Sunrise Specialty » 31 Design Ideas That Make Small Bathrooms Look Bigger

31 Design Ideas That Make Small Bathrooms Look Bigger

Small bathrooms are easy to clean … or at least faster. But it’s such a small upside. Yes, you have less housework, but you also feel cramped and frustrated. Especially because your bathroom should be a space of calm and relaxation, not just basic hygiene.

But you can’t just make it bigger … can you? Well, you can make it look bigger. And you might find ways to create extra space, even if it’s just an inch or two. Re-doing small bathrooms could be a DIY job or a full refurbish. Let’s explore 31 small bathroom design ideas you’ll love.

1. Glassy glamour

Glassy glamour

Pastels are a pretty popular choice for bathrooms, and we always assume it’s because they’re gentle, soothing, and child-like. And they are. But they also reflect more light than darker colors, which brightens your low-lit bathroom. As a result, they make your walls and doors recede.

The illusion of recession makes your bathroom look bigger. This bathroom is built around beige walls, with pale brown floor tiles and ivory-toned cabinets. The large multi-panel mirror bounces lights off its three surfaces, and the stained glass window adds character and color.

2. Brave in brown

Brave in brown

Some people associate brown with earthy tones and conservative style. Others associate it with … other things … which make it a tricky move for a bathroom. It’s a dark color that can shrink your space, but you can use it to great effect with clear glass, light tile, and a low toilet.

In this monochrome bathroom, texture creates variation. From the cubic mosaic detail halfway up the wall, to the striations on the wall and floor. The wood grain on your floating cabinets adds interest, while the chrome fixtures and glass cubicle reflect light to make the bathroom larger.

3. Vanilla-chocolate delight

Vanilla-chocolate delight

Narrow bathrooms can be challenging to style, but you can add some shape to your room. A curved glass shower cubicle softens your harsh bathroom lines without using up too much of your limited space. You want white vanilla tones in most of the room, to widen perception.

Chocolate brown should be restricted to accents that contrast the white, making it more prominent. This may include your sink cabinets and shower walls. Brown baseboard trim is helpful as well. Use reflective tile – both brown and white – because bounced light affects the size.

4. Aquatic bath tones

Aquatic bath tones

A bathroom that reminds you of the ocean can be soothing, regardless of its size. This bathroom uses shades of white and aqua to create that seaside ambiance. The greenish-blue can be stifling on its own, so apply it to the top half of your walls, setting it off with white reflective tile.

If you want a bit more green, use the same shade on your cabinet doors. Break up the monotony of so much white by mixing up your textures. Brick-patterned tile for the bath, wood panel strips for the toilet walls, and white tile mosaic for the floor. You can add ocean trinkets like seashells.

5. Cozy counter clutter

Cozy counter clutter

Usually, clutter is demonized. But if you style it well, you can have a busy bathroom that still feels spacious. This bathroom contrasts beige and black with a little bit of white. The bathroom is ‘separated’ from the toilet by using a different color, which creates visual distinction.

King size shower-wall tiles make your room look bigger, while the luscious round sink gives the psychological illusion of space. (How can you feel cramped with a sink that big!) The black base provides contrast, as does the striped wall behind it, and the metallic towel hoops beside it.

6. Beautifully blue

Beautifully blue

Big mirrors are a great way to increase the size of your bathroom. But if you can’t squeeze them in, technology helps. The sensory mirror that mimics daylight can brighten up your room and enable you to do your make-up, even when your room is dank and dark.

Your vaulted ceiling shrinks your space, but the blue-gray walls and bright yellow floor tiles make the bathroom more inviting. Contrast your white sink and toilet with a bold black cabinet, and install light bulbs above all windows and mirrors to enhance illumination.

7. Vaulted verve

Vaulted verve

In the rest of the house, neutral shades are genteel and conservative. In the bathroom, the same color choice is risky, because it shows dirt more clearly. This vaulted bathroom uses clean lines, curves, and neutrals to widen your perception of square feet, making the bathroom seem bigger.

The curve of the toilet and the sink match the curvy mirror above, while the pedestal supporting said sink provides free floor space. The grayish-brown walls draw attention to your white fixtures, so space seems larger. Faux marble floor tiles complete the look.

