Small Bathroom Remodeling Ideas That Maximize Space and Style

Small Bathroom Remodeling

Remodeling a small bathroom can seem like a daunting task. With limited square footage to work with, it may feel impossible to create a beautiful, functional space. However, before you go to a cabinet store for your bathroom cabinets, with some creative design ideas and clever storage solutions, your tiny bath can be transformed.

Table of Contents

Choose the Right Layout

According to home remodeling experts from HomeAdvisor, careful planning of the layout and traffic flow is crucial in a small bathroom remodel to avoid uncomfortable detours.

The first step in any small bathroom remodel is planning the layout of the powder room. Carefully consider where to place fixtures and amenities to maximize every inch.

Optimize Traffic Flow

Carefully mapping out the layout of your small bathroom is crucial to avoid collisions and uncomfortable detours in the cramped space.

Think through the ideal traffic flow when entering and exiting the room, as well as transitioning between activities. Place the door in a spot with open space that allows you to easily access key areas without bumping into walls or furnishings.

Strategically position fixtures and features based on frequency of use. The toilet and sink should be readily available from the door for quick and easy access.

Place your towel rack in the shower or tub nearby for smooth transitions between washing hands and bathing.

Consider placing the toilet near the door for easy access but with a partition or corner placement to allow for more privacy. Floating vanity styles or pedestal sinks can often fit perpendicular to a wall or corner to save space while still allowing adequate traffic flow around each fixture.

Use Floating Installation Styles

Based on recommendations from This Old House interior designers, floating installation styles help visually open up precious floor space in cramped bathrooms.

One of the best small bathroom ideas for opening up floor space is utilizing floating installation styles on key fixtures like toilets, vanities, and sinks.

Floating vanities are installed directly on the wall with concealed plumbing and no cabinetry below, leaving the floor area visually open while still offering storage and counter space.

Similarly, wall-hung or floating toilets and sinks remove bulky bases to lighten visual weight.

Built-in shelving and bathroom cabinetry are another space-conscious options, allowing you to install narrow custom storage nooks between wall studs or in otherwise unusable cavities.

Pre-fabricated bathroom cabinets in slender styles can take limited space but also maximize every inch while catering to your storage needs.

Limit Major Fixtures

When dealing with a truly tiny bathroom space, sometimes less is more when it comes to fixtures. Limit yourself to only one sink to conserve precious counter real estate for toiletries hand towels and accessories. Select a slender pedestal sink or compact wall-hung sink to maintain an open feel.

Many small baths combine the shower and tub area into one efficient walk-in shower configuration to reduce square footage dedicated to bathing needs.

If you prefer having both, look for specialized narrow and short tub shapes that can squeeze into tiny corners. A corner shower layout with glass doors can also optimize available wall space here.

Select Specific Design Elements

Many design elements can make a very small room or bathroom appear larger, brighter, and more pleasant.

1. Install Proper Lighting

Proper lighting is essential in small spaces.

  • Accent lighting attracts the eye upward, making ceilings seem higher.
  • Sconces provide task lighting without taking up counter space.
  • Natural light from a window gives the illusion of more room.

2. Use Reflective Surfaces

Reflective surfaces like glossy tile and mirrors will make your bathroom feel more expansive.

  • A large mirror above the vanity gives the illusion of more space.
  • Glossy subway tiles make walls appear further apart.
  • Gleaming fixtures make the whole room sparkle.

3. Keep Colors Light and Bright

Dark colors tend to make small bathrooms feel closed in and even smaller. Stick to light, airy paint colors like soft whites and grays.

  • Lighter wall tile opens up the room as well.
  • White grout keeps the bathroom wall looking clean and spacious.
  • Pale paint colors pair nicely with colorful accents.

Carefully Choose Materials

The materials and finishes you select for your bathroom remodel impact the style, design firm functionality, and perceived size of the space.

Tile Floors and Walls Strategically

Tile can make or break the look and feel of a small bathroom. Pay special attention to choosing the right styles, sizes, colors, and layouts to enhance the space.

Small rectangular or square floor tiles have a longer history of use in bathrooms, but alternative shapes like hexagons and slim rectangles can make rooms appear even larger when installed in a horizontal brickwork pattern.

Mixing in differently shaped, sized, or textured tiles also adds dimension through contrast.

For shower walls, standard white 3×6 subway tiles are a popular choice because they add clean, simple lines vertically to make ceilings appear higher. Offset bricks with contrasting grout create even more height and interest. Boldly colored, glossy wall tiles like deep blues and greens give the illusion of receding walls.

