How to Make a Small Bathroom Feel Larger

You don't have to add space to your bathroom to make it feel larger. Contrasting colors cut up space, so to make a space appear larger, use one color with variations of it to create an open and balanced feeling. Use a light color on the floor because it reflects light and gives the room an airy quality. Borrow the color scheme and style of the room or hall next to the bathroom so they flow easily together. When the bathroom appears to be part of the larger room, it feels more open.

Here are some other design hints for making the most of your small bathroom:

  • Use color wisely: A small bathroom with white fixtures and walls can be an ideal backdrop for a changeable and colorful decorating scheme. Complete the backdrop by covering the window in a white shade or shutter. Add a dose of color — bright, primary colors or subtle, subdued shades — in a rug, shower curtain, and towels. Presto — your bathroom has a pulled-together look.

  • Adding old-fashioned charm: Cover the walls with painted beadboard wainscoting and a chair rail and then decorate the room with finds from a flea market. Instead of colored plastic accessories to hold soaps and toothbrushes, start a collection of vintage jars, vases, antique saucers, bowls, and other small dishes. Or use different sizes and shapes of baskets, including a large one to hold towels. Add a large antique mirror or a grouping of small ones for grooming as well as for enhancing the decor. Choose a braided rug to complete the scheme and provide a soft warm floor covering. If you have room for a plant, use a hanging or potted fern, which is sure to appreciate the warm, moist conditions of a bathroom.

  • Create a custom wallpaper: Wallpaper a small bathroom with photocopies of family pictures, wine labels, or even comic book covers for a very customized bathroom.

  • Apply a decorative finish to plain walls: To liven up ordinary painted walls, you can apply a glaze coat over them, allowing some of the base coat to show through. This glazing process does a remarkable job of adding depth and gives a completely different feel to the room.

  • Remember that less is better: Make everything in a small bathroom have an important reason to be there, thus creating a clean, inviting overall appearance. To free up space, get rid of stuff that's not being used or is seldom used.

  • Take cues from the pros: The next time you go shopping, notice how cleverly and creatively retailers display things, and use some of their ideas in your bathroom. Roll towels up and stand the rolls up in a basket or stack them in rolls on a shelf. After your shower curtain is dry, tie it back instead of letting it hang straight. Be on the lookout for some ideas from professionals who make their living from being creative. It's free and it's fun.

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