Matthew Lyons

5 Ways to Class Up a Small Bathroom

8 12 13_homedaddys_ways to class up a small bathroom

It’s easy to get a little stir-crazy in a small home, but having a clean, beautiful bathroom can do wonders for one’s peace of mind. A full remodel can turn your bathroom into a little sanctuary; but if you’re not ready to take that step, take a look at these easy ways to add a touch of elegance to a smaller bathroom.

1. Eliminate visual obstructions

One of the easiest ways to open up a room is to create visual depth, allowing the eye to reach as far back as possible into a room. Swap out your frosted glass door for a clear one, so that you can see all four walls. Consider eliminating a bulky full-size vanity in favor of a pedestal sink with a slimmer profile, so you can see more of your baseboards. In general, any change that lets light in or opens up your field of vision will make a small bathroom feel less cramped. Once you’ve opened up the room visually, keep it well lit! When the bulbs have burned out above the sink, replace them so that they fill the room with bright, multidirectional light.

2. Modernize your mirror

Many small bathrooms, particularly in older homes, have only a tiny mirror in front of the sink. A larger mirror scatters more light and can vastly increase the sense of space in your bathroom. If you live in a home that was built in the 1970s or 80s, you may be stuck with a mirror that is basically a slab of glass bolted to the wall—they look tacky and invasive, especially in a tight space. If the mirror is large enough, though, this is a relatively simple fix; simply frame the mirror with some classy trim. Rounding the harsh edges of a large mirror can help make the room feel less oppressive, and apply a simple, personal touch to make the room your own.

3. Pick a unified, light color scheme

Any room full of clashing colors will feel disordered and claustrophobic, and in particular, rich, dark colors suck up the light and make a room feel tighter. Since small bathrooms tend to get very little natural light to begin with, a dark color scheme can make your bathroom almost cave-like. To open things up, pick two light, compatible colors, and pick your rugs, paint/wallpaper, toilet seat covers, plumbing fixtures, and shower curtains to match. With a unified color palette, your bathroom will feel much more ordered, open, and peaceful.

4. Simplify your décor

Any tight space can start to feel “busy” if it’s overloaded. If your bathroom is packed with pictures, decorative accessories, towels, etc., try to pare down the clutter—one rug, one simple piece of art, and one towel per person. Choose area rugs, toilet seat covers, and towels that match, to reduce the “busy” look of competing colors. Also consider installing a recessed medicine cabinet, so you can keep your sink free of hygiene products and medicine. You’ll have to knock a hole in your wall, but it’s actually not as involved as it looks, and can really open up the space.

5. Create the illusion of depth

This one is a little bit of a cheat—instead of knocking down walls, you can trick the eye into perceiving space that isn’t there. Use textured wallpaper or spackling, or a piece of art depicting an outdoor scene, to create a sense of depth; even a  soft blue coat of paint can conjure up images of a cloudless sky, and make you feel less shut in. If your bathroom is long and narrow, painting the narrow end with a bold, darker color can stretch the room visually (this is called an “accent wall”).


Mike Freiberg is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a resource for stay-at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and everything in between. He’s a handyman, an amateur astronomer, and a tech junkie, who loves being home with his two kids. He lives in Austin.





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