How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Interiors of a bathroom
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Unless you live in a custom-built home with a luxurious bath and dressing room, you probably wish your bathroom were larger. Without adding any more square footage, you might feel less cramped if you use some of our tips to make your small bathroom look and feel larger.

It's true that a small bathroom can feel cozy and intimate. But it can also feel claustrophobic and depressing. Depending on your decorating style, it can be quiet and sophisticated, charming, or sparkling like a jewel box.

No matter what style you decorate your small bath, though, it will always be a small bath. But with a bit of visual magic, color change, and lighting, you can transform your small bath into a cozy retreat.

A bathroom is a very special space, but the theories about space enlargement apply here as to any other room in the house. Use some of these decorating tricks to make your bathroom look and feel larger, even if it stays the same size.

Select Colors for Serenity

Pale, soft color schemes tend to give the illusion of more space. I'm not saying that the small bath has to be pink but avoid strong, exciting colors. Use the brights for accessories and towels, but select pastel tones, neutrals, and whites for backgrounds. "Cool" colors 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 into the ceiling and focused on any workspace. Wall sconces or a countertop lamp will add warmth. More expensive alternatives for bringing more light into the room would be skylights, larger windows, or Solatubes.

Trade a Large Vanity for a Delicate Pedestal Sink

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. When you remove the vanity cabinet, you'll probably have to repair the flooring.

Cut Back Anything That Sticks Out

Even the smallest piece of furniture or accessory that sticks out into the room can stop where your eye goes and make your room seem to "shrink." Remove wall shelves, hanging racks, or decorative accessories on the walls that cut into the room and make it look smaller. Of course, you may need some of the pieces for comfort and their usefulness, but if the room feels bigger without them, think of some other way to supply the space you need.

These decorating techniques work in any small room, but especially in a bathroom. They'll help to 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.

Choose a Light-Colored Flooring

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

Cut Out the Small Accessories

There's 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 Any 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. You'll be able to see all the way to the back wall. Your eye won't stop at the door and think that the room is smaller than it is.

You can "push the walls back" if you select the correct wall finishes.

Choose Light Wallpaper

Wallpaper with a white or light background gives the illusion of a more open space. Choose an open, airy design with a white, yellow, or neutral ground.

Add Depth to the Walls

If you have an artistic flair or a friend who does, you should consider painting or stencil a decorative mural on the largest open wall. Or 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. Install crown molding around the ceiling and paint it the same color as the ceiling. Or 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's visible and put away everything else. Spend some time organize storage areas in a linen closet or vanity to make the most of what you have.

Just because your bathroom is small doesn't mean that it has to be dull. It can be a warm and inviting retreat, showing off your sense of color and style.