Bathrooms are one of the smallest rooms in the house, yet remain one of the most used. Why not give them the design treatment they deserve? Whether it’s a full, guest, master, or half, a little ingenuity goes a long way to making your small bathroom stylish and functional.
Explore Sink & Vanity Options
Don’t feel tied to an original bathroom sink; there are plenty customizable sink options nowadays that can liven up a space. A corner sink or trough sink both have a low profile that’s great for smaller bathrooms. Plus, a wall-mounted trough sink frees up floor space for storage, and some “floating” models even have built in storage.
Think about your vanity, too; simple changes can help to capitalize on small space. Avoid swinging doors in your itty-bitty powder room, and instead opt for open shelving or sliding cabinet doors. Extending the vanity counter to reach over the toilet will create some much-needed surface space, and a mirror that covers the entire wall behind the vanity (or a mirror almost anywhere!) adds both space and functionality.
One last recommendation? Rounded corners. Choose a vanity with soft edges for your small bathroom – your hips and thighs will thank you.
While bathtubs are a luxury most of us enjoy, it may be best to skip it in favor of building the perfect shower. Consider a sliding, floor-to-ceiling glass door; or forego the door altogether and hang a shower curtain high above. Both options raise the eye and create visual space.
If you’re someone who absolutely must have a bathtub, or your bathroom can fit it, corner tubs, alcove tubs, and drop-in tubs tend to be the most space-conscious.
Leverage Color and Line
Gena Kirk, VP of Design at KB Home, notes that smart use of size and materials can make your bathroom appear larger. She recommends large-scale materials in herringbone or vertical patterns to elongate your space.
Designers often prefer a consistent, neutral color scheme for smaller spaces, and the bathroom is not exempt. Painting the ceiling to match the wall colors is another trick to maximizing the amount of space your eye captures.
However, just because neutral colors are recommended, that doesn’t mean your bathroom has to be boring! You can still use pops of color to show off your style and personality. Brightly colored towels, tile accents, a wallpapered accent wall, or fun lighting have the power to enhance your small space in a big way.
Be a Wallflower
Wall-mounted bathroom appliances and fixtures can save space by keeping things nice and streamlined. For example, faucets affixed to the wall are sleek and on-trend, not to mention they free up precious space.
Jessenia Toro, Chief Operating Officer of MyHome Design + Remodeling, says a wall-mounted toilet can also save both floor space and legroom.
Use Negative Space
If possible, carve space into the walls to create a shallow recessed medicine cabinet. Or, have your builders create a tile or slate recess in the shower for storing your shampoo and conditioner.
And if you’d like, don’t be afraid to create a skylight! Most small bathrooms only have space for a small window. A skylight is a great way to bring in some more natural light, says Senior Designer Amber Carfield of Kitchens by Good Guys.
With the right mindset, designing a small bathroom for comfort and function can be a rewarding challenge. Take a deep breath, envision what you want, and don’t overlook the bathroom just because of its smaller space. It deserves your undivided attention when it comes to design, and you’ll be thanking yourself in the long run.
Rebecca Rosenberg is a freelance copywriter, digital media strategist and world traveler. After working in marketing for some of Austin’s most beloved brands, Rebecca started her own business and left Texas behind to travel the world. You can find her currently bumming around Europe. Often flying solo, she has visited over 35 countries and lived abroad in four. In addition to being a digital nomad, Rebecca is an avid hiker, design enthusiast and certified plant nerd. She speaks English, Spanish, German and Korean.