How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Interiors of a bathroom
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If you do not have the luxury of adding more square footage, and if you wish your bathroom was larger, you can incorporate some changes to make your small bathroom look and feel larger. Theories about space enlargement apply to a bathroom just like they do any other room in the house.

No matter what style you use to decorate your bathroom, it will always be a small room. But, you can think like the pros and use a little visual magic, color edits, and lighting tricks to transform your small bath into a cozy retreat.

Select Colors for Serenity

Pale, soft color schemes tend to give the illusion of more space. This does not mean that your small bathroom has to be pink but avoid strong, bold colors. You can use bright highlights for accessories and towels, but select pastel tones, neutrals, and whites for backgrounds. Cool colors like blues, greens, and purples give the feeling of serenity.

Brighten Up the Room

Without taking up any counter space, you can add extra lighting to open up the look of your bathroom and add interest. Recessed can lighting can be installed in the ceiling and be focused on a part of the room. Wall sconces or a countertop lamp can add warmth. More expensive alternatives for bringing more light into the room include skylights, larger windows, or tubular skylights or solar tubes.

Change the Vanity Cabinet

A vanity cabinet provides nice storage under a sink but takes up lots of floor space in a small bath. Replacing the vanity with a pedestal or wall-mounted sink can be fairly inexpensive. Your bath will feel more open. Find alternative storage space with a small shelf or organize a nearby linen closet. Although, when you remove the vanity cabinet, you will probably have to repair or add new flooring in that area.

Cut Back Anything That Sticks Out

Even the smallest piece of furniture or accessory that sticks out into the room can stop your eye from looking past it and make your room feel small. Remove wall shelves, hanging racks, or decorative accessories on the walls that cut into the room and make it look smaller. You may need some of the pieces for comfort or usefulness, but, if the room feels bigger without them, it might be worth it for you to think of other ways to find storage elsewhere.

These decorating techniques work in any small room, but especially in a bathroom. They will help provide the illusion of expanding your small space without adding a single square foot.​

Reflect the Space With Mirrors

If your space will hold it, get a larger mirror to place in front of the bathroom sink. The mirror will reflect all the light in the room and pick up the color and pattern. You might consider a collection of mirrors arranged artistically in the place of one large mirror. The more shiny surfaces you can add, the lighter it will appear. Try adding mirrors opposite from your windows to reflect light (both natural and artificial) all around the room. This can make even the smallest room seem large and a dark space instantly brighter.

Choose a Light-Colored Flooring

Just like with the walls, the floor will appear to open up if it is done with a light color. If you cannot replace the flooring, choose a large, light-colored rug to place over your existing flooring.

Cut Out the Accessories

There is nothing like clutter to make a small space feel even smaller. Pare down on towels and use just one large floor rug. Select one piece of art instead of lots of small pieces. Use one decorative accessory instead of lots of small ones. Store whatever else you need out of sight.

Get Rid of Visual Obstructions

Trade a frosted-glass bath or shower door with a clear glass one. Or eliminate the door altogether and install a shower curtain that can be pushed back to one side when not in use. This way, you can see all the way to the back wall. Your eye will not stop at the door and think that the room is smaller than it is. Think of this technique as "pushing the walls back," which you can accomplish with the correct wall finishes that call your eye's attention at the farthest end of the room.

Choose Light Wallpaper

Like wall paint selection, if you decide to go with wallpaper, choose a white or light background to give the illusion of more open space. Select an open, airy design with a white, yellow, or neutral color palette.

Add Depth to the Walls

If you have an artistic flair, consider painting or stenciling a decorative mural on the largest open wall. You can hang a framed picture that looks like a window, looking out onto a garden or beautiful horizon. These can help to expand the look of your space. Any piece of art that shows an outdoor vista will help to enlarge the feeling of the room.

Expand the Ceiling

You can create the illusion of a raised ceiling if you paint a lattice or molding design around the edge of the ceiling. Or, install crown molding around the ceiling, and paint it the same color as the ceiling. For whimsy, add faux paint clouds or stars, using a light color and white.

Eliminate All Clutter

A clean, neat bathroom always looks larger and more spacious than a cluttered, dirty one. Have only essential must-have items visible and put away everything else. Spend some time organizing storage areas in a linen closet or vanity to make the most of what you have.