Designing a small bathroom that feels open and airy can be a challenge, but with careful planning and some clever tricks, it is possible to create a stylish and functional space even in just 55 square feet. This week, we explore a compact bathroom renovation that makes the most of limited space through the strategic use of design elements that visually expand the room.

From space-saving fixtures to glass partitions and reflective surfaces, every detail was carefully considered in this petite powder room makeover. The result is a bathroom that belies its modest square footage with an airier aesthetic and thoughtful amenities. Read on as we break down the secrets behind this fluid 55-square-foot bath.

Choosing Space-Saving Fixtures

One of the keys to opening up small bathrooms is selecting compact plumbing fixtures and furnishings that minimize their footprint. Here, a slender pedestal sink takes up less surface area than a vanity cabinet would. The elongated toilet is centered on the plumbing wall rather than squeezed beside the sink for a tidier layout.

For additional visual space, a corner-mount faucet leaves more of the countertop free, while the slender mirror mounted above forgoes a heavier frame. In the shower, a space-saving bench provides a place to sit while still conserving room.

Every inch counts in a petite bath, so be sure to evaluate each item to ensure it is compact in scale. Pass on bulky cabinets and vanities in favor of narrow open shelving, which keeps the space feeling light.

Incorporating Glass Partitions

Separating the shower and toilet areas from each other with a glass partition helps delineate different zones while maintaining an open atmosphere. The clear panes allow light to permeate throughout, making the entire bathroom feel brighter and less confined.

Using tempered glass rather than shower curtains not only looks more upscale but also enhances the feeling of expanded space. Consider installing partitions in lieu of solid walls whenever feasible. Pocket doors can also help seal off areas without restricting visual space.

Illuminating With Reflective Surfaces

Bouncing light around a small bathroom is another great trick for making it feel more expansive. Mirrored walls reflect and amplify natural light coming through windows and skylights. Even in rooms without access to outdoor light, hanging mirrors opposite windows or other mirrors creates the illusion of depth.

Glossy tiles, polished stone surfaces, and metal finishes all lend bathroom walls eye-catching reflectivity. Just take care that the overall effect does not feel chaotic. Anchor reflective accents with some matte textures as well.

Keeping the Color Scheme Light

Dark paint colors and moody palettes tend to make small rooms feel more enclosed. To keep your petite bath looking bright and open, stick to light hues like whites and pastels on major surfaces like walls, ceilings and cabinetry.

You can still inject color with tiles, textiles and accessories. Just aim for lighter shades to prevent the space from feeling too heavy. Soft blues, airy greens and muted grays all read as light and airy. If opting for darker colors, use them only as accents.

Creating Storage Solutions

While a spare aesthetic aids visual space, functional storage is still a must even in petite powder rooms. Assess your needs and find creative ways to stow necessities without cluttering up the room.

Floating shelves provide open storage for neatly folded towels. Recessed niches camouflage toiletries behind sleek mirrored doors. If a vanity won’t fit, consider a compact console table with a basket or two underneath. The key is keeping organization simple and streamlined.

Highlighting Vertical Elements

Drawing the eye upward with vertical details makes a low-ceilinged bathroom appear taller. Floor-to-ceiling drapes, slender rods for towels or blinds all have this elongating effect. Wherever possible, opt for narrow, height-enhancing fixtures over short and bulky ones.

A vertical striped wallcovering pattern can also make the room feel more upright, especially when used on a focal end wall. Just take care to avoid busy prints that could overwhelm the compact space. Lean toward simple stripes in light hues.

Accenting With Scaled-Down Patterns

While bold patterns should be used sparingly so as not to overwhelm, small-scale prints and textures add interest without encroaching on the feeling of openness. Try mini mosaic tiles, delicate florals or narrow stripes rather than wide geometric patterns or large-format prints.

In materials, slight textures like ribbed glass, woven woods and subtle wallpaper prints engage the eye while keeping the palette serene. Mini patterns have dimension with less risk of making a petite bath feel crowded. Alternate with some sleek surfaces for contrast.

Bathroom of the Week: An Open Feeling in 55 Square Feet

This compact bathroom proves that even the tiniest of spaces can feel open and inviting with careful design choices. By mixing glass partitions, reflective surfaces and space-saving fixtures with a neutral color palette and attention to lighting, storage and vertical accents, the designers created a powder room that belies its modest square footage.

While implementing every technique detailed here may not be feasible, incorporating just a few into your own small bathroom can go a long way toward helping it feel airier. Evaluate what improvements would have the biggest visual impact, and focus your efforts strategically to maximize a sense of openness. With the right renovations, even the most modestly sized bath can look and feel larger than it is.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I make a small bathroom feel bigger?

  • Use glass partitions to separate areas while allowing light to permeate.
  • Incorporate reflective surfaces like mirrored walls or glossy tiles.
  • Stick to light paint colors and avoid dark hues.
  • Highlight vertical elements like floor-to-ceiling drapes.
  • Choose compact plumbing fixtures and furniture.
  • Accent with small-scale textures and patterns.

What color scheme works best in small bathrooms?

Sticking to a light, neutral color palette helps small bathrooms feel bright and airy. Whites, off-whites, beiges and pale hues of blue, green and gray are ideal base colors. Use darker shades only as accents.

What kind of storage works in compact bathrooms?

Open shelving, wall-mounted cabinets, recessed niches and freestanding furniture with concealed storage like consoles offer streamlined options for tucking away necessities. Avoid bulky cabinets that clutter the space.

Should I use patterns in a small bathroom?

You can use patterns to add visual interest, just choose relatively small prints and textures like mini mosaics, delicate florals and narrow stripes. Avoid wide geometrics or large graphic prints that could overwhelm.

What shape and size mirrors work best in petite bathrooms?

Tall, narrow mirrors create the illusion of height in low-ceilinged rooms. Avoid wide mirrors that clutter walls and make spaces feel more confined. Frameless mirrors also keep things visually lightweight.

How can I make my small bathroom feel less cramped?

Strategically using space-saving plumbing fixtures, glass partitions between areas, plenty of lighting and a balanced color scheme prevents a poky powder room. Maintaining simplicity in storage and decor is key too.


It may take some creative problem solving to craft a small bathroom that lives larger than its square footage, but this brilliant 55-square-foot bath proves it can be done. The mindful use of partition walls, reflective surfaces, vertically-oriented accents, light colors, streamlined storage and scaled-down patterns gives this petite powder room an airier, more spacious aesthetic.

With careful planning and strategic design choices, even the most modestly proportioned bathroom can take on an open, inviting vibe. Evaluate the room’s existing assets, target trouble spots, and implement solutions that amplify light, reflection and verticality while maintaining a clutter-free simplicity. The end result will feel beautifully bigger than the bathroom’s actual dimensions.