20 Ways to Get the Best Use of Space in your Bathroom

With the exception of closets, your bathrooms are the smallest rooms in your home that you occupy multiple times a day. For being the smallest room, you unfortunately have dozens of tasks to perform in the space and it still feels too small. To make your bathroom feel bigger and maximize every square inch, here’s a list of 20 ways to make the most of your space. Best in this article refers to tips that are easy to accomplish and fun to do in the process. See how your bathroom will soon become the most LOVED room to use in the house.

1.) Use a monochrome color scheme in a small bathroom: Depending on the color you choose and the amount of natural light that illuminates your space, one color can make your bathroom feel larger. Remember that one color doesn’t mean you can’t wear shades of one color. A bathroom with different shades of one color will achieve the same goal. Soft, neutral tones are perfect for this visual trick. If you can keep it clean, white will make your bathroom feel bigger!


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2.) Choose smaller accessories: Believe it or not, they make sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and shower enclosures of all sizes. If space is inadequate in your small bathroom, consider replacing some of your fixtures with smaller ones to gain more room to maneuver. In a small half bath, instead of using a vanity sink with a cabinet below it, opt for a pedestal sink. They look beautiful and take up half the space.

3.) Adjustable lighting will create a multifunctional bathroom: When a space is limited to a single function, it can appear smaller than it is. For example, if you only have a ceiling light in the bathroom, you will find only utilitarian tasks to occupy your time and then leave. Add a dimmer switch to that same light fixture and now you can get ready for work in the morning and relax at night in the tub or shower. Your small bathroom is now much bigger!

4.) Use the space above the entrance for storage: The next time you are in your bathroom, take a look at how much vertical space in your bathroom is not being used. Usually the space above a door is empty. Especially, if you have ceilings higher than the minimum free space, you can install decorative storage shelves to store bath salts, scrubs, etc. in a decorative basket. If decor isn’t your concern, use the shelf to hold extra toilet paper and cleaners to free up valuable storage area under the sink

5.) Use a glass enclosure in the tub/shower area: Shower curtains can be used in your bath/shower but will visually separate your bathroom. Opt for a glass partition that creates a subtle, visual divider between your main area and your shower/bathtub. For added privacy, many glass enclosures can have a frosted pattern applied to provide privacy and not interfere with your illusion of space.

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6.) Update your small bathroom with modern accessories: Even though your bathroom is small, it can still feel like a larger-than-life space. Bathrooms have great resale value when selling your home and upgrading your fixtures is a worthwhile investment. If your bathroom feels small due to dated and boring fixtures, opt for brushed chrome, brass or copper fixtures. For a wow factor, consider vessel sinks set on granite countertops. You’ll love spending time in your small bathroom when it feels luxurious!

7.) Opt for larger tiles in a small bathroom: When selecting floor tiles, choose larger units and patterns that are subtle rather than ornate. Less breakage of the floor lines equals less visual cuts with the eyes. The floors should complement your bathroom and by using small tiles you will detract from your goal of enlarging the space.

8.) Don’t forget the roof: Many bathrooms have beautiful vaulted or tray ceilings that add volume and depth to a small bathroom. If you are one of these lucky people, add lighting above to emphasize this architectural feature. If your ceiling is low, you still have great color options. Consider painting it a light color complementary to the rest of the bathroom to make the walls visually taller. Do you have talent to paint a mural? A light blue background and subtle clouds will give the illusion that the sky is above… very serene when executed correctly. There is no bathroom that feels small when the sky is open above them!

