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small stylish bathroom stone tile and backsplash

Small bathrooms don’t have to be a problem if you decorate them right. See some strategies and ideas for saving and enhancing space.

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There are two rooms in a house that ought to be big enough for two people to work comfortably: the kitchen and the bathroom.

Although I would take a small bathroom over a small kitchen any day, small bathrooms can still be annoying. Where are you going to put all your towels, medication and beauty products? What if two people need to use it at the same time?

Well, small bathrooms can be problematic. But since you can’t really change that fact (unless you bring a wall down or something), you can at least use some of the follow strategy to save–or enhance–the space you do have. Let’s have a look.

Slim profile vanity

What takes the most space in the bathroom, besides the bath or shower? I bet it’s your counter. And even though counters are great for piling all sorts of clutter, in the end, maybe we could do with a little less of them?

You don’t need a very wide sink to brush your teeth and wash your hands. So what if you cut the width of your counter–and your sink–in two? You’d gain quite a bit of space to move around.

Contemporary Bathroom by Toronto Architects & Building Designers Roundabout Studio Inc.

Slim profile vanities and counters are great if you want to fight clutter and enhance the space in your bathroom. Just install some shelves under the sink to maximize storage, and you can put as much stuff as you would in an ordinary bathroom, I bet!

A clear or light colored shower curtain

If you have a small bathroom, you want to maximize light and space as much as possible. And what’s the antithesis of openness and light? That’s right: dark colors and busy patterns.

If you want to open up your bathroom and give the impression of a bigger space, keep your shower curtain clear (if that’s all right with you) or at least pale enough to let some light through. If you like designs and patterns, keep it light and simple: some tone-on-tone geometrical shapes or small, discreet patterns will do.

Lots of mirrors

If you want to expand a space, mirrors are a classic tool. Whether it’s installing a vanity-wide mirrored cabinet or adding mirrors to walls all over the bathroom, the reflective surfaces will bounce light all around and make the room look much bigger.

Tall mirrors will make the ceiling look higher, while wide mirrors will make the room look larger. Sure, they can be a pain to clean (especially in a humid room), but they can have an amazing effect on your bathroom’s spaciousness.

A wall-hung toilet

The toilet tank is another piece of bathroom furniture that takes a whole lot of space. If you can, think about getting one of those wall-hung toilets with the tank installed in a wall recess, or even better: a tankless toilet.

Getting a few extra inches is especially great for narrow bathrooms where there’s barely enough space to sit, let alone walk around. Hiding or removing the tank altogether might just make the difference between “cramped” and “big enough”.

small bathroom wall hung toilet

Shelving in strategic spots

What if the problem is not so much walking space, but storage space? (I should know–I store most of the bathroom stuff in the linen closet, which is, thankfully, right next to the bathroom.)

If all you need is a few extra shelves for towels or beauty products, you have a few solutions. One of my favourites is the over-the-tank shelving system. These are especially welcome when there’s no medicine cabinet over the sink, but even if there is, everyone could use a couple extra shelves for clean hand towels and decorate soaps.

You can also take advantage of unused corners of your bathroom to fit and install individual shelves.

Every bit of space can be useful when you think about it strategically!

A good clutter strategy

Okay, this isn’t a thing per se, but keeping clutter down will help make your bathroom seem larger and less busy.

Here are the rules. The stuff you use every day, like your toothbrush and your comb? Keep it around, maybe in bins or boxes so everything is neatly stored away.

Your monthly hair mask or the band-aids you keep around just in case? Maybe that could go elsewhere. (Like the linen closet.) If you don’t need it every day, you don’t need to have it close by.

(See Steffani’s posts on clutter for help managing that beast!)

Small bathrooms can be great

In the end, think about it: small bathrooms are quick and easy to clean, and they might just become your favourite pint-sized room in the house. As long as you decorate it well with its limitations and possibilities in mind, your bathroom can be just as practical as the palatial water rooms that are all the rage these days.

Do you have a small bathroom? How did you enhance and save space? Let us know your strategies (with pics!) in the comments!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.