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Tips for Designing a Small Bathroom


When it comes to bathrooms, size definitely matters. A small bathroom poses unique challenges in layout and design compared to more spacious rooms. However, with some clever tips and tricks, you can create a beautiful, functional small bathroom that feels open and elegant. In this article, we'll explore ideas for flooring, finishes, accessories and more to make the most of your petite powder room.


Small bathroom inspiration


Floor tile size and pattern can visually expand or shrink the dimensions of your bathroom. Generally, smaller tiles like mosaics make spaces appear larger, while bigger tiles have a dwarfing effect. For tight bathrooms, mosaic tiles or uniformly sized rectangles 12” x 24” and below are great choices. Stay away from oversized tiles and dramatic patterns like diagonals which can overload the space.


Consider Floor Tile Material

Tile material also impacts how large your bathroom feels. Glossy marble or porcelain tiles instantly give a slick, seamless look compared to matte finishes. Glass tiles are another light-reflecting option perfect for a small space. Natural stone like travertine can work, just ensure grout lines are minimal. Stay away from dark grout on any tile, which breaks up the visual flow.


Install Wall-Hung Fixtures

Taking fixtures like your sink or toilet off the floor via wall hanging brackets is a space-saving trick. This opens valuable visible floor area, making the room appear larger overall. It also allows easier cleaning since you can sweep and mop under wall-hung fixtures. For a small powder room, a trendy vessel sink on a wall mount creates modern appeal.


Add Mirrors Strategically

Mirrors effectively double visual space, making them a critical tool for the compact bathroom. First and foremost, invest in a sizable, mirrored medicine cabinet above the main vanity. Then consider placing additional mirrors across from windows, on accent walls or adjacent to secondary sinks. Avoid putting mirrors directly across from one another, which creates dizzying reflections.


small bathroom with glass doors

Use Glass Shower Doors

Floor-to-ceiling glass shower doors, as opposed to shower curtains, lend an airier aesthetic with their transparency. They also provide a nice bright contrast against tile walls in a small enclosure. Frameless doors work especially well to essentially “erase” bulky metal rails, ensuring the shower zone appears sleek. For a seamless look, match the hardware finish to other metals in your bathroom like the faucet and light fixtures.


Strategically Add Open Shelving

Built-in shelving is a bathroom go-to for stacking folded towels, displaying decorative objects and housing toiletries. But in a compressed layout, traditional shelving can clutter valuable space. For a more lightweight look, install wall-mounted glass or metal wire shelves instead. These “floating” shelves keep items visible, but the see-through material prevents your bathroom from feeling stuffed.


Minimize Visual Obstacles

To keep sight lines open, reduce any bulky furnishings or features protruding into the space. Floating styles of vanities, toilets and storage units will give you more breathing room. You can also remove cabinet doors and replace with woven baskets or wicker bins for a lighter storage approach. For privacy, hangs sheer curtains rather than weighty shower drapes.


Work with Lighting Layers

Proper illumination instantly brightens up dim, claustrophobic bathrooms. Using lighting in strategic layers is key, starting with overhead canister or recessed ceiling fixtures for ambient glow. Undercabinet lighting ensures the sink zone is handy for tasks like shaving or makeup application. You can splash mirrors with adjustable sconces for styling hair. Lastly look for petite LED disk lights or slender LED tubes to add sleek accents atop floating shelves, inside glass door showers and more.


Warm Up the Color Palette

White may be the popular bathroom hue, but an all-white scheme can feel stark and cold in a small space. Instead, punctuate your crisp white tiles with touches of warmer neutrals. Sand beige, cocoa brown, slate gray and deep navy make fabulous secondary hues in pillows, towels or rugs. Brass hardware and lighting also infuse cozy, glamorous appeal. Don’t be afraid to cover one wall in painted or wallpaper pattern for texture.


Final Words

While small bathrooms have distinct challenges, they also lend themselves to smart solutions you can embrace. By tailoring finishes for petite powder rooms, increasing light elements and visual space, you can transform yours into a lavish oasis. Use tricks like wall-hung fixtures, glass elements, floating furniture and warm metalics to open the layout. With strategic guidelines, even the most modest dimensions can become a spa-worthy retreat.

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