Discover small bathroom ideas to transform your powder room.
Photo: Carola Ripamonti; design: Andrea Marcante, Adelaide Testa; from Take a Bath (copyright Gestalten 2017)
Small Footprint, Big Ideas

43 Small Bathroom Ideas to Make Your Bathroom Feel Bigger

Your tiny bathroom just might become your new favorite room

Looking for small bathroom ideas that will make the space seem larger than life? So is most of New York City. The lack of square footage, limited natural light, and number of fixtures to squeeze in make a small bathroom one of the more challenging spaces to decorate. But when done right, the whole room can seem brighter and more spacious. And no, you won’t have to spend a zillion dollars to carve a window into the wall (or call on something retro like glass bricks).

These small bathroom ideas go beyond making the most of the available space and prove that bold design elements can be right at home in even the tiniest rooms. Here are the best ways to turn powder rooms, half-baths, and just little tiny (sometimes windowless) bathrooms into less cramped, more enjoyable situations. Your small bath may just be your next favorite room.

1. Keep Your Colors Light and Bright

© Emily Gilbert Photography

A wood floor and vanity give this city bathroom a warm and serene feeling. A soft mint green hue reflects natural light from the window. The space surrounding the freestanding tub makes the room feel more open, as does the lightweight curtain fabric, which allows maximum light to enter.

2. Or Double Down With a Dark Color Scheme

In Gilles Mendel’s Manhattan apartment, the bath’s vanity is granite and the black towels are by Calvin Klein Home.

Photo: Joshua McHugh

Wait, what? “Oftentimes I like to paint small bathrooms [typically windowless rooms] a dark color, like black. It gives depth and creates an illusion of a larger space,” says Jenny Wolf of Jenny Wolf Interiors. “Go with a high-gloss in a super dark color,” advises Fleming James of Oliver Street Designs. The hue will simultaneously impart a big-night-sky effect and also bounce the little light you have around the space. (Doing so will also draw attention to the light fixtures, she points out, so you’ll need to choose them thoughtfully—bulbs that bring in plenty of light, shapes you don’t mind being pretty pronounced.)

3. Mirror a Wall

Even with a bold marble, this bath by Joanne de Guardiola and Jon Bannenberg feels very open thanks to the mirrored upper half.

Photo: William Waldron

Rather than just hanging one above the vanity, consider mirroring a whole wall of your tiny bathroom. The reflection of light and pattern (and, sometimes, that open door) will do the same good work a window does.

4. Opt for a Glass Shower Door

Inspiration for the glass shower door of your dreams, courtesy of a Jenny Wolf–designed space.

Photo: Emily Gilbert

If you’re starting your small bathroom design from scratch, consider scrapping the curtain entirely. “I also recommend glass shower doors in a small bath, as it will help to open up the space,” Wolf says.

5. Or Remove Your Shower Door Completely

Totally renovated bathroom with shower cabin and bathtub,light cream coloured tiles on floor and wall. Point of focus mainly on tiles in forground.Photo: KristianSeptimiusKrogh

The slightly more adventurous might even consider no shower door at all (a good drain is wise in that case).

6. Backlight the Mirror

Photo: Anton Minin

“This can be a chic and modern way to amplify light,” James says, “if you do not have room for sconces or simply want a more minimalistic look.”

7. Take On Tile

McGrath II used floor tile to cover the walls of this small bathroom.

Photo: Matt Harrington/Courtesy of McGrath II

Tile is a durable way to add impact and can be used from floor to ceiling. “For smaller bathroom walls, we like to specify ceramic tiles that are small,” says Suzanne McGrath of the design firm McGrath II. The designer is a fan of using one-by-four and two-by-six floor tiles—which are also less expensive—on bathroom walls.

8. Give the Curtain a Lift

Photo: Steve Freihon

If you have the luxury of choosing where your shower curtain goes, James recommends that you “take the fabric all the way up” past the usual height of the tub. “Extending the curtain nearly to the ceiling will certainly elongate the walls,” she says, adding that the taller your ceiling, the more this will help. The ceiling curtain track in designer Ryan Brooke Thomas’s own apartment does just that.  

9. Keep the Floor Clear

A pedestal sink keeps a slim profile in the bathroom of Elizabeth Locke’s Virginia home.

Photo: Joshua McHugh

Covering the floor with a bathroom vanity or storage containers can create a cramped space, not to mention tripping hazards. A pedestal or floating vanity keeps the floor clear, and installing floating storage will help keep everything you need at arm’s length.

10. Try a Large-Scale Wall Covering

The powder room of a house in Monte Carlo features Dornbracht fittings and Phillip Jeffries wallpaper.

Photo: Simon Watson

You might think you need to go for a petite motif, but it’s actually better to go big. “Medium- and large-scale wallpapers and tile patterns can actually make a space feel larger,” James explains. Whether you choose big tiles or an even bigger pattern is up to you; she says they’ll both “give an illusionary scale in tight quarters.”

11. Use High-Gloss Paint to Reflect Light and Amplify the Space

A light-filled, narrow bathroom is accented with a sheepskin rug and bamboo roller blinds in the Brooklyn home of designers Casey Kenyon and Jonathon Beck.Photo: Roland Bello

Designers Casey Kenyon and Jonathan Beck’s Brooklyn bathroom feels decidedly airy thanks to light-reflecting high-gloss paint.

12. Opt for a Patterned Floor

Photo: Francesco Lagnese

Believe it or not, this bathroom is windowless. Tall mirrored medicine cabinets and a glass shower amplify light from the interior fixtures, brightening up the space. Wolf used built-in cabinets to save floor space. A herringbone wood floor gives the illusion of a larger and warmer bath.

13. Add a Shower Niche

Shower niche trumps plastic caddy every. single. time.Photo: Aubrie Pick

Another major space saver? A shower niche. If you’re designing a small bathroom, make sure to include a shower niche in your plans.

14. Use a Ledge to Create Space

A narrow ledge in front of the mirror in this GRT Architects–designed bathroom is the perfect perch for a plant, toothbrush, and other essentials.

15. Move Your Towel Bar

In a West Village powder room by designer Ashley Darryl, a towel bar is fastened to the side of the floating sink.

16. Rethink Your Sink

If you’re designing your tiny bathroom from scratch (or remodeling), a tiny corner sink may be among the most handy simple small bathroom ideas. There’s no rule that says you have to have a full-size standard sink. A corner sink gets the job done just as well—plus it gives you plenty of space and less to clean.

17. Choose Compact Pieces

Photo: Kyle Knodell; Styling: Jamie Perez Herrera

Hulking vanities and blocky tubs may look at home in a larger bathroom, but they can make a small bathroom feel claustrophobic. Install compact toilets and sinks or consider floating versions to open up the space, like in this 650-square-foot apartment designed by Brett Masterson. If a tub is a must, consider a Japanese soaking tub to add serenity without taking up square footage.

18. Consider Closed Storage to Stay Organized

Photo: Barbara Corsico 

Bottles and tubes scattered on the countertops are guaranteed to distract from even the most gorgeous room. Samuel suggests closed bathroom storage, such as a linen closet or vanity with drawers and doors, to keep things tucked away. “Display only your favorite and most frequently used, well-designed products.” In this 323 square foot Italian pad by the founders of SCEG Architetti, the exterior of the vanity can really sing thanks to the lack of clutter.  

19. Curve Some Surfaces

Small bathroom with toilet and shower in gray tonesPhoto: yuryRumovsky

Reclaim some of your space with a curved sink or shower. It might not seem like much, but it can make a difference, especially in a tiny space where real estate matters.

20. Add Stylish Shelving

Photo: Will Ellis

Forget anything basic. Opt for a sleek shelf that fits your decor and gives you extra space (a precious commodity in a small bathroom), like in this bathroom by Fanny Abbes, the creative director of the New Design Project, which employs acrylic shelves that perfectly match the rest of the bathroom feel.

21. Choose a Wall-Mounted Faucet

Photo: Carola Ripamonti; design: Andrea Marcante, Adelaide Testa; from Take a Bath (copyright Gestalten 2017)

Not only is a wall-mounted faucet a real space saver, it’s also stylish, modern, and easy to clean.

22. Get Creative With Storage

Photo: Muk van Lil

In cramped rooms, any open space is an opportunity. If there’s a niche, add open shelves to make use of that dead space, just as designer Madelon Oudshoorn Spaargaren did in her Amsterdam home. 

23. Add a Ladder for Towels

A vintage vanity with an undermount basin. Photo courtesy of Making Home Base

We love this country-chic small bathroom that gets creative with a ladder. It can hang more towels than a bar, and it gives the bathroom a unique feel. If you don’t have enough space for a ladder that stands alone, choose one that is made to sit above a toilet.

24. Pare Down Your Bottles

Photo: Douglas Friedman

Let’s be honest: We usually don’t need all those toiletry bottles. Streamlining your grooming products will give you more space, so do a Marie Kondo and pare down your shampoo collection. Or, at the very least, store the products you don’t use daily somewhere other than your counters or bathtub ledges. Getting rid of any clutter will make your small bathroom seem much bigger.

25. Install a Skylight

Bathroom renovated with mosaic of grey tiles; a washbasin, shower, and skylight. 

Photo: piovesempre

This is one of the more ambitious small bathroom designs, but it will make a major impact. Installing a skylight will open up your entire bathroom and significantly brighten the space.

26. Get a High Tank Toilet

Photo: Simon Brown

When stuck with a bathroom that’s cramped but features inordinately tall ceilings, a high tank toilet can be just the thing to distract the eye. In this Beata Heuman–designed apartment, a bold paint color is used to double down on those tall walls. 

27. Try an Interesting Tile Pattern

Photo: Yohann Fontaine

No matter what color bathroom tile you go for, arranging them in an interesting pattern can up the visual interest. The options are practically endless: This Paris apartment features a zigzag herringbone design with a bright white grout against the dark tile.