8. Peachy keen

Peachy keen

Black and yellow? Try white and orange! When you have a bathroom so small you can’t stretch out your arms, you need to get creative. Accent walls work great, so use sunset peach on the back wall. In this bathroom, the window reflects daylight off the glossy white sidewall.

The effect expands the look of the wall. Streamline your small bathroom design by positioning the toilet, sink, cabinet, and mirror on one side, leaving the rest of the bathroom airy and open. If there’s no space to install a sink, buy a portable vanity with a sink fitted on top.

9. Mellow yellow

Mellow yellow

While we certainly wouldn’t recommend this for a kid’s room, it works well in a guest bathroom or master en-suite. The sunshiny tones warm up the room and make it look way bigger, but if your kids’ dirty paws get on the walls, you might lose it! Go simple with a bright brown vanity.

The cabinet can have a beveled base to create the illusion of a floating vanity. Yellow works on the walls, with a large mirror at a right angle from your window. This increases your light levels, and you can install multiple bulbs over the mirror as well. Close with white tile floors.

10. Flowery red

Flowery red

Washable wallpaper is a sneaky way to change the entire mood of your small bathroom. Especially if it’s a half-bath with no shower or tub, because the condensation would soon ruin your wallpaper. In this case, the pattern selected is red, with wavy leaf trim. It’s a bold choice.

This would work best for a creative child or teen, as it may be off-putting in a guest bathroom. The toilet, sink, and mirror are all installed on one wall. For an older house with a radiator, you can update said radiator with spray paint in silver or rose gold.

11. Crimson couture

Crimson couture

‘Small’ is relative, and while this one looks fairly big, the bathtub takes up a big chunk. Match the variegated beige backsplash with your bathtub and floor tiles to bring the room together. A simple mirror stretching the length of your bathroom counter adds length and breadth.

Draperies give your bathroom a nice touch, and if you like, you could use a different color set every week. This week, deep red shower curtains are matched with bath towels, hand towels, and a red vase filled with red flowers. You can mimic this effect in any selected shade.

12. Tiny tile

Tiny tile

Long slabs and striated tile give your space an elegant, old-school look. So if you want the extreme opposite, consider smaller tile mosaics for your bathroom surfaces. This example uses basic white ceiling-to-floor tile. Each piece is a square inch or less, including the tub’s coping.

You may worry the white is too stark and off-putting. Set it off with a stained glass window that dictates the color of light filtering into your bathroom. This way, every part of your room has a different tone, and they all reflect beautifully against your tiny light tile.

13. Lofty niches

Lofty niches bathroom

There’s always that section of the house you’re not sure what to do with. And it probably hasn’t occurred to you that your attic could be turned into an extra bathroom. In this example, the double lofted ceiling makes you feel squashed, and you may worry about loo ventilation.

A large floating cabinet grounds the room without over-crowding it. Fill the niche (created above the vanity) with a counter-to-ceiling mirror that ‘doubles’ the size of your bathroom. As for awkward corners within the wall, they’re good for recessed shelves and shower cubicles.

14. Pretty in pink

Pretty in pink

Pastel pinks are fine for little girls’ bathrooms. Especially if your daughter requested it herself. But if you’re on the older side and you want to embrace your femininity without following a stereotype, hot pink works better. It’s sassy, sexy, and it enlarges your bathroom.

A textured pink wall with a massive mirror in the middle will increase your visible space, because the reflected walls provides the illusion of size. Too much pink can be irksome though, so set it off with a white tub and toilet. Speckled backsplashes are a nice touch too.

15. Black, white, and blue

If your bathroom is on the smaller side, you have to prioritize. Would you rather have the leg-room or the tub? If bathtubs are your deal-breaker, get a size that fits the full width of your bathroom. You can’t skip the toilet, so just install a smaller one, then get a standalone vanity.

This bathroom uses a huge mirror that covers half the wall, and installs its shower head above the tub. Three walls and a floor are mosaicked with black, gray, and blue tiles, set in white grout. The 4th wall is an accent grey, while the tub and toilet are gleaming white.

16. Guest gesture

Guest gesture

When you have friends over, you may want to give them their own en-suite room. But even for day-time visitors, a separate bathroom is a good idea. It prevents the more nosy ones from ‘spying’ on your house in the name of potty breaks. The ‘guest loo’ can be a basic half bath.

