Ways To Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger

In terms of square footage, a small bathroom is a small bathroom. You have already decided that you can't expand because it costs too much or because you don't want to steal space from adjoining rooms. Either way, those outer dimensions remain the same.

But there are a few tricks you can play within that space to make it look and feel bigger. And you can be more efficient with that space by turning low-functioning space into space that wisely uses every cubic inch.

Some of the suggestions can be costly--such as changing out your tub for a shower--but many others cost little and can be finished in a weekend:

  • 01 of 07

    Add a Frameless Glass Shower

    Robert Daly/Getty Images

    Frameless glass showers are sheets of thick clear tempered glass held together into the shape of a shower stall by special clips. Showers with frosted glass or frames impose a visual "stop." Frameless showers expand your sightline by several feet. They definitely cost more than any other type of glass shower, but if you're desperate to feel more space, it's worth it.

    Shop Direct - Sterling Finesse Frameless Pivot Shower Door

  • 02 of 07

    Install a Skylight or Solar Tube

    Venting Skylight
    Venting Skylight. © Velux

    Natural light always provides more of a feeling of openness than do artificial lights. A full-fledged skylight runs between two rafters and has a drywall shaft that blocks out attic space. But if obstructions or money prevent you from installing a full skylight, consider tubular skylights--flexible tubes that can snake around obstructions and which cost a bit less than regular skylights.

  • 03 of 07

    Lighten Up Your Paint Color

    Light Bathroom Paint Color
    © About.com

    You don't need to go stark white, but lighter paint colors in the bathroom instantly make your bathroom feel bigger. Light and neutral colors reflect more ambient light, and they lessen the visual stop that darker colors bring on.

  • 04 of 07

    Trade Sink Cabinet For a Pedestal Sink

    pedestal sink
    © Jacuzzi

    If you had to do only one thing, this would be it. Sink cabinets occupy a lot of visual and functional space in small bathrooms. Get rid of yours and it will immediately feel like you've added 6 square feet of space. And they really stink as storage spaces, too.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Convert Tub Into a Shower

    shower tile
    Prairie Dusk Tile from Arizona Tile. © Arizona Tile

    Tubs eat up space in small bathrooms in two ways. First, due to their length, they often occupy an entire end of the bathroom. Second, because of their high sides, they again impose that visual stop mentioned above. Unless you choose a super-sized shower, it will be square and will free up some extra space along one wall (how about a towel rack there?).

  • 06 of 07

    Floor Tiles: Avoid Too Big or Too Small

    tile in small bathroom
    Kohler's Le Bain Parc Monceau Line. © Kohler

    Mosaic or any other tiny tile on a small bathroom floor looks incredibly busy. One reason is because the more tiles you have, the more grout lines you have. Those grout lines add up and make for a major visual distraction.

    On the other hand, large tiles (16" or more) also can make the small bathroom look smaller because your eye and brain work in concert to instantly calculate bathroom size. Not only that, it looks strange to see only four or five full tiles in a bathroom. Try to keep the tile in the 4" to 12" range.

  • 07 of 07

    Open Shelves Instead of Closed Compartments

    bathroom open shelves
    © Winsome Trading Company (via PriceGrabber)

    The mantra of the small bathroom designer is "open sightlines" (repeated thrice). Remove obstructions, walls, and bulky vanities. In the same vein, closed-up storage may keep your ugly hairdryer out of public view, but it also takes up that much more room in your small bath. Consider (first) paring down your bathroom chaos, then (second) trading out hulking storage areas for open shelves.