Small bathroom ideas – 10 rules for decorating and designing a jewel space

The best small bathroom ideas combine charm and functionality. These jewel bathrooms are designed to make a compact space feel not only bigger and functional, but also super stylish.

When it comes to designing a small bathroom, smart planning – which includes everything from layout, to layout choices, to smart storage options – is essential to ensure that even a small bathroom bath can still feel spacious.

Until recently, small bathroom ideas always required compromise – often the tub becoming the first casualty in the battle for space – not to mention the issues of lack of storage. But the latest modern fixtures and accessories can still create a luxurious bathroom from minimal square footage. Tub showers remain a popular option in compact rooms, mini tubs are growing in popularity and there are more choices for scaled-down fixtures than ever – there are a plethora of bathroom ideas for small spaces. from which to choose.

small bathroom ideas

Whether you go for a clean, streamlined look or traditional details, there are plenty of ways to pack a decorative punch in a small bathroom.

1. Invest in custom cabinetry

small bathroom with freestanding bath, built-in storage shelves and floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Chris Snook / Knight Frank Interiors)

Built-in storage is a step ahead of standalone storage when it comes to getting the most out of every inch. Commissioning custom storage is especially useful if you have wobbly walls or unusual angles that simply won’t fit the standard sizes of standard furniture. A small built-in bathroom storage can also improve the shape of a small bathroom; straighten difficult corners to create a cleaner, more linear space.

Here, Knight Frank Interiors has used the narrowest niche for built-in storage, designed for both display and concealment. The addition of cornices and an open plinth mimics the style of a freestanding piece, which can feel more relaxed and authentic in a traditional setting.

2. Find a niche

Small bathroom in an alcove with floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Darren Chung/CP Hart)

For small bathrooms with existing alcoves or redundant ventilation cupboards, built-in bathtubs and built-in showers are a great solution as they use all available space and can free up floor space elsewhere,” says Emma Scott , design director, CP Hart (opens in a new tab).

Wall-mounted faucets will bring a neat aesthetic and allow for perfect positioning for easy access. “Alcoves on either side of fireplace mantels also work well for his and hers sinks, as the depth is usually shallower. For smaller, hard-to-reach dead spaces, consider alcoves or built-in shelves for additional bathroom storage,” Emma adds.

3. Frame the view

Small bathroom with steel shower cubicle

Design by Eran Chen of ODA Architecture

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

Elevate a small bathroom with luxurious natural stone punctuated by the strong lines of steel framing, which can increase design impact in the tightest of spaces.

This tiny bathroom, located in the Manhattan home of real estate developer Elias Kefalidis, features a custom metal-framed shower enclosure to achieve the largest shower area possible, as well as a compact tub. Extending the tub surround inside the shower provides a convenient shelf for shampoo and toiletries, without reducing the width of the shower at the shoulders.

4. Blend lines with color

Small bathroom with orange painted walls, basin and curtain with skylight

(Image credit: Beata Heuman/Simon Brown)

In this master bathroom by an interior designer Beata Heman (opens in a new tab), wearing the same bathroom color tones on multiple surfaces helps blur awkward angles and sloping ceiling lines. “All the walls and the bathtub are coated with Béton Ciré, which is a micro concrete paste and completely waterproof,” explains Beata.

“The idea here was to make the space feel warm and earthy, unlike most small bathrooms. The wooden floor continues from the bedroom, which connects the suite of rooms and also makes it more spacious. The characterful vanity, crafted from a rustic antique table, cuts a strong silhouette against the plaster walls.

5. Use mirrors to spruce up a small bathroom

Small bathroom with large mirror and gray tiles

(Image credit: Otta Design)

The space-increasing powers of mirror glass are well established, and the first rule is that the larger the mirror, the more space it will appear to create.

‘Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Large mirrors can enhance the proportions of a bathroom, making the ceiling appear higher. Likewise, in a narrow space, we can trick the eye into thinking the space is wider,” says Ali Johnson, Director, Design by Ota (opens in a new tab). “Position a mirror in front of or beside a window to amplify natural light or place it in the darkest corner of a small bathroom, behind a light source, to promote the reach of light through space.”

