8 top tips to make your small bathroom look bigger

Do you have a bathroom that feels small and cramped? It’s a common problem, since bathrooms are typically the smallest rooms in a house. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about the actual size, because there’s not always square footage to borrow from other rooms to make the bathroom larger. Fortunately, even if you can’t enlarge your bathroom, there are interior design strategies you can employ to give the illusion of more space. Here, we offer some top designers’ tips to make a small bathroom look larger.

1. Large format tiles appear more spacious

People often think that small bathrooms can’t handle a big tile but it’s the opposite! We say that the smaller your room is, the bigger the tile should be.  You’ll see less grout lines, this makes the appearance of the room appear more spacious. Tiles are getting bigger and bigger these days, so a large modern tile can really help to elevate the room. So which tiles should you use for your bathroom? Some tiles we recommend are:

  • Porcelain Tiles: These tiles give that luxurious finish to your bathroom. Porcelain tiles can handle a lot of wear and are more unlikely to crack or scratch. They require very little maintenance as they are easy to clean and minimal upkeep. Porcelain tiles are also water resistant, ideal for bathrooms.
  • Ceramic Tiles: These are a more affordable choice of tiles while still giving a high quality finish. Ceramic tiles are both water-resistant and durable, they are hard to scratch or crack, making them the perfect choice for bathrooms. Lastly, Ceramic Tiles are relatively low maintenance due to how easy they are to clean.
Bathroom mirror

2. Get a mirror

When you’re trying to determine how to make a small bathroom look bigger, many of the ideas for small bathrooms will involve mirrors. Using mirrors to reflect light is an easy way to make a small space look larger, but be careful when doing this in a bathroom. Not every view in a bathroom is something worth seeing, and many people won’t want to watch themselves in the bathtub, taking a shower, or handling other private bathroom business. Taking that into consideration, try some of these tricks using mirrors:

  • Put in a mirrored wall. If you can cover one side of your bathroom in wall to wall mirrors, this will open up the space greatly. In fact, this will create an optical illusion that makes the room seem doubled in size.
  • If a wall of mirrors isn’t practical, choose an oversized mirror. A large mirror above the basin, perhaps with a pendant light in front of it, will still do a good job of reflecting light and patterns. Note: frameless mirrors are better than framed mirrors for creating a sense of space.
  • Install mirrored storage fixtures. One great way to incorporate mirrors without sacrificing space is to use mirrored cupboards to store your linens and other necessary bathroom items. If these storage units can be recessed into the wall, you can avoid sacrificing any precious bathroom space.
  • Remember that other reflective surfaces can perform the same function as mirrors. Mirrored furniture and reflective fixtures can also work to bounce light around a room and make it feel more open.

3. Glass can make a room feel airy

By installing glass shower doors in lieu of a shower curtain, you can create a light and spacious look in your bathroom. A frameless glass shower takes this idea even further, for a truly cohesive look.

Like mirrors, glass screens and doors reflect light and make a room feel larger. Unlike mirrors, of course, they don’t show you your reflection while you’re in the bath. Take care, when installing a glass shower door, to make sure it opens in the right direction.

Glass bathroom shower
Modern Bathroom Renovation in Bridport

4. Use colour to your advantage

When you’re considering how to decorate a small bathroom, there’s no shortage of suggestions on how to use colour. Depending on your aesthetic preferences, any one of these schemes might catch your fancy.

