Top 5 tops for making a smaller bathroom look bigger

When it comes to beautiful bathrooms, many of us imagine owning dreamy, spacious bathrooms with plenty of room for a freestanding tub, double shower, and statement basins, not to mention oodles of storage. But let’s face it, often space in the bathroom is at a premium, so it’s always worth having a few tricks up our sleeve when it comes to making this room look and feel bigger.

From the use of colour and texture, through to materials and lighting, there are many clever and considered ways to enhance the amount of perceived space in your bathroom.

Have a read through our top 5 tips to take your bathroom from compact to capacious with just a few simple styling hacks.

  1. Clear the clutter

By their very nature, bathrooms tend to attract a build-up of items, from toothbrushes and makeup, through to bath toys and medicine. But we can’t very well magic all these must-haves away, so the solution is rather in the choices we make for clever storage instead.

If you have established that good storage is a priority for you, yet you are trying to make your compact bathroom or en suite appear bigger than it is, then choose closed cupboards rather than open shelving. Solid cupboard doors can not only hide away all the stuff that you don’t want your guests to see, but they can also help maintain the flow of the space, therefore making the room appear larger than it really is. Choose flat faced, or simple cupboard doors that tie into the wall colour for a seamless look.

Another option for smart storage that won’t add to the visual clutter, are shelves that house baskets or totes. The key to keeping it neat and tidy is in consistency, so ensure that all the baskets are uniform in shape and size for a clean look. A huge benefit of open shelving is that you can make use of the wall space if floor space is at a premium.

Top tip: paint the shelving the colour of the walls and select storage tubs that are the same tone too so that it all blends into the room.

Mirrored bathroom cabinets are a multifunctional way to maximise space, cover all the clutter and enhance the size of the room. They often also have moveable shelves internally, which means that you can flex the space according to your requirements. The mirrored doors will not only reflect what is in front of them but also bounce more light around the

room, making the space feel brighter and bigger.

When it comes to furniture, anything which sits off the floor helps make a room look lighter and airier, and therefore bigger. Choose floating (wall mounted) vanity units or cupboards with slim, exposed legs so that you can see a gap between the bottom of the unit and the floor to give the impression of more room.

  • Create clarity and space with colour

One of the most instant and transformative ways of making a small bathroom appear bigger, is through the way in which colour is used. There are several different tricks that can be deployed, depending upon the desired outcome and personal tastes. Here are several techniques to enlarge a bathroom with colour:

Monochromatic magic

Select one colour, and create a monochromatic scheme by choosing tiles, paint, cupboard doors and accessories all in the same hue.

Colour drenching in this way will envelope the room in one colour, creating more of an elegant, uniform look which will make the bathroom look bigger than schemes with multiple colours that are likely to draw the eye to detail.

 Top tip: When tiling, choose grout in the same colour as the tiles to create more of a seamless look and feel.

Perfectly pastel:

Avoid dark and highly saturated colours in small bathrooms, as these will give a sense of cosiness and intimacy, closing the space in. The objective is to try and bounce as much light around the room as possible, with a light and airy finish, so pastel palettes and lighter colours are very much your best friend here.

White on white:

For a timeless, simple look, decorating with white on white in a bathroom helps create a flowing look, as any white tiles and accessories will immediately blend in with the ceramicware of the WC and basin. – But white needn’t mean boring. – Pull in character and interest with different textures and shapes, for example white waffle towels, or hexagonal shaped tiles.

  • Makeover with more mirror

A statement mirror above a vanity unit will do more than just reflect what is in front of it, it will also work to bounce light around the room, increasing the brightness and therefore the perceived size of the space.

Here are a few rules of thumb when it comes to selecting a bathroom mirror with the objective of making the room look bigger:

  • Choose a mirror that ties into the rest of your scheme. For example, if the theme is lots of flowing lines, go for mirrors with irregular or rounded edges. A more cohesive looking scheme will immediately make a room look larger
  • Select the largest mirror that your wall space will allow. The more space there is on which to bounce light, the better
  • Consider smaller vanity mirrors to enhance dark corners on washstands and vanity units
  • Be strategic about where to hang the mirror and be cautious about what you are reflecting – Remove any clutter that a mirror might reflect, as this will add un-needed detail and fussiness to the room. Reflecting windows, blank walls or tiled walls is best for bouncing light and making a room look bigger.
  • Layer your lighting

Good lighting sources are so important in a bathroom for activities such as shaving or makeup application, where often there isn’t much natural light available.

Luckily, there are some clever lighting tricks that you can try to help brighten the space and make it appear bigger than it really is.

Consider the different types of lighting that you require and add them in at various locations around the bathroom.

  • 1 – Task lighting. This type of lighting can often be tied into the edges of contemporary mirrors and cabinets and is particularly handy for activities requiring detail, such as shaving or applying makeup.
  • 2 – General lighting. Recessed spotlights, usually in the ceiling, are physically unobtrusive and will light the room well all around from a general perspective.
  • 3 – Ambient lighting. We can enhance a space with mood lighting such as with wall sconces (usually positioned either side of a mirror), or down lighting from feature pendants.

5.  Less is more

To make a smaller bathroom appear bigger, it is best to avoid too much of anything. Clean lines and simple styling will have a significant impact on perceived space.

Too much detail in a room can draw the eye and add fussiness and visual noise to a room, so large expanses of plain solid materials or tiles can really help open the room up. To enhance a bathroom size visually, avoid the use of intricate patterns.

That said, if you do like a little boldness when it comes to interior styling, subtle stripes can assist in make a room appear bigger, and particularly verticals with the impression of adding more height to a room. You could try this as full-length window voiles, ridged tiles or even experiment with some striped towels hanging neatly on a ladder.

Keep the flooring free from rugs and mats, as these all add more visual clutter to a space and will enclose the room.

Remove visual barriers within the room by switching out shower curtains for transparent glass screens, allowing the room to feel larger.

In small en suites or cloakrooms, it may pay off to consider smaller functional options such as triangular corner showers, corner basins and wall hung WC’s to make the most of the surrounding space that you do have.

Build your bathroom design around the practical necessities of the room as a priority, and keep the styling uncluttered, simple, and streamlined to enhance the feeling of space.

Happy styling!

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