16 small bathroom ideas to beautify a tiny space

Small bathroom ideas bubbling in space-saving savvy and depths of style swoon.

Bathroom alcove styled with sea sanctuary inspired accessories
(Image credit: Wayfair)

Hunting for realistic small bathroom ideas is a challenge that most of us face. After all, a winning small bathroom design that's practical but still packs a stylish punch is key to making what can be the tiniest and often forgotten room in your home, work for you.

Admittedly, the struggle can be seriously real when it comes to updating a small bathroom. I have a small bathroom myself so I know how tricky it can be to create a space that's both stylish and modern, without cluttering up the room. 

Whether you're looking for pretty powder room plans or ensuite bathroom designs that unexpectedly add delight, these ideas we've found will ensure your bathroom is everything you want it to be — pretty, functional, and a space-savvy hidden gem. 

Best small bathroom ideas

Bored of your dull-looking small bathroom? Take note of these 16 ideas for beautifying your bathroom and making more of the space you have. 

1. Install an alcove shelf

Arched alcove above bathtub styled with pretty sea inspired decorative accessories.

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Is that dead space above your bathtub staring at you glumly? If so, put it to good use with a simple feature that will maximize your bathroom storage space, aka a recessed alcove. It's the perfect spot for bath salts, a candle, and that natural sponge. And don't stop there — if coastal grandmother is your kinda look, add some sea-inspired decorative accents.

2. Get graphic with a two-tone scheme

Mono small bathroom

(Image credit: @renovation_at_5a)

Transform a bland, snug space into a striking sanctuary with a two-tone color scheme. As demonstrated here in this punchy little black-and-white bathroom from @renovation_at_5a, graphic patterned floor tiles coordinate with a black vanity sink (featuring built-in storage), a black-painted small bathroom window idea, a large round wall mirror to ping-pong the light, and houseplant pops to elevate the overall aesthetic. 

It's easy to see how this kind of look can enhance a small space, adding depth and interest. 

3. Channel boho warmth with accessories

Cozy boho inspired bathroom

(Image credit: @gingerhearts)

In snug spaces, let the details deliver the difference. Hug your scheme in earthy warmth with cozy boho-inspired accessories for an instant hit of color and texture. Assorted patterned tiles can create a character-fueled backsplash, especially when it's partnered with budget-friendly bath towels and a bathmat to pile on the tactility.

4. Take storage above and beyond

Bathroom storage ideas with floating shelves and wall hung jewlery tree above corner sink.

(Image credit: @leveluphomeremodeling; Styling: @leighnoe, Photo: @agnieszka.jakubowicz)

When you're limited on floor space, take storage solutions to the walls with bathroom shelving ideas that double up as a place for organization and personal touches. Renters can also set up this kind of layout through adhesive wall-mounted shelves.

5. Splash out on materials

Patterned

(Image credit: An Artful Life; Photo: Patrick Williamson)

"Small can still be beautiful and the benefit of small is wall and flooring material costs are less (as less space to cover) so you can splash out on some really gorgeous choices here," says Kate Whitfield, founder and interior architect at An Artful Life.

As shown here, continuing the patterned floor tiles onto the bathtub enhances the sense of open space and continuity, transforming an otherwise bulky and bland bathtub. 

6. Embrace a moody palette

Moody bathroom detail with wall mirror, ceramic vase of flowers, and brass hardware.

(Image credit: LS Design Studio)

“Don’t be afraid to go a little moody with colors for small bathrooms," says Lilli Morgan, co-founder and co-principal designer at LS Design Studio."Many people are scared of making a small space feel smaller when using any color other than white, however, sometimes going a bit bolder can give the space a really cool feeling."

Morgan used a stormy blue-gray on the walls, but the addition of the brass hardware gives a flashy accent and prevents the space from feeling closed in or monotonous.

7. Max out potential with concealed storage

Tiles

(Image credit: An Artful Life; Photo: Patrick Williamson)

"Consider concealed storage to hide away items such as spare toilet rolls and cleaning products," says Whitfield. "We've designed hidden cupboards behind toilets before, above and to the sides of a concealed cistern. There are many options for neat little basin units out there, but make sure you choose a tap size that suits." Water all over the floor of a tiny bathroom is not something you want to deal with.

8. Don't be afraid to mix and match tiles in small spaces

Statement floor and wall bathroom tiles in a striking mono palette and mixed designs.

(Image credit: @prettyprospectcottage)

The internet is full of interior myths that can crush our small bathroom ideas. If someone has told you that you can't get creative because of the size of your compact room, pour those thoughts down the drain. Get experimental with space-enhancing small bathroom tile ideas to create a cool sanctuary of calm and color.

This bathroom by Liz (aka @prettyprospectcottage) is pretty tiny. Here, she has installed two tile designs by Walls and Floors in her blue, black, and white bathroom, complemented with beautiful lily pad tiles in Denim by Ca Pietra.