28. Pick Natural Accent Colors For a White Bathroom 

Photo: Charlie Schuck

If you want your bathroom to be calming no matter how cramped it is, use a natural color palette and don’t worry about painting the walls. Despite the bright flooring in her own apartment, architect Corey Kingston paired a terracotta curtain and bathmat with wicker baskets for storage. If you’re set on subway tile, natural colors pair well with them too. 

29. Go for a Theme

Photo: Jenna Ohnemus Peffley

“Especially for a bathroom with an unusual shape, going after a theme can help make the space feel more cohesive. I had a friend growing up who had a bathroom with a theme of lips. Her mother loved lips. I loved that bathroom and found it incredibly fanciful,” homeowner Fanny Singer said during our tour of her space, explaining how she arrived at the bum-centric art in her bathroom. “I’m not going to go to that degree, but it just became a thing.” 

30. Go for Unusual Shapes

Photo: Rory Gardiner

Architect Vincent Appel paired a round floating sink with a Gio Ponti mirror in a 300-square-foot apartment’s minimalist bathroom. Without creating chaos in the small space, these two pieces added plenty of personality. 

31. Use Brass Hardware

Photo: Kirsten Francis

Brass hardware and fixtures can add an unexpected, refined look to any bathroom—no full renovation needed. Though the difference is slight, this Margaret Costello–designed bathroom still looks luxurious thanks to its impactful fixtures. 

32. Go Monochromatic

Photo: Melanie Landsman

Nearly everything in this bathroom is pink—floor tile and tub included—and we love the look of a monochrome escape. Though this bathroom is vintage, it’s easily replicable for any design sensibility. 

33. Get A Mirror with Built-In Storage

Photo: Joe Kramm; Styling: Mieke ten Have

The best small space pieces are multifunctional, and a mirror that also offers storage can be a life saver. The medicine cabinet is the gold standard, but if that feels a little too retro, try a mirror with shelves, like this one in a New York City apartment designed by Project AZ. 

34. Use the Space Above the Toilet

In the bathroom, guests leave messages tucked into in the wooden hands that Philip purchased in South Kensington Farmers' Market when he lived in London. Strings of beads hang above. “The common thread amongst them all is they offer protection, and I think I’ve got just about every major religion represented last I looked."Photo: Joshua McHugh

Whether you use it for storage or for eye-catching decoration, as designer Philip Gorrivan chose to, do not leave the space above the toilet empty. 

35. Skip the Full Towel Rack

Photo: Christopher Stark

If your extra-small bathroom doesn’t have storage space, don’t force it! Skip a full towel rack and add either a hook for shower time or a small rack for a hand towel, as in this Noz Nozawa–designed space

36. Simplify It

When dealing with a powder room, keep things as simple as possible. There’s no need to add storage space if you don’t have much to store, and your space will be all the more pleasing for it! We should all take the note from this Chicago home designed by Wendy Labrum.

37. Stick to Evocative Neutrals 

Photo: Jacob Snavely

Neutral doesn’t have to mean boring! This Aamir Khandwala–designed space employs a deep beige to create a room that is both calming and dynamic. 

38. Add a Fun Pendant Light

Photo: Michael Clifford

In bathroom design the focus often lands on sconce lighting, but a fun pendant light can serve as an impactful focal point, no matter the square footage of your bathroom. For proof, just take a glimpse at this Jake Arnold–designed bathroom’s rattan pendant. 

39. Mirror Multiple Walls

Photo: Sean Litchfield

Adding multiple mirrors to a space not only makes it feel bigger, it also has the potential to create a memorable fun house-like vibe in the bathroom. Wouldn’t you want to take a selfie in this space designed by homeowner Chris Aswad

40. Match Your Hardware Finishes

Photo: Kyle Knodell

Tying everything together in your bathroom can be satisfying even if it may not make the space feel larger, exactly. In bathrooms that feature a glass shower door or wall, like this Dumbo loft’s, tie the shower in with the rest of the space by matching the finishes of the sink, light fixtures, and towel rod.

41. Add Shallow Shelves for Trinkets

By choosing a basic tile in an not-so-basic color and size, Conti, Cert was able to save some money in the bathroom. The vanity is baltic birch plywood with unfinished edges.Photo: Coke Bartrina

If you don’t want to dedicate counter space to items that are purely for decorative purposes, shallow floating shelves will take up a small footprint in your space but still allow for much more personality than a cramped vanity ever could. Photographer Coke Bartrina’s filled his simple shelves with small plants.

42. Go for Terrazzo

Photo: Max Burkhalter

As far as we’re concerned, terrazzo is timeless—just look at Matthew Stewart’s gorgeous terrazzo-lined bathroom! With the mesmerizing pattern enveloping the room, it’ll be hard to stress about lack of space.

43. Add a Gallery Wall

Photo: Kyle Knodell

Though it might not be the first place to spring to mind for your art collection, a gallery wall is sure to add a stately air to even the tiniest of bathrooms. Going for all black and white prints ups the classiness factor, as the bathroom at designer Peter Sandel’s own studio apartment proves.