11 bathroom design tricks: big ideas for small rooms

From simple, budget-friendly changes to ideas for overhauling your bathroom entirely – find the inspiration you need to improve your bathroom

Bathroom with rolltop bath by Little Greene
(Image credit: Simon Whitmore)

Are you looking for clever ways and design tricks to improve a tired or outdated bathroom? From simple, budget-friendly changes that anyone (and we mean anyone) can achieve to ideas for overhauling or designing a bathroom, or even a small bathroom, from scratch, we're here to provide the inspiration that you need.

From fresh bathroom paint ideas and beautiful botanical wallpapers, to clever bathroom storage and stylish lighting solutions, we've got all bases covered. Check out our guides to designing a bathroom and planning a small bathroom to get the best from your room transformation, too. 

1. Upgrade your hand basin 

If your budget doesn't stretch to a total bathroom refurb, consider upgrading just one statement piece – we'd recommend the sink or the bath. Opting for a standout sink is a great way of creating a focal point within a bathroom and enhancing the feel of a space. For more guidance on choosing a bathroom sink check out our (awesome) feature. 

Find the Adriana basin at the London Basin Company

Freestanding bathroom sink with oriental design and circular mirror

2. Add mirrors to create the illusion of a lighter and larger space 

Create the illusion of a lighter, more spacious bathroom with the addition of large, space-enhancing mirrors. Long and tall mirrors work equally effectively in exaggerating the size and feel of a space, so opt for a shape and style that suits your bathroom. We've popped some of our favourite bathroom mirrors, in one convenient article so make sure you go and check that out. 

The Hawthorn tile

(Image credit: The British Ceramic Tile)

3. Opt for stylish lighting solutions

A change in bathroom lighting can dramatically enhance an environment and atmosphere, making it a factor worth considering when seeking to improve your bathroom. For more ideas, take a look at our guide to choosing bathroom lighting

This stylish Pillar Wall Light, available at Original BTC, makes a stylish, industrial inspired addition to a contemporary bathroom. 

marbled sink space with basin and large mirror and light

(Image credit: Davey Lighting)

4. Experiment with contemporary paint ideas

If you're looking to make a more significant improvement to your bathroom, consider experimenting with some of our contemporary bathroom paint ideas. From deep, moody greys to warm, spicy tones, colour blocking and ombre, there's a style to suit all. 

This combination of Bastille and Coral Shadow, both from Sanderson, is an attainable example of on-trend colour blocking. See more colourful bathroom ideas in our design gallery.

Bathroom by John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

5. Go bold with a beautiful botanical wallpaper 

Combining paint and wallpaper can be an effective way of improving a bathroom, giving it a new lease of life. If you're concerned about a bold print overwhelming a small space, consider opting for paintwork of a similar hue to your wallpaper.

This Camellia wallpaper is paired with Smalt Paint, both from Little Greene, for a modern floral feel. 

If this blue botanical wallpaper has caught your eye, we have plenty more botanical wallpaper designs to inspire you.

blue floral wallpapered bathroom with great natural lighting

(Image credit: Little Greene)

6. Use patterned floor tiles to make a design statement

Transform a bathroom with a stylish geometric floor. Using bathroom tiles on the walls, too? Go for plains rather than patterns, picking one of the accent shades from the floor tiles to create a cohesive look. Have a read of our guide to choosing bathroom tiles if you need more advice. 

freestanding bathroom sink with unit and on wall taps

(Image credit: Original Style )

7. Maximise space with storage solutions

The first step to improving your bathroom should be decluttering; which means getting rid of scratchy old towels and donating unused 'bath and body' gift sets (check they're in date first). Once that's done, prioritise maximising space with clever bathroom storage solutions – our guide will help you find the best option for your bathroom.


(Image credit: Ikea)

8. Add life (literally) and texture with house plants

In addition to their zen-enhancing properties, well displayed house plants make a timeless design feature in a bathroom, adding texture and personality to a space.

Whether your preference is for small succulents or more statement species, enhance the calmness-inducing feel of your space with the addition of house plants. Read our full guide to house plants if you're not sure where to get started. 

bathroom storage and subway tiles

(Image credit: Homesense)

If you'd like to incorporate seasonal trends into your bathroom but are concerned that doing so will mean a scheme that ages quickly, towels could be the solution. Affordable and easily replaced, new towels will not only refresh your space, but allow you to incorporate a new style or trend into your bathroom on a seasonal basis. 

We love the idea of keeping towels at-hand with the addition of a stylish bathroom stool – we love this Skagerak Fionia Stool available at Nest. We've put together some great towel storage ideas if you are after more inspiration. 

Skagerak Fiona stool

(Image credit: Amara)

10. Switch up your bathroom window treatment 

And this really needn't be as big a job as it sounds. Sure we love the look of shutters in a bathroom, but if you are on a budget or just want a quick update, changing out your roller blinds or adding a window film is a great way to make a bathroom feel fresher. We have loads of ideas in our best bathroom window treatments to get you inspired. 

California shutter in a traditional bathroom

(Image credit: Shutterly Fabulous )

11. Create a focal feature

Any bathroom, however large, like this one below, or small, like the majority of the country's, can benefit from a focal feature. This might be a large roll top bath, a wall decorated with a stunning wallpaper or a beautiful window dressing. Or, it could be something as simple as a large picture. Whichever you choose, it will give your room a decorative edge that most bathrooms lack.

Bathroom with rolltop bath by Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

12. Don't forget the final touches

When it comes to improving a bathroom, you'll be amazed by the dramatic difference small, final touches can make. The addition of a stylish toothbrush holder and expensive-looking soap dispenser can really elevate the feel of a space. 

view of a bathroom sink with mirror and cute additions

(Image credit: Fritz Fryer)

More bathroom inspiration? Yes please...