9. Squeeze in a tiny bathtub

Adorable small bathtub in luxe aged copper finish.

(Image credit: The Albion Bath Company)

Desperate for a stylish tub to add a wow factor to your small bathroom design? With the right small bathroom bathtub idea, you can slip a tiny one into a petite space effortlessly. Style with a tray and keep a pile of fluffy luxury bath towels nearby, too. 

If you don't like the thought of switching out a tub for a shower appliance, you don't have to. This Tubby Torre miniature bathtub is perfect for bathing animals and small children.

Remember, however, that small bathroom ideas can build up grime more quickly, so get comfortable with how to clean a bathtub for sparkling results.

10. Choose wall-hung fittings to enhance space

White herringbone tiles with rounded corner mirror and freestanding vanity sink.

(Image credit: Fired Earth)

Wall-mounted furniture is one of those clever small bathroom ideas that can create the illusion of a larger bathroom. This is because you can see the floor beneath the fittings. Keep the effect going by picking minimalist wall fittings, and choose the best bathroom flooring you can afford in a light color.

11. Maximize vertical space with a ladder shelf

A wooden towel ladder leant against the wall with assorted designs folded towels draped over rungs.

(Image credit: Dunelm)

A small bathroom design always needs clever bathroom storage ideas. We love the addition of a ladder shelf to a small space as it's both an attractive design feature and a handy storage piece. Basic ladder shelves are great for stylishly displaying luxury bath towels.

12. Get your shelfie on with open shelving

Reclaimed dark wood, open-shelving unit in white and bright bathroom scheme.

(Image credit: Fritz Fryer)

Open bathroom shelving ideas are an effective way of storing and displaying essentials. It gives small spaces a dose of personality and prevents too many harsh angular lines. 

With a relaxed, individual look and feel, open-shelving solutions provide ample storage and make it easy to create shelfie content when styled with house plants, fresh towels, and other attractive small bathroom essentials. 

Choose a standout piece, as shown above, to add contrast to your space, or create a blended look by painting open-shelving in a shade that mirrors the existing scheme. This laidback look is also ideal for farmhouse small bathroom ideas.

13. Make a small bathroom feel taller with paneling

Blue and green bathroom with patterned floor tiles, a botanical blind, powder pink bathtub, fresh houseplants, and blue paneling on walls.

(Image credit: Rust-Oleum)

Create the illusion of added height with bathroom wall paneling ideas that add another dimension in a jiffy. Or if it isn't an option, paint your wall halfway up. Combine a darker color on the lower section with a light contrast shade on the upper half (extended onto the ceiling), to create the feeling that there is a larger distance between the halfway point and the ceiling. 

14. Create a mini jungle with houseplants

Retro vanity unit, graphic geo floor tiles, wall mounted toilet, and plenty of houseplants in stylish bathroom scheme.

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

You can't go wrong with houseplants! Real or faux, they instantly bring in color, texture, and literally life to even the smallest of spaces.

They can actually help to make your space feel bigger too if you place them strategically. Put taller statement plants in the corners of the room so they can soften the edges, making the smaller dimensions less obvious. Whatever the size of your space, the benefits of houseplants can be enjoyed by all.

15. Allude to space with horizontal tile patterns

Eye-catching dark green and white zig-zag tile formations in shower, extended onto walls, with warm wooden flooring and peach vanity sink.

(Image credit: David Woolley)

Visually stretch your small bathroom and make it feel less narrow with horizontal patterns that "widen" a space.

Shown here, a horizontal(ish), chevron-style stripe opens up this smaller space, and by having all that pattern on the far wall it actually makes it feel longer, too. Match with a large format, fuss-free floor tiles, or rustic flooring so you don't overwhelm the room. 

16. Mix tiles and wallpaper 

Pink wall tiles meet botanical wallpaper for a playful look in this modern bathroom, complete with round wall mirror, and white vanity unit.

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

Not only does tiling or paneling halfway up a wall add the illusion of height to your bathroom, but it also gives you the opportunity to do something bold with this other half of the wall. Wallpaper is our top choice! It's the perfect way to bring in pattern and color without taking up any actual space, your walls are still free to hang mirrors, lighting, and storage.

FAQs

What looks good in a small bathroom?

Choosing decor and furniture for a small bathroom can be tricky, because you don't want to make the space look or feel any smaller than it already is. Pick out pieces of decor and accessories that are light colored, compact, and necessary. Avoid adding anything to the space that is not a necessity. 

What color should I paint my small bathroom?

To make your small bathroom feel as light as possible, opt for a lighter hued color scheme, rather than a dark colored one. 


Now you've taken steps to add a little more color and style to your small bathroom, you might want to take note of these small bathroom storage mistakes, so that you can avoid filling your space with clutter. 

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.

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