Having a small bathroom can present some challenges when it comes to storage, layout, and overall functionality. However, there are many clever solutions that can help maximize your small bathroom’s potential. With some creative thinking and strategic design, even the tiniest of bathrooms can be both beautiful and highly functional. Here are 5 key solutions to help solve the most common small bathroom problems.

Utilize Wall-Mounted Fixtures

Pedestal sinks and wall-mounted toilets are space-saving essentials in a small bathroom. Opting for wall-mounted fixtures instead of bulky vanities and tank toilets can really open up precious floor space. For maximum roominess, have the toilet tank concealed neatly inside the wall. Floating shelves and vertical storage units also keep the space neat and clutter-free.

Mounting the sink on the wall allows more flexibility with positioning and creates the illusion of more space below. Look for a wall-hung sink with a sleek, minimalist design to enhance the modern, airy aesthetic. Include storage underneath for rolled towels, toiletries, and cleaning essentials to keep them conveniently at hand but out of sight.

Advantages of Wall-Mounted Fixtures:

  • Frees up floor space
  • Creates a lighter, more open look
  • Allows for flexible positioning
  • Keeps necessities neatly stored but accessible
  • Easier to clean underneath

Install Shelves in Unexpected Places

In small bathrooms, it’s essential to utilize every inch of available space when it comes to storage. Get creative with shelving in often overlooked or forgotten areas, such as above the toilet, beside or inside the vanity cabinet, or even above the door.

Floating shelves are ideal for tucking spare towels or displaying decorative items in an artistic fashion. Narrow, vertical shelves next to the vanity provide a handy home for toiletries, vanity accessories, and cleaning supplies. And shelf units inside the vanity keep all your essentials organized and out of sight.

Surprisingly handy places to add shelves in a small bathroom include:

  • Above the toilet
  • Inside the vanity cabinet
  • Next to the vanity
  • Above the door
  • Between wall studs
  • Over the tub or shower

Taking advantage of every potential storage nook will maximize your space for keeping the bathroom tidy.

Choose Multi-Functional Furniture

From vanities to stools to storage units, opt for furniture and fixtures that serve more than one purpose in a small bathroom. The key is selecting versatile, well-designed pieces that integrate storage along with their main function.

An over-the-toilet cabinet or set of floating shelves adds storage without claiming any floor space. Vanity stools that also provide hidden storage under the seat are extremely useful. And a bath bench that incorporates shampoo caddies or shelving transforms a purely practical item into a space-saving storage solution.

Other smart multifunctional furniture choices include:

  • Cabinets above the toilet for storage
  • Bath caddies that attach right to the showerhead
  • Corner shelving units
  • Towel ladders that double as décor
  • Mirrored cabinets for ample storage

Choosing furniture that multitasks allows you to streamline storage and maximize every inch.

Create Hidden Storage

Discover creative ways to tuck away bathroom necessities behind concealed storage solutions. Look for vanities or medicine cabinets with built-in organization systems featuring pull-out drawers, adjustable shelves, and discreet hidden compartments.

If wall space is limited, consider a floor-standing cabinet or neat storage ottoman that can discreetly house extra toilet paper, cleaning supplies, beauty products, or other essentials. Customize them with shelves and trays so everything has a designated spot.

Some clever hidden storage ideas for small bathrooms include:

  • Mirror cabinets with concealed storage behind
  • Base cabinets under wall-hung sinks
  • Vanities with pull-out organizers
  • Towel cabinets disguised as furniture
  • Attractive ottomans or floor cabinets
  • Custom built-in drawers under sinks

Strategic use of concealed storage solutions helps declutter your space while keeping necessities easily accessible.

Choose Space-Saving Materials

The materials and finishes used in your small bathroom can also make a surprising difference in opening up the space both visually and physically.

  • Reflective surfaces like subway tile, mirrored walls, glossy cabinetry, or glass shower doors all bounce light around, making the room feel more expansive.
  • Neutral, light colors also have a similar effect while darker shades tend to make walls feel like they are closing in.
  • Glossy finishes have fewer grout lines and create a sleeker, more streamlined aesthetic than heavily patterned tile.
  • Clear glass or acrylic organizing products blend right in while containing clutter.
  • Glass shower doors that fold in or slide neatly out of the way maximize every inch.
  • Wood or glass vessel sinks take up less space than traditional vanities.

