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. Get A Mirror with Built-In Storage
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.
2. Skip the Full Towel Rack
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.
3. Stick to Evocative Neutrals
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.
4. Match Your Hardware Finishes
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.
5. Add Shallow Shelves for Trinkets
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.
6. Use Brass Hardware
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.
7. Go for a Theme
“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.”
8. Pick Natural Accent Colors For a White Bathroom
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.
9. Get a High Tank Toilet
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.
10. Add Stylish Shelving
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.