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37 Tips For How to Remodel a Small Bathroom

how to remodel a small bathroom
When looking at how to remodel a small bathroom the main consideration is space. As you make your choices they all must relate to making your small bathroom look as big as possible. This is not an impossible task, we have put together the best tips and tricks available to help you succeed, and we strongly encourage you to read as much about bathroom remodeling as possible before you start. You may not be able to use each tip, but by using as many as possible you can maximize the space and look of your small bathroom.


Don’t overdo the vanity: One of the largest objects in your bathroom is your vanity. Using a smaller vanity gives your bathroom more room. Select an open style vanity over a cabinet type to maximize the visual space in your bathroom.

Use brighter colors: Bright colors make a space seem more open and light. Avoid dark colors unless your bathroom has a lot of natural light to offset this choice. White, and other light colors trick the eye to make a space seem larger.

Use a pedestal skirt and avoid a vanity: To make even more space, don’t use a vanity at all, use a pedestal sink. This avoids the space a cabinet or vanity takes up completely. To give yourself a little storage space add a pedestal skirt.

Maximize storage: A small bathroom will have less storage space than a spa like retreat. This means you should maximize the storage that you have by being smart about what you keep in your bathroom. Remember to use the vertical space in your bathroom, a thinner but taller storage option often works well in a small bathroom.

Go upscale because it’s small: One of the benefits to remodeling a small bathroom is that you can spend more because you are using less. This allows you to purchase more expensive options since you will be using a fraction of what you would for a large bathroom. So choose the more expensive option to give your small bathroom a big impression on visitors.

Use glass enclosures to give illusion of more space: Glass shower enclosures give more visible space in your bathroom. Use clear glass instead of frosted glass or you defeat the intention of improving the apparent space.

Use compact, small scale fixtures: In a small bathroom, think small and compact fixtures. When choosing faucets and other fixtures choose the ones that encourage a feeling of space, avoid bulky heavy options. An oversize faucet or other fixtures such as towel racks and even knobs can make the bathroom seem smaller.

Try floating storage: Floating storage options are those that don’t rest on the floor. This gives the illusion of more space since the viewer can see beneath the storage cabinet. This can be an excellent choice for a smaller bathroom, it also has the added benefit of making your bathroom floor easier to clean.

Change the layout: When remodeling an older, smaller bathroom, take the opportunity to change the layout to make the room seem larger. Always remember not to have your toilet facing the door. Removing your tub and going with a shower can give you more space as well. As you remodel take a look at the way your current bathroom is configured and see if moving things around makes the space feel larger.

Keep clutter down: A simple fix to making your small bathroom feel larger is reducing the clutter. While not technically a remodeling tip, reducing the clutter you keep laying around will make your small bathroom seem as large as possible. Use smart storage options to keep clutter out of view. Consider keeping items not routinely used in a hall closet or linen closet.

Open shelving: Use shelving that doesn’t have a solid front. By not closing off the shelving and being able to see to the back wall you give the room a larger look. This often works hand in hand with setting your shelving into the walls themselves.

Only include functional elements: In a small bathroom only include what is necessary. Remove cabinetry that you don’t need and give yourself a little more space. Replace large tubs with smaller more functional options, or if you rarely use the tub remove it completely and go with a walk in shower. Consider going from double sinks to a single sink.

Use texture and pattern to create space: Tile, wallpaper, even rugs should all use textures and patters to help make the bathroom appear larger. Avoid overly busy patterns, use lines to draw the eye up or in.

Add pops of color: The general rule to use more neutral colors or sticking to a basic white color scheme of your bathroom can make it seem boring. To increase the visual impact of your bathroom and make it seem more alive add small pops of vibrant color.

Choose soft colors: If you want to avoid the white bathroom, select a softer color for your bathroom. These colors are almost every color with “light” in front of the name.

Use recessed lights: Removing pendant lights, or even wall mounted light fixtures will open up your bathroom space. Recessed lights provide all the light, without taking up any of the apparent space in your bathroom.

Mirrors can help: Judicious use of mirrors can trick the eye into thinking your bathroom is larger. This shouldn’t be overdone though, too many mirrors will quickly become something no home owner finds attractive.

Niches create space: If your remodel includes changing the drywall, use niches to make more space. By taking your storage needs and setting them into the wall more space is made in your small bathroom.

