These 6 airy neutral small bathroom ideas will make yours feel like a spa

Our experts spill their fave neutral small bathroom ideas

Trio of three neutral small bathrooms with white countertops
(Image credit: Future, Life Created Photography, Lisa Romerin, Emily Keeney)

Neutral small bathroom ideas are perfect for creating airy, at-home spa vibes and these six tips won't break the bank, either. Win, win!

Whatever the square footage of your bathroom, you can still make every design feature feel more interesting with carefully selected touches. Our expert interior designers share tips including using reflective elements, natural wood and pops of color to zhuzh a neutral bathroom.

These small bathroom ideas from our award-winning designers will help you makeover your space in style.

Neutral small bathroom ideas

Bathrooms are arguably one of the most functional rooms in the house, and even if you're contending with a narrow bathroom, ideas from our experts to refresh it into an airy, neutral haven will really hit the spot.

1. Reflective elements

Neutral bathroom with floating white shelves above toilet and house plant near round vanity mirror

(Image credit: Emily Keeney for Triple Heart Design)

Reflective elements and small spaces go hand in hand. Mix and match tile tones, finishes, and textures like a gloss with a matte, mosaic with medium-format square and you will enhance the space immediately. 

Dare to be a little different with a neutral small bathroom, "Tiles like terrazzo or porcelain in a natural stone work well for warmth," says Shelagh Conway, founder of Triple Heart Design

"Using large format tiles and running them to the ceiling will also create visual space by drawing the eye up, or even utilizing full-size porcelain slabs can work well. Just don’t overdo the pattern because it overwhelms a small space." 

Black and white image of woman is designer Shelagh Conway
Shelagh Conway

Shelagh is an award-winning designer whose thoughtful approach creates unique spaces that elevate clients' homes. She uses luxurious materials, along with clean, simple designs utilizing stone, wood, metals and finishes to help her clients' visions come to life. Her approach has bagged her team many awards and seen her features in The Spruce, Livingetc, Designers Today and more.

2. Wood-look warmth

Warm neutral bathroom with roll top tub and tulips on a stool in front of screened shower

(Image credit: Erin Konrath @ErinKonrath_Interiors)

This space is zen beyond belief and totally makes a small bathroom feel like a spa. The wood-look slat tiles draw the eye up and add much-needed warmth to this neutral small bathroom color scheme too. 

"We love adding interest with texture in small neutral bathrooms," says Laura Chappetto, owner and principal designer of Elemental Design Network. "You can make a huge impact using tile as an accent like we did here behind our client’s freestanding bathtub." 

For a similar Japandi-inspired look, Home Depot has some matte ribbon wall tiles, and Wayfair also carries porcelain ribbed tile in white.

White woman with dark brown hair smiling in home space is Laura Chappetto @ElementDesignNetwork
Laura Chappetto

Laura Chappetto, principal designer of Element Design Network, curates designs for her clients to experience a deeper connection to their living spaces and provide an even greater sense of happiness and pride in their home.

3. Natural pops of color

Warm neutral bathroom with roll top tub and tulips on a stool in front of screened shower

(Image credit: Erin Konrath @ErinKonrath_Interiors)

For a dose of energy that sets off all the neutral tones, include something small like a gorgeous bunch of tulips for just a splash of cozy bathroom color. This small neutral bathroom space designed by @ErinKonrath_interiors, also reassures us that fitting a shelf in a small bathroom can be done, and is so worth it to make beautiful use of the vertical plane. 

"We didn’t have much space so we decided to create a small bump out with an arch feature which gave us added room to accommodate some shelving," continues Laura.

"Anytime you can add shelving you are also creating space for decor which adds even more visual interest. The vertical slats in the tile provide a bit of texture which keeps the tone-on-tone color palette feeling fresh." 

For a similar stool, we're into this Shaker Accent pick by Hearth & Hand™ at Target

4. Defining black geometric accents

Round wooden detail mirror in narrow white bathroom with geometric black and white tile floor

(Image credit: Life Created for Living with Lolo)

Including dark defining accents and shapely components can bring a cool and expansive element to small neutral bathroom spaces. Mid-scale is a good option for a small bathroom tile to lift the surroundings too, and the geometric pattern itself adds design punch. 

