Optimise your space with these smart small bathroom ideas

If you have a small bathroom don't worry, we've got plenty of small bathroom ideas for you. No matter how compact your room, we have a chic design to fit your needs

A small bathroom can be stylish, practical and, with the right know-how, space-efficient. Make a small bathroom look infinitely bigger with neutral colours that run along the floor, up the walls and even continue onto the bath and loo. This will create a feeling of never ending space, rather than breaking up the bathroom into separate areas, which can make the room feel boxed in.

Alternatively, add depth to a narrow bathroom with a feature wall. One block colour or exposed bricks work well. Don’t be afraid to try dark colours. They will add an elegant and opulent touch to a small bathroom. Bathroom storage is also essential for keeping clutter at bay.

Consider adding a skylight, if possible, to open up your bathroom and create a light and airy space. White furnishings will help to bounce light around the room, meaning you can inject personality with a few interesting accessories. Lighting is key. Include task lighting next to mirrors and dimmable options in alcoves or behind a bath to create drama and mood. Make sure all light fittings have the correct IP rating for safe use in wet areas.

Want bathroom storage inspiration? READ: Clear the clutter with clever bathroom storage solutions

There’s no need to keep a small bathroom plain and minimalist. If you love vintage style, then go for it. Clever storage will stop everything from feeling cluttered and maintain a feeling of space and sophistication.

On the other end of the decorating spectrum are hotel-style bathrooms. Choose a chic black and white bathroom peppered with soft grey for a fresh and modern take on monochrome. Alternatively, a wet room could really open up a small bathroom and create a feeling of luxury and spa-like Zen in your home.

Paper a cloakroom

Image credit: Colin Poole

One of the best ways to disguise a small bathroom is to create interest and a striking wallpaper is ideal for this. If you have a bath or shower in the room (rather than it being a cloakroom), make sure you buy one that’s made specifically for bathrooms, which will cope with the damp, warm conditions.

Get the look
Buy now: Similar wallpaper, Cole & Son at Wallpaper Direct

Go for mobile and multifunctional furniture

Small bathroom ideas for tiny spaces

Image credit: David Brittain

A limited footprint shouldn’t impact on your creative flair. If your bathroom is verging on the small side, consider using freestanding furniture that you can move around at a moment’s notice. Going for freestanding storage and seating allows you to move your scheme around whenever you like and, unlike fitted bathroom units, you can take freestanding pieces with you when it’s time to move out.

Get the look
Buy now: wallpaper, Wallpaper Direct
Buy now: bath rack, Labour & Wait

Trick the eye

Trick the eye

Image credit: Paul Raeside

The amount of space you have and what the eye perceives aren’t necessarily the same thing. Play with the boundaries of perception by tiling the side of your bath and the wall with the same design – it makes it hard to distinguish where each begins, thereby making your space feel larger. Marble is particularly effective here, as it looks almost like one huge sheet and the individual tiles aren’t very obvious.

Get the look
Buy now: similar tiles, Mandarin Stone

Stack them up

Stack them up

Image credit: Trevor Richards

Tiered wire storage keeps luxuriously packaged lotions and practical wash bags on show and easy to grab. If space is limited, you can tote the stand from bedroom to bathroom when needed.

Get the look
Buy now: similar wire stand, Cox & Cox
Buy now: similar washbags, Alphabet Bags

Work in wall-hung units

Work in wall-hung units

Image credit: David Giles

Floating fittings visually max the space, as more of the floor can be seen, and make cleaning a breeze. You can always use the area underneath to store toiletries in pretty wicker baskets. A palette of off-whites and tonal greys will make your bathroom feel large and airy, while wall integrated taps keep the look minimal and well-finished.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar mirror, Decorum
Buy now: similar ceramic sink, Bathstore

Use the same tiles on the floor and walls

Use the same tiles on the floor and ceiling

Image credit: Polly Eltes

A clever trick to making a small bathroom look bigger is to use the same tiles on the walls and the floor. Not only does the natural stone in this family bathroom add a spa-style touch, but the continuous run of tiles creates a spacious feel, along with the wall-hung fixtures that save on floor area. If natural stone feels too neutral, you can easily pep it up with strong colour pops with your towels, storage and accessories – an on-budget way to add personality to your bathroom.

