Any bathroom remodel is an opportunity to enhance your home and your lifestyle. Whether you are designing a large master bathroom or creating a new aesthetic for your hall bath design or powder room, a remodel lets you start fresh and get the bathroom you always wanted.
Designing a small bathroom presents unique challenges regarding the layout and storage space. It also affords opportunities to play around with color, patterns, and luxury materials in a compact, enclosed area that may not work in a larger bath design.
Start by creating a layout that fits your space and works for your needs, then explore colors, fixtures, and materials that will maximize the impact of your compact bath remodel. Finish it off with accessories, lighting, and mirrors that help your small space to feel larger.
Let’s explore some of our top tips to help you design a small bathroom with a big impact.
A layout forms the foundation of every room in your home, from the smallest to the largest spaces. The layout is dependent on your available area and the shape of the room, and it determines where your key fixtures will be placed and how much storage you will have. Get your layout right and the rest of your design will fall into place much more easily! While you have, quite literally, a lot more room to play with in designing a large bathroom, your options may be more limited in a small bath remodel.
Consider first how you plan to use this bathroom – is it strictly a powder room, a guest bathroom, or a kids’ hall bath? Or is it a multi-use space that may be used by different people? Who uses the bathroom, and its purpose, will determine what fixtures and how much storage you require. Are there any unusual features of the room, such as a slanted roof, curved wall, or narrow alcove? Unless you plan to make structural changes, you will have to work around and incorporate these features. Is the room particularly narrow or an odd shape? Think about keeping your small bathroom as open as possible, for example by installing a frameless glass shower door or even an open shower for a wet room effect.
Take these factors into consideration and find a layout that works with your space and lets you achieve the design you want. You may have to compromise on certain features. For example, you may not have space for a freestanding tub and a sizable shower. However, there are space-saving solutions that can allow you to create a space that is as beautiful as it is functional.
Color Schemes, Textures, and Patterns
Color schemes are well-known for influencing mood, setting the tone for a design, and impacting our perception of a room’s space. There are several approaches you can take when choosing a color scheme to enhance a small bathroom design.
Light Colors: Crisp white, soft beige, and other light neutral tones are ideal for a small bathroom. Why? They immediately make any room feel more open and give your space a crisp, clean feel. Soft neutrals also help light bounce around the room, particularly when combined with mirrors and a multi-layered lighting scheme. Consider installing a reflective surface like glass tiles in your chosen neutral shade to help bounce light around the room. Soften your light neutral color scheme with accessories such as wood containers or plants to add greenery. You can also vary these neutrals with different textures to keep them from looking boring.
Dark Colors: On the opposite end of the color spectrum, dark colors can give a small bathroom a cozy feel and give it a sense of depth. Dark colors can also lend a sense of luxury to a bathroom, which you can leverage to create a truly luxe style for your small bath. Pair your dark shades with a pop of color in accessories or with natural tones such as wood accents or greenery from plants.
Bold Colors and Patterns: A small bath design could be the ideal space to experiment with colors, patterns, and textures. While you may be hesitant to give your kitchen design or family room a bold look that would stand in contrast to the rest of your home, a small, enclosed bathroom could be the ideal time to take this leap. Go for it and paint your powder room that deep eggplant color you love. Or include a bold pattern with your floor tile or a wallpaper design that works with your color scheme but introduces another layer to your design style. Don’t be afraid to express yourself and make a statement in this compact space!
Selecting materials for your bathroom design is the fun part where you get to choose cabinetry, countertop, tile, accessories, and more. When selecting materials, you must balance style with functionality and fit these requirements into your remodeling budget. Unless your budget is quite high, you may be limited in which materials you can choose for your new larger bathroom.
The beauty of a small bathroom remodel is that a little bit goes a long way toward fitting out your space. This means that you can go for the top-quality wood cabinetry, stone countertops, or marble tile you always wanted. Use this small space to create a luxury retreat with quality materials that will wow guests and act as a style statement in your home.
Storage is essential in any bathroom design, but in a compact space, you must carefully plan the location and type of storage to ensure you have enough without overwhelming your room. First, think about what you need to store in this bathroom and consider if you can move items to another room or a closet storage space to avoid clutter.
Look at your floorspace when planning for a vanity cabinet and make sure you consider requirements for cabinet doors opening easily. Focus on storing items you need to have out of sight like medications or cleaning products.
Next, examine where you can install recessed storage solutions. Recessed storage is ideal for a small bath design as it provides essential storage space without taking up valuable floor space. Start with a storage niche in your shower that can hold all your shower toiletries to keep the shower floor clutter-free.
A recessed, mirrored medicine cabinet is another ideal option that provides sleek storage above your vanity cabinet with a mirrored surface that makes your space appear larger. Next, look for other spaces where recessed storage would help, such as a niche over the toilet or near a bathtub. Narrow alcoves can be outfitted with shelves to transform awkward spaces into useful storage.
Other open storage solutions such as floating shelves or ledges also benefit a compact bathroom design. While closed storage is essential to keep your room organized, open storage can provide room to keep a few carefully chosen essential items or decorative accessories while still maintaining a more open feel in your small space. Include a ledge in the shower, near a bathtub, or behind the toilet. Install floating shelves where you can keep spare towels, candles, or framed photos that give your bathroom personality.
Vertical storage is another great way to expand your storage options in a small bath design. Include a tower cabinet with your vanity, take shelves up to the ceiling, install storage above the toilet, or include a radiator towel warmer. This maximizes space to stow essential items without impacting your floor space.
Bathroom fixtures such as plumbing fixtures, shower enclosures, vanity cabinets, and more are essential to a functional and stylish space. In a small bathroom design, there are many choices that can help you achieve the bathroom you want without overwhelming your available space. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Keep it frameless: frameless glass shower enclosures create a sleek, easy-to-maintain style for a shower in any size bathroom. Best of all, for a small bathroom it allows light to shine through and gives your bathroom a feeling of depth, making it appear larger.
- Open up: Another option is to go for a fully open shower style, creating a wet room where the shower is integrated with the rest of the bathroom. With no shower door, base, or curtain rod to get in the way, you get the benefit of the full area of your bathroom’s layout.
- Go for a combo: If a bathtub is essential to your bathroom remodeling plans, consider installing a tub/shower combination. This is an ideal space-saving model that fits neatly along a wall or into an alcove and provides both a bathtub and shower setup.
- Mount it on the wall: floating vanities, wall-mounted faucets, and wall-hung toilets help give your bathroom the appearance of more space by leaving the floor clear. They let your floor material show throughout the room and also make it easier to clean (which can be challenging in a cramped space).
Lighting and Mirrors
These are essential elements of any bathroom design, but especially important when designing a small space. Carefully plan your lighting so that it illuminates key areas without overwhelming your compact bathroom. Since a small bathroom does not call for a lot of light fixtures, your best bet is to include a dimmer switch, voice- or app-controlled lighting, or a backlit mirror that lets you easily change and control light levels.
Pair your lighting scheme with a bathroom mirror that fits your functional needs and helps to make your room appear larger. Here are several ideas for the ideal mirror for a small bathroom design:
- Go large: cover the entire wall above your vanity with a mirror, which provides plenty of space to see yourself when getting ready, reflects light around the room, and makes the room look bigger.
- Make a statement: Similar to applying bold colors and patterns to a small space, a compact bath design could be the ideal place to include a statement mirror. Choose a mirror framed in an unusual material, an asymmetrical mirror, or one with an intricate beveled edge to draw attention.
- Light up: Backlit mirrors or any mirrors with integrated LED lighting stylishly illuminate your space and avoid light fixtures cluttering your design. They provide targeted lighting when getting ready but can also offer an aesthetically pleasing solution to your room’s lighting scheme.
- Hidden storage: get everything you need in one location with a mirrored medicine cabinet with integrated lighting. This solution lets you store essential items, while also providing space to see yourself clearly to get ready.
- Don’t overwhelm: recessed lighting is ideal for a small space, but if you decide to include light fixtures, such as pendants, chandeliers, or wall sconces, keep them size-appropriate so they do not overwhelm your bathroom.
If you are planning a compact bathroom remodel but are unsure how to achieve a stylish and functional space without overwhelming your small bathroom, don’t worry! There are many ways to maximize the space you have to create a design you will love. Start with a layout that makes the most of your bathroom’s footprint and incorporates any unique features. Next, choose a color scheme that achieves your goals. Whether that is to open up the space with light tones or to make an impactful statement with dark or bold colors. Choose fixtures, fittings, and accessories that work with your room’s available space, and finish it all off with lighting and mirrors that enhance your design and make it feel larger. Our design team can help you achieve your bath design goals. Contact us to get started!