Select the Right Design Elements to Make the Most of a Small Bathroom

The bathroom is typically the smallest room in the house. While newer homes have increased the size of bathrooms, the average bathroom size in an older home is a mere 5’ by 8’. While you may not be able to do as much with a small bathroom as you would with a large one, you still have a lot of design options for making your small bathroom both functional and beautiful.

Since space in a small bathroom is limited, every element you bring in should be carefully scrutinized for how it interacts with the space. Don’t waste space on elements that don’t work with the overall décor or that impede the flow of the room. One advantage of a small bathroom is that it allows you to splurge. Because it’s a small space, you won’t need a lot of materials so you can afford to go with higher-end products and materials.
Just because your bathroom is small doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or function. Following are some design elements you can incorporate into your bathroom to make the most of the space you have.


• Keep the décor simple and uncluttered.
• Create a bold focal point.
• Stick with solid colors. Patterns can overpower a small bathroom and make it seem smaller than it is.
• Use lighter colors to make your bathroom feel larger. Add personality with pops of color with accessories.
• Use larger floor tiles to create the illusion of a larger space.
• Emphasize the height of the room with floor-to-ceiling cabinets or a vertical focal point that runs from the floor to the ceiling.

Shower and Tub

• Forgo the shower curtain or traditional shower doors in favor of a frameless shower enclosure, which will eliminate the visual separation between the shower and the rest of the bathroom.
• Selecting a curbless shower and continuing the floor tile through the shower will also help remove visual barriers.
• Opt to give up the enclosed shower entirely and replace it with a wet area with a floor drain instead.
• Replace a large tub with a smaller tub or a mini clawfoot tub. If you must use the same size of tub, select one with a lower wall to help give the impression of more space.


• A curved-front vanity is less bulky and will help maximize space.
• A petite vanity or a pedestal vanity takes up less floor space, creating the illusion of additional space.
• A glass countertop will give the impression of a larger room.
• A floating vanity will help you retain your valuable floor space and help the room look larger.


• Scale down the size of your fixtures. Using large fixtures in a small bathroom will make the room seem smaller than it actually is.
• Select a smaller faucet that won’t overwhelm your small vanity.
• Using a large mirror will help give the impression of a larger room.
• Wall-hung shelving provides much-needed storage space without taking up valuable floor space.
• Open shelving is another great storage option. The open design allows you to see all the way to the wall, making the room feel larger.
• Use a mixture of lighting styles, including overhead lighting, task lighting, and, if possible, natural light via windows or a skylight.