6. Enjoy a walk-in shower

Small bathroom with green subway tiles and shower

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

“Walk-in showers are a great way to give the illusion of more space – they’re much less visually dominant than a full enclosure and can also provide a light and airy feel when in use,” says Eamonn Agha, Director, Huntsmore (opens in a new tab).

In this tiny bathroom, the shower screen has been built above a knee wall to let in as much light as possible from the window beyond, while keeping the shower jet safe and the seat of the dry toilets. “Opting for a wall hung toilet leaves more floor tiles exposed, which also helps to make the room feel more generous,” adds Eamonn.

7. Consider playful additions that maximize space

small bathroom with yellow metro tiling, pink tiling and rattan mirror frame

(Image credit: Barlow & Barlow/Jonathan Bond)

Sink skirts are a happy revival of the trend and an easy way to bring pattern and softness to your bathroom. From a space-saving perspective, any vanity with “doors” that slide to the side, rather than opening into the room, will increase and improve the layout options in a bathroom. compact. In this colored diagram, Barlow and Barlow (opens in a new tab) used upholstery fabric rated for outdoor use to keep toiletries and essentials out of sight under the basin. Made from durable polyester, it’s a practical choice in wet conditions and easy to clean.

8. Raise the roof

Small bathroom with white subway tiling, bathtub and rain shower

(Image credit: Leanne Ford Interiors / The Albion Bath Co)

If you can’t physically increase your small bathroom footprint, consider going upstairs. Raising the ceiling is easier if you have an empty attic above – how high you can reach will depend on the position of existing beams and structural supports. It is wise to consult a structural engineer first.

In this narrow but tall powder room by Leanne Ford Interiors, the gentle curves provide a softer aesthetic compared to a sloped or vaulted ceiling, while allowing maximum height for an overhead shower. Raising the height of the window with a louvered panel and installing glossy high-gloss tiles maximizes the space.

9. Visually enlarge a cramped bathroom

Small bathroom with floor-to-ceiling blue tiles and shower

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

In a really tiny bathroom, it’s worth using all the tricks in the book to increase the space. Here, a continuous stretch of flooring extends to the far wall to increase length, while a slender vanity with slim legs emphasizes width.

“Creating more visible floor space opens up the space; we tiled over a wet room tray to get a level entry. Installing large format tiles and a minimalist shower screen is visually calmer and also gives the impression of being larger,” says Irene Gunter, founder of Gunter & Co. (opens in a new tab). “Finally, the use of white paint around the window draws attention to the outdoor space and reflects the light inside.

10. Introduce a playful motif into a powder room

small bathroom with decorative tiles

(Image credit: Studio Indigo)

Small bathrooms are full of decorative opportunities, so consider introducing playful additions that will add an element of surprise and unexpected intrigue.

“Sure, bathrooms are practical and functional spaces, but they don’t have to be utilitarian,” says Mike Fisher, Creative Director and Founder, Indigo Studio (opens in a new tab). ‘Be adventurous and give personality to the space. A bold scheme will provide a conversation starter with guests and friends, especially in a powder room. The pattern can be introduced through wallpaper, fabric or tiles. Complement your designs with good light – in a powder room it can be atmospheric, but in small bathrooms you need light and lots of it.

Here, the border tiles in this Studio Indigo space draw attention to the height of the bathroom, and it’s a great way to make a small bathroom seem taller.

How to make a small bathroom work?

There are many ways to make a small bathroom work for your home, regardless of size.

Antique sinks make a lovely addition to a small bathroom because you get such variety and they have a character of their own – from shell-shaped marble sinks to antique troughs, and they always have the unique look,” says designer Charlotte Rey, of Campbell Rey (opens in a new tab). “Adding a fabric skirt under the sink can also look nice.”

Another way is to use color and pattern. “A lot of people may fear getting bold in a big space, but in a tiny space you can really push the boat out. Even if you’re not a maximalist in the rest of the house, it’s fun to opt for bolder wallpaper, or have a fun, bold color and finish like chocolate lacquer.

What is the smallest size of a bathroom?

The smallest size for a bathroom is usually around 15 square feet. An average bathroom is between 36 and 40 square feet for an apartment or a small house. This size should leave room for a half bathroom, which includes a sink and toilet.

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