How To Get the Most Space from a Small Bathroom

Small bathrooms don’t have to feel small and cramped. There are a lot more things that you can do in this space than you might realize to open the room up and create the look of more without actually expanding. Thanks to the Internet, there’s also no shortage of creative inspiration available to help you see what others are doing with their small spaces. Whether it’s replacing your bathroom vanity or making other changes, this guide will help you learn how to make the most of small bathroom spaces.

Almost every home has at least one bathroom that leaves something to be desired when it comes to square footage and space. However, there are also plenty of ways that this space can be changed, upgraded, and better utilized to get rid of that too small feeling. The difference between cozy and cramped could be as simple as one small accent, so make sure that you’re deliberate in choosing the elements for this smaller bathroom space.

30 Inch Single Sink Bathroom Vanity in Bright White with Choice of Top

30 Inch Single Sink Bathroom Vanity in Bright White with Choice of Top

Maximizing Space and Making a Plan

The first thing that you will want to do is to clear out the bathroom and get a feel for what the space is without anything unnecessary—take down towels, wash rags, remove soap from the counters, and get the decor out of the way. Take a minute to look around and take stock of the space that you have so that you can keep that in mind as you start considering the different ways to improve your bathroom and maximize that space.

You don’t have to remove anything that’s installed—light fixtures, mirrors, etc. can stay for now. Just get everything that’s not a fixture out, including the air freshener. That will make it much easier for you to get a better idea of what you are working with and which tips and ideas for improvement will be most beneficial to your specific bathroom.

Related: Decluttering Your Bathroom Is The Key To Redecorating

small bathroom storage ideas wall shelving

What Are Some Tips and Ideas for Improving Bathroom Space?

There is a lot that you can do to free up space in your bathroom and create a room that looks more spacious than it is. The options you choose will depend on your tastes, design ideas, etc. Even if you don’t have drawers, cabinets, and other storage options in the bathroom, you can still organize the space and in many cases, find storage nearby in the home. We’ll talk more about storage and organization later. For now, here are some of the best tips for improving the space in your small bathroom.

  • Install a medicine cabinet to provide storage for essentials. This cabinet can even be recessed into the wall so that it doesn’t stick out and take up valuable space, and they come in all styles and designs so there’s sure to be something to fit your tastes.
  • Organize, organize, organize. The biggest problem that people have with small bathrooms, by far, is keeping things organized. If there’s a shower, organize the shower. Keep the counter and sink clear of clutter. Consider unique storage options like floating shelves or baskets (more on that later).
  • Use the bathroom door. Over-the-door hooks and racks are a great way to store towels and other items out of the way. You can also find over-door storage for things like makeup and toiletries, as well as back-of-the-door hooks and fixtures to maximize the use of the space.
  • Create an alternative linen closet elsewhere in the house. When you do this, you give yourself the chance to remove all of the items from the bathroom that don’t need to be in there all the time, while still providing dedicated storage space for them.

These are just a few helpful tips that will give you a chance to get a better handle on the space in your small bathroom. Keeping things tidy goes a long way in making a small bathroom feel larger, and when you get creative with storage solutions, you’ll find that the space feels even bigger than you might have anticipated.

Bathroom Linen Cabinet in Cream White Finish

Bathroom Linen Cabinet in Cream White Finish

How Do You Create the Appearance of Space in a Small Bathroom?

As for tips that help create the look of more space without actually giving you space to use, you’ll find a lot of unique options here, too. To change the feel of a space and make it seem bigger, you can consider things like:

  • Adding wallpaper to make a big statement in a small space.
  • Choosing a simple color palette with light colors.
  • Installing the right mirror (or mirrors).
  • Choosing the best lighting to accent the space and create an open feel.
  • Installing large floor tiles to create a more expansive floor.

Some people even go the extra mile and consider upgrades like adding a skylight to their small bathroom to open up the space. You don’t have to go all-out, of course, but you can make a bathroom look a lot bigger with the right moves. Keep this in mind when you are planning your new design.

