Big Ideas For Your Small Bathroom

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Small Bathrooms are not at all uncommon, more often than not it’s not a priority when planning the square footage of the home and where everything goes. A small bathroom can make it harder to go about your daily routine. The good news is there is still something that you can do about it. With a little strategic designing and picking out the right toilets, showers, sinks, bathroom vanities, and decors you can make your bathroom feel like the perfect bathroom. Here are twelve small bathroom tips that would help you make the most out of your bathroom floor space and layout:

1. Keep the Colors Light

Using light colors like white, cream, taupe, and even pastel colors to paint the bathroom walls would lighten and brighten the overall feel of your bathroom. Dark shades tend to absorb light and in effect make the bathroom feel smaller while lighter shades make the walls more reflective and maximize the effect of natural light in the bathroom. If you’re worried about light colors making your bathroom feel plain you can always paint one side of the bathroom with bright color as an accent wall. It adds decorative space in color without it being too overpowering.

2. Stick to a Color Palette

When remodeling, included in the discussion between homeowners and contractors is how the floors and walls are finished. Paint colors can make or break a space, choosing the right colors for your walls can help define what the overall feel and mood of your home and bathroom would be. Since the size of the bathroom is an issue, ensure that you stick to a consistent color scheme. This can help with the illusion of making the bathroom bigger than it seems. Seeing a plethora of non-complementary colors in such a small space can be such an eyesore and just make people using your bathroom feel like there is too much going on.

3. Add Mirrors, Mirrors, and Mirrors

Similar to using lighter colors for your bathroom wall to make the overall feel of your bathroom brighter and lighter, using mirrors to decorate would help make the overall feel of your bathroom brighter and a lot more spacious. A few popular set-ups are having a full-length mirror at one wall of the bathroom, or a single wide mirror above their double sink vanity or mirrored cabinet doors. A great tip is to put up the mirror opposite a bright wall or a window would create an illusion of depth. Remember that the right mirror can contribute to the sense of spaciousness, reflect natural light, and add to decors that you put up.

4. Using Glass Dividers

Using Glass Dividers instead of tiled walls, aluminum doors, and shower curtains lets in more natural light and gives the semblance of an open layout and floor space. An advantage of using glass dividers made from plexiglass is that it doesn’t chemical react to cleaning aids and would look better and last longer. Do you have a bathroom in the attic with a slanted roof? Since glass dividers are customizable, they can accommodate tricky recesses and angles as well as standards heights. Meaning you can just about fit a shower area anywhere in the bathroom and have dividers made to cover that.

5. Same Tile Color and Pattern Flooring

Whatever the material that you decide on for your flooring, use the same pattern consistently throughout the entire bathroom. Trying to differentiate the flooring for the toilet and sink area vs the bathtub and shower area, just creates confusion and is not aesthetically pleasing. Using the same tile color and pattern even if there are dividers, the continuous design in the flooring contributes to the illusion of a bigger floor space.

6. Choose the Right Bathroom Fixtures and Accessories

In small bathrooms, choosing the right fixtures would be the best thing that you can do for a small bathroom. You would want to choose fixtures that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and of course small. There are different types of fixtures. For shower most homes with small bathrooms, for flexibility, homeowners tend to pick out showers that are handheld with a wall mount. For toilets, there are already small toilet options available in the market, however, to further save on space, toilets with water closets built-in on the wall can also be used.

7.Combining the Shower and Bathtub

The first compromise that builders make when the bathroom is small is to not put in a bathtub anymore and just stick with the shower. Another option is to combine the shower and bathtub area to save and fully utilize the space, positioning the shower to face the bathtub. If all else fails and your bathroom still can’t accommodate a full-sized bathtub, there are now alternatives to have a half-tub installed which would consume less space.

8. Floating Sinks and Vanities

Deciding to go with floating sinks and vanities for your bathroom can give the illusion of more space and an open floor plan. Hung sinks and vanities also create more usable space at the bottom for items like trashcans, hampers, footstools, and such. Having these hung on the wall would be an advantage for the family especially if your family is mostly taller or smaller people, you can ask your contractor to install the sink and vanity at a height that would be preferable for your family.

9. Get Creative with Storage

Regardless of the bathroom, big or small, would need storage space for everyday items. Getting creative with storage spaces is a must if you have a small bathroom. The spaces under the sink and above the toilet can be used, shelves can be installed, and used for storage space for items like toilet paper and towels. Having a full-length mirror with a cabinet behind the mirror that can be recessed into the wall can also be a great space saver. Other homeowners opt to use hooks line along one side of the wall that you can use for just about anything that can be hung.

10. Use of a Pocket Door

 In the case of bathrooms, due to space constraints, a door swinging inside just to open takes a lot of space. In some cases, after turning the knob some people even have to step back so the door can fully swing open. The use of pocket doors has been on the rise due to its advantages. A pocket door is a sliding door that when opened slides back and disappears into a compartment carved out in the wall. Pocket doors are used when there is no space for a hinged door to swing open and close, it also adds value to the architectural effect of the door, the bathroom, and the home. The pocket door moves along on rollers either on an overhead suspended track or floor tracks that guide the door to move back and forth, open and close.

11. Pick Out Decor

Just because your bathroom is small doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to decorate it. A trick would be to pick out decor that is to scale with your bathroom. Avoid using huge decors that consume so much space or small decors wherein inadvertently would just end up using more space. You can use framed items such as pictures, coasters, vinyl, etc hung stacked vertically. Succulents would also look great above the water closet and the vanity. Although not part of the decor you can use brightly colored towels arranged boldly on a shelf to add a splash of color to your decor. Another idea is to use baskets and jars as both decor and storage.

12. Keep It Organized

The limited space in your bathroom should not stop you from making it a comfortable place. If a place as small as a bathroom is cluttered, it gives off the feeling of being cramped and uncared for. All bathrooms can be decluttered and organized, it can result in quicker daily routines and other positive changes. Keeping it organized makes cleaning moving forward easier, be prepared to avoid running out of things, and find everything you need as you go about your business.

Final Thoughts

Decorating a small bathroom takes a lot of thought. The limited scale and size of the bathroom that you are working with may be limited, but there is still a lot of ideas out there. Storage solutions can make all the difference, and thankfully there are now a lot for bathrooms – from reduced-depth bathtubs and basins to slimline shower trays and frameless screens to enhance the illusion of space.

A small bathroom does not have to be the least bit functional and uninteresting, these ideas can create the bathroom transformation for your dream. Whether you’re working on your master’s bedroom ensuite bathroom, the guest’s powder room, or the bathroom you share with the entire household, these tips can help you make the most out of your bathroom space.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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