Small bathroom ideas: 14 clever ways to stretch your space

Our small bathroom ideas, from space-enhancing schemes to tips on maximising storage, are here to help you make the most of your room, whatever your budget

Small bathroom ideas: Bathroom by Ikea

Small bathroom ideas: let's face it, most of us need them. With the average bathroom measuring just less than three square metres, many of us recognise the challenge of designing a small bathroom that's functional and aesthetically pleasing. 

Whether you're working with an awkward space that requires some extra insight when it comes to layout, or you're looking for on-trend bathroom design ideas – hello, colour blocking and open shelving – that have the added benefit of making a small space seem larger, you're sure to find plenty of inspiration with our stylish small bathroom design ideas.

For more tips on how to design a small bathroom, read our handy guide. Then, for more space-enhancing schemes, and tips on maximising the potential of your small bathroom, browse our storage ideas for small bathrooms.

1. Embrace an awkward space with a clever layout

With some thought – and our clever small bathroom ideas – it's more than possible to pack (almost) everything you want into your bathroom, all that it requires is a clever approach when it comes to the layout.

By pushing the bath to the lower end of this loft bathroom, there's room for a separate, full height, shower enclosure. Had the bath been positioned where the shower is now, there would only have been room for a little bathroom storage beneath lowest point of the sloped roof. This is a much better use of space.

Looking for more clever loft and attic storage ideas that make the most of awkward, sloping roves? Browse our practical (and inspiring) guide.

loft conversion small bathroom design ideas with fittings from Bathrooms.com

Recreate the look with bathroom fittings from bathrooms.com

(Image: © Bathrooms.com)

2. Opt for wall-hung fittings to enhance space

Wall-hung sanitaryware is one of those clever small bathroom ideas that creates the illusion of a larger bathroom, precisely because you can see the floor beneath the fittings. Further exaggerate the effect by picking minimalist, back-to-the-wall fittings, and choose flooring in a light colour.

If you need any more tips on choosing the best bathroom flooring, check out our handy guide. 

small bathroom design ideas, optima bespoke shower in a loft en suite with blue and white scheme by Coram Showers

Recreate this look using sanitaryware from Coram Showers

(Image: © Coram)

3. Consider an unfitted look

While fitted bathroom units are a great option if your priority is maximising storage, they can make a small bathroom feel boxy. An unfitted look not only has the power to make a small bathroom feel spacious, but also creates a more relaxed feel. 

Like the idea of making a statement with an unfitted vanity? Browse our pick of the best vanity units.

small bathroom design ideas, a bathroom with a white scheme and black vanity unit by sanctuary bathrooms

(Image: © Sanctuary Bathrooms)

4. Pick slimline bathroom fittings

Just as if you were working with a living room, small bathroom ideas need to address scale of furnishings, too. So, if space is at a premium, consider scaling down sanitaryware and opting for slimline solutions. Whether that be a slimmer model of toilet, towel rail or bathroom storage, gaining a few extra inches and reducing the 'packed in' feel will make all the difference in a small bathroom. 

Find out what you need to know about choosing a bathroom sink

school style small bathroom design idea with blue and black checked tiles, white sinks and shower cubicle

(Image: © Bruce Hemming)

5. Maximise vertical space with a ladder shelf

Small bathroom ideas should include storage solutions; they are an important element to think about when designing a small bathroom, after all. We love the addition of a ladder shelf to a small space which, in addition to being slimline and maximising vertical space when propped up against a wall, creates an attractive design feature with the addition of fresh towels.

Bathroom with mosaic tiles ladder shelf decorated with towels, a small bathroom design idea by dunelm

Recreate this look with Dunelm

(Image: © Dunelm)

6. Choose furniture that makes the most of dead space

Maximising space is an essential step when casting about for small bathroom ideas. Take time to think about utilising clever small bathroom storage solutions, particularly those designed to fit what might otherwise be dead space – such as an awkward corner.

small bathroom design idea created with white subway tiles and wooden finish fittings by Ikea

Find this Silveran Corner Unit at Ikea

(Image: © Ikea)

7. Consider an all-white scheme to boost natural light

If a small bathroom is not designed effectively, a lack of natural light can quickly make it seem dark and dingy. For an easy and effective solution, consider an all-white scheme, complete with either fitted or unfitted sanitaryware that (almost) blends in with the the rest of the space. 

This bathroom uses metro tiles as the basis for its all white scