Some people say size matters. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But when it comes to the size of your bathroom, there’s a lot you can do with a small space and a shower without making any compromises.
Are you looking for ideas to make your bathroom seem larger than it is? When you’re dealing with limited space, you need to make the most of features and fixtures that will give the illusion of more square footage. But this can be hard when your small bathroom is already feeling cramped with your sink, toilet, and doorless walk-in shower—how do you make sure your fixtures, colors, shower tile, and every piece of detail complement one another in the best way. When done right, you can transform a tight space into a room that seems open, bright, and spacious.
These small bathroom ideas will help you incorporate the right features into your space that won’t compromise any elbow room when using your walk-in shower. They’ll maximize your square footage and make your bathroom much more accommodating for all your needs. From tile size to light fixtures to under-the-counter storage, there are a lot of features to consider.
No matter how small the space is, any bathroom remodel or design project is a big one. It can be overwhelming to sift through all the information out there, so I’ve put my top favorite features to make any small bathroom with a shower and minimal square footage appear larger.
Small Bathroom Ideas with Shower Only
Use natural light to your advantage.
Well lit space always looks larger than darker, windowless rooms. If the budget and location allow, emphasize natural light when possible. Natural light will make the tiny bathroom feel more open and airy.
Build ambiance with a well-lit space.
If your bathroom isn’t in a place where you can make use of natural light, utilize well-distributed lights throughout the space to help create the desired look and feel. Placement of the lighting fixtures can really make a difference. Consider the angle and where the focus of the light will be.
Make the most of under the sink storage.
Storage is crucial—and it can be hard to come by when dealing with a compact bathroom. When making the most of the space at your disposal, installing a vanity with drawers is a great way to keep your towels, toilet paper, and other toiletries organized. Avoid a pedestal sink since it doesn’t give you any storage options.
Improve your shower storage with recessed shelving.
When dealing with tight quarters, you need to find creative ways to store your toiletries. Instead of stealing floor space in your shower, install recessed shelving for your body gel and shampoo.
Use decorative flooring to spice up your decor.
Instead of cluttering up your bathroom with excess decor on the counters and walls, you can make a huge statement with decorative flooring. The doorless shower is also a nice touch. See other Doorless Walk-in Shower Ideas.
Open up the bathroom with a mirror.
When you’re dealing with a small bathroom, a mirror is going to be your best friend. By utilizing a mirror above the vanity, you are strategically making the room appear larger.
Maximize space with a corner sink.
In tight spaces, you need to find ways to cut down the size of the different features. An easy way to maximize space in your bathroom is to install a corner sink, helping to accommodate the traffic flow of the bathroom.
Give the illusion of a larger room with decorative tiles.
The shower is often the focal point of a small bathroom because it makes up the majority of the room. Use this to your advantage by making the back wall of the shower stand out with floor to ceiling decorative tiles that make the space pop.
Free up floor space with a wall-mounted sink.
Although a large vanity offers additional storage space, it can also make an already tight space feel much smaller. Mounting a sink or a floating vanity directly to the wall will help free up a little space—allowing you to store small items below.
Install a corner seat without compromising square footage.
A commonly sought-after shower amenity is a shower seat—but when you’re working with a smaller bathroom, you often have to compromise your shower’s square footage to include one. By installing a corner seat, you get all the benefits without losing any space in your sanctuary.
11) Save wall space by installing towel hooks.
If you’re dealing with a small bathroom, you have limited wall space. A towel rack can take up valuable space on your wall (space that you don’t have!). Installing towel hooks instead of a towel rack will serve the same purpose without using as much space.
Use decorative tile in places other than the shower.
Tiles don’t only have to be used in the shower. Wall tiles can brighten up any part of the bathroom—including above your vanity! Shake up your bathroom design by incorporating texture with tiles. Choose from a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes to change up the overall aesthetic of the room.
Install a shower without a door.
When dealing with a smaller space, you have to consider how the shower door opens and closes. Does it open into the already cramped space? Does it knock up against the vanity when you open it? Installing a shower without a door is a great way to give you a little more elbow room in your already tight space.
Decorate the space with bold wallpaper.
