Decor Snob Interior Design Ideas and Inspiration
28 Small Bathroom Ideas with Bathtubs

5 reasons why it might not be the best idea

By Blake Lockwood | Curated by Blake Lockwood | Reviewed by Blake Lockwood

Blake Lockwood, the seasoned interior designer behind Decor Snob, has made a name for himself with over 30 years of industry experience. As a member of esteemed associations such as the NCIDQ, CIDA, NAAB, and CCIDC, he upholds high standards in his work.  His content is always people-first, reliable, and engaging.

Modern green and white tile bathroom, wooden cabinet

Living in a home with a small bathroom can be a design challenge, especially with a bathtub taking up the already limited space. Storage options are often abysmal, and small bathrooms with a tub can all end up looking the same. Bland, cramped, and boring are the classic features of all the ones I’ve seen. Trust me, I’ve seen them all – the good, the bad, and the nasty! It doesn’t matter how you say it, they’re all tiny spaces that can seem impossible to elevate to your design standards.

I’m not one to walk away from a challenge, though, so I researched plenty of inspiration to make your small bathroom stand out from the rest. You deserve a bathroom that is modern and appealing, whether you live in a cozy city apartment or a mansion on the hills. It doesn’t matter when your home was built or how adept you are at renovations, there is a design option that will fit your contemporary needs.

That’s right, your traditional tub-sink-toilet trio can be brought up to date. It’s time for you to get those toiletries out of sight, create storage out of nothing, and design a space you actually want to take a bath in.

Built In Storage

Modern white and grey tile bathroom, white cabinets

This warm space practically invites you to hop in the tub. The extended edge of the tub is just waiting for your glass of wine and book to rest on it. I like the simple geometric design created by the inset window and shelf. The additional storage space they bring is an extra bonus.

Splash of Seafoam

Modern green and white tile bathroom, wooden cabinet

This bathroom eliminates a curtain rod to add height and the illusion of more space. The spa shower system easily takes your experience from ordinary to high class. Adding a gentle pop of blue brightens the bathroom without ruining the sleek design.

Show Off Your Storage

White tile walls, beige and white pattern tile floor, blue cabinets

This design gives those fancy label toiletries a chance to shine with shelves above the toilet for open storage. The bronze accents break up the white design, while the penny tiles in the bathtub make the space feel taller.

Bold Backgrounds

Grey tile floor, black tile walls, white cabinets, granite countertop

These metallic mosaic tiles make the entire bathroom shine, adding brightness despite the lack of natural lighting. By simply painting the tiles around the tub a bold color like black, you can give your bathroom more drama and depth. The cabinets along the mirror add storage while maintaining the sleek design.


Modern bathroom, white tile walls, grey tile floor

This design provides only open storage, so it is best if you are a naturally neat and uncluttered individual. Its elegant design is accented by the simplicity of the tiling and grey wall color. The lighting and sink add modern touches without diminishing the warmth of the space.

Modern Mosaics

White tile walls and floor, blue mosaic decoration behind the mirror

This bright design opens the small space with intricate blue mosaics and gold accents. The use of glass shower doors and floor-to-ceiling tiles in the tub also make the space appear larger. The white tiles break up the boldness of the blue to keep the room feeling calm and classy.

Scallops and Sinks

White tile walls, grey tile floor, grey cabinets

This tight space is made to feel larger with the space-saving under-mount sink and glass shower doors. You can easily use scalloped ceramic tiles like these to add a fun accent to an otherwise plain bathroom for a simple renovation.

Simple and Sleek

Minimalist bathroom, grey tile floor, white walls

Another example of minimalist storage, but this option covers the plumbing under the sink with cabinets. The contrast of the dark flooring to the all-white fixtures adds to the beauty of the space. I enjoy the luxurious feel of the extra deep tub.

Black and White

Contemporary bathroom, white tile walls, black floor and cabinets

This classic color combination has the perfect balance of bold and light. This design uses gold to add a classy accent. Pay attention to the lighting in your room – it will tell you which color to use most and which one for your accent.

Curved Curtains

Modern bathroom, white wavy tile walls, white cabinets, quartz countertop

This design uses the classic trick of replacing your straight curtain rod with a curved one. The curve with a light-colored curtain gives the illusion of more space to the entire bathroom. You can include neutral tone textured ceramic tiles along the tub to add a subtle element of fun.

Geometric Tiles

White honey comb tile walls, black and white pattern floor, wooden cabinets

This kid-friendly design provides ample storage with the columned drawers under the sink and inset shelf in the shower. The black and white floor tiles plus the honeycomb tiles around the tub bring a playful feel to the room. Limiting the amount of color prevents it from feeling too busy.

Wood Accents

Modern bathroom, white tile walls, grey slate tile floor, wooden open cabinets

Using wood accents with a black and white design is a unique twist on the classic duo. Try to avoid using more than one or two wood elements if you want to keep your design modern – it can quickly turn rustic!

Balancing Dark and Light

Minimalist bathroom, grey tile walls, grey limestone tile floor, brown cabinets

This design uses the glass shower door to allow more light to pass through the bathroom, making it appear larger and brighter. The additional brightness allows you to design with richer tones, like this warm brown counter and cabinet.

