Let's just say a small bathroom isn't something your realtor will be including on your house’s tear sheet when it comes time to sell.
But there’s hope! There are ways to deal with this. Your small bathroom can be designed to look and function just as well as the rest of your great house.
You just need to know a few tricks - a few little pointers that can help a tight, tiny space GROW, visually.
These tricks I'm about to show you can be applied to any type of room.
However, in a bathroom, they are particularly important.
Every bathroom has to satisfy certain needs and, therefore, must include the basics: the sink and faucet, shower or bathing area, and the toilet. No matter how small the space, these things have to be shoved in there.
(Oh, and, of course, a big bathtub, some linen storage, an extra sink for some great lighting and mirrors, and maybe a seated vanity . . . Well, all those would be nice in a beautiful bathroom, too ;-)
If this was a living room, you could just remove some chairs. Or a sofa. Or the coffee table.
But a bathroom without a toilet? No.
TIP #1 | Keep everything the same tone / color / value as much as you can.
For example: Don’t have dark walls and light tile (or vice versa), because this will chop up the space, visually, and make it seem smaller.
TIP #2 | Paint the ceiling the color of the walls
Especially if your ceiling is angled or has some oddly shaped low areas.
Painting everything a unifying color will make those unusual shapes disappear, and the space will visually expand. It cuts down on the number of transitions and planes intersecting, therefore creating a cleaner, more expansive upper space in the room. Sometimes, I'll go one shade lighter on a flat ceiling, because ceilings always read a bit darker than the walls anyway. This will give the same effect
TIP #3 - Blend the tile color and wall color.
Blending the tile to the wall doubles your space in a small bathroom.
Imagine tile with contrasting color in this shower pictured to the left. Visually, it would cut the size of the bathroom in half, making the shower appear to be a separate space. By blending the color / value of the tile with the wall, it will all read as one larger room.
TIP #4 | Take the tile in the shower up to the ceiling.
It amazes me how builders will stop tile 1’ below the ceiling, then trim out the edge of the tile with bullnose edges. That probably costs more money than just taking the tile all the way up to the ceiling.
Again... Fewer transitions + less contrast = more expansive feel.
TIP #5 - Watch your transitions.
The more you can bleed a material from one area to the next without stopping and starting it, the cleaner and less busy the space will appear.
The tile pictured below runs all the way around the bathroom. Even the same flooring runs into the shower.
In the bathroom pictured above, the tile runs from the bathroom into the shower, making the backdrop singular.
TIP #6 | Use clear glass in your shower.
Textured glass can make a space feel like it has an extra wall. You may be able to get light in and have some privacy, but it will be a visual barrier within the room.
TIP #7 | Go BIG on the mirrors.
Nothing makes a bathroom feel grander than a mirror that reaches to the ceiling. Trimmed out in wood or tile, a tall, expansive mirror with lighting installed on top of it, or hanging in front of it, will double the light's impact and make the space grow.
TIP #8 | Go for plenty of natural light.
Natural light in a master bathroom is always desirable. After all, nothing beats the feeling of walking into a bathroom in the morning and glorious sunshine being there to welcome you! (It helps with your make-up too.)
I’ve seen many bathrooms with windows that have been covered with shutters, or some sort of blacked-out window covering, to create privacy, and either approach is just like walling up a window!
Instead, cover a window with a translucent window shade, or a tone-on-tone stained glass window - that way you can have natural light and privacy!
If you don’t have a window, consider a solatube, or some kind of skylight to bring some natural light into the space.
In this pic below, you will see how beautiful Hunter Douglas translucent shades were used to provide privacy and let in the light.
TIP #9 | Use mirrors strategically.
We all know that mirrors are only as good as what they reflect. One great idea is to place mirrors across from a window within the room. Doing so will make it visually seem like you have two windows in the same space!
In the picture below, do you see how the mirror on the bathroom's cabinet doors reflect the light from the window in the adjacent bedroom?
TIP #10 | Recess your cabinetry and shampoo shelving into the walls.
Just like a typical medicine cabinet is recessed into a wall, if you have a linen cabinet that protrudes out into the space, and you need just a few more inches of storage, bury it into the wall. Of course, doing so will require the walls to be reframed in that area, but that's alright! Because it's amazing what 4 extra inches will get you!