8 Renovation Ideas for Small Bathrooms [Video]

A small bathroom is often both cozy and charming. But the thing that makes it feel so intimate — its proportions — can also make it less usable or even uninviting. If you’re planning on renovating or updating your small bathroom, there are many things you can do to make it feel more stylish and spacious — without a complete overhaul of the space. Consider these ideas as you begin planning.

1. Let there be (a sky) light[1]

When small spaces are dark, it can make them feel even smaller — and you want to do the opposite. If you don’t get much natural light in your small bathroom or it doesn’t have any windows, consider adding a skylight during the renovation process. They add three times as much light to a room as regular vertical windows do.[2] One option, a venting skylight, opens outward and provides fresh air and eco-friendly ventilation in the space.

2. Save surface space with towel racks

Racks are ideal space savers. They eliminate the need for a separate piece of furniture to store bath towels, which frees up floor space. However, having multiple towel racks mounted on your small bathroom’s wall can keep it from feeling streamlined and make things appear cluttered. Hang towel racks on the back of your bathroom door to keep them out of sight but still accessible.

3. Create shower storage alcoves

If you’re redoing your shower, take the opportunity to build convenient storage space right into the wall. Your contractor can frame out one or two tiled shelves or alcoves in the shower wall for storing your necessities. This eliminates the need for a separate shower organizer and keeps clutter off the floor and rim of the bathtub. Consider adding built-in corner shelves made of the same tile as the rest of the shower for a streamlined look and added storage in a high-use bathroom.

4. Open the space with glass enclosures

From a visual standpoint, a closed shower curtain almost becomes another wall in the bathroom, cutting off a portion of the space completely. Install a glass shower surround to keep the entire perimeter of the room visible. Choose clear glass, not frosted, to get more light in the space.[3]

You may want to skip the glass shower door entirely and opt for a longer glass wall. With this type of design, you won’t need to worry about how and where the shower door opens outward, which gives you some freedom in redesigning the bathroom layout.

5. Avoid clunky anything

Stately, substantial fixtures and furniture have the power to anchor a large room. In a small bathroom, however, they loom large and can overwhelm the space by making it feel cramped. That goes for everything from towering towel cabinets to bulky wastebaskets. They might also just take up so much room that you can’t maneuver around well.

If you do decide you want to have any furniture in the bathroom, make sure it’s proportioned to fit the space. Choose pieces with rounded edges or in demilune shapes when possible. These curved lines won’t jut into the room or cut off the space with sharp corners.

6. Choose accent floor or wall tiles

Unless it’s your style, you don’t need to design an all-white bathroom to keep the small space looking bigger and brighter. Feel free to add color and other design accents, but be deliberate in your choices. If you want to create a focal point with unique tiles, install them on the wall or the floor, but not in both areas. Having multiple accents breaks up the room, and your eye won’t know what to focus on. Choosing one focal area creates a soothing, more unified look that prevents the bathroom from feeling cluttered.[4]

7. Float the sink

Remember how it’s important to avoid clunky anything? That principle applies to bulky vanities, too. Choose a floating, wall-mounted sink to open up floor space and allow more light to travel around the room. These typically resemble larger, sturdier sink bowls with exposed plumbing below that lends a touch of industrial flair to your bathroom. They come directly out of the wall, eliminating the need for a pedestal or vanity cabinet. If you also choose a wall-mounted faucet, you can go with an even narrower sink that saves space.

Keep in mind you’ll want a plumber to install your floating sink. This professional knows how to tell if the wall is sturdy enough to hold the fixture’s weight.

8. Bring out the big mirrors[5]

Large mirrors do so much to add beauty and function to your small bathroom. They reflect light, brightening small spaces that tend to be darker. They also create the appearance of an enlarged space by visually doubling the rooms in their reflections. Another added benefit is that a large mirror can make it easier for you and your partner to get ready together in the morning, even when you don’t have a double sink or expansive vanity. Try placing a mirror near a window for maximum effect.
Remodeling areas of your home has the potential to add value and make everyday life more enjoyable, too. Make sure your homeowners insurance policy is updated to reflect all the hard work you’ve done and protect your important investment. Contact a Nationwide agent today to discuss the coverage that’s right for your needs.


[1] https://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design/skylights

[2] https://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design/skylights

[3] https://www.thespruce.com/make-small-bathrooms-look-and-feel-larger

[4] https://freshome.com/2009/01/30/interior-design-and-focal-points/

[5] https://freshome.com/2007/05/29/5-tips-for-fooling-the-eye-and-making-a-room-look-bigger/