Creating a beautiful, functional bathroom in a small space may seem daunting, but with clever design and strategic choices, big style can come in a small package. There are many tips and tricks to make a petite powder room feel open, airy, and elegant. With the right layout, storage solutions, finishes, and accessories, small bathrooms can be both stunning and highly functional.

Clever Layouts and Storage Solutions For Small Bathrooms

Careful planning of the layout and storage in a small bathroom is key to maximizing both aesthetics and utility. Here are some of our top tips:

Optimize Traffic Flow

  • Place fixtures judiciously to allow doors to open fully and multiple people to move around easily. Avoid cramping the toilet and sink spaces.
  • Use pocket doors or curtains instead of swing doors to save space.
  • Install a sliding barn door for the shower rather than a swing door if possible.
  • Float the vanity away from the walls for easier access.

Use Wall Space Creatively

  • Install floor-to-ceiling shelving or cabinetry to store towels and toiletries.
  • Hang a tall, narrow shelving unit or ladder shelf for displaying decorative items.
  • Use wall-mounted faucets and toilets to save space.
  • Install a wall-hung vanity or pedestal sink.

Add Hidden Storage

  • Tuck narrow pull-out drawers into vanity bases.
  • Use a sink skirt to conceal pipes and add storage.
  • Build drawers into the bottom of a wall-hung vanity.
  • Hide shelves behind cabinet doors or mirrors.

Choose Multi-functional Fixtures

  • Select a vanity with drawers and open shelving for extra storage.
  • Find a mirror cabinet to conceal medicine essentials.
  • Choose a sink that doubles as a countertop surface.
  • Use a shelf over the toilet for both display and storage.

Use Mirrors to Visually Expand Small Bathrooms

Strategically placed mirrors can make a small bathroom feel instantly larger and brighter. Here’s how to use them to their best effect:

  • Hang a large mirror near the vanity to expand the reflection.
  • Use mirrored medicine cabinets for a functional accent.
  • Add tall, lean mirrors on walls to draw the eye up and create height.
  • Place mirrors across from windows to reflect light.
  • Use mirrored tile on the walls or shower enclosure.
  • Install double mirrors on sliding closet doors.
  • Choose a mirrored backsplash behind the sink.

Select Compact Fixtures and Furnishings

Outfitting a small bath with appropriately sized fixtures and furniture helps optimize the layout. Here are some space-saving selections to consider:

  • Opt for narrow 24-30 inch vanities.
  • Choose a wall-hung or compact pedestal sink.
  • Install a rectangular undermount sink instead of an oval one.
  • Select a low-profile, linear-designed toilet.
  • Look for narrow, space-saving tub options like a 30 inch alcove tub.
  • Choose an open-legged vanity chair rather than one with skirting.
  • Use a waist-high console table rather than a full freestanding table.
  • Add a compact armless bench or stools instead of chairs.

Visually Expand With Color and Lighting

A few simple paint colors and lighting choices can work wonders in making a small bathroom feel open and airy.

Use Light, Bright Color Palettes

  • Stick to light, neutral paint colors like soft whites and greys.
  • Add visual interest with green, blue, or violet accents.
  • Use large-scale tile in pale hues to make walls appear farther apart.
  • Painting the ceiling white can heighten the sense of space.

Incorporate Natural and Task Lighting

  • Install a sunlight-amplifying skylight if possible.
  • Choose sheer window treatments to allow daylight to filter through.
  • Place sconces and accent lighting strategically to brighten up the room.
  • Make sure the vanity area is well-lit for tasks.
  • Use recessed lighting to help create an airier ambiance.

Carefully Choose Small Bathroom Materials

The materials selected for surfaces and finishes will define the aesthetic, so choose them purposefully.

  • Use large-scale tile with minimal grout lines to avoid a busy look.
  • Choose durable porcelain, quartz, or laminate surfaces that resist moisture.
  • Install a neutral marble or limestone mosaic floor to enrich the space.
  • Add texture with natural stone, woven rattan, or timber vanities.
  • Incorporate metal accents and hardware for an elegant sheen.

Design a Spa-like Shower Zone

With the right design choices, a small shower can feel like a relaxing oasis.

  • Use a frameless glass door to maximize views and light.
  • Select a luxurious overhead showerhead and hand shower.
  • Incorporate a built-in bench and niche for toiletries.
  • Choose calming neutral tones for tile, with accents of texture.
  • Include a waterproof TV, radio, or shower bluetooth speaker.
  • Use a steam-generating shower system for at-home spa luxury.
  • Keep the space neat with corner caddies, shelves, and drains.

