How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Design, Decor and Storage for a Small Bathroom

The bathroom decorating can make a small bathroom look even smaller-or much bigger. It’s all a question of creating an illusion. There are some principals of bathroom decorating that come into play when using decorations to make a small bathroom look bigger. The first is the illusion of grandeur, created by elegant architectural additions to your bathroom decor. The second is the illusion of depth, created by three-dimensional bathroom decorations. The third is the illusion of layers, created by lucent bathroom decorating fabrics. And the fourth is the illusion of space created by a specific color palette employed in your bathroom decorating. And More…

Principals to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger


Our eyes tend to perceive more ornate bathroom decorating as more spacious; after all, mansions don’t have small bathrooms. Hence capping the ceiling with crown molding to match your base molding will make your small bathroom seem bigger because it is more elegant. Adding other grandeur bathroom decorations will enhance the illusion of a bigger bathroom, such as mantle shelves or chair rail molding in the middle of the bathroom wall.


The perception of additional depth will automatically lead our eyes to suppose that a small bathroom is bigger. Bathroom decorating for depth can be achieved with three-dimensional art or with mirrors. Choose bathroom decorations such as paintings that create the illusion of more indoor space, not outdoor space. Also, make sure the bathroom decorations have no frame. Our eye tends to see a frame as a window frame, and hence the small bathroom itself won’t look any bigger. Mirrors are even better at making a small bathroom seem bigger, because they replicate the same indoor space. However, too many mirrors can create an infinity effect that turns objects into blurs that confuse the eye and can be disorienting and unpleasant.


Choosing lucent bathroom decorating fabrics to hide a tub or decorate a bathroom window is a way to create the illusions of layers. The layers will make a small bathroom look bigger. Therefore, choose a shower curtain that has a delicate pattern that enhances your bathroom decorations, but at the same time make sure the shower curtain is just see-through enough to create the illusion of layers. For your bathroom curtains choose completely lucent fabrics that allow the eye to see past the curtains, again enhancing the illusion that a small bathroom is bigger.


Our eyes determine the size of a bathroom by the perceived space. But our perceptions are pre-determined by our past experiences. We tend to perceive dark spaces as smaller, and lighter spaces as bigger. For this reason, bathroom decorating with light colors will create the illusion of more space. Painting your bathroom walls in a pale shade will make a small bathroom seem bigger.

More Small Bathroom Design Ideas

Pedestal Sink

A traditional vanity allows you to store a lot of toiletries in the bathroom. But the downside to a bathroom vanity is that it takes up a lot of space, which will prove counter productive when trying to make a small bathroom look larger. A pedestal sink will free up space around the sink area that is normally taken up by a vanity, which will instantly open up the sink area. However, if you opt for a pedestal sink, you will need to reconsider where to store your toiletries. One way to overcome the problem of storage space is to add a tile ledge right above the pedestal sink so that you can store daily essentials such as soap, shampoo and razors.


A view of a few more feet into the shower or tub provides additional depth to a small bathroom so what you use to cover the shower opening is important. If glass shower doors are preferred, go with clean glass. For a more economical approach that also adds color to the bathroom, use a shower curtain and leave the curtain at least halfway open after showering. The color of shower curtain can complement the floor or paint color, present a vivid splash of color or design, or the shower curtain could be transparent to let light into the shower.


Keep wall color light. Small print wallpaper is an option. Wall paint color options include white or light shades of blue, yellow, pink, beige or green. Continue the shower tile on the walls around the room or use bedboard paneling on all non-shower walls. Tile or bedboard paneling running about 48 inches up from the floor helps to draw the eye upward, creating an illusion of room height.


Many options are available for bathroom flooring. For a very small bathroom, one option is to choose all one color, like white or tan tile, or gray slate. To make an eye-catching statement, try multi-color glass tile. In keeping with older home decor, choose black and white tile flooring.

If you choose ceramic tile, opt for larger, light colored tiles, and use the same color grout. Textured tiles and electric heating coils installed under the tile may eliminate the need for bath mats, but if you prefer to have mats, choose ones that are close in color to the floor tiles.


Lots of lighting is critical in a small bathroom. If your bathroom is a mid-century design whose only source of light is over the sink, you can appreciate how minimal lighting contributes to a gloomy bathroom. Increase lighting with the addition of recessed lighting, twin lights on each side of the mirror, or replace wall lights with multiple ceiling-hung pendant lights. If attic space is above the bathroom, natural light can be added by installing tubular skylights or a regular skylight.


A small bathroom will feel much larger if there is storage incorporated into the design. Especially if you do choose to install a pedestal sink, you will want to have storage, and offer potential buyers the selling point of storage. A great place to provide more storage is with an attractive cabinet over the toilet.

Place a shallow basket under the sink to store bath towels. Shallow wall cabinets that are about 8 inches deep can provide storage for small items such as toothpaste and tooth brushes, comb or hairbrush, toilet tissue, or personal care items. Take advantage of the space between the wall support beams to create open storage niches in the wall.


Keep accessories to a minimum. A mirror can offer a feeling of openness, but shy away from using a large mirror that covers most of one wall. Instead, place the mirror over the sink and use walls for storage cabinets, towel bars or robe hooks. Available wall space may be covered with small pictures. Place a scented candle or a small dish of potpourri on the toilet tank or at the side of the sink.


For a small space, always use light paint. However, white paint can look cold and clinical in a bathroom. To make a small bathroom seem bigger, paint it a light neutral color, such as a sandy light beige, or a light taupe. If you want another color on the wall, stick with the most popular paint colors, like a light sage or blue. You can also leave the ceiling a bright white, and paint the baseboards a crisp white.


Replacing fixtures is a given in updating a bathroom, but when trying to make a small bathroom look bigger, think of design. Go for slim designs, not bulky, big metal bathroom fixtures. You can even go for modern glass fixtures, that will reflect the light, or that are transparent, to give the illusion of more space.


Many people believe small art goes in a small space. This is not always the case. A small bathroom will appear bigger if you choose one or two larger pieces of art, instead of cluttering up the visual space with lots of little paintings or pictures. Keep it simple and elegant.

Doors and Windows

Changing the door of your bathroom is a weekend project that can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your bath. A door with multiple glass panes can let light in from the hall, and provide a more open-feeling bathroom than a solid door. Choose a door with frosted panes, or use window privacy film to block the view.

For window coverings, less is more for a small space. Stick with blinds or shades if you only draw the curtains occasionally. If you live in an area where you constantly keep the curtains drawn (for example, your bathroom window overlooks a sidewalk or a neighbor’s living room window,) choose a frosted window or install privacy film.

A small bathroom can look and feel bigger and more adequate with the aforementioned tips and decorating suggestions. A small bathroom is warm on cold winter days, and it although it is small it really can look bigger than ever.

Using some (or all) of these tips, you should be able to give your small bath a breath of slightly larger fresh air. Simply follow the tips and removing the clutter will make a noticeable impact on how large your bath feels. Make a few changes, and your bath will be that much nicer to relax and unwind in.


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