Think Outside the Box

White granite tile walls, white honey comb tile floor, white cabinets

This bathroom is anything but ordinary. The marble wall tiles and open tub make me feel like a greek god should be lounging in the tub. With the amount of storage under the sink and built into the walls, it’s the type of small bathroom that will make you feel like you are one.

Make the Most of Your Space

Beige big tile walls and floor, beige cabinets, quartz countertop

Another example of a different style of bathroom. The shape and layout of this one are odd, but allow for excellent storage and a luxurious tub. If you have an awkwardly shaped bathroom, consider how you can use its corners and cubbies to your advantage.

Galley Bathroom

White marble floor, grey pattern tile walls, dark wood cabinets

This classic design uses the length of the galley bathroom to amplify its size. By extending the floor tiles up the tub, the entire bathroom seems longer. The shower tiles add some texture that breaks up the smooth flow of the design.

Subway Tile with Natural Light

Black tile floor, white tile walls, white cabinets

The natural lighting in this bathroom allows you to accent that dark grout contrast as much as you’d like. This helps the black floor tiles and dark wood counters create depth. The minimal decorations of this design also add to the modern feel of the subway tiles.

Subway Tile without Natural Light

Grey honey comb marble tile floor, white tile walls, black cabinets

Unless you want to feel like your bathroom is actually in a subway station, it is important to focus on the white tiles when your bathroom lacks natural light. With minimal black accents, white lighting, and a bright floor, this bathroom avoids feeling cramped and grimy.

Wraparound Tile Accents

Beige tile floor, white tile floor with green mosaic decoration, green countertop

The blue tile accent around this bathroom brings color into the space that makes it look classy with a touch of retro. The alternating heights keep it modern while helping the space seem larger. A main focal point, like the mint sink, can tie the dramatic tiles into the rest of the design.

Chevron Floor

White walls and cabinets, multicolored big tile floor

These chevron floor tiles are easy to replicate and instantly increase the appeal of a room. The large tiles chosen for this bathroom make it seem like a bigger space and are a subtle focal point for the simple design.

Stand Alone Tub

Black tile floor, black cabinets, white marble pattern walls

A stand-alone tub like this can transform your normal bathroom into a personal spa retreat. Investing in accents like the 3-D wall art and a classy bamboo bathtub caddy will help take your bath to the next level, turning self-care into an experience worth taking the time for.

Mirror, Mirror

Grey tile walls, marble tile floor, dark wood cabinets

Everything in this room reflects light, making it appear much larger than it is. Using glass tiles such as those in the shower and on the backsplash adds subtle design variety that doesn’t attract too much attention.

Floor Accents

White walls, grey multi-colored tile floor, dark blue cabinets

The alternating tile pattern in this bathroom adds an accent that opens the space. This design uses grey and navy to contrast with the black and white subway tiles, which is a unique twist.

Stripes and Circles

Blue honey comb tile floor, white tile walls, white cabinets

Using a striped curtain to contrast the circular penny tiles in your small bathroom is a fun design accent that doesn’t require bold colors. The gold fixtures keep the bathroom from feeling too childish.

2Flat Panel Cabinets

Dark grey tile floor, white tile walls, wooden cabinets

You can use flat panel cabinets to save space while adding storage. In a unique layout like this, it is essential to use your space as efficiently as possible. The floating vanity also adds a modern touch to the tight space.

Big and Bold in Small Spaces

Beige mosaic tile walls, beige tile floor, dark grey cabinet

This geometric tile background brings bold excitement into this small bathroom. The inset storage with shelf and cabinet options provide variety that breaks up the busy pattern. This design is modern and fun, making the bathroom functional and appealing.

Honeycomb Tiles

White honey comb tile bathtub, grey cabinets, grey tile walls

These busy little tiles can dress any tub up. By covering the front of the tub, it looks more custom built. These accent tiles also are a stylish option if you are only doing surface renovations and want to hide less-than-appealing plumbing.

Cold Angles

Blakc honey comb tile floor, white walls, wooden countertop

This bathroom maintains its modern design through the sharp counters and varying geometric patterns, but it remains cozy and comfortable. The alternating square and rectangle subway tiles are a unique detail, while the black honeycomb floor tiles keep the bathroom looking sleek.

Final Thoughts and Some Small Bathroom Design Tips

When designing your bathroom, you need to consider more than what your ideal bathroom looks like. Think about the shape and layout of your actual bathroom. Which style of design will work best with it? Do you have the space or structures to include the elements that are important to you?

Next, think about your lighting. If you do not have natural lighting, you will want to include lighter colors and only use bold darks for minimal accents. If you have natural lighting, you can consider using this lighting as part of your design. Every part of your space can be incorporated into creating the most efficient and beautiful small bathroom.

Also take time to think about what fixture you want as your focal point. The bathtub can easily pop using a small tile accent or bold painting. The sink or plumbing can be a more subtle accent with metallics or black modern designs.

A small bathroom doesn’t have to feel like a cramped closet. It can be an extension of your home, another space to show your personal design flair. Using the elements of your bathroom that are already present, you can turn it into a sleek, modern, and functional space.

While small bathrooms with tubs can be a challenge, they also present a fun design opportunity. Inspiration can be found in even the tightest of spaces – and I’d love to see your bathroom transformations, too!

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