How To Make A Bathroom Look Bigger

Photo by Christa Grover

Last Updated on April 13, 2021

Living with a small bathroom can be challenging. A large amount of time is not spent in the bathroom most days; on days that you need a long bath with a good book, having an open, inviting bathroom even if it is small is important.

More times than not, you spend a majority of your time organizing and decluttering your bathroom as well.

That’s why we are here to discuss how to make your bathroom look bigger, whether small or large.

If you have little ones, enough space to hang out by the tub while they spray water all over your bathroom like a baby elephant is necessary. Creating a warm, inviting space out of a small bathroom that the entire family enjoys can be a challenge.

Whether you are remodeling your bathroom or repainting, here are some tips to make the most of your space.

First Step, Bathroom Walls

Paint colors and styles

Choosing the right paint colors and textures is important for small spaces. Smaller rooms always feel larger with light colored paint.

Soft hues of gray, pale blue, or sea green a great in bathrooms. Limit yourself to two paint colors, in a small room more than that can feel busy. We love soft gray with white accents.

If you want to paint your bathroom a darker, dramatic color use a semi-gloss or gloss paint. The shiny paint reflects light back and will open the space.  Navy walls with white accents are one of our favorites, or a rich burgundy with pale yellow accents is gorgeous.

Your wall colors set the tone for the entire room. When you pick your colors, think about the fixtures, your lighting, and the furnishings you will need in the bathroom and how to coordinate those colors with the wall colors.

You want to keep everything one tone, so it blends together and makes the room expand. Having one statement piece a contrasting color can work in some spaces, but in tiny spaces, even that can overwhelm the space.

Using Wall Tile To Make Your Bathroom Look Bigger

Blend your tile and wall color to create the illusion of more wall space. Keep everything the same color and tone, extending the tile all the way to the ceiling, to keep the room from shrinking.

Add detail with the use of texture on the tile. Mixing textures of tiles, counter tops, and paint keeps the bathroom feeling open but adds interest. We like adding interest with metallic or art glass tiles. They maintain the color and tone of the room but add custom details.


Wallpaper can add interest and detail and it makes a great accent with tile or paint. When picking wallpaper, choose small patterns that are tone on tone or vertical stripes. You want to choose a light-colored background, too!

Vertical stripes are our favorite for a small bathroom. When combined with a solid color paint or tile and used strategically it adds height to the room.

Photo by Phil Hearing

Art and Décor

A large piece of art can add detail and interest to a small bathroom. We love seascapes and photos of lake shores.

Light and airy scenic photos are a great choice. Choose your frame carefully, a heavy intricate frame can be too much for a small space. Floating canvases or floating art in glass works great.

If you have a large wall with no windows or fixtures a mural can open the wall up. Seascapes or scenic views will mimic the view of a window.

Lighting the room

Lighting a small bathroom can improve the feel of the space. Lights shining up to the ceiling create more even light and expand the room. 

Wall sconces are great, they help light the ceiling and open the room. We love wall scones combined with lights placed behind the mirrors to help light the ceiling.

Not only do you need lighting to make the bathroom feel larger, you need great lighting for putting on makeup and getting ready! Lights behind the mirror give soft, diffused light in front of the mirror without shadows and hotspots like lightbars over a mirror do.

Some great examples, or new fixtures that can light up your bathroom with ease, would be an LED bathroom mirror (you can get them round as well). For us, however, the LED medicine cabinet is clutch because it also has storage for your disposal.

If you choose to place lighting over your mirror, choose a bar that points upwards to simulate the lights behind the mirror. In a small space it looks great and makes the mirror more usable!

Ceiling lights will make a room feel smaller. They cause shadows and do not light the ceiling as well as wall lights.

Expand your ceiling

Extending the wall color to your ceilings will make your room feel more expansive, especially with light colored walls. We also like textured ceilings. Bead board or textured tiles create fun details.

If it works with your palette a pale blue sky painted with a few white clouds can add a lot of interest to a small bathroom!

Floor Coverings

Choose a flooring that is the same tone as your walls. We like flooring that is a shade or two darker than walls.

A tile without a lot of stone veining or intricate details is best for tiny rooms. Larger Rectangular tiles placed on the diagonal can make a room appear larger, too.

When choosing your tile and grout, choose the lightest possible grout. White or pale grey will make the floor flow without breaking the lines up like black or dark gray.

Photo by Joshua Bartell

Trade the Vanity

In a small bathroom, a large vanity can be overwhelming. Trading it for a delicate pedestal sink will create more open space on the floor and a larger feel.

If storage is a concern a vessel sink with a floating counter top gives plenty of room for open storage or baskets underneath without the heavy footprint of a vanity. We love the nautical feel of a vessel sink.

Remove anything that sticks out

Removing any cabinets or hangers that stick out will give you more space. Towel racks, toilet tissue holders, and medicine cabinets are the usual culprits.

Replace your towel racks with hooks behind the door. Hanging the towels behind the door reduces clutter and uses space that is lost in many bathrooms.

Install a recessed, mirrored medicine cabinet. Recessed medicine cabinets make your walls appear longer by not giving a break for the eye to get stuck at. If you need more room, look for a long medicine cabinet that installs behind the door.

Find extra storage space by making small shelves between the studs in interior walls. These storage spaces create detail, are great for storing shampoos, soaps, and extra toilet paper. We love these for small spaces, and they can be built virtually anywhere on interior walls.

Clear any Visual Obstructions

A clear shower curtain or clear glass shower door makes a huge difference. We like the frameless shower doors to open the space even more.

If you do not want to go with a clear shower curtain, a simple shower curtain that matches your wall color works. Clear shower curtains can be tough to keep looking good and if you share the bathroom as a family they can make for some awkward moments with the kids!

Eliminate all the clutter!

Clutter and knick knacks shrink your room to the eye. Minimize the number of towels hanging, remove décor towels, store shampoo, condition, lotion, and personal items in the medicine cabinet, over-toilet storage unit, or in a basket under the sink. 

If you have a regular appliance like a bathroom space heater or a bathroom dehumidifier, you’ll want to consider getting it a regular place to be stored when not in use.

When it comes to the items in your bathroom, minimalism makes spaces appear larger.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

Large, strategically placed mirrors will give an open, airy feeling. Placing a mirror across from the window, if you have one, to reflect the light is great!

A statement mirror with an intricate frame is a wonderful detail piece. The frame adds interest to the room and the mirror keeps it from overwhelming the small space.

So, how do you make a small bathroom look bigger?

There are many ways you can create space and make a small bathroom feel larger. From quick and easy things like changing your shower curtain out for a clear one and reducing the clutter to completely remodeling to make use of every inch of space.