Transforming a cramped and outdated master bathroom into a spacious and luxurious retreat can seem daunting, but with some clever design tricks and strategic space-stealing, it is possible to dramatically enlarge even the smallest of master baths. In this article, we will explore how stealing space from adjacent areas and making a few structural changes can double the footprint and feel of a master bathroom. From knocking down walls to borrowing closet space, we will detail effective ways to gain those precious extra square feet. With the right approach, you can enjoy a master bath that looks and feels twice as big without the headaches and costs of a full addition.

Evaluate Adjacent Spaces for “Stealable” Square Footage

  • Consider borrowing space from adjoining master bedroom closets or repurposing a small neighboring room to expand your master bath. Even a few extra feet gained can make a difference.
  • Look at the existing layout to see if any walls can be knocked out to join two smaller rooms into one larger space. For example, combining a separate toilet room with the main bath.
  • If there is an adjoining bedroom, den or hallway, evaluate the feasibility of stealing a couple feet from those spaces to expand your master bath. Even 8-12 extra square feet can significantly enlarge a bathroom.
  • A secondary bedroom or walk-in closet are prime options for gaining 15-25 square feet or more. Be sure to carefully consider how the space is currently used before re-allocating it.

Knock Down Walls for a Unified Open Concept

  • Removing walls between compartmentalized bathroom spaces creates a more open, expansive feel.
  • Combining two small rooms into one larger area, such as taking down the wall between a separate toilet room and main bath, instantly doubles the space.
  • Evaluate load-bearing vs non-load bearing walls to understand structural limitations and requirements when knocking down walls. Consult an engineer.
  • Plan wiring, plumbing and lighting changes for the new open concept space. Hide unsightly plumbing and ventilation.
  • Create unified look by selecting complementary floor tiles, wall colors, cabinets and fixtures for the merged open concept bath.

Borrow Closet Space

  • Even a few feet of closet space added to a master bath can make a surprising difference. Consider narrow slivers too.
  • For freestanding closets, evaluate moving or removing the existing closet to add its space to the bath.
  • For walk-in closets, look at stealing a couple feet from the back or side of the closet. This usually won’t impact function.
  • If borrowing closet space from an adjoining room, install a pocket door to separate the bath and closet visually.
  • Repurpose borrowed closet space to create a large walk-in shower, soaking tub, double vanity, or cabinetry/shelving.

Relocate Doorways and Windows

  • Strategically move doorways and windows to improve space flow and enhance the feeling of roominess.
  • Relocate the bathroom door to create a more open entryway and improve sightlines.
  • Resituate windows on adjacent walls to maximize natural light and create an airier ambiance. Consider larger windows.
  • Remove existing windows and opt for skylights instead to open up wall space for a double vanity or extra cabinetry.
  • Borrow light and space by creating sightlines to adjoining rooms. For example, add a wide interior doorway or large window between the bathroom and closet.

Create Illusions of Expanded Space

  • Employ design illusions to make the bath feel more expansive and spacious.
  • Install frameless glass shower enclosures to maintain an open sightline. Or, choose a partially framed rod-hung shower curtain.
  • Use floor-to-ceiling mirrors to visually double space. Add windows and skylights too.
  • Choose light colors for walls, cabinets and counters to reflect light and create a more expansive feel.
  • Install floating vanities and wall-mounted toilets to maintain the perception of openness.
  • Arrange fixtures along the perimeter and minimize visual divisions for a more expansive look.


With a bit of creativity and a willingness to steal space from adjacent areas, you can easily double the footprint of a small outdated master bathroom. Knocking down walls, repurposing closets, moving doorways, and incorporating optical illusions are all great ways to gain square footage and make a bath feel more spacious. Just a few extra feet can drastically transform a cramped master bath into an open, inviting retreat. Approach your bath remodel with an eye for every possible inch to “steal”. You may be amazed at the expanded master sanctuary you can create.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much space can I reasonably expect to gain from adjacent areas?

The amount of space you can realistically steal from adjoining areas depends on the existing layout but you can often gain 8-25+ square feet. Even small amounts like 8 square feet make a noticeable difference in a bathroom.

What are the downsides to stealing space from a closet or bedroom?

Potential downsides include reduced closet storage, giving up a secondary bedroom space, or making an adjoining room feel smaller. Carefully consider current usage before re-allocating space.

What if my master bath doesn’t have any good options to steal space from?

If there are no great options for stealing space, look at removing existing walls or borrowed light instead. Also, maximize what you have with smart layouts and optical illusions.

Should I consult a contractor before knocking down walls?

Yes, it’s crucial to consult a qualified contractor to evaluate which walls are structural and which can be safely removed. They can advise on all construction considerations.

How can I create an illusion of more space without stealing actual square footage?

Strategies like floor-to-ceiling mirrors, glass shower enclosures, floating vanities, minimal wall divisions, bright colors and smart lighting create the illusion of expanded space without actual square footage.