“Cozy” is probably not a word you would use to describe your ideal bathroom. “Spa-like” or “palatial” are probably more like it, but many bathrooms have a small footprint within your house and all bathrooms need to accommodate, at a minimum, a sink, toilet and shower or bath. Add in storage for all of your linens and toiletries and making a bathroom look and feel larger becomes a real challenge. There is hope though. Follow these design tips and you’ll be on your way to creating a bathroom with a spacious and comfortable feel.



Consider a Monochrome Colour Scheme

monochromeContrasting colours tend to visually break up your space, while consistent colours tie it all together. To make a bathroom look bigger, match light-coloured floor and shower tiles with light-coloured walls. To take it one step further, paint the ceiling the same colour as the walls. This will minimize any odd angles or shapes on the ceiling and also create a visual effect that makes the space feel large. If  you want some contrast in your design, start with one item, such as the vanity. Make it a darker colour and that will become a focal point without overwhelming the room.



Run the Shower Tile to the Ceilingshower tile

Transitions between materials are another instance that break up a room and make it feel smaller. Even if the walls and tile, for example, are the same colour, the transition between them creates a visual break. You can eliminate one such break by tiling your shower all the way up to the ceiling. This will make the space feel larger vertically and create a pleasing effect to the eye. To take this a step further, consider running the shower tile all the way around the room, minimizing transitions even further.


Select a Clear Glass Shower Door

bathroom design of the corner shower doors glass shower stallsTextured glass shower doors or shower curtains provide privacy, but they also break up the space so that the shower almost appears to be a separate room. Clear glass ties the shower into the room and if you’ve minimized your transitions, as mentioned above, will make the entire room feel like one large space.







Bring in the Natural LightSkylight-allows-you-to-use-color-in-the-small-bathroom-with-ease (1)

There’s no better type of light to make a bathroom look bigger than natural sun light. In the past, many designers have opted for smaller windows or windows that have been somehow blacked out to create privacy, but today’s designers tend towards solutions that welcome natural light while maintaining privacy like translucent shades or stained glass. If you can incorporate a skylight into your design, you will have an ideal way to bring in lots of natural light without sacrificing privacy. Even if your bathroom has crawl space above it, you can bring in natural light through a tubular skylight that uses mirrors to direct light through the crawl space into the bathroom.


Install a Large Mirror

largemirrorInstead of double mirrors over a double vanity, go with one large mirror that extends across the space and, ideally, all the way up to the ceiling. This will, again, minimize the number of transitions in the bathroom and tie the space above your sinks together. You should also carefully consider the positioning of mirrors in the bathroom. Installed with lighting above or in front of them, mirrors will double the effect of that lighting. Better yet, if they can be positioned to reflect natural light, mirrors will double the impact of the best kind of light…the kind that comes from the great outdoors.



Reconsider the Built-In Linen Closet 53818h9_8pbc 823

A closet built-in to your bathroom with framing and drywall creates a custom look, but it also takes up more space than a piece of furniture or cabinetry would. By installing a cabinet to store linens instead of a closet you save 20 – 25 cm of space that the framing and drywall would have occupied. This is also a great opportunity to add a focal point to the room.



Keep Storage Low

cabinetsYou certainly want to maximize storage in your bathroom, but where you position that storage can have a large impact on how large or small the space appears. Storage located below waist-level, in base cabinets or in the vanity tend to have less visual impact than wall cabinets or tall closets, which can make the walls feel like they’re closing in on you.





Pick the Right VanityKohler-Archer-Pedestal-Sink-KOH18125

Vanities are available in 45 and 53 cm depths. 8 cm may not sound like much, but in the bathroom, every centimeter counts. An extra 8 cm can expose an additional row of floor tile, which can have a significant effect on the openness of the room. If your storage needs are met without having to use the vanity, opt for a pedestal sink, which opens up the floor space even more.


The bathroom can be the most difficult room in the house in which to create an open, airy feel, but if you give careful consideration to your design, you can maximize even the smallest space. It certainly helps to plan ahead and have a precise idea, down to the centimeter, of where everything, from lighting to tiles to furniture pieces, are going to be placed.


Want to read more:

Carla Aston: 11 Simple Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Oprah: How to Make Any Bathroom Look Larger