If there’s one room in the house that is often treated as something purely functional in the design phase, it’s the bathroom. And yet, if there’s one room in the house that you’ll always wish was more spacious and decadent, it would also often be the bathroom. “Spacious” creates a sense of comfort and luxury, and a luxurious bathroom is the perfect escape after a long, stressful day.
Thankfully, there are some tricks you can pull to make even the smallest bathroom feel much more spacious than it actually is.
1) Repaint the Bathroom, Using the Right Colours
The colour of a bathroom can have a significant impact on the impression that it leaves, and dark, depressing colours tend to make a bathroom feel more “closed in.” With small bathrooms, it’s better to paint them in soft pastel colours, which create a sense of airy space. You can kill a couple of birds with a single stone by also using a “cool” colour, like a blue, to impart a sense of serenity and relaxation into the room.
Another important trick in mind is to blend the colours of the walls and ceiling as much as possible. If they can share a colour, then the visual perception is that there is no longer any “dividing lines” between the two, which helps to make the space look like it’s expanded out and continuous.
2) Improve the Lighting
One of the great advantages of lights is that they don’t take up extra space – which in a small bathroom is a premium – but if used well can catch the eye and create the impression of opening up the space. This is especially true if you can get good, strong lighting into the corners to create the perception that the room doesn’t have sharp, space-limiting corners.
Improving the lighting can be simple, weekend projects (installing wall sconces, for example), or it can be part of a major renovation project (installing skylights or putting bigger windows in). Whatever you choose to do, the better lit the space, the bigger it’s going to seem.
3) Install Recessed Shelving
Small bathroom storage is never easy. If the design of your house allows it, make use of recessed shelving within the bathroom. Not only does that add a little space overall, but when the door to the shelf is closed, you’ll have a continuous, unbroken, flat wall across the bathroom, which helps to create that sensation of long lines in the room. Shelving that juts out disrupts the lines, and creates the impression that the room is smaller that it actually is.
4) Create Long Lines in the Space
You might want to look at pulling up the floor and laying down new tiles. As nice as mosaics or small tiles might look, in a smaller space they can also have a “shrinking” effect. The same goes for any visual lines on the walls; for example, you could install a long, thin shelf across the longest wall in the room, to draw the eye to it and create the impression of width.
5) Use Clear Glass for the Shower
The shower is obviously a major part of any bathroom, and it needs to be separated from the rest of the bathroom to prevent water going everywhere. The problem is that if the glass used for that barrier is frosted or patterned, then the shower is divided from the rest of the bathroom, having the effect of making it – and the bathroom – feel small. Using clear glass helps to reconnect the shower to the rest of the room.
6) Reduce clutter in the room
Have a storage space for small things just outside of the bathroom to hold small items. Clutter fills the vision and creates the perception that the area is smaller than it is. When you’ve only got a limited space, you should definitely adopt a Marie Kondo approach to clutter and aim to keep the bathroom as minimalist as possible.
7) Use mirrors to create depth in the room
Most bathrooms have a mirror, of course, but you can get much more creative with the space than that. Installing a large mirror will reflect the light being brought into the room, and then using smaller mirrors, placed strategically around the place, can subtly pull out important details in the bathroom and enhance the sense of distance within it.
8) Expand the Ceiling
Creating the impression that your bathroom ceiling is high helps to give the room a sense of spaciousness. This process can end up costing a bit so it’s wise to set a renovation budget. Additionally, not everyone can physically increase the height of the ceiling, of course, but there are things that you can do to create the illusion of a raised ceiling. Installing crown molding around the edges of the ceiling, and painting it the same colour as the ceiling, will achieve that visual perception.
As you’ll see above, a lot of the tricks for creating the perception of a large bathroom are home projects that can be completed over the weekend, and done without needing to go through the time-consuming pain and expense of undertaking a home renovation project.