9.) Use mirrors to reflect light and add space: Vanity mirrors can take up the entire wall or be hung in decorative frames to resemble a work of art. When using mirrors in bathrooms, keep in mind the subject that will be reflected. Mirrors in front of a window will reflect light and scenery, while a mirror in front of a bathroom linen cabinet may not give you the impact you were looking for. Mirrors also come in engraved versions to add visual interest.
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10.) Maximize vertical space: If your bathroom offers you the luxury of adding vertical storage and display, go for it! Your walls over 7 feet are usually wasted with an empty area. This is a gold mine for storage of toiletries and bathroom cleaners and sprays. Consider building cabinets that extend to the ceiling. If you prefer, decorations and pops of color can also be added on the mirrors and cabinets. Adding color at a vertical height will raise the eye and thus expand the space and feel of the bathroom.

eleven.) Install brighter lights to avoid dark areas: In some bathrooms the lighting is enough to look in the mirror but other parts of the bathroom cast shadows. To eliminate dark corners in your bathroom, install brighter light bulbs. Consider switching to CFL bulbs to save money on energy use and give off a brighter, whiter light.

12.) Window treatments can add height: Bathrooms that have windows should not forget these important features by giving the illusion of space. Windows not only let in natural light, they give the view a place to wander outside the small room. To add height, consider adding valances or cornices that make the window feel dramatically ornate. This illusion will draw the eye up and away from the ground. Use colors that match the bathroom palette and steer clear of heavy, dark materials that will give the eye an abrupt stopping place.

13.) Maximize floor space with minimal obstructions: In small bathrooms, scales, trash cans, and laundry baskets use up valuable floor space that could be used for moving around the bathroom. The key to this is hosting these items elsewhere. If your trash can is small enough to fit next to the toilet, this may solve your problem. While scales and laundry baskets may need to go in a bedroom or adjacent hallway closet.

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14.) Change the swing of your door: If your current door opens into your bathroom, consider flipping the door so it opens out of the bathroom. When doing this, make sure the door does not open into a high-traffic hallway or space. If you can, consider installing a pocket door that slides into the wall and doesn’t require the door to swing open. Pocket doors are also visually appealing because they “hide” inside the wall!

fifteen.) Use a lighter wood color for cabinets: If your bathroom has under-counter cabinetry in the sink, consider using lighter woods instead of dark-colored woods. A light-colored wood will allow more light to reflect off surfaces and won’t make the eye stop abruptly at dark cabinets. If you’re renovating, consider using a light-colored sink to match the lighter wood.

sixteen.) Use recessed fixtures to free up the movement area: Consider using a built-in toilet paper holder and create niches in the wall to store towels, toiletries, and display items. Wall niches will create visual interest and help keep items from protruding into valuable floor area. Use this same trick in showers and bathtubs to hold soap and bathroom accessories. If you’re renovating your bathroom, create niches in the shower wall and use tile inside the niches for a custom look.

17.) Use cabinets with open storage: Storage under the sink is a bonus and if you have open storage it can serve decorative purposes at the same time. Open storage shelves allow you to store towels, baskets and other decorative items without taking up space in a closet. If you decide to have open storage for your bathroom, be mindful of clutter and adding too many items on the shelves.

18.) Bring in natural light from above: Interior bathrooms do not always have the opportunity to have a window in the wall. Consider bringing in light with a skylight or solar lighting tube. A solar lighting tube is installed from the ceiling to the bathroom and uses reflective material to bounce light into the room. You’ll be amazed at how bright your bathroom looks when you add natural light from above.

19.) Use wall mirrors instead of large medicine cabinets: Bulky medicine cabinets make your small bathroom look even smaller. Consider swapping out the cabinet for a wall mirror. If you prefer to stick with a medicine cabinet, opt for one that is low-profile and doesn’t extend much beyond the wall.

twenty.) Use a minimum number of accessories on the ground: Make sure the floor space is kept clear and uncluttered. If you choose to use a rug, use 1 large one instead of several small ones. The more separate pieces you have, the more the floor space will be visually divided. A rug will unify the floor as a large whole and maximize your bathroom area.

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Small bathrooms don’t have to be a difficult challenge, in fact, they can be one that you embrace and love. With these 20 tips to make your space feel bigger, the cozy charm of your sanctuary can feel even better than a large bathroom. Give them a try today and see if you fall in love with your little space all over again!

Freshhome reader, do you have a small bathroom that you’ve made feel bigger? Do you have any tricks that have worked for you? Share them and see if others have some tricks for you to try!

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