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7 top tips on how to make your small bathroom look and feel larger

A small bathroom space can seem like a curse, but don’t despair! There are small modifications you can make to any space to make it appear larger without raising a sledgehammer to the walls. In fact, fully renovating your bathroom should be a last option; there are plenty of DIY tricks and tips that can get you the same desired results in a jiffy. We’ve outlined some of the best and quickest below:

7 top tips on how to make your small bathroom look and feel larger

  • Look to the sky

Look to the sky for storage, that is. Most people tend to choose bulky furniture that takes up a lot of floor space when trying to figure out bathroom storage. By installing open shelves high up, you can avoid cluttering and crowding the space that falls at eye-level and below. This increases perception that the room is bigger than it actually is. Even cubby shelves can be fairly easily installed and remain out of (eye-level) sight, widening the room.

  • Choose a colorful accent piece

Decorating your bathroom in nude or neutral colors or white and having one colorful accent piece actually creates the illusion of space. This can easily fit into a beach motif, where the walls, tiles and towels are sand/nude colored. A complementary accent piece could be an ocean-blue tray of candles or picture on the wall. This added focal point tricks a person’s depth perception, making the room appear larger than it is.

  • Be a minimalist

While opting for one colored focal piece in the bathroom can make it appear larger, opting for too many accent pieces or fixtures can actually crowd the room out and shrink the space. Toiletries should be tucked away into well-organized nooks and overdoing art or other wall fixtures should be avoided. Keep it simple and classy and stick with one or two pieces that act to enlarge the space rather than clutter it.

  • Bold is overrated

When it comes to decorating, many people embrace their personal styles and aren’t afraid to go bold. This can be a mistake when working with a small bathroom space. While you may be very attached to your zebra-print bath mat, ditch it. The simpler you go with design, the more spacious the bathroom will appear. This goes for tiling as well; small, tedious tiles that span the range of the rainbow may seem like a good idea, but the clash of colors and styles will disrupt the continuity of the room – and your guests’ eyes – and cause the space to feel small.

  • Cool off

If you choose to paint the bathroom, cool colors are great space expanders. Choose a light blue, sea green or even lilac or light purple to make it seem as though the walls are receding. There is a reason for this; these colors prompt people to think of water or the sky, both spacious elements of the earth. Plus, they usually go great with most bathroom themes!

  • Don’t forget the ceiling!

Of all the elements of a room, we can all agree that the ceiling gets the least amount of attention. This shouldn’t be the case, especially when it comes to making a small bathroom look bigger. If you have colored walls, paint the ceiling to match them. Pro tip: choosing a shade or two lighter for the ceiling is best as peoples’ eyes actually perceive it to be a darker shade than it actually is. By unifying the colors of your bathroom, you are eliminating distractions and promoting the visual flow of the room, which expands the space.

  • Blend, blend, blend

Just like the colors of the walls, you should aim to blend the elements of your small bathroom as much as possible to make it appear bigger. If you have tile in your shower, make sure it runs from floor to ceiling. Cut down on unnecessary fixtures that disrupt eye movement from floor to ceiling. While you may opt for open shelving on one wall as a storage option, try to keep the other available walls as clean and simple – and unified – as possible. The more the room all blends together, the bigger it will seem.

You don’t need a complete overhaul to your bathroom to make it work for you and appear bigger than it actually is. With the right colors, accents, storage options and creative eye, you can makeover your small bathroom space in hours or days. It doesn’t take much to enhance the space you have to work with and expand the walls – even if just through illusion!

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25 Comments

  1. Gloria

    July 6, 2017 at 5:09 am

    This is my type of article. Since I moved to England 2 years ago I’m trying to make this shoebox with tub look nice….😂

  2. Rose Cottrill

    September 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    These are some great tips. We used to have a small bathroom at our old home and decorating it is a challenge. Simplicity is the key.

