9 Top Tips to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

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When we are asked to complete a bathroom renovation for our clients, the most common thing I hear is,

I wish I could have a bigger bathroom!

Sometimes that is possible if you’re willing to take space away from an adjacent room and have a large enough budget to accommodate the work. However, that isn’t always possible or something our clients are willing to do.

The next best alternative is to take some steps to make your existing bathroom look and feel bigger. This is usually a simple and inexpensive task. It will require some changes on your part and may mean doing some things that you don’t want to do like removing “clutter”. Read through the ideas below to see which ones you’d like to implement in your small bathroom!

1.Smaller Vanity

If you’ve got a large vanity in a small bathroom, the space is probably looking and feeling cramped and overwhelmed because a big vanity will take up a lot of floor space. If you remove the large vanity and replace it with either a smaller vanity or better yet, a pedestal sink, it will open up the space and give the appearance of a larger bathroom. Remember though that you will be losing some of your storage so replace it with open shelves or use a nearby linen closet where you can store the excess supplies.

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If you don’t want to lose storage space by going with a pedestal sink, you can also select a floating vanity. This will create the illusion of more space since the vanity doesn’t sit on the floor.

2. Remove Clutter

The more “stuff” you have in your bathroom, the smaller it’s going to feel. Get rid of as much “clutter” as you can. Have fewer towels and have minimal art on the walls. Have one large piece of art on the walls instead of lots of small pieces. Anything that you don’t absolutely need on the counter…move it into a vanity, medicine cabinet or linen closet. Not only will your space open up but you will feel better because your bathroom will look cleaner.

3. Mirrors

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This is a trick interior decorators use throughout homes. Mirrors reflect light and pick up on colour. If you have a large mirror the same width of your vanity that goes all the way to the ceiling, it will give the illusion of a larger room.

You can also group several smaller mirrors together elsewhere in the room arranged artistically to add more reflection and the illusion of more space.

To make mirrors more decorative, you can trim them out in wood or an accent tile. You can also hang a pendant light in front of a mirror to add an interesting effect as well as reflect the light to brighten up the room.

4. Flooring

The goal in trying to make a small space look larger is to make the space appear to open up. This can be done by using light coloured flooring. This will also make the room appear brighter and will reflect light more making the room appear airy.

5. Extra Lighting

We’ve talked a lot about light colours and making the room appear brighter. An easy way to do this is by adding more light. Recessed lighting (pot lights) is a great way to do this as it doesn’t take up any extra space since it’s recessed. However, you can also increase light in a room with wall sconces or even increasing the size of the windows in the room.

6. Visual Obstruction

Towels hanging on the wall and shelves that protrude out cause a visual obstruction and stop the natural flow your eye makes in a room.

Towels hanging on the wall and shelves that protrude out cause a visual obstruction and stop the natural flow your eye makes in a room.

To create the illusion of a bigger room, you want to keep your eye flowing from the front of the room to the back of the room. Consequently you want to get rid of any visual obstructions that might prevent this. For example, frosted glass shower doors are beautiful but stop the eye and cut the room. Opt for either clear glass shower doors or a shower curtain that can be pushed out of the way when not in use.

7. Colour Schemes

Pale, soft colours will always give the illusion of more space. Cool colours will also give the feeling of serenity. You can still use bold, dark colours in your room but only as accessories such as towels. Here are some great colour choices from Sherwin Williams: Mountain Air, Filmy Green, Shell White, Jersey Cream, Napery, Passive, Sensitive Tint

You can also create a very light, airy look by layering white on white. Use a simple white subway tile with a white vanity and white painted walls such as Alabaster or Extra White

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You can also opt to keep everything the same colour or tone. This includes the ceiling. Select a pale colour for the walls and use the same colour on the ceiling. If you prefer a different colour on the ceiling, go one shade lighter for some variety. Keep the same tones for your floors as well. Don’t put in dark grey flooring with pale grey walls. This will chop up the space visually and will make the room look smaller.

8. Tiles

When selecting tiles for a small room, it’s best to go with a medium sized tile. If you opt for small tiles you will have a lot of grout lines which chop up the room. Don’t go too big either as large 18”x 18” tiles are too large and will make the room look smaller.

The colour of your tiles can make a difference as well. Blend the colour of your tile with the colour of your walls. If the difference is too drastic, it will cut the size of your bathroom in half. It will also make your shower or bathtub appear to be a separate space.

Make sure you tile your tub or shower all the way up to the ceiling. This will create a more expansive feel and look by providing less contrasts and breaks in the flow.

9. Recessed Storage

When you recess medicine cabinets into the wall instead of having them stick out, you create more flow in the room. Similarly, adding shower niches for shampoo and soap instead of corner ceramic soap dishes that protrude out keeps everything smooth and flowing.

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There are many ways to make a small bathroom look bigger when you don’t have the option of actually expanding the space. You can use any or all of the ideas we’ve suggested here:

  1. A smaller vanity, pedestal sink or floating vanity

  2. Remove as much clutter as possible

  3. Use mirrors to reflect

  4. Light coloured flooring

  5. Increase the artificial or natural light in the room

  6. Get rid of any visual obstructions

  7. Use pale colours, layer similar colours and keep similar tones

  8. Use medium sized tiles, similar colour tiles to your wall colour and tile up to the ceiling in tubs and showers

  9. Recess cabinets to help the eye flow in the room

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Although these ideas were designed to help your bathroom look bigger, many of these ideas can be applied to any room in your home. Do you have any other rooms in your house that feel small to you? See how many of these ideas can be utilized in those rooms as well. Leave a comment below and let us know which of the above ideas you implemented in your small bathroom.