Install a door that opens outwards, to allow more bathroom space. A small toilet is a must, but you could add a spacious stone counter, wooden cabinets, and a massive mirror. They give your small bathroom an air of luxury that’s worth showing off, especially to nosy guests.

17. Gorgeous gray

Gorgeous gray

Right-angled layouts are useful for creating an illusion of space. If you can work in some gloss and glass, even better. In this tiny bathroom, the ‘gloss’ is in the form of a shiny stainless steel ‘towel ladder’. It provides more storage space than the standard towel rack.

Plus, because it’s positioned opposite the mirror, they reflect each other to broaden the room. Meanwhile, the bathtub is cordoned off behind a clear anti-splash partition that also catches light from the mirror. Speckled gray backsplashes tie in your tub and vanity.

18. Stripes and tile

Stripes and tile

Vertical lines can elongate a room, and the wood-panel look is quite attractive. But wooden walls will soon get moldy, so you can mimic the effect using PVC panels instead. They’re far better suited for humid bathrooms. In this sample, these off-white panels run halfway up the wall.

For storage, the bathroom uses a wood cabinet, with open shelves for your towels and bathroom plants. The bathroom cabinet copies the style and design of your bathroom window, making you do a double-take, and giving the whole room a larger appearance, especially at the doorway.

19. All oval the place

All oval the place

Let the unusual shapes in your bathroom work for you. A small oval window is cute, but it can leave the room pretty dark. Match its shape with an oval sink fitted into a rich mahogany vanity. Tile the lower half of your walls and paint the upper half, creating a glossy monotone effect.

You can put up a large mirror above the vanity, and maximize the room’s illumination by placing a big, glass-framed landscape opposite the mirror. The floor can be a few tones darker than your walls, and for a visual surprise, install a black (or dark brown) toilet instead of a white one.

20. Tight white spaces

Tight white spaces

You might think an L-shaped design is inappropriate for narrow bathrooms, but this one works pretty well. It creates walking space in the middle, and the glass shower door reflects off the tile floor to make space look bigger. The shiny floor pleasantly contrasts your white fixtures.

Tuck the toilet on the same wall as the vanity – that way, it slips behind the door when you open it. Use metallic trim for your shower door frame, light fixtures, and faucets. They’ll catch glints from your bulbs and windows, desirably reinforcing your illusion of space.

21. No-gloss bathroom

No-gloss bathroom

We assume all bathrooms have to shimmer and shine. This is mostly due to tile, because the reflective coating helps them resist mold and water damage. But if your small bathroom is a half bath, or a powder room for guests, you don’t have to tile it. You can give it a warmer feel.

This small bathroom has walls painted in powder blue and a floor made from off-white cork mosaic. The toilet is tucked in the corner while the longest wall has a lengthy mirror over a rounded sink. The vanity has stone topping on a wooden cabinet that matches the mirror frame.

22. Acute angles

Acute angles

Bathrooms with unusual shapes can be beautifully striking. This one, for example, combines obtuse angles with acute ones for trapezoid design. It merits equally bold decorative choices. Case in point – striped tile that alternates white and dark brown.

The bathtub is placed behind a glass sliding door with stainless trim. For further visual separation, the area behind the glass has horizontal stripes while the space in front has vertical stripes. White upper walls go well with a brown floor, set off with a comfy shag bath rug.

23. His and hers in harmony

His and hers in harmony

Your bathroom may seem big if you use it alone. But even a spacious one can seem squashed when it’s en-suite. Some clever design can ease your claustrophobia. Dual sinks are a must. Position them at either end of the counter, and install a mirror along the full vanity’s length.

In this case, the speckled black counter matches the tile and backsplash around the tub. Your shower cubicle is hidden behind a glass door at the tail end of the tub. With the tub on one side and your double-sinks on the other, a clear path runs between for easy movement.

24. Half bath and laundry

Half bath and laundry

In apartments where space is premium, you may want to squeeze your washing machine into your tiny bathroom. This could be environmentally helpful, because you can channel your wash water into the toilet cistern. This example uses black-and-white stone-imitation tile.

Their horizontally configured rectangular tiles lengthen and broaden the bathroom, diffusing that over-crowded effect. The striations and ladder-like clothes’ rack enhance the illusory line, guiding your eye. A large mirror and low toilet ensure all your bathroom needs are met.

