In the bathroom, there is always someone who has an issue with space — usually, there’s just not enough. So, for those of us who aren’t able to build bathrooms the size of a bedroom that include all the dreamy spa-like features that we want, including floor space for days, how can you make it better? In this article, we’ll cover the best ways to maximize the space in your bathroom, including the different tips and tools that can help you along the way.
There are, of course, several considerations here and you will need to take the time to figure out what is going to work best for your space. For starters, you can check out our Bathroom Design Trends section to get space-saving and maximizing ideas that are sure to set your creative brain in motion.
Now, onto the tips.
Expand Floor Space Visually
When it comes to maximizing space, the floor is a big focus. You only have so much of it, so you’ll want to use it well. One of the best ways that you can put the floor to work is by choosing larger tiles. When you use small tiles, the space shrinks. If you use oversized tiles, it gives the impression of more space and can add a unique design feature. Limit your grout lines, too, because those can detract from the space and attract unwanted attention.
Floors are a big area where you can make a lot of improvements, whether you’re looking for extra space, more style, or even just an upgraded design. When you’re going for space, go big on tile selection.
How to Utilize Wall Space
The first tip for wall space — use it! Too often, we see complaints of people lacking space in their bathroom, only to find out their walls are bare, save the medicine cabinet or vanity mirror they have hanging, or perhaps an occasional towel bar. Wall space is one of your best friends in a bathroom—modern shelving units and fixtures have revolutionized the way that you can use wall space in the bathroom without having to take up any more room than you want.
Related: Bathroom Organization Tips
This is one of the biggest pieces in the bathroom, unless you’ve chosen a small, space-saving design that will fit your needs. (Spoiler alert: that’s our tip here—size matters). Fortunately, there are several modern vanities that come in small footprints so that they don’t take up any unnecessary space.
Another option is to upgrade the vanity to a floating style—these mount to the wall instead of the floor and if nothing else, they give the illusion of more space. They may also add space, but even just making the space look larger is a big benefit.
So, we did say that size matters, but not in the way that you think. That’s right—you CAN install a larger vanity, and in some cases, it might be the one thing that does open up the space. It’s all about finding the right balance. A larger-scale vanity can make the space seem bigger when installed properly.
One thing a lot of people don’t think about when they are trying to open up a space is the color of the room. Dark colors and bright, bold choices can close it in, whether you realize it or not. You could have two bathrooms with the exact same layout, furnishings, and square footage, and yet it could look like two completely different-sized rooms because one has white subway tiles and the other is painted dark blue.
If you’re limited on space and want to save the budget, start with a fresh color that opens up the space and then go from there. The caveat here, according to some designers, is that a saturated dark color could open up the space if you choose the right lighting—it’s all about finding balance.
Related: Lighting Tips for Your Home
Showers and Tubs
If you are limited on space, choosing a dam-less entry could be a great way to carry the floor through the entire space and include the shower as part of the room, giving the impression that there is more square footage than there actually is. In the case of tubs, this might not be an option. However, you can consider smaller tub designs or choose a unique layout that will enhance your “more space” feel.
Glass doors are also preferred to frosted, opaque, or other doors or standard shower curtains—again, they open up the space and carry the room through the shower or tub instead of cutting it off there. This is often a space that eats up a lot of bathroom floor area, so any way that you can incorporate it will make a big difference.
What About an Accent Wall? Any other concerns?
If you have one, choose a wall that will allow you to do a floor-to-ceiling pattern of tiles, paint, wallpaper, or other materials that will create an ongoing flow. This avoids chopping up the room with tile here and paint there and all the fixtures that need to be mounted.
Speaking of mounting fixtures, choose low-profile mounts to save space on your walls and ceilings and again create the illusion of more space. In the bathroom, a lot of renovating for space is about making it seem bigger, even if it’s not.
Check out this great guide from HGTV on how to make the most of your storage in the bathroom for even more space saving ideas.
Finding the Balance
As we’ve mentioned multiple times throughout this article, it really comes down to finding the balance. We’re assuming here, of course, that you can’t MAKE more space appear, so you have to create the illusion that there is more. The fixtures and furnishings that you choose, the flooring, and even the lighting can change the feel of the space dramatically.
Perhaps your best option will be to work with a dedicated bathroom designer that can help you create the perfect space, no matter what square footage you’re actually working with.