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How to make a small bathroom look bigger

How to make a small bathroom look bigger

We British folk have to put up with a lot - including living with small bathrooms.

Modestly-sized bathrooms are incredibly common in the UK, with the average floor space coming in at less than three square metres. It might initially seem like a bit of a challenge to design your perfect bathroom when you've only got a finite (and petite) amount of space to work with, but by using a few clever techniques and sourcing the right fixtures and fittings, your bijou bathroom can be stylish, practical and feel larger than it actually is.

The Bathrooms Direct Yorkshire team have come up with a few tricks that will give the illusion of space and help make a compact bathroom feel positively cavernous.

From the best colours to optimal storage options, we have plenty of bathroom ideas for you to use that won’t break the bank or require an engineering degree to complete.


What colours will make a small bathroom look bigger?

Sticking to lighter colours that naturally reflect the available light is one of the best ways to make your bathroom appear larger. These colours are ideal for small bathrooms:

  • White

  • Soft grey

  • Canary yellow

  • Beige

  • Teal

  • Powder blue

  • Muted violet


Use uninterrupted colours to make your bathroom look bigger

They may look striking and unique, but incorporating bold colours and patterns can sometimes overwhelm small bathrooms. Instead, opt for a neutral colour palette for the whole project and create clean floor-to-ceiling lines. Using the same colour on your floor coverings, tiles and fixtures maintains that uninterrupted feel and means that the eye doesn’t stop anywhere abruptly - a great way to give the impression of extra space.

Another of our top tips is to use plain floor tiles to create the illusion of a larger floor space. Some people believe that laying smaller tiles in a small bathroom can make the space look larger - but instead the mass of grouting lines can actually make it seem even more compact than it needs to. The same is true of intricate, patterned tiles, so larger, plainer tiles with fewer grouting lines on the floor can often be a better choice. 

If you’re thinking of also tiling the walls, plain colours will again be more effective, since busy patterns have a tendency to make the space feel a little cramped.

The more you're able to 'bleed' a single colour and material from one area into the next without creating barriers, the cleaner, less cluttered and more spacious it will appear to the eye.


Installing a large mirror makes your small bathroom look bigger

Mirrors are a wonderful way of effectively bouncing as much light around the room as possible - and creating the illusion of extra bathroom space.  Try fixing a large, flat mirror to one of the walls rather than going down the traditional route of hanging a regular-sized one over the sink. Placing your mirrored surfaces adjacent to windows ensures you'll get maximum light reflecting into the bathroom. Plus visually, this can also make it appear as if you've got two windows, giving the impression of extra space.


Light up your room

Getting natural light into your bathroom is always desirable. If you've just got one solitary light bulb dangling from the middle of the ceiling, you're not seeing your room at its best and probably creating a dark, dingy environment. Getting natural light into your bathroom is always best, so if your windowsill is cluttered, move things around to let as much light in as possible. Incorporating soft, subtle LED lighting, perhaps under the overhang of the bath panel or above a sink, and using ceiling downlighters can create an airy, expansive feel. Many bathroom windows are covered with shutters or some type of 'black-out' blind for privacy reasons, but that has the effect of blocking natural light from the room - and it's a little like walling up a window. It's much better to cover it with frosted glass, a translucent window shade or a tone-appropriate stained glass window. Then you can have the best of both worlds, with privacy and natural light giving the impression of a larger space.


Pair down the decorations

Decorative accessories like ornaments, artwork, rugs and candles are fun to collect and display and  can make a small bathroom feel inviting and warm. But, if left untamed, they can also lead to a major  clutter plroblem. If you are fan of ornamental and decorative pieces and want to know how to make a small bathroom look bigger, you really need to thin out any extraneous bits and bobs. Removing the clutter costs nothing, and its effect in making spaces appear larger will be felt immediately.


Think carefully about your bathroom fittings

A host of modern fittings are now specifically designed with smaller bathrooms in mind. Installing corner basins and low-height toilets are great ways to make a bathroom look bigger. Think about if you could fit a wall-hung sink or vanity cabinet, which are designed to make sure that more of your floor space is visible, helping to make the room look and feel larger.


Uses clear glass in your shower enclosures

Using textured, frosted glass in a shower enclosure can give the unwanted impression that the room has an extra wall. You'll have privacy while you shower, but it can prove to something of a visual barrier. Clear glass shower enclosures lend themselves to open, modern design aesthetics and if your bathroom doesn't benefit from a lot of natural light, then clear glass is a great way to go.

Also, there a few things that divide and isolate a bathroom more than an unsightly, opaque shower curtain. Ditch the curtain and instead fit a clear shower divide (and if feasible a frameless shower unit) to make the most of the light and space available.

What's more, keeping it looking clean and transparent will maintain that feeling of space and draw your eye beyond the screen, rather than straight to it.


Re-think your storage

One common but easily solvablet reason why bathrooms look small is clutter. If there are items taking up space on every surface, it can make your small bathroom feel cramped. So storage solutions are key!

Opting for a freestanding vanity is a great small bathroom idea as they can appear more 'petite' and delicate than their built-in equivalents. Choosing a vanity unit with shelf storage underneath fosters a more open look, and you can use a series of baskets to keep items neatly arranged and hidden from view.

A wall-mounted vanity unit or cabinet looks sleek and minimal when it's the same colour as the wall, or alternatively, a built-in vanity unit installed against a wall can give both clean lines and storage space. If there just isn't room for that, then you could fit clear glass shelves with mirror backing along one wall for your toiletries to live on. 


Keep your floor space clear

You can make extra space in any small bathroom by installing cleverly-designed fixtures. Wall-hung and back to wall toilets are great for simplifying bathroom space, hiding away the cistern and instantly creating a far less cluttered look.  Moreover wall-hung toilets are designed to be especially compact and offer massive benefits in the battle for bathroom floor space.

Considering the impact all of your bathroom fittings and furniture have on space is a key idea early on in the project. Anything like a pedestal sink that has a profile that ‘sticks out’ not only encroaches on your floor space, but draws eyes towards it, making the room feel smaller.

So here's where slimline fixtures really come into their own - they take up a smaller proportion of available space than regular fixtures, while keeping the same functionality. Go big on slimline!

And here's another of Bathrooms Direct's handy interior design tips: hanging your door to open out of the room, rather than into it, will increase the amount of usable floor space in the room!


We’re here to help

Looking for new bathroom inspiration? Call us on 01226 770383, or use the ‘chat now’ tab at the top of this page. At Bathrooms Direct, we’re always on hand to answer your questions, offer tips to make bathroom design a breeze and help you make your small bathroom look and feel luxuriously large.

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