Consider both the visual and physical impact of every material and finish to enhance the feeling of openness. The smaller the bathroom, the more important those choices become.

Small Bathroom Storage Solutions

Lack of storage space is one of the biggest challenges in a small bathroom. However, with some clever solutions, you can maximize every nook and cranny to keep toiletries, towels, and other necessities organized. Here are some of the best storage options to consider for a small bathroom.

1. Wall-Mounted Shelving

Installing floating shelves on walls and vertical strips of shelving provides plenty of display space for decorative items and handy storage for folded towels and toiletries. You can stagger standard box shelves or get creative with angled wooden planks, wall-mounted ladder racks, or glass ledges. Position them above the toilet, next to the vanity, over the door, or wherever you have available wall space.

2. Over-the-Toilet Storage

An over-the-toilet cabinet or set of shallow shelves adds storage space without taking up any floor room. You can find ready-made units or custom build one to fit perfectly. Use it to store extra toilet paper, rolled towels, beauty supplies, cleaning products, and anything else that you access frequently in the bathroom.

3. Vanity Drawer Organizers

Maximize the storage potential inside vanity drawers by adding customizable dividers, trays, and compartments. Options like bamboo drawer organizers have adjustable sections to fit anything from makeup to first aid supplies to hygiene products. Pull-out tower units also provide easy access to items at the back of deep drawers.

4. Under-Sink Storage

Fit a floor cabinet or custom open shelving unit in the space below a wall-mounted sink to take advantage of what is normally dead space. Use it to neatly store cleaning supplies, backup toiletries, or bath linens. Adding a door or curtain keeps the contents hidden.

5. Medicine Cabinets

Look for a recessed or surface-mount medicine cabinet with adjustable or removable shelves to accommodate various heights of bottles and items. Many modern versions have magnifying mirrors and built in lighting as well. Just be sure to position it at an easily reachable height for the main users.

6. Alternative Storage Furniture

If your bathroom lacks traditional storage options, get creative with multi-functional furniture pieces. Possibilities include a floor cabinet fitted with shelves, a narrow shelving unit beside the vanity, a bath caddy, or even a stylish ottoman or bench with hidden storage inside.

With some clever solutions, it’s amazing how many storage spots you can find even in the smallest bathroom. The key is fully utilizing every bit of available space.

Layout and Design Ideas for Small Bathrooms

The layout and overall design of your bathroom can make a huge visual impact on the sense of space. With some strategic planning and smart décor choices, even the tiniest bathroom can feel open and inviting. Here are some top tips for layout and design in a small bathroom.

Create an Open, Airy Layout

  • Use a pedestal sink instead of a vanity to open up floor space.
  • Opt for a wall-mounted toilet or one with a concealed tank.
  • Install corner shelves instead of traditional cabinets.
  • Use a transparent glass shower door or curtain.
  • Add a large mirror to create the illusion of more space.

Use Light Colors

  • Stick with light, neutral colors on walls, floors, and ceilings to prevent a closed-in feeling.
  • White, soft grey, and tan work well for achieving a spacious look.
  • If you want color, use it sparingly in towels, décor, or an accent wall.

Include Reflective Surfaces

  • Use subway tile or mirrored walls to reflect light and create an airy vibe.
  • Glossy shower doors, chrome fixtures, and glass organizing items all add reflective shine.
  • The more light is bounced around, the larger the bathroom will look.

Limit Visual Clutter

  • Declutter surfaces and use storage solutions to hide necessities.
  • Stow everything possible behind closed doors or in baskets.
  • A clean, minimalist look will enhance the feeling of open space.

Add Strategic Lighting

  • Make sure the bathroom has adequate overhead lighting.
  • Use sconces or vanity lighting to illuminate dark corners.
  • Accent the mirror area with lighting for tasks like shaving or makeup.

