Even though the minimum amount of space for a functional bathroom that has just the basics—a sink, shower, and toilet—is 36 to 40 square feet, many urban apartments come with tiny bathrooms that struggle to meet this criterion. If you’re one of these people stuck with a small bathroom, don’t worry! Here are some clever ideas on how to make your petite bathroom appear more spacious.
1. Use Light Colors in Your Bathroom
If you want your small bathroom to feel more roomy, select light-colored floor and wall tiles in shades of white, cream, or pastel. Dark colors absorb light, which make a space feel like it’s closing up on you. In contrast, lighter tones reflect it back into the room, making the space appear larger. Lighter tones also give out a feeling of freshness, which is something you want from a bathroom. While there are ways to use dark colors to make a room feel lighter, light colors are generally easier to work with.
To make your bathroom look bigger, use light colors and patterns, and try to keep the walls uniform. Having an accent wall with a dark color or bold pattern will quickly shrink the illusion of space. This goes the same for your shower area if you have it separated from the rest of the bathroom by walls or glass panels. If you really want to use a bold color, it’s best to do so on a small wall section, preferably the shorter of the two, and use highlighter tiles. Better yet, try to introduce pops of color using bathroom fixtures, plants, and other decor instead.
2. Provide Adequate Lighting
By leaving your bathroom windows uncovered, you allow natural light to enter the room and make it appear larger. The larger the windows, the better. If privacy is a concern, install a sheer screen or frosted glass instead of window coverings.
On the other hand, if you have a bathroom with no natural light, you can use artificial lighting instead. The goal of proper lighting in a bathroom should be to make the space feel as bright and open as possible, which is achieved by eliminating shadows. Try not to put only one source of light in the bathroom, as this creates lots of shadows. Position the lighting in several parts of the bathroom. Go for wall-mounted fixtures, and have your vanity be well-lit too so that you won’t have shadows cast on your face while using it.
3. Use More Mirrors
Large mirrors not only have the potential to open up any space, but they also make the area look bigger. How do they work their magic? Mirrors reflect light and create multiple reflections of objects which in turn add depth; giving the illusion of more space. If you can, get a large wall-to-wall mirror, which creates an illusion of a doubled amount of space where it is installed.
4. Organize Your Things
Organize your things into small areas, and try to keep clutter to a minimum. Not only do bathroom niches provide extra storage for toiletries and bath accessories, but they also make the space appear deeper. If you can, also try to get products with similar themes, colors, and design cues on their packaging. Contrasts in color add to visual clutter. Alternatively, you can just get empty bottles and packaging online, then repackage the products you like that don’t fit your color theme.
5. Use an Open Vanity
An open vanity with open shelves feels more open compared to a full-length closed cabinet. For one, you have more space for your feet, and there are no walls that close up the space. However, this comes with a caveat: anything you put there may get moist or wet. Only put things that are well-sealed there, and choose a vanity that does not rust or is well-coated so that you can avoid getting rust stains on your products. It will also help if you get a dehumidifier for your bathroom once you get an open vanity. With less humidity in the air, there will be less chance of rust. That makes it safer, too, reducing risk of mold, bacterial film, and slippery surfaces.
6. Use transparent glass panels
To make the most of a small bathroom, there should be few obstructions and plenty of open space. Get a shower stall instead of a bathtub, and use transparent glass to delineate the shower area from the rest of the room. This will also help prevent water damage by keeping the wet area separate from the dry areas.
7. Install compact fixtures
Mount a toilet on the wall to not only keep the floor clean, but also give the room a neater appearance by hiding the flushing mechanism in the walls. Although you won’t be using space below the toilet, this type of installation creates an illusion of more available space.
In addition, try to get compact and floating fixtures. For example, instead of a sink that reaches down to the ground, you can open up the space under it by having a wall-mounted, floating sink. In addition, other fixtures like faucets and showers can look compact if you choose sleek ones that match the design cues of your toilet and sink. For example, if you have a sink that has straight edges and curved corners, get replacements for your faucets and shower head that have the same design cues. That way, you tie together your bathroom’s aesthetic and eliminate visual clutter, making it seem sleeker.
Small bathrooms can be a challenge to decorate and make look bigger, but with the right tricks up your sleeve, it’s definitely doable. By using mirrors, open storage, transparent glass panels, and compact fixtures, you can create an illusion of more space in even the tiniest bathroom. If you’re feeling stumped on how to get started, our tips should give you a good place to start.