Although small bathrooms may seem less inviting than their roomy counterparts, there are some simple tricks you can use to make even the smallest washroom cozy and accessible. Just because you have a cramped bathroom doesn’t mean the area can’t be a refuge for relaxation and grooming. If you’re ready to bid farewell to a stuffy bathroom, focus on these changes, which are within nearly any homeowner’s budget.

Creative Lighting

Lighting can go a long way in making a small bathroom appear more spacious. Installing a few wall sconces or a countertop lamp will create the impression of a wide-open space in your cramped washroom. Recessed-can lighting on the ceiling has been known to have a similar effect. If your washroom features windows, replacing them with larger ones is an effective way to create the illusion of more space.

Small bathroom makeover.
Small bathroom makeover.


Unobtrusive Furnishings

To make your washroom — or any other cramped space, for that matter — look more spacious, get rid of any furniture or cabinet fixtures that stick out. Cabinetry, towel racks and sinks that can easily be bumped into make small washrooms appear even smaller. Worse yet, such obtrusive bathroom furnishings present potential safety hazards to guests who are unaccustomed to your bathroom.

To help solve this problem, try placing your towels in a designated cabinet instead of a towel rack. You can also look into installing sink fixtures that blend into the bathroom’s wall. Consider installing bathroom cabinetry that is connected to the wall, too. Any one of these suggestions will clear up a noticeable amount of extra space.

The Right Colors

Any interior designer will tell you color is paramount in creating the illusion of open space in a cramped area. When attempting to maximize space, pale colors work particularly well. Pale shades of pink, orange and red create a spacious, relaxed feel in any confined space.

Conversely, you’ll want to avoid strong colors, whether they are dark or bright, when painting your bathroom and selecting the colors of its plumbing fixtures and furnishings. Not only do bold colors make the room seem smaller, they can also make it seem cold and uninviting.

Multifunctional Furnishings

Maximize your bathroom’s free space with some creative storage solutions. For example, when looking for the right sink, avoid pedestal sinks. While this type of plumbing fixture is stunning in large bathrooms, pedestal sinks can be obtrusive and take up a lot of space. Instead, install a wall-attached sink that features a built-in storage cabinet. This is a win-win for homeowners with limited space. In addition to getting an unobtrusive sink, you’ll have a convenient place to store your family’s bath products, grooming accessories and medications. You can also opt for the wall-hung sink without a storage unit below and store cleaning supplies, towel baskets and spare toilet paper in the empty space beneath.

Standing Showers

Not only are standing showers convenient space-savers, they also help give even the drabbest washrooms a sleek feel. Provided no one in your home is fond of taking baths, standing showers are a good solution for small bathrooms. Additionally, the clear glass doors found on most standing showers naturally create the illusion of open space.

Even though the bathroom should be a refuge for relaxation and freshening up, sometimes it’s just too small to put in more than the basics. However, a sparsely furnished bathroom doesn’t necessarily make it unattractive. With these tips, even frugal homeowners can breathe new life into their cramped washrooms.

Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons and HGTV

About the Author: Sandy Cohen is a contributing blogger and an interior design guru with over a decade of experience. She’s gotten some of her best ideas from the Decor Planet blog.


  1. Nunzio Bruno Reply

    I loved these tips. My house is 2.5 baths and all of them are small! I was just thinking about how stale and borderline claustrophobic they were beginning to feel. I don’t think a full remodel will be in my budget any time soon but I can definitely explore color options and even just thinking about different bulbs for my light fixtures. I was honestly feeling stuck and your post gave me a few neat ideas 🙂

    • @Nunzio – Well, thank you. Definitely explore the color options to lighten up the rooms to give the appearance of a slightly larger space. Good luck!

  2. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter Reply

    These are great ideas. We don’t have very large bathrooms in our house and we have used many of these tips. They really help. I try to not store a lot either which makes the cupboards feel more open and less jammed.

  3. Money Infographics Blog Reply

    Great advice, I’ll definitely take on board with my next DIY project!

  4. I agree with #5, especially – for a while, we were thinking about taking out the tub in our very small master bath to put in a tiled standing shower; it would have better maximized the space, and with more perceived luxury.

  5. River Oak Cabinetry Reply

    Great tips for when you are remodeling your business. These are great ways to make significant changes in your existing bathroom without going too crazy. Thanks for the post!

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