With careful layout and design choices, even a tiny bathroom can feel serene and spa-like. The strategic use of fixtures, décor, lighting, and color can work visual magic.

Common Small Bathroom Problems and Solutions

Small bathrooms can present a variety of frustrating problems, from lack of storage to crowded fixtures to poor lighting. However, almost any small bathroom challenge can be solved with some clever design tricks and strategic planning. Here are some of the most common small bathroom problems along with solutions to transform the space.

Problem: Cluttered Appearance and Feeling Closed In


  • Install space-saving wall cabinets instead of bulky vanities.
  • Use lighter colors on walls, floors, and décor.
  • Add mirrors or reflective tile to bounce light around.
  • Ensure adequate lighting, especially around the vanity.

Problem: Insufficient Storage Space


  • Add shelving in unconventional areas like over the door or toilet.
  • Use a bath caddy that attaches to the showerhead.
  • Install vanities and medicine cabinets with built-in organizers.
  • Opt for stackable, clear bins and canisters.

Problem: Lack of Counter Space


  • Install a wall-mounted sink to free up room around it.
  • Opt for a pedestal sink instead of a vanity.
  • Add a narrow shelving unit next to the sink.
  • Look for sink and vanity designs with very thin edges.

Problem: Poor Lighting


  • Add lighting around the vanity mirror.
  • Install an overhead fixture that provides ample illumination.
  • Use stylish sconces in dark corners.
  • Incorporate reflective surfaces to bounce light around.

Problem: Tight Quarters Around Toilet or Shower


  • Use a wall-hung toilet or smaller corner model.
  • Opt for a curved shower rod or doors that fold in or slide.
  • Install corner shelves instead of freestanding units.
  • Include only necessary fixtures and furnishings.

With some well-chosen design solutions, even the tiniest bathroom’s problem spots can become showpieces. The key is fully optimizing the available space.

Frequently Asked Questions About Small Bathrooms

What colors make a small bathroom look bigger?

Light, neutral colors like white, tan, light grey, and soft blue or green can make walls appear farther away in a small bathroom. Darker shades tend to make walls look like they are closing in.

How can I make my bathroom feel more spacious?

Using wall-mounted fixtures, hidden storage solutions, mirrors, and glass shower doors will help reflect light and create an airy look. Removing clutter and unnecessary items also contributes to a more open, spacious feel.

What kind of flooring works best in small bathrooms?

Small bathrooms benefit from light-colored floors with a sleek, simple design and minimal grout lines. Options like vinyl plank, large-format tile, or light natural stone are ideal. Avoid small tile patterns or floors with a glossy shine, which can make the room feel closed in.

How do I add storage to my small bathroom?

Creative storage solutions like wall-mounted shelves, under-sink cabinets, over-the-toilet units, medicine cabinets with organizers, and multifunctional furniture will maximize space. Also look for ways to conceal items behind closed doors and baskets.

Should I get a shower curtain or door for a small bathroom?

A glass shower door can enhance light and space, especially if it folds in or slides neatly out of the way. Curved shower rods add a few more inches compared to standard straight rods. Choose light curtains over heavy draperies.

With some strategic design choices and creative solutions, any small bathroom can be stylish, functional, and open. The key is taking full advantage of the existing footprint through smart layout, multi-functional fixtures and furniture, concealed storage, and visual tricks that make the room appear larger. With the right approach, small bathrooms can feel just as luxurious and inviting as more generously sized rooms.


Despite their compact size, small bathrooms can be just as beautiful and functional as larger ones. Making the most of the available space simply takes some clever design solutions and strategic planning. Following the key tips outlined here will help you conquer common small bathroom problems like insufficient storage, clutter, tight quarters, and lack of natural light.

The essentials include utilizing wall mounted fixtures, hidden and unexpected storage spots, multi-functional furniture, space-saving materials and colors, and optimal lighting. With creative customization and a few smart workarounds, even the smallest bathrooms can be well-organized, soothingly styled, and highly livable. Approaching the project with an imaginative problem-solving perspective allows you to transform those frustrations into an efficient and esthetically pleasing room you can enjoy every day.