25. Abstract browns

Abstract browns

At first glance, this bathroom looks way bigger than it is. The trick is simple – position the mirror opposite the doorway to double the depth of your room. You can also place an extra mirror on the back of the door, facing into the bathroom. You’ll feel less squashed that way.

The rest of the bathroom seems loud and toned down at the same time. The muted aqua mint shade gives it a soft, genteel feel, while the grainy side door, golden shower curtain, and large abstract art are more striking. Match the wood on your vanity with your door and mirror frame.

26. There and square

There and square

A square-shaped bathroom doesn’t have to be boring, but you do need to play with your décor. In this case, we’ve omitted the standard stainless steel in favor of matte black finish for the taps, shower rod, and towel hoop. They’ll need regular dusting though, or they’ll start to look ‘ashy’.

Separate the tub from the toilet with a wall-divider, and use the space above the cistern for some off-the-ground ebony cabinets. A speckled vanity can be matched with a jungle print shower curtain. Bamboo patterns are always good, and the floor can be speckled tile as well.

27. Step up to the bath

Step up to the bath

Sometimes, your bathroom is so small that it barely fits more than a tub. And yet you must have one. In this case, the tub is topped with brownish yellow tile, all the way to the ceiling. The floor tiles are a similar shade, but they’re matte, to make them safer and less slippery.

The sink and toilet are perpendicular to the tub, and the wooden steps leading into the bath add some decorative elegance to your bathroom. Above the cistern, an open shelf keeps your bath supplies dry, while your toilet paper dispenser is fixed to the side of the tub. Glass is optional.

28. Brown and bidecious

Brown and bidecious

If you love to hang out at the mall, you might want to bring its décor home with you. The dark tones of this bidet bathroom are the best way to do that. It’s a narrow, parallel layout, with a vanity along one side. The same mahogany effect is used on the vanity, door, and closet.

A glass partition divides the toilet from the shower section, making this more of a small wet room. Half the floor is speckled tile in grey to black, while the top half has a pattern that imitates tweed. This bathroom has both a bidet and a regular toilet, topped with recessed lighting.

29. Warm bath tones

Warm bath tones

You might see your half-bathroom as a flaw, but it has one key advantage. Because it has no tub or shower, you don’t have to worry about cold, clinical tile and fluorescent lighting. This gives you far more flexibility in terms of décor. This bathroom – for instance – relies on warm hues.

It has an acute corner, which offers an ideal position for your toilet. A round mirror and pedestal sink make good use of limited space, while yellow lights and a plant rack give the room an earthy feel. For the floor, use wood or veneer. Orange wallpaper is a nice finishing touch.

30. Minty mystery

Minty mystery

Small bathroom décor can be surprisingly simple and still make a mark. Case in point – this minty powder room. The walls are coated in glossy mint paint rather than tile. An ebony vanity is set off by an ebony-framed mirror and an ebony medicine cabinet with a smoked glass door.

The cabinet is a portable waist-high unit rather than a permanent piece of furniture. Meaning you can take it out of the bathroom when you need extra floor space. Because the main corner is under 90º, your mirror’s positioning can make the room look wider, so place it carefully.

31. Dramatic mixed print

Dramatic mixed print

Color blocking has caught on in the fashion world, and it can be used to curious effect in your small bathroom. In this case, rather than bold, contrasting colors, you could opt for eye-catching tile designs. The floor rug has circular motifs that resemble tile when you first spot them.

The accent wall beside the toilet is a mish-mash of geometric tile patterns in beige, mint, blue, and gray. As for your vanity, closet, and recessed tub shelving, pale brown wood prints are it. The rest of your top-to-toe tiling is a pale, almost white shade of gray.

Go big or go sleep

Your budget and crafting skills have a big influence on how you restyle your small bathroom. You might do something basic, like repainting it white to create an illusion of size. Or you could add some scent and sound to make it feel more luxurious, even if you haven’t changed the space.

Either way, bathroom refurbishment is a huge commitment. Set a schedule and stick to it. While you’re fixing it up, your house-mates can’t use it, which leads to nasty fights over the other bathrooms in the house.  So … how big is your bathroom? Show us in the comments!