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Decorating Ideas for Small Bathrooms

Updated on April 5, 2016

Professional Look

Normal everyday people who just want to get a professional look in our small typical size bathroom there is hope after all. Over 90% of the homes are not mansions or million dollar style custom homes and with budgets for us normal people being a little less than the typical millionaire, we have to be creative when decorating our space. Bathrooms are by far the most used rooms in a typical house and yet they tend to get overlooked when decorating. We tend to look at the main entertaining areas of our home first. Below are some ideas that can give inspiration when decorating your small bathroom.

Just because your bathroom is small doesn’t mean it has to look that way.

Even the smallest of bathrooms can be made to look larger than the square footage. Some of the most common ways you can do this is by using a free floating sink and shelving that hangs on the wall. Instead of a dark shower curtain use glass surround doors or a clear curtain. This will open up the space to make it appear larger. Using see through décor in small bathrooms is essential to give it a spacious look. Larger mirrors can help along with strategically placed lighting that we'll go over further into this article.

Small bathrooms are common but they can still look elegant and have as much storage as some of today's larger bathrooms if done right.
Small bathrooms are common but they can still look elegant and have as much storage as some of today's larger bathrooms if done right. | Source

Use Lighter Colors

Lighter colors are essential to make a small space look larger. Dark colors will just close in the space and actually make it look smaller and closed in. A slightly darker accent wall is ok to use if you want some contrast to give the room some depth. Wallpaper has become more popular in recent years however the same rules apply to wall paper as does paint. White wainscoting is a great way to add some design without taking up space or breaking the bank. If you’re going to tile the floor then a lighter color tile will work well and give some openness to the room.

This bathroom is painted in a light blue which allows the light to bounce and reflect off the walls and give you a feel of openness.
This bathroom is painted in a light blue which allows the light to bounce and reflect off the walls and give you a feel of openness.

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Pocket Doors

If it is possible and within the budget a pocket door is a great way to save space as it allows you to add more shelving for storage purposes. Pocket doors with a mirror on the inside can make your small bathroom look like it’s twice the size. The door frame of the entry will have to be changed and the typical pocket door frame will run around $100. The door itself can start around $200 and go up from there depending on the size and quality of the door. Keep in mind this does not include installation. If a pocket door is not in the budget then using a mirrored bathroom door or adding a full length mirror to your existing door can give you a similar effect for a fraction of the cost. With this solution you will be limited on the space you can use for storage behind the door.

For small bathrooms pocket doors are becoming more and more utilized as a space saving door.
For small bathrooms pocket doors are becoming more and more utilized as a space saving door.

Look to Hotels For Inspiration

Hotels have mastered the art of making a small space look larger than what it is. So don't be afraid to look at some of their designs for inspiration.
Hotels have mastered the art of making a small space look larger than what it is. So don't be afraid to look at some of their designs for inspiration. | Source

Lighting Makes a Difference

A well lit bathroom always helps when you have a smaller bathroom. If you don’t have a window where natural light can come through then try adding brighter lights or ones that are non directional to make the space appear larger. A dark unlit space makes your bathroom look enclosed much like a dark colored paint would do. This is as simple as adding a higher wattage bulb to your existing light or changing out the light completely. You'll notice a substantial difference just by removing your regular light bulbs and replacing them with LED or ultra white bulbs. Brighter is better in small spaces. Don't be afraid to add a splash of color to your bathroom with a small potted silk orchid arrangement like the one shown.

Let there be light!

The right lighting is everything to open the look of a small space.
The right lighting is everything to open the look of a small space.

Storage

When you have a small bathroom storage is always going to be an issue. Where do you put your towels? What about extra supplies? The top 2 feet of space below your ceiling is probably the most under-utilized space in a home. Above the bathroom door is often overlooked but is an excellent space to store towels as shown in the picture to the right. Use narrow but tall shelving in order to maximize functionality and space. Tall metal towel racks are great for storing extra towels in small spaces. There are many different styles to match your décor along with options that can further expand your storage options. A simple search for bathroom wall storage on the internet can pull up multiple options from expensive wall units to inexpensive but modern metal storage options.

Shelf space is always key in small spaces. Whenever possible free hanging shelves are best to keep things off the floor.
Shelf space is always key in small spaces. Whenever possible free hanging shelves are best to keep things off the floor.

In Conclusion

We spend much of our time in our bathroom and it should be a place free of obstacles and clutter as it can be the most dangerous room in the house. Keeping it clutter free and organized will help you start your day with the right mindset and focused on the tasks ahead at work. Just because your bathroom is small doesn’t mean it can’t look custom designed. Pull everything out of your bathroom and start from scratch, getting rid of some of the things that are not used and only leaving necessary items. Add a touch of color and make it well lit are the keys to an open area that looks much larger than what it actually is.

White wainscoting is another design technique that is coming back. Freestanding sinks are an option that is inexpensive but also takes up more space than a free floating sink.
White wainscoting is another design technique that is coming back. Freestanding sinks are an option that is inexpensive but also takes up more space than a free floating sink.

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    • prestonandkate profile image

      Preston and Kate 3 years ago from the Midwest

      We just finished a bathroom in our basement and now I am looking for some bathroom decorating ideas. Thanks for sharing! -Kate

    • cyoung35 profile image
      Author

      Chad Young 3 years ago from Corona, CA

      I would love to see the pictures when you're finished.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 3 years ago from Georgia

      Great pics. I love pocket doors in a room. I don't have any, but I can see how they would free up space. Your other ideas are good as well especially when it comes to dark colors making a room seem small. Thanks for the info.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wow your bathrrom ideas could turn any bathroom into a 5 star bathroom, voted up

    • profile image

      nottreally here 12 months ago

      I am using the space in walls. Put shelf in between the studs.

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