How do you style a boring small bathroom? Designers explain how to be "creative and resourceful"

Designers answer our burning question: "how do you style a boring small bathroom?"

A collage of bathroom pix, one angled shot of a wooden vanity with a gold rectangular mirror, a pink bathroom with a black bath tub and arched shelf, and a blue bathroom with a light blue vanity
(Image credit: Custom Home Design By Nina Lichtenstein / Brian Madden / Crafted By Nick / Wayfair / Gaia G Interiors / Ashley Ippolito Photography)

The question: "How do you style a boring small bathroom?" might be on your mind if you've stepped into yours recently and felt a little uninspired.

If so, we've got you covered with advice from interior pros who have designed beautiful bathrooms in the past. Stepping up their texture game and switching out old hardware are just a couple of tricks they use to bring life into dull spaces.

For those looking for small bathroom ideas that aren't drastic but will have a big impact, these expert tips and tricks may be just what you've been looking for.

How do you style a boring small bathroom? We explain all

Whether you’re a homeowner or looking for renter-friendly small bathroom refreshes, there are so many ways you can make your space more exciting.

Our designers have recommended specific buys to match their advice, which we have shopped throughout.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article. 

1. Add indoor plants

A green hanging plant in the corner of a bathroom with white and gray tiles

(Image credit: Custom Home Design By Nina Lichtenstein / Brian Madden / Crafted By Nick)

One of our favorite ways to life and freshness to your small bathroom is by bringing in one of the best indoor plants

“Choose low-maintenance varieties like pothos, snake plants, or ferns that thrive in humid environments,” suggests Nina Lichtenstein, principal designer and founder of Nina’s Home Design.

You can use plants as small bathroom windowsill decor, as a finishing touch on countertops, or even place them on top of floating shelves (the UpSimples Acrylic Shelves from Walmart are sturdy and space-saving) to bring natural beauty into the space.

2. Swap out your mirror

A white bathroom with a gold rectangular tilt mirror, a light blue vanity with a white sink and countertop with white flowers on it

(Image credit: Gaia G Interiors / Ashley Ippolito Photography)

If your bathroom mirror itself doesn’t match the fabulousness of the person reflected in it (yes, we’re talking about you), swapping it out for something more stylish may work better.

“It can be textured like rattan, be in a bold color, or even have a classic and vintage look,” suggests Gaia Guidi Filippi, principal designer and owner of Gaia G Interiors.

We also like the idea of going for one with an unusual shape, such as the Au Stuff Cloud Shaped Mirror from Walmart which is made from eco-friendly glass.

3. Replace fixtures

A close-up of a white bathroom sink with gold faucets and handles on it and above it and light blue tiles

(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

One key thing to pay attention to when updating an outdated small bathroom and styling a boring small bathroom is any finishing touches such as fixtures. 

“Consider replacing faucets and drawer pulls with sleek, cohesive designs that complement your bathroom aesthetic,” says Nina.

She suggests going for matte black or brushed nickel colors (the Ravinte Pulls from Amazon have over 2,000 five-star reviews), as these can add a contemporary touch — ideal for those searching for modern small bathroom ideas.

4. Focus on texture

A small bathroom with a beige wall with an arched shelf with candles and flowers, a curved black bath tub with gold faucets and a wooden bath tray, and a beige bath mat hanging on the side of it

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Renting and can’t change up anything major? Focusing on the textures you can switch up is a fab way to style a boring small bathroom.

Nina says, “Incorporate textured laundry baskets or a plush bath mat to elevate the space without overwhelming it.”

Don’t be afraid to go for these in playful styles — for instance, the tufted Cell Phone Bath Mat from Urban Outfitters is giving us all the 2000s interior design vibes.

5. Use more lighting

A blue bathroom with a gold mirror, white sink, and gold towel ring with a white towel

(Image credit: MBC Interior Design / Lauren Taylor Creative)

You can make your small bathroom look luxe by adding in lots of small bathroom ideas throughout the room.

“Good lighting can make a significant difference when styling a boring small bathroom,” says Nina. “Install task lighting around the vanity mirror, add ambient lighting with wall sconces (the Persus Sconce from Banana Republic will add depth to your bathroom), and apply under-cabinet lighting for an ambient glow.”

If possible, Nina also recommends maximize natural light by keeping window treatments minimal. 

You can also learn how to clean a window properly in order to ensure as much light shines through as possible.

6. Choose bright colors

A white wall with three geometric gold shelves with plants on them

(Image credit: Custom Home Design By Nina Lichtenstein / Brian Madden / Crafted By Nick)

While we love dark small bathroom ideas, if your boring small bathroom is looking drab and dingy, it may be time to brighten it up.

Nina explains, “Light, neutral colors can visually expand a small bathroom and create a sense of airiness.”

She adds, “Opt for soft shades like white, cream, pale gray, or pastels for walls and complement these with tiles and accessories.”

We recommend going for an evergreen white which you can use throughout the home to tie it together, such as the classic Benjamin Moore Simply White that has the slightest hint of warmth.

7. Create a focal point

A white bathroom with a mirror, gold wall sconces, wooden cabinet, and a sink

(Image credit: Custom Home Design By Nina Lichtenstein / Brian Madden / Crafted By Nick)

When all else fails, simply distract away and style your boring small bathroom with just one magical centerpiece.

“Consider a statement wallpaper, a striking mirror, or a decorative backsplash behind the sink,” Nina suggests.

She adds, “Highlighting one area can draw attention away from the overall size of the room.

Keep it simple and chic by bringing in a timeless option like marble, such as the Winette Marble Bathroom Splashback from Wayfair which is resistant to stains, chipping, and abrasions.

By applying just a few of these clever tips, you can style a boring small bathroom so it is beautiful and bougie.

“Be creative and resourceful to make the most of your space and turn it into a sanctuary that reflects your taste and personality,” Nina finishes by saying.

For those who want to make their small bathroom really shine, trying modern small bathroom ideas may also work for you.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.