How to make your small bathroom look larger
If you have a small bathroom, you can find it difficult to renovate the space or consider newer fixtures. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Your bathroom may be small, but it doesn't have to look small. With a few alterations, appliances and tricks on the eye, you can create the illusion of a larger bathroom without moving a single wall.
Many of us dream of having a big, spacious bathroom with a separate bathtub and shower, twin sinks and maybe even somewhere for lounging between soaks. Those properties are few and far between, so, Plumbworld is here to help you make the most of the space you have!
Read on to find out the tricks and fixtures you can use to make your small bathroom look larger…
The easiest way to make your small bathroom appear larger than it is is to use light to your advantage - namely, reflect it to make your room look bigger to the eye.
In some cases, a very large mirror - particularly stretching down to the floor - can be a bit expensive. However, when compared with the price of tiling a wall, a mirror can actually give you a dramatic look, and the illusion of more space, at a better value.
Read more: Bathroom Mirror Buying Guide
You can buy a large mirror with a beautiful frame, try frameless and go wall-to-wall or ceiling-to-floor. The effect of these sized mirrors can be very powerful, so much so that you need little else to make the room look larger. Large mirrors can be especially effective in narrower rooms with small walls that don’t take much glass to cover.
Included in the use of mirrors are mirrored vanity cabinets that accomplish two jobs in one - reflecting light to make the space look larger and getting rid of clutter in storage. We’ll touch on more storage later, but combining the two in a wall-hung storage unit can go a long way to giving the impression that your bathroom is larger than it appears.
You may have heard this before, but colours can make a room appear larger or smaller. Clean, light colours are best - it’s why white is so popular in bathrooms.
If each wall of your bathroom has a patterned paint job, for example, it can make the room look cluttered and crowded - therefore smaller. Redecorating in favour of a clean, simple paint job will instantly make your bathroom appear far more spacious.
As for the colours to use, it’s a good idea to choose something light, such as white, sky blue or pastel yellows. Neutral shades, such as off-white and beige, can work just as well, creating a blank canvas effect that you can build on. This way, you can use accessories and bathroom furniture to add colour.
Sticking with one colour will not mean a loss in design or character for the bathroom. Using different textural elements such as pale stone or tile and fabric accents, as well as touches of metallic or wood, will keep the seamless look. You can even achieve this with wall panels.
Wall hung furniture
In a small bathroom, it can be tricky to balance storage with a need for space to breathe and letting light in, so floating or hanging fixtures are a great answer. They give you all the storage you need without taking up important floorspace!
The effect your fittings and bathroom furniture have on the space can be dramatic. For example, anything with a long profile will invade the space you need but also draws the eye, causing the room to appear smaller than it is. Slimline and wall-hung fixtures, such as toilets and cabinets, take up a smaller portion of space while maintaining maximum functionality.
Back-to-wall and wall-hung toilets are great for streamlining bathrooms. They conceal the cistern and make your space appear far less cluttered. Plus, wall-hung toilets are compact by design and can go a long way to increasing the floor space. Wall-hung toilets are similar and can be back-to-wall as well, but the gap to the floor gives the illusion of more space.
Floating storage, like wall-hung basin units, gives you room to store essentials, but the peek of flooring underneath makes your bathroom appear more open. In a small bathroom space, being able to see more of the floor can make a big difference in how you interpret the space.
Shower Screens & Enclosures
Another way to expand the look of your bathroom space is by replacing a shower curtain with a glass panel or door - it can be a bit of a visual wall, even when drawn back.
With a shower screen, you can see much more of the room, especially when you’re in the shower itself rather than being isolated. If you prefer more privacy, you can use a frosted or tinted glass panel. These will still allow light to filter through so your shower experience feels less claustrophobic compared to a shower curtain.
For shower enclosures, quadrant shower enclosure or an enclosure with infolding or sliding shower doors are excellent for maximising space in a small bathroom. Bi-fold doors fold in on themselves rather than opening outwards, while streamlined sliding doors slide along rails in the enclosure without encroaching on external space.
Read more: How to Fit a Shower Enclosure
Because many of us have limited space for a bath and shower enclosure, if you mainly shower, but don’t want to lose the option of having a bath, try a shower bath. These “L” and “P”-shaped baths combine the two without losing valuable floor space.
Clever storage options
When trying to create the illusion of more space, the last thing you want is lots of clutter around your bathroom. By adding clever storage options you can hide this clutter away to keep your surfaces clear of bottles and toothbrushes!
Open shelves are a great way to visually open up a small space, whilst also providing lots of storage. You can really get creative with these shelves by making your fixtures, such as towels and beauty products, into stylish features. By storing everything away you minimise clutter on window sills and countertops, to create a streamlined bathroom.
Vanity units are an ideal solution for small bathrooms, providing plenty of storage for towels, soaps, and cosmetics. If you don’t need maximum storage, consider a smaller vanity cabinet to leave more open space, rather than trying to fit the biggest unit you can. You can also get a basin furniture unit that combines both a vanity cabinet and your basin for more space.
Under-sink cabinets and above door storage are all clever solutions to make your bathroom seem bigger than it is and remove excess clutter. The more of the floor and walls you can see, the more light you let in, the better and larger your bathroom will appear.
Finally, to create the illusion of a bigger bathroom, large plain-coloured tiles are an excellent solution - especially when fitted all the way up to the ceiling.
It used to be that small tiles in a small bathroom worked best to make the space appear larger. However, numerous grouting lines can have the reverse effect. So, go for large tiles up to the ceiling. This saves you having the half tile, half painted design but it also gives the impression of high ceilings and more air.
Read more: How to Tile a Bathroom Floor
Plain tiles, like neutral plain paint designs, are much more effective for giving the illusion of more space. Busy patterns, such as black and white checks, makes the space feel smaller. Using just one shade is a simple but effective way to make the room appear larger because the designs are much less cluttered than patterned tiles.
When choosing tiles, therefore, remember the effect it can have on your eyes. Our eyes react poorly to clutter, whether it’s on a webpage or in a room. Subway-style tiles look nice, but small tiles, with lots of grouting lines, makes bathrooms appear small. They’re also much trickier to fit than large tiles.
For more information on small bathrooms, take a look at the following posts - Complete Guide to Making the Most of a Small Bathroom - Make the Most of Your Small Bathroom - Small Toilet Ideas.
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