Get the look
Buy now:
Bathroom Tiles, Topps Tiles
Buy now: Bathroom Suite, Villeroy & Boch
Buy now: Lynn Stool, £99, Swoon Editions

Want to know which colour to paint your bathroom? READ: Upgrade your space with these bold bathroom colour schemes

Turn a problem into a feature

Image credit: Brent Darby

Use every inch of an attic space by building a bath into the eaves. If you have an awkwardly shaped ceiling – like this loft bathroom – turn it into a decorative feature. Paint the ceiling white to contrast with the statement wallpaper behind. It’s a great way to add character in a confined space.

Get the look
Buy now: similar bath, Drummonds
Buy now: similar wallpaper, Wallpaper Direct

Factor in a slipper bath

Factor in a slipper bath

Image credits: Tim Young

If you can’t squeeze a standard roll-top bath into the bathroom, consider a shapely slipper bath – many come in short versions and they’ll let you rest your back in style.

Get the look
Buy now: similar slipper bath, Bathstore
Buy now: similar peg rail, Devol

Furnish to scale

Pack on the personality

Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Large items of furniture can dwarf a small room so always buy pieces that suit the scale of your space. In a small bathroom, stick to the basics of a vanity unit and storage rack that you can either hang on the wall or rest on the edge of a bath. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t pack on the personality. Paint a vanity unit in your favourite colour and opt for patterned tiles on the floor.

Get the look
Buy now: similar wall tiles, Tile Mountain
Buy now: floor Tiles, Harvey Maria

Choose furniture and accessories wisely

Choose furniture and accessories wisely

Image credit: Tim Young

Bring a nostalgic touch to the bathroom by upcycling a narrow console table to incorporate a small basin. Space-saving wall-mounted taps provide a neat solution. The more of the floor you can see, the more spacious your bathroom will feel, so go for a freestanding basin unit. Plus, you can pop a few baskets underneath if you’re short on storage space.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar console table, Little Tree Furniture
Buy now: similar basin, William Holland

Think within the box

Think within the box

Unsure how to tile a sloping ceiling? Then try tiling halfway up the wall. It’ll save on tiles and make the space feel larger. Choose a dark neutral tile and paint the ceiling above it white to maximise brightness from roof lights.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar metro tiles, Fired Earth

Add a hint of colour to a white suite

Add a hint of colour to a white suite

Image credit: Colin Poole

While a white bathroom suite is the best choice for opening up a small space, it can sometimes feel a little stark if the whole room is white. That’s why a hint of colour on the walls is the perfect compromise: light enough to create an airy feel, but with bags more character. Here, the storage alcoves were built from tongue-and-groove panelling, then painted in white to contrast with the raspberry walls and striking cobalt-blue tiles.

Get the look
Buy now:
tiles, The Winchester Tile Company
Buy now: paint, Little Greene

Accessorise away!

Accessorise away!

Image credit: David Woolley

If you don’t have the budget to give your entire bathroom a makeover, accessories will do wonders for a compact space. Choose a theme – coastal, floral or monochrome are all bang on trend and are easy to implement. Apply the style of your chosen trend to lighting, mirrors, smaller accessories and soft furnishings and instantly transform the space.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar round mirror, John Lewis
Buy now: similar star ornament, Rockett St George

Decorate with a fresh white scheme

Decorate with a fresh white scheme

Image credit: Tim Young

Make a compact bathroom feel more spacious by sticking to a simple all-white scheme. Team a white suite with glossy wall tiles and plenty of plush textured towels to ensure the space feels welcoming rather than cold.

