Feature article

Small bathroom ideas that maximise space

Want to maximise your small bathroom? Here are some clever design tricks to make the room feel spacious.

Last updated: 11 March 2024

From using colour and tiles to budget-friendly solutions and smart layout ideas, here’s what you need to know when maximising a small bathroom.

Cover image: When designing small bathrooms, like this one by Carmen Hubber of Hub Design, wall-hung vanities are often favoured, while freestanding baths are generally better suited, allowing the eye to travel further across the floor area and increase the feeling of space. Image: John Williams

Creating a sense of space in a small bathroom

When you have a small space to work with, an open-plan layout offers the greatest sense of space. This may mean removing pony walls or dividing walls between the bathroom and toilet and using frameless glass shower screens or a walk-in shower (without shower doors) to reduce visual interruptions within the space.

Visual clutter is your biggest enemy when it comes to making a room feel spacious, so when it comes to choosing your vanity and toilet, wall-mounted options are ideal as they don’t take up any floor space. A freestanding bath is preferable to a floor-mounted one as lifting it off the floor allows the eye to travel through the room without interruption, and wall-mounted storage is another great option, such as a wall-mounted mirror cabinet.

Hanging plants are an easy and budget-friendly way to introduce a natural element to a small bathroom without taking up precious floor space.

Small bathroom renovation ideas on a budget

A full bathroom renovation typically costs upwards of $15,000 but a stylish small bathroom renovation can be cheaper, particularly if you’re not replacing all of the fixtures and fittings, and you’re keeping the plumbing in place.

The most cost-effective and stylish bathroom renovations focus on updating any elements that look tired or worn and use a cohesive colour scheme with a range of different textures. Combine shiny with matte and textural materials like timber to achieve a look that screams luxury, yet doesn’t cost the earth.

Updating lighting can be another cost-effective way to elevate a small bathroom on a budget. Combine a couple of stylish wall lamps on either side of the mirror with ceiling downlights to create a space that feels opulent and functions well.

When using colour in smaller spaces, lighter tones often work well. In this beautiful contemporary bathroom designed by Jessop Architects, a muted palette is used to create a light, airy feel. Image: John Williams

Using colour in small bathrooms to make the space appear larger

A light colour scheme gives a feeling of spaciousness, and the same or similar colour on the floors, walls and showers can be a great way to create visual continuity in the bathroom. But white isn’t the only option; a combination of pale hues in contrasting materials can add depth while still giving the illusion of space.

Popular small bathroom colour ideas include bright and uplifting sky blue, serene duck egg green and soothing, pale sandy tones. Use bathroom decor ideas, such as vases of flowers, hanging plants, and towels in complementary shades to enhance the cohesiveness of the colour scheme.

In this bathroom design by Margaux Word from Chroma Interiors, hexagonal tiles are used to create an elegant feature wall. Image: John Williams

Floor and wall tile ideas for small bathrooms

Floor and wall tiles are one of the easiest ways to make a big visual impact in a small bathroom. Depending on your personal taste you can use similar-toned tiles to create a single consistent look throughout the space, or if you want to create a ‘wow’ factor, select a bold ‘hero’ tile to feature on a single wall (behind the vanity is ideal) or on the floor.


HOME Magazine
HOME Magazine


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