1. Set the Scene
Jason Urrutia of Urrutia Design says if it’s a bathroom you are going into every day, you might get tired of it. In that case, you’ll want a classic, timeless design or elements that can be easily swapped out. But if it’s a space for guests, he says it’s acceptable as a place for fun. Stephan Sardone of Sardone Construction agrees. “Some of my clients say that it just needs to look great,” he said. “They don’t need space for towels and soap because it’s a guest bathroom where people go in during a party for a minute or two and then leave.”
2. Save Space
Once you know how your bathroom will be used, designers agree that you should prioritize storage. It may seem counterintuitive to think about storage when you’re trying to maximize space, but without planning ahead, your room could end up feeling smaller if it’s cluttered and disorganized. What makes storage successful is if it fits your individual needs, Sardone explains. “For guys, a medicine cabinet is all you need. But for women, more cabinet and counter space is often required,” he said.
Another way to make a small bathroom feel bigger and bolder is by bringing in light. “With the right kind of accent lighting, you can make a space very playful,” Bethke said. “I use more shiny surfaces — a lot of mirrors and patterns. As a result, you notice the scale of the items. You don’t notice it’s a small powder room.” A lighter color palette can also make a space look larger by keeping the space bright and airy.
4. Accent Walls
Once you’ve set the scene and maximized storage and lighting in your bathroom, it’s time to think about aesthetics. “You can go minimalistically, or you can focus on one particular area,” Bethke said. “I highly encourage people to go a little bit hog wild. It’s a small space, so do that fixture you are scared to do in the living room. Amp it up and be fearless.”
5. Spend Money Where it Counts
Despite the tendency to be frugal in order to save remodeling dollars for larger spaces in the home, designers agree that it’s precisely because of a bathroom’s small size that you can spend more.
“You can be playful without spending the farm,” McLaughlin said. “You don’t need to cover 150 square feet of floor with tile. Instead, you can cover just 20 to 30 square feet of wall.”