Alternating tile heights, combining different materials like subway bricks with marble inserts, or adding decorative chair rails and borders adds architectural detail.

This visual interest draws the eye to elements beyond just room size. Mosaics used sparingly as accents can also delight.

Don’t overlook the importance of grout in a small space. Contrasting grout lines between tiles create dimension and articulate specific design elements.

Choose whether to make the grout disappear subtly with a matching color or stand out boldly in white or black, depending on the look you want.

With strategic choices in tile style, color, layout, and grout, you can use this bathroom element to enhance the proportions reflect light, and details of your tiny bath for a custom, high-end style at any budget.

Pick Space-Savvy Fixtures

When dealing with a tiny bathroom, every fixture and plumbing element takes up precious real estate. Carefully select variants of sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers designed to maximize functionality while taking up minimal space.

Wall-hung or floating sink and vanity styles are excellent small bathroom ideas, removing bulky cabinets from the floor plan while still offering storage solutions.

For a more streamlined look, glass vessel sinks perched atop slim metal stands to add modern appeal while keeping the floor and surrounding countertops open and easy to clean. Pedestal sinks offer a classic profile with less visual weight.

Toilets with compact elongated bowls and low-profile tanks enhance comfort while occupying less space. Wall-hung toilets remove the tank from view altogether for even more efficiency.

Measure carefully to ensure there’s adequate existing plumbing infrastructure to support a wall-hung installation.

When it comes to showers, clear glass doors create a lighter, airier feeling than shower curtains. Frameless doors enhance this effect even further. If your budget doesn’t allow a full glass enclosure, install ceiling-height glass partitions along with a standard shower curtain.

Specialized tubs like corner styles allow efficient use of angles that may otherwise go wasted. Some corner tubs offer seating on two adjacent sides for added functionality.

If you don’t have adequate room for both a full tub and a separate shower, installing an adaptable tub with shower capabilities streamlines the bathing experience.

Install Smart Storage Solutions

Incorporating storage is key for keeping small bathrooms neat and organized.

  • Built-in shelves remove clutter from the countertops.
  • Freestanding cabinets provide enclosed storage.
  • Recessed niches in the shower hold bath necessities.
  • Over-the-toilet cabinets are ideal for linens or toiletries.

With the right layout, design elements, and materials, you can create a beautiful, functional oasis — even in the smallest bathrooms.

Clever Ideas for Tiny Bathroom Makeovers

If you are working with an exceptionally small bathroom that requires a full renovation, don’t despair. There are many clever tricks of the trade that can make tiny bathrooms feel fresh, spacious, and beautiful.

Force Perspective with Contrast

Playing with contrasting colors, patterns, and textures forces perspective to make rooms appear larger.

  • Pair a graphic shower curtain with plain walls.
  • Choose floor tile with bold grout lines.
  • Paint the ceiling a darker shade than the walls.

Zone by Activity

Define separate zones in an open-concept small bath for optimal functionality.

  • Designate clear spots for showering and bathing.
  • Include a grooming station with ample lighting.
  • Add a dedicated space for laundry and storage needs.

Borrow Space Creatively

Steal a couple extra square feet from an adjoining room.

  • Bump out into a hallway or large closet.
  • Remove non-load-bearing walls.
  • Repurpose wasted attic space above.

With a small cabinet, thoughtful layout, and clever tricks, you can gain the functionality of a larger bathroom without the required footprint.

Style Your Small Space Like a Pro

Once you’ve conquered the layout and functionality of your tiny bath, it’s time for the fun part— making all the design decisions that give the space personality and polish.

Infuse Visual Interest

While clean, contemporary styles work wonderfully in small baths, all that stark white can end up feeling clinical. The thoughtful placement of captivating elements adds much-needed visual interest while retaining a soothing sense of serenity.

  • Make a bold statement with an intricate floor tile design.
  • Display a collection of rolled towels adorned with grosgrain ribbon.
  • Add a pop of color with fresh flower arrangements.
  • Incorporate natural textures like wood shelving and wicker baskets.

Create a Spa Experience

This is the one room in the house designed specifically for pampering and rejuvenation. Play up the spa-like aspects serene space with high-end materials and soothing accessories.

  • Line walls with calming horizontally stacked marble.
  • Adorn the windows with semi-sheer linen curtains.
  • Include a plush bath mat in front of the tub.
  • Display candles, aromatherapy oils, and glass bottles.