Avoid shower curtains: Shower curtains close off a section of the bathroom to view. This will make your bathroom look smaller. If you are not using a glass or see through shower enclosure, choose shower curtains that can be tied open. This will maximize the visible room.

Maximize shower use: Just because you are trying to make the most space, doesn’t mean you can’t include some great elements. Since you can save money by having to purchase less materials, splurge on the shower. Buy multihead shower systems, include a bench in your bathroom remodel, go for the steam shower.

Maximize vertical space: Remember that your bathroom can use the vertical space available to great effect. Thin but tall can help your small bathroom gain some needed room.

Consider a corner sink: By using a corner sink you open up wall space in the traffic area of the bathroom. This unique design idea can pay a big dividend in the open look of a small bathroom.

Have a counter over the tank: A thin counter extending over the tank of the toilet can add additional storage space without the need for an entire counter. This often wasted space is a valuable asset in a small bathroom. Take care that you or a plumber can still get into the toilet tank in case maintenance is needed.

Put the towel bar on the door: To free up wall space, if the sink is near the door into the bathroom place the towel bar on the door itself. By doing this you reduce the items on each wall, clearing sight lines and improving the feeling of open space in your small bathroom.

Utilize a trough style sink: These thinner sinks take up less space than a standard style sink. By hugging the wall more closely they clear up more room in the traffic area of the bathroom. This is a great benefit for bathrooms that are narrow and long in shape as it allows more walking room.

Mount the faucet in the wall: To get the most space possible mount the faucet directly in the wall. This allows you to use a narrower sink since the plumbing is hidden inside the wall itself. This interesting looking option can also draw the eye as a special feature.

Wall Cabinets: To get the most storage out of your small bathroom use wall cabinets. These small places are great for just a bit of additional storage without taking up floor space. Place them in the unused areas of the walls near the back of the room to avoid making the entrance feel smaller.

Free standing storage: Often you can purchase free standing storage options that are more useful than a large built in or a cabinet. These options also allow you to reconfigure your bathroom until you get the most open feeling. Storage ladders are an excellent and attractive free standing storage option.

Put storage above the door: To get some additional storage use the dead space above the door. This space won’t normally be seen from outside the bathroom. Keep it open shelving and don’t overload it to keep the look open and light.

Select larger size floor tiles: Pick a larger size tile when selecting flooring. These tiles will make the floor less busy than small tiles often do.  The wider spaced grout lines help make the space look bigger.

Don’t use up the floor space: Often we have scales, laundry baskets, trash cans, and other small items that take up valuable floor space. Opt for the small trash can that fits beside the toilet in that unused area between the toilet and the wall. Keep your scale and laundry basket in your bedroom instead of in the bathroom. These small changes can recover a lot of space in a small bathroom.

Change the swing: If possible, have your bathroom door open to the hallway and not into the bathroom itself. This may not work for a small hallway, or a high traffic area though. Having your bathroom door open outside of the room gives you a small amount of additional space to use for storage.

Keep the cabinetry light: Selecting a light colored wood for your cabinetry pays visual dividends. A lighter colored wood reflects more light, and doesn’t catch the eye as much as dark colored cabinets are prone to do.

Let there be light: If your small bathroom is also an interior bathroom the lack of natural light can make it seem even smaller. Adding a skylight or a sun lighting tube to bring in natural light can make your bathroom seem much larger. Natural light gives a space an open feel that no other source of lighting can replicate.

Storage above the tank: The area above your toilet tank can often be valuable storage space. There are many different portable storage options available the provide you with storage shelves above the tank of your toilet.  Using this vertical space can be extremely valuable in small bathrooms. Ensure you select an open design and don’t over clutter the shelving.

Save space with a shower caddie: You can gain a little storage with a shower caddie. If your shower uses a standard head and is not a complex multi-head arrangement you can gain some storage by hanging a shower caddie. This gives you a small amount of storage that doesn’t require you to use up wall space.

Stripes add height: Wide stripes can help your bathroom seem taller. This visual trick can help a small bathroom that doesn’t have a lot of vertical space to play with.  Don’t use thin stripes that can make the wall seem busy, this will do the opposite and make the bathroom seem smaller.

Final Thoughts

Your small bathroom doesn’t have to be some dark closet. With the proper care and using these simple design principles you can make your small bathroom seem more spacious. Take advantage of as many of these ideas as possible. Not all will apply to each bathroom, but some of these surely will.