Through Layout
Careful layout and positioning of fixtures and features can trick the eye into perceiving a small bathroom as larger than its actual footprint. Use these spatial illusion tips:
- Place fixtures on adjacent walls rather than opposite each other to elongate sightlines.
- Use floating vanities and toilets to open up floor space.
- Extend the shower or tub into the room rather than recessing it into an alcove.
- Use a large format tile like 12×24 planks to make walls appear farther apart.
- Install the toilet diagonally in a corner.
- Use a pedestal sink rather than a vanity sink.
- Opt for open under-sink space rather than solid cabinet doors.
- Include a large mirror that expands as much wall space as possible.
By carefully mapping fixtures and features, even the tiniest bathroom can feel vast rather than boxy.
Since every piece of a small bath must carry its weight, look for fixtures and finishes that multitask. For example:
- Choose a tub with integrated steps, storage, or benches.
- Select a vanity with drawers and open shelving below.
- Findmedicine cabinets with mirrored surfaces and internal shelving.
- Use a clear glass shower enclosure to open sightlines.
- Consider a wall-hung toilet with storage niche above.
- Install porcelain tile on walls and floors for an easy-clean, seamless effect.
- Opt for a showerhead with a built-in hand shower.
- Use a combo washer-dryer unit or install laundry hampers in cabinetry.
- Choose LED lighting that provides both ambiance and task lighting.
Multi-purpose fixtures satisfy style and function in one sleek form.
Concealing the Toilet Creatively
Since toilets can dominate a compact bathroom, designers get creative with concealment tactics. Some approaches include:
- Using frosted glass, translucent shades, or bead curtains to hide the toilet.
- Installing walls, screens, or pocket doors around the toilet area.
- Building a closet around the toilet.
- Adding shelving or cabinetry directly above the toilet to draw the eye up.
- Raising the tank top and using decorative vessels, candles, or greenery for display.
- Recessing the toilet into an alcove or small separate room.
- Placing the sink, vanity, or tub directly across from the toilet as a visual block.
A strategic layout or well-placed furnishings make the toilet feel discreetly tucked away.
What are some good paint colors for a small bathroom?
Soft blues, greens, and grays work well to enhance light. Avoid darker colors like brown or red. Whites can feel sterile. Light, warm neutrals add an airy feel.
How can lighting help a small bathroom?
Proper lighting can make a bathroom feel bright and expansive. Use layers of light like recessed ceiling fixtures plus task lighting at the vanity and soft accent lighting.
What flooring materials are best for small bathrooms?
Tile and vinyl plank flooring are great water-resistant choices. Use large tiles and limit patterns. Smaller mosaic tiles can overwhelm. Glass, pebble, or metal tiles inject shine to add depth.
Should small bathrooms have bathtubs or just showers?
If space is extremely tight, a shower may be the only option. But clever layouts can often accommodate a tub. Alcoves work well. Soaking tubs double as shower basins.
How can you add extra storage to a small bathroom?
Floating shelves, over-toilet units, built-in wall cabinets, under-sink roll out trays, and medicine cabinets all expand storage. Use baskets and drawer organizers.
What are some space-saving sinks for small baths?
Vessel, pedestal, and wall-hung sinks take up less space than vanities. Corner sinks maximize unusable space. Top-mount rectangular sinks can even fit in a closet.
While small in square footage, petite bathrooms can still feel luxurious, uncrowded, and even spa-like with careful layouts and design choices. Use these tips like natural light, reflective surfaces, storage solutions, spatial illusions, multi-tasking fixtures, and strategic toilet placement to stretch and amplify small bathrooms beyond their physical footprint. Get creative, and don’t be afraid to take risks. A tiny bathroom has huge design potential. With the right approaches, you can create a bathroom that feels palatial, not poky.