With the right mix of materials, textures, colors, and accessories you can transform a tiny bath into a luxurious home spa—perfect for relaxing and recharging.

Budget-Friendly Small Bathroom Ideas

If your bathroom remodel budget is limited, don’t fret. There are plenty of small bathroom remodeling ideas that pack a big punch without the high price tag. With creativity and conscious choices about bathroom remodeling costs, you can give your petite bath an affordable mini-makeover.

Simple Surface Swaps

Sometimes a fresh coat of paint, new flooring, and updated hardware can make all the difference.

  • Paint walls a soft, neutral color.
  • Replace old floors with white hexagon tile.
  • Install new brass fixtures for shine.
  • Add inexpensive peel-and-stick wallpaper as an accent.

Focus on Key Elements

Upgrade one or two standout features in the room for maximum visual impact.

  • Knock down walls and replace the tub with a roomy walk-in shower.
  • Install stylish penny tile as a main focal point.
  • Buy a new mirrored medicine cabinet.
  • Replace the vanity with a wall-hung floating style.

Shop Secondhand Stores

Secondhand and salvage shops offer high-quality materials for bathroom projects at a fraction of retail pricing.

  • Find a unique antique vanity on Craigslist.
  • Score savings on name-brand lighting at Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations.
  • Buy discontinued or surplus tile and fixtures from contractors.

With just a few pieces, a little ingenuity, elbow grease, and thriftiness, you can remodel your small bathroom on almost any budget.


What are some space-saving tips for small bathroom remodeling?

Some helpful space-saving tips include using floating or wall-mounted styles for sinks, vanities, and toilets to open up floor areas, limiting fixtures to only the essentials, creating built-in storage nooks, and selecting glass shower doors rather than curtains to open up the room. Strategic layouts that optimize traffic flow are also key in a tiny space.

How can I make my small bathroom appear larger?

Great ways to make a small bathroom feel larger include installing reflective subway tile and large mirrors to create the illusion of more space, painting walls and ceilings in lighter colors, incorporating natural light through windows and skylights, and decluttering surfaces so the room feels more open.

What type of sink works best in small bathrooms?

Wall-mounted floating sinks, slender pedestal sinks, and compact vessel sinks are great small bathroom sink ideas. They conserve precious counter space and keep the floor area below open for ease of cleaning and a lighter look.

Should I choose a shower curtain or glass shower doors for my small bathroom?

Glass shower doors can make a bathroom feel more expansive. They create a lighter, airier effect compared to shower curtains. If a full glass enclosure doesn’t fit your budget, install glass partitions along with a standard shower door or curtain.

What are some budget-friendly small bathroom ideas?

Some affordable small bathroom remodels focus on surface-level upgrades like new paint colors, updated light fixtures, peel-and-stick wallpaper, and fresh hardware. Targeting one or two standout features like a new walk-in shower or floating vanity also packs a visual punch without breaking the bank.

Where can I look for deals on materials for my small bathroom remodel?

Secondhand stores and salvage shops offer quality materials for bathrooms at a discount. Watch for tile, lighting, sinks, and vanities on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Surplus warehouses also sell materials from contractors’ overstock.

In Summary

Remodeling a small bathroom comes with unique layout, storage, and style challenges. However, with clever solutions like floating fixtures, glass enclosures, and other space-saving elements, you can transform your cramped bath into a luxurious, functional oasis. Begin by optimizing the room’s traffic flow and limiting bulky fixtures. Strategically install storage nooks, mirrors, and lighting to enhance spaciousness. Tile with care to expand proportions. Select efficient sinks and toilets to conserve real estate for design details. Infuse visual flair with textures, colors, and accessories.

While a petite bath requires some creative problem-solving, the results can feel just as high-end and impressive as larger rooms. Tiny spaces offer the advantage of utilizing every inch more intentionally. Limit each component to only the essentials and suddenly you have extra space used for extra styling and upgrades. Approach your small bathroom remodel as a puzzle to creatively solve, choosing space-savvy elements that harmonize beautifully. With the right layout and design sensibilities, it’s amazing how luxurious even the most diminutive rooms can feel.

Bayram Gulsen

Bayram Gulsen is the owner of Cabinets City. He always had this passion to redefine cabinetry to be at its best along with his dedicated team and the author of Cabinets City blog: You can find Bayram on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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