It accentuates the sculptural round wall mirror that comes with purpose too. "Mirrors not only add depth to the room but also reflect light, making the space appear larger and more inviting," shares interior designer Victoria Holly

Together they bounce light and good design vibes all around for a very cool neutral bathroom space, even if it is a little on the narrow side.

White woman with long blonde hair in cream suit sat on large couch is Victoria Holly
Victoria Holly

Victoria Holly Interiors is led by experienced designer Victoria Holly, who boasts an impressive reputation in the field of interior design. With over a decade of experience, Victoria Holly is known for her artistic skill, meticulous attention to detail, and exceptional talent for curation.

5. Flowy aqua and gray shades

Neutral bathroom with gray wall and blue tones, black hanging pendants

(Image credit: Life Created for Living with Lolo)

For flow, more favorite (but perhaps unexpected) hues are welcome for neutral color schemes for small bathrooms. Designers recently explained how gray can amplify a small space in some instances too. 

Proof is in the bathroom design pudding (a real thing), see how Lauren Lerner of Living with Lolo Interiors throws off white and beige shades for something with more cool intrigue in the above. 

Victoria is on board with this look, too: "Neutral doesn't have to mean entirely white or beige. Opt for soft, pale neutrals like light gray, soft taupe, or dreamy blue-grays for your walls, tiles, and fixtures. These colors will reflect light and create a sense of openness without making the space feel cold."

6. Vanilla hues

Magnolia small bathroom with plant on stool

(Image credit: Lisa Romerein for Joshua Smith Inc)

Finally, we couldn't, not, include a little magnolia for a softer neutral small bathroom color scheme. Warm, vanilla-like, keep the hues rich by adding bathroom plants, and warm elements like we see in the artwork, and red bathroom rug (this cute diamond pick at Target is similar) and you will create a lofty and inviting ambiance ASAP.


Are neutral bathrooms on trend?

Neutrals can be timeless in any room of the house, but it all comes down to how you approach the space. This will ultimately depend on how you use it and on the 'vibe' you want to create. "I think neutrals are definitely trending and great for small bathrooms that are highly used as they feel more peaceful and not overwhelming," says Amy Youngblood. "However, for smaller lower-use bathrooms such as powder rooms,  I’m still seeing a lot of dramatic color and wallpaper."

woman with brown hair smiling and leaning on brick wall is Amy Youngblood interior designer.jpg
Amy Youngblood

Amy Youngblood creates stunning interiors that thoughtfully blend lifestyle and design preferences. With extensive experience in the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio markets, as well as Northern Kentucky and beyond, Amy Youngblood Interiors continues to take the design world by storm.

How can I create room in a small neutral bathroom? 

For more room, tap into the best small bathroom storage ideas. Victoria Holly shares a few favorites: "A wall-mounted or floating vanity takes up less visual space, giving the bathroom a more open and spacious feel." Wayfair has tons of floating vanities for bathrooms that will fit a neutral color scheme perfectly.

"It also provides additional floor space, making the room seem larger." Simple additions like woven baskets under or on open shelving. Keep fixtures streamlined where you can to free up square footage and bring a modern finish to the space too.

Neutral colors look great in any small space as light reflects off the bright tones and makes the room look larger. If you're going for something really subtle, some minimalist small bathroom ideas may work too. Just keep your bulky items down to a minimum and focus on what you really need to store in your tiny space.

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Former Deputy Editor

I'm Cam, the former deputy editor of Real Homes who worked on the site from 2020 to 2023. As a renter myself, sharing a home with two friends (and my cat) in London, I know all too well the challenges that this can pose when it comes to creating your perfect setup. As someone who has always loved everything interior design-related, I cannot rest until a home feels right and I am really passionate about helping others get there too, no matter what their living situation, style, or budget may be. It’s not always the easiest to figure out, but the journey is fun and the results are so worth it.

After interior design, travel, art, and photography are my next big passions. When I’m not writing or editing homes content, I’m usually tapping into other creative outlets, exploring galleries in London or further afield, taking photos, scribbling, or drawing!