Get the look
Buy now:
wall tiles, Topps Tile
Buy now: ladder rail, Adventino

Invest in made-to-measure fittings and fixtures

Invest in made-to-measure fittings and fixtures

Image credit: Veronica Rodriguez

A well-thought-out design can fit all the essentials into as little as two square metres for a bathroom and even less for a shower room. The key is not to squeeze too much in. If you only have a small space, it’s much better to make a focal point of a walk-in shower or a beautiful bath, rather than ending up with a cramped bathroom.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar bath, The Cast Iron Bath Company
Buy now: similar tiles, Fired Earth

Wallpaper a cloak room

Wallpaper a cloak room

Image credit: Rachael Smith

Wallpaper will make a statement in any room and the bathroom is no exception. A downstairs cloakroom is a prime space to use wallpaper, as bathrooms with a shower or bath will require specialist paper to prevent steam damaging it. Opt for a unique, bold or interesting print to maximise the impact in a small space like this. Fit a sheet of Perspex as a splashback behind the basin to prevent water damaging the wallpaper.

Get the look
Buy now: Flamingoes Wallpaper, £76, Cole & Son at John Lewis
Buy now: Gloss White Built in Basin Drawer Unit, £259.99 Soak.com

Think in twos

Think in twos

Image credit: Colin Poole

Where space is tight, opt for an over-shower bath that delivers the best of both worlds. Rather than positioning your shower against the short side of the bath, try placing it along the longer side for a more luxe feel. Use a bold tile design around the bath to contrast with the rest of the room.

Get the look
Buy now: similar shower screen, Bathstore

Stick to a monochromatic palette

Stick to a monochromatic palette

Image credit: Oliver Gordon

Keep to a monochrome scheme and add colour, texture and pattern with out-there accessories. White will open up a bathroom like no other colour, making it feel as spacious as possible. White tiles and black grouting can be a winning combination in a small bathroom.

Get the look
Buy now:
mirror, Ikea

Characterise with colour

Characterise with colour

Image credit: Matthew Williams

This compact modern bathroom uses a number of techniques to create real wow factor, despite the small square-footage. Add a hearty dose of colour to inject vibrancy and personality into a white bathroom otherwise at risk of feeling clinical and characterless. A bright yellow ceiling and shower screen give this small bathroom a real focal point, while downlighters and white tiles keep the space feeling light and bright.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar shower, Bert & May
Buy now: similar tiles, Victorian Plumbing

Have recessed shelving built in

Have recessed shelving built in

Image credit: David Parmiter

Recessed shelves are a great space saver, both practically and visually, keeping toiletries neat and off the surfaces. Building the shelves into false walls that hide pipework is a clever use of a necessary feature. Also consider recessed light fittings – either spot or linear.

Get the look
Buy now:
tiles, European Heritage
Buy now: basin, Home Etc

Work in a wet room

Work in a wet room

A wet room can make the most of a small space and add value to your property. If you’re converting an attic, consider a wet room instead of a bathroom. It’s a great way to make the most out of a small space and when it’s beautifully finished like this designer-style one, it’s stunning. Ventilation is key as a build-up of moisture could lead to condensation and damp problems, so install a good extractor fan. Underfloor heating doesn’t take up any space but will add warmth and help to dry surfaces quickly.

Get the look
Buy now: shower, Crosswater
Buy now: similar loo, Victorian Plumbing

Keep it simple

Keep it simple

Image credit: David Cleveland

If you’re in a quandary over how to decorate your small bathroom, just keep it simple with soft, natural shades. Choose furniture and accessories with clean lines and keep the room as clutter-free as possible to create a feeling of space.

Get the look
Buy now: tiles, Fired Earth
Buy now: basin, Fired Earth

Make it appear larger with mirrors

Make it appear larger with mirrors

Image credit: Richard Gadsby

Mirrors can completely transform the look and feel of a room, as they reflect light and create the impression of space. It’s a great trick that interior designers use all the time. Whether you hang a mirror on the wall or go for adventurous mirrored tiles, the reflection is guaranteed to brighten your bathroom.