A small bathroom can be hard to decorate because of the limited area. One way you can decorate the walls is by installing vibrant bathroom wallpaper to add a touch of drama.
Add a sense of flair with gold fixtures.
Not only are gold bathroom fixtures trendy, but they add a sense of brightness that lighten up any room—a major benefit when you’re dealing with a smaller bathroom! Incorporating gold fixtures throughout the space will add flair while helping the room to feel more open.
Use contrasting colors to create a compelling design.
One of the most important things you can do when designing your small bathroom is to keep it simple. When done incorrectly, using busy wallpaper, a variety of paint colors, or multiple patterns or textures can make the room feel more cramped than it is. An easy way to avoid any design faux pas is to use two colors (contrasting is best!) throughout the design to open up the room.
Make the most of limited storage with floating shelves.
Have limited storage? Want to add a touch of flair to the room? A pair of wall-mounted shelves can help you turn a cramped bathroom into a storage-savvy sanctuary.
Install a clear shower to create a sense of openness.
Give the illusion of more space in tight quarters by eliminating any visual clutter in the room. When selecting your bathroom fixtures, choose a clear shower enclosure with minimal hardware to make the room and shower seem larger than they are. Bonus points if you install a clear sliding shower door—this way the door doesn’t have to open into the already tight room.
Give the illusion of a larger space with floor to ceiling tiles.
In small spaces, you can make the room seem larger by making the room appear to have a higher ceiling. Installing tiles all the way up the walls to the ceiling can give you the illusion of taller ceilings.
Make your bathroom appear larger with horizontal lines.
Have you ever heard that lines can make something appear wider? While you might not want this to happen when you’re wearing horizontal lines, it can come in handy when decorating a smaller bathroom—drawing the eyes outward and giving the illusion of more wall space.
Skip the double vanity and opt for extra counter space.
When dealing with a small bathroom, you often have to decide if you’re going to install a double vanity with limited counter space or install one sink. Installing a single sink will often allow you to have a bit more counter space—making it much easier to store your bathroom toiletries and necessities.
Use larger tiles in a small space.
When working with a small space, you might be afraid to install larger bathroom tiles. Contrary to popular belief, larger shower tiles can help give the illusion that space is bigger than it really is. Why is this? Fewer grout lines make the room appear larger.
Incorporate visually appealing under-the-counter storage.
Small bathrooms are often lacking ample storage space. Installing a vanity with storage is an easy way to make up for any missing space. Choose a vanity with closed drawers if you’d prefer to hide your toiletries and linens from sight. But you can also install a vanity with open shelving—or a mix of both!
Combine textures to break the space up.
Don’t feel like you have to choose one type of tile or color scheme for your bathroom because of the limited space. Using multiple types of tile can help add an extra level of dynamic to the aesthetic. Try mixing and matching a few different styles to make your bathroom stand out.
Use light and bright colors for an open aesthetic.
While dark colors can add a sense of drama, they can also make an already small space appear much smaller if used incorrectly. By incorporating light and bright colors—think marble shower, white subway tile, light pastel walls, etc.—the room will appear to be more open and airy.
Extend the counter over the toilet.
Make use of all the space in your small bathroom by extending the countertop over the back of the toilet. This allows for additional counter space for storage in an already tight room.
Create the illusion of space with mirrors.
Installing a wall to wall mirror will not only allow two people to use the mirror at once (an added bonus!), but will also create the illusion of a much larger bathroom. Instead of using a single mirror above the sink, a wall to wall mirror will reflect a much larger portion of the room and the lighting—creating a room that feels much more open than it is.
Stand out with a vibrant accent color.
When choosing the color scheme of your bathroom, use lighter and brighter colors to open up the space—whites and light grays are great choices to add brightness. Use a vibrant accent color to make the room pop, without making the room feel more claustrophobic.
There are a ton of ways to make your small bathroom appear much larger than it is. While I’ve listed a few of my favorite tried and true secrets above, there are many other design tricks out there. Do you have a must-include feature you’d recommend to anyone redesigning a small space? With the right design tricks, it’s easy to make your space visually appealing, yet practical—regardless of your bathroom’s size.