Embrace Minimally Elegant Styles

To keep a petite bath feeling uncluttered and serene, minimalism is key in the finishes and decor.

  • Stick to an understated color scheme of whites and neutrals.
  • Choose sleek, simple fixtures like wall-mounted faucets.
  • Use restraint with accessories and limit them to the essentials.
  • Add unfussy Roman shades rather than frilly curtains.
  • Focus on quality over quantity with luxe linens in a toned-down palette.
  • Display a few cherished sculptural objects rather than crowded collections.

Make Big Impacts With Small Scale Patterns and Textures

Bringing in layers of textures and petite prints or geometrics packs visual punch without overwhelming a tiny space.

  • Use Moroccan-inspired cement tiles for the floor or as a tub surround.
  • Add grasscloth wallpaper for an organic feel.
  • Incorporate a Greek key patterned border tile.
  • Choose cabinetry fronts with an interesting change of grain and texture.
  • Display a collection of vessels, trays, and lacquered boxes.
  • Add a decorative tray ceiling for architectural interest.

Enhance Beauty Through Quality Design and Craftsmanship

Though small in square footage, a tiny bath can still pack a serious design punch. Focusing on quality materials, fine finishes, and meticulous craftsmanship transforms a bathroom into a jewel box space.

  • Invest in the finest fixture and hardware brands for enduring style.
  • Choose local artisans for custom woodworking and tile design.
  • Use artful lighting like handcrafted sconces or pendants.
  • Incorporate antique accents, from windows to vanities to rugs.
  • Upgrade the toilet paper holder, towel bars, and other functional elements.
  • Select sinks and tubs made from natural, sculptural materials.
  • Include thoughtful built-ins like corner benches and display nooks.

Take Functionality Seriously Despite Limited Space

Just because a bathroom is compact does not mean it cannot be highly functional. With intelligent design, small spaces can be ergonomic, accessible, and easy to clean.

  • Carefully plan the relationship between sink, toilet and bathing zones.
  • Include generous bathroom storage solutions.
  • Install a comfort height elongated toilet.
  • Use a handheld showerhead with slide bar for accessibility.
  • Choose porcelain and stone surfaces that resist moisture and wear.
  • Place frequently used items in easy-access drawers and shelves.
  • Ensure proper ventilation to control humidity.
  • Locate switches, outlets and controls conveniently.

FAQs About Designing Small Bathrooms

How can I make a small bathroom look bigger?

Using light colors, large tiles, large mirrors, glass shower doors, pedestal sinks and proper lighting can visually expand a small bathroom. Clever storage solutions like floating shelves and built-in cabinets also prevent clutter.

What colors make a small bathroom look larger?

Soft neutral, pale, and cool colors like white, light grey, blue, green, and violet make small bathrooms appear more open and airy. Avoid dark, vibrant colors, which can close off the space.

What flooring is best for small bathrooms?

Large, light-colored porcelain or ceramic tile is ideal for small bathrooms, as it expands the look of the room and is water resistant. Small mosaic tiles can make spaces look busier. Natural stone or wood floors also add warmth.

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

Frameless glass doors are best for small bathrooms as they allow unobstructed views and light. Shower curtains can make a narrow tub or stall feel closed in. Make sure glass doors open outward so they don’t cramp the space.

How do you arrange a small bathroom?

Carefully planning the layout is key. Place the door where it does not obstruct fixtures. Float the vanity away from walls for access. Allow room to open and close doors fully. Position the toilet for privacy but not too close to other fixtures.

How can I add storage to my small bathroom?

Get creative with narrow pull-out drawers, concealed shelves behind mirrors and art, built-in wall cabinets, under-sink storage, towel ladders, and multifunctional furniture like a sink skirt that doubles as cabinetry.


While designing a stylish, welcoming, and functional bathroom in a small space presents challenges, it is certainly achievable. The key is taking advantage of every square inch through smart layouts, multi-use furniture, abundant mirrors, and visual tricks that make rooms feel more expansive. By embracing minimalism in decor, sizing fixtures appropriately, and investing in quality finishes, small bathrooms can feel open, elegant, and luxurious. Though diminutive in footprint, with proper planning, a tiny bath can be big on comfort, beauty, and efficiency.