  3. Kendall

    September 11, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I love these tips! Small bathrooms can be challenging but there’s definitely things you can do to make it bearable and still look great. I think staying away from anything too bold is most important!

    1. Terri Beavers

      September 12, 2016 at 8:29 am

      I live in a studio apartment so my bathroom is really small. It’s a challenge but a fun challenge.

  4. Eloise

    September 11, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    what great tips! I used to have a small bathroom and these tips would have helped out… My folks have a narrow bathroom, maybe I ought to share this with them : )

    1. Terri Beavers

      September 12, 2016 at 8:31 am

      I can relate to a narrow bathroom. It’s a big challenge.

  5. Kathy

    September 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    These are some wonderful tips. I”ll have to remember these for when I finally get my new home. I think these can really help too. It’s always helpful to make rooms look bigger.

    1. Terri Beavers

      September 12, 2016 at 8:33 am

      It’s challenging but can be a fun process to get creative.

  6. Rania

    September 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    These are great tips for small bathroom. In general I love when a bathroom is lighter in colour, it makes it larger and fresher. Especially that the pieces come in white (mostly).

    1. Terri Beavers

      September 12, 2016 at 8:40 am

      Light colors seem to make everything larger in my opinion.

  7. Gwendolyn Mulholland

    September 10, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    These are great tips and keeping the extras down to a minimal amount makes a big difference. Even a large bathroom will feel small and crowded if it is overflowing with stuff.

    1. Terri Beavers

      September 12, 2016 at 8:53 am

      I agree. My bathroom was so cluttered until I took advantage of minimal products needed.

  8. CourtneYlynnE

    September 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    These are some great tips!!!! My upstairs bathroom needs some love and attention so maybe I will apply some of your tips to it!

  9. Sarah

    September 10, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Great tips on how to create an “illusion”. The bathroom looks great and very cozy.

  10. Susan

    September 10, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Great tips!! This bathroom looks great and doesn’t seem like it’s small at all!

  11. Michele D

    September 10, 2016 at 7:35 am

    I have a pretty large master bathroom but these tips are awesome. Great suggestions!

  12. Kathleen Kennedy-Leon

    September 9, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    These are great tips and your bathroom looks much larger than my teeny tiny one! thanks for the inspiration!

  13. dana vento

    September 9, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    I so feel like just dumping everything out of our bathroom and starting over…. wait we are.. At one point I just had to redo, because I was not happy with the space. Your tips and tricks for the smaller bathroom are really great

  14. Helena -- babyfoote

    September 9, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    These are great tips! Our bathroom is a good size, but the bath is enormous and takes up most of the room. In one way, that’s a good thing, but in another it would’ve been nice to have had first say on what went in the room when the bathroom was planned!

  15. Helena -- babyfoote

    September 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    These are great tips! Our bathroom is a good size, but the bath is enormous and takes up most of the room. In one way, that’s a good thing, but in another it would’ve been nice to have had first say on what went in the room when the bathroom was planned!

  16. Jacqui - @TradesofJacqui

    September 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I just moved into an apartment that is smaller than my old home. But, the bathroom is bigger. They do have the open shelves in the bathroom that I am SO grateful for! Great tips!

  17. Pam Wattenbarger

    September 9, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    We have a small bathroom in our bedroom that we are thinking about redoing. These are great tips to keep in mind when we take the plunge to redecorate it.

  18. mitch

    September 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Thank-you for this post, it is perfect for us! We live in an apartment and do not have a large bathroom, these are useful tips!

  19. Paula Schuck

    September 9, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Thanks for the tips! You can change a lot about a room to make it look bigger even if you can’t change the square footage.

  20. Heather @ Kraus House Mom

    September 9, 2016 at 10:03 am

    My bathroom needs a complete overhaul. The first thing I need to do is get rid of the over the toilet shelf thing, I hate it. I want to put a high shelf along to length of the wall to store things so it’s out of the way.

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