As much as we’d all love to have huge, tranquil, spa-inspired bathrooms with ample storage space to hold all of our stuff, reality is that many (if not most) typical homes tend to boast only small, cramped spaces. But you don’t need to do any drastic reconfigurations to transform small, cramped spaces into airy, spacious bathrooms – some clever decorating tips can give you the “large” bathroom you want in the space that you have. If you’ve done it – inspire us! We want to see pictures of your small bathroom makeover.
1. Start with the right colors.
Dark, rich, or bright colors may look lovely in a bathroom, but they’re also a surefire way to make it look smaller. Choose pastels, neutrals, or white for your little lavatory; light blues and greens are a popular choice, especially for a calming effect. Paint trim and moldings white or a lighter, coordinating shade; painting the ceiling in a slightly darker shade (not too dark!) will draw the eye upward and make the room seem taller.
Stick with a subtle, matching color for the floor and use larger tiles to create a roomier look. Try to find at least one bathroom fitting – the tub, vanity, toilet, or cabinet – in the same or similar color as the walls to help them blend in. Too much contrast will overpower the room. According to the same principle, if you choose a very neutral bathroom color, consider incorporating color in smaller ways: decorate an accent wall (painted or tiled in a brighter color), add a tiled backsplash or mirror border, and include colored accessories and fabrics.
2. Lighten up!
If your bathroom has a window, don’t cover it! Natural light is the best way to make a room look bigger. Allow light in through the window or add a skylight if possible to flood the space with light. Put a plant on your windowsill to give the room more of an outdoorsy, open feel.
If your bathroom is in a dark location, install sleek or whimsical light fixtures with natural-light bulbs. A well-lit bathroom will always look bigger than a dim or harshly lit one. Choose a larger light fixture and hang it close to the ceiling – don’t allow it to hang too low or it will shorten the room – or put in a few well-placed wall sconces.
Mirrors are a must in enlarging small spaces. Install a frameless mirror in the shape of your choice – just make sure it’s a big one. While putting in a full wall of mirrors can be dizzying, a large mirror (or a few of them, depending on your wall space) will instantly create an illusion of spaciousness.
3. Furnish wisely.
In a modest-sized bathroom, every inch counts. Don’t put in tall shelving units or cabinets all the way to the ceiling; it will make the room look shorter and smaller. Opt for multi-function pieces or open shelving instead. A floating vanity gives off an impression of more space by opening up wall space beneath it while concealing the supplies stored within it; if you don’t need as much room for storage, pick a slim pedestal sink or console. Choose open glass shelving rather than space-consuming cabinetry – just make sure you keep it clutter-free!
A wall-hung toilet frees up even more wall space – both above and below the toilet – and gives the room a more open, minimalist look. Sleek faucets in the sink, tub, and shower are functional and modern without consuming extra space.
As much as it sounds counter-productive, picking one statement piece can actually make the room look bigger. Put in a large or unusually-shaped bathtub, an interesting vanity, or a modern sink to reflect your style even in a small space. Put your signature on it!
4. Accessorize – but don’t overdo.
Look for multi-function pieces to make your bathroom appear as large as possible: save precious wall space by installing hooks under your shelves rather than towel bars, look for combination toothbrush holders/soap dispensers, and keep accessories to a minimum. If your counter space is limited, try wall-mounted accessories – even toilet brush holders! When choosing accessories, search for functionality as well as decorative potential; if your room is neutral, accessories are a great way to include pops of color and personality. Brightly colored or patterned rugs, towels, soap dishes, shower curtains, window treatments, and even cabinet door pulls will add cheer and vivacity to otherwise dull rooms.
5. Keep it neat!
You may love kitschy accessories or cute pieces on your shelves, but a small bathroom is not the place to display your collection. Too much clutter will overwhelm the room. Eliminate extra furniture or hide it under other pieces. Don’t take up wall space with unnecessary hangings or pictures; a couple of well-placed items will add personality to the room, but not a lot! Make sure to keep bathroom supplies where they belong – in the cabinets, on the shelves, or neatly arranged on the countertop or shower caddy – and keep them neatly folded and stored. A messy, dirty room is guaranteed to look smaller, no matter its size.
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