Related: Floating Bathroom Vanities: What You Need To Know


Photo by Saikley Architects

How Do You Organize a Small Bathroom with Limited Storage?

A half bath or powder room doesn’t require a lot of storage because it’s not used as much as the main bathroom. People aren’t showering and taking care of hygiene, doing their makeup, and so forth. However, there are small bathrooms that are actually full baths that include a tub or shower and serve as one of the main bathrooms in the home.

In that instance, understanding how to maximize space with creative storage strategies can go a long way. Here are a few tips to consider to help you keep things organized, no matter how small the space is.

  1. Use wall-mounted baskets to organize toiletries and health and beauty products. You can find these baskets at all kinds of home improvement stores and even some big-box retailers. As a bonus, get creative and choose baskets that are stylish in addition to being functional.
  2. Use a rolling cart for bathroom essentials and storage. Then, you can move it around and move it out of the way when you need the space. This cart can even be stored in a nearby hall closet and brought into the bathroom during shower time, for example.
  3. Consider floating shelves and acrylic racks. These unique storage fixtures can give you a place to put things without looking like they’re weighing down the room. You can use them for towels, makeup, toiletries, and other items.
  4. Consider narrow shelving units or storage towers that you can tuck in a corner to give you more storage without taking up the whole room. There are all kinds of furniture pieces for small bathrooms that you can add here.
  5. Hanging file boxes make a great holder for hair tools and other bathroom electrics. When you have a small bathroom, a basket on the side of the vanity is a lot more space-saving than trying to store the appliances in the vanity itself.
  6. Mason jars are great storage solutions that also look stylish. If you’re into the rustic country vibe, adding these to your small bathroom can enhance the design and help save space.

Again, it’s all about taking the time to get creative and consider all the unique things you could use to improve your bathroom storage, no matter how much square footage you’re dealing with.

Related: Incorporating The Vintage Look Into Your Bathroom

linen cabinet shelving storage

What About Adding Storage Space with a Bathroom Vanity or Mirror?

Some bathrooms just don’t have space for a traditional vanity. That’s why we still have pedestal sink vanities—sometimes, that’s all that will fit. If, however, there’s a little more room to work with, you might consider adding a bathroom vanity cabinet to provide additional storage space. Just be careful to choose a smaller one that fits the space and doesn’t take up the entire room.

The bathroom mirror is a great piece to use to improve the look and feel of your space. The right mirror can make your small bathroom feel much larger. You can even find mirrors with storage cabinets, including medicine cabinet-style fixtures and other types of vanity mirrors that have shelving and/or storage.

Worried about a cabinet sticking out from the wall? Install it with a recessed fit so that the mirror is flush with the wall. This takes a little extra work if you don’t already have one installed, so you might want to reach out to the pros for help with this.

Related: 6 Questions About Bathroom Mirrors

Signature Collection Custom Framed Single Door Medicine Cabinet

Signature Collection Custom Framed Single Door Medicine Cabinet

Find Space Where You Can

As you can see, there’s no single way to create the appearance of more space in a small bathroom. Rather, it’s a combination of design features and fixtures that deliver function without taking up too much space. If you are dealing with a bathroom that has a small footprint, these tips should help you improve the feel of your space. You might even be able to get more than you anticipated out of your space maximization.

Feel free to try a few things until you find what fits. Not everyone will find the same tips and tools useful, which is why there’s so much to choose from. Get started on improving your bathroom space right away.


My name is Julia Ritzenthaler, Founder and President of Unique Vanities, started in 2005. I started this business as an extension of our residential remodeling business, which focused on the design and build of custom cabinetry and architectural trim. I also worked as a financial advisor for 10 years at Ameriprise Financial, helping clients make sound money decisions, including budgeting for home improvement expenses. This expertise led me to start Unique Vanities, which offers a handpicked selection of high quality bathroom vanities, sinks, mirrors and more. You can find me most days sitting in Starbucks, my second office, or in my car driving my daughter across Dallas to gymnastics training.