Get the look
Buy now: similar mirror tiles, Walls and Floors

Make your bath the star

Make your bath the star

Image credit: Polly Eltes

Go for a freestanding bath – it can work really well as a focal point in a small space. They’re not all as big as you think and you can even buy smaller versions that will fit into tighter spaces. Add a pretty stencil on the wall above to draw the eye up and create the illusion of space.

Get the look
Buy now: similar bath, Wickes
Buy now: similar towel ladder, Sweetpea & Willow

Consider a shelf

Consider a shelf

Image credit: Matt Cant

Tongue-and-groove panelling visually frames the bath and the handy shelf at the top acts as a mantelpiece to a host of trinkets, toiletries and accessories. The eau de nil colour is a relaxing choice for the bathroom, and adds interest to this compact space.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar roll-top bath, Bathstore

Think smart with a narrow space

Think smart with a narrow space

Image credit: Mark Bolton

In a narrow room, the best way of using the space can be to install a walk-in shower that fills the full width of the bathroom. But what if you have a window? The clever design shown here includes a frosted back panel that protects the window from splashes and provides privacy, but still lets in plenty of natural light. A ceiling-mounted shower and frameless shower door complete the sleek look.

Get the look
Design:
Helen Green Design

Balance a palette

Balance a palette

Image credit: Colin Poole

Be brave when using colour in a small bathroom – it’s a great opportunity to experiment with shades you may shy away from in larger rooms of the home. Using different colours for tiles and paint will add vibrancy to a space. Add towels and accessories in complementary shades to help unify a colour scheme across different materials.

Get the look
Buy now: similar paint, Dulux
Buy now: similar tiles, B&Q

Fit a sunken bath

Fit a sunken bath

Image credit: Brent Darby

If you’re renovating your bathroom or en suite, consider installing a sunken bath. Provided you have the space for it below your floorboards, a sunken bath will streamline your bathroom, giving it a luxurious, hotel-style feel.

Get the look
Buy now:
tiles, Walls and Floors
Buy now: similar basin, Bathstore

Opt for a corner shower enclosure

Opt for a corner shower enclosure

Image credit: David Parmiter

If there’s no space for a bath, a shower enclosure will work perfectly. Corner designs take up very little room – the door on this shower slides around the frame, so it doesn’t need any more space than what you can see. Square versions can be designed in a similar way – just avoid swinging or pivot doors, which will need extra room.

Get the look
Buy now: similar shower enclosure, Victoria Plum

Make space beneath the eaves

Make space beneath the eaves

Image credit: Brent Darby

Compact fittings are a big help in awkward-shaped loft spaces. Don’t worry about trying to fit a bath – go for a luxurious glass shower enclosure instead. It’s common with loft conversions and attics to box in parts of the room that have a reduced ceiling height for storage. But instead, why not look at ways to work around the reduced heights? A toilet or basin is a smart idea.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar shower enclosure, Victoria Plum

Be clever with tiles

Clever tricks with tiles

Image credit: David Giles

When decorating a small bathroom, such as an en suite in a loft conversion, introduce a horizontal line around the width of the space, either with tiles or paint. This trick will visually widen the space, creating the illusion of a bigger room.

Get the look
Buy now: tiles, Fired Earth
Buy now: linen basket, John Lewis

Use those corners

Use those corners

Image credit: Colin Poole

Smaller bathrooms can be a challenge when it comes to squeezing in all the features you need and want. Consider a corner bathtub if you’re short on square footage – you’ll gain an interesting feature as well as a practical bath. And if you can’t go wide, go deep, with steps leading up to the bath if necessary. Use the corner as a shelf to store bathroom necessities.

Get the look
Buy now:
similar tiles, Better Bathrooms
Buy now: similar chair, The Conran Shop

Video Of The Week

Don’t let a compact room be a barrier to creating your dream scheme – we’ve got all the tips, tricks and expert advice you’ll need. Let us know how you will be visually expanding your bathroom.

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