  • Go monochromatic. Keeping a bathroom all one color can give it a sleek, modern look or make it feel tranquil and serene, but it definitely gives the impression of a larger room. While this can be accomplished with paint, you can also carry the shower tile throughout the bathroom, using it on the floors and ceilings as well.
  • Keep it neutral. Light neutral shades can create an expansive feel, making a small bathroom feel not only larger, but also fresh and bright.
  • Play with ceiling and floor colour. In a narrow bathroom, consider painting the ceiling a light colour and make the floor even lighter. Alternately, paint the ceiling white and make the floor a darker hue, while keeping the plumbing fixtures white as well.
  • Paint a portion for a pop of bold colour. Designing a small bathroom in light, neutral colours or with a monochromatic scheme can make it feel bigger, but what if you long for bright colours? You can use them very selectively, perhaps painting the walls a cheerful blue while keeping furniture and window treatments light and airy. You can also use colour sparingly, incorporating brightly painted shutters into your design, for example, or using a bright shade up to the chair rail and white on the top portion of the walls.
  • Go daring, with bold wallpaper. Sometimes a large, bold wallpaper is the perfect foil to white fixtures and cabinetry. While this may seem counterintuitive, medium and large scale patterns can be better than a petite motif for making small spaces seem larger.
  • Brighten things up with light colours. An all-white bathroom is an obvious choice but it’s not the only option. Soft pastels can give a bathroom a calming feel while making it seem more expansive. Light tile with light grout can give a seamless look that adds to this spacious feeling.
  • Or deepen the bathroom’s appeal with dark colours. One of the most radical very small bathroom ideas is to paint the whole thing black, but in some situations, it works! A dark color can sometimes give a room depth and make it feel bigger, especially when you choose high-gloss paint to bounce the light off of dark surfaces.

5. Play with texture

If painted walls bore you, consider covering them in textured tile or a unique and interesting wall covering. Textures and patterns can create a look that’s innovative and distracting to the eye, whether you tile in a herringbone pattern to create interest, use reclaimed wood for a rustic, tactile element, juxtapose matte and glossy surfaces, incorporate tongue and groove paneling, or find an interesting texture idea that’s uniquely yours.

Consider mix and match tile designs, perhaps using metro tile alongside marble, or choosing different shapes and textures but sticking to one colour.

Corner Bath
Bathroom Showroom

6. Good lighting is a must

The right lighting will add interest while also making your bathroom look bigger and brighter. Keep fixtures and shades light colored, to add to this brightness, and consider more than one type of lighting. In a tight space, well-positioned lighting is important, because you don’t want the bathroom to feel like it’s packed full of lights.

Sconces are a good option, as are recessed lights and backlit mirrors. Make the most of natural light, keeping windows and skylights clean and blinds and curtains in good repair.

7. Choose all bathroom elements with care

When you incorporate luxurious, reflective materials like marble, glass, and metallic or mirror finishes, you’re creating a look that’s elegant and bright. What’s more, in a small bathroom, you can afford to splurge on more expensive finishes. Hanging light-reflective tiles behind the mirror is a clever way to increase the perceived size of the room, as well. Consider scale carefully, choosing small fixtures that won’t overwhelm the room.

Using similar materials in your design style can keep it from feeling too cluttered, so consider keeping things uniform, perhaps choosing the same tile for the floors and walls. Speaking of clutter, keep yours to a minimum, choosing closed storage and taking care not to go overboard with decorative items.

Blush pink bathroom accessories
Botanical Bathroom with Wooden Flooring and Plants

8. Renovate for a better layout

If you have the budget for a renovation, you can create a bathroom that seems much larger, even if you can’t actually carve out additional floorspace. Look for interesting layout ideas that make the most of your space, and choose compact bathroom fixtures that fit nicely into your small bathroom.

If you can’t bear the idea of forgoing a bathtub, consider a Japanese soaking tub, which takes up very little square footage but adds a feeling of serenity as well as functionality. Add a skylight if you possibly can, because it’s a wonderful way to flood the room in natural light without losing wall space.

Another trick to make small spaces look larger is to curve some elements of your design. The vanity, bathtub, and even shower doors can be rounded, for a gentler, more appealing look that actually does shave a little bit of size off of these things, making your bathroom easier to maneuver and a little more spacious. Additionally, curved design elements in a bathroom give it an interesting, stylish look that’s slightly different than what most people have already seen.

Visit our showroom in Dorchester

Hopefully, you’ve found these tips helpful and discovered a few new bathroom ideas. In Dorchester, when you’re ready for a full bathroom renovation, call the professional bathroom installation team at Bathroom Inspirations. Founded in 2004, Bathroom Inspirations is a Dorchester-based company owned and managed by Bridport-born brothers Patrick and Paul Ackerman. Today, the business has one of Dorset’s largest showrooms, presenting stunning, innovative bathroom designs in real life settings. For help with design before a bathroom renovation, Dorchester residents appreciate our free design services with state-of-the-art 3D design technology, for visualizing the finished bathroom before committing to the work. To learn more, feel free to explore some of our work or schedule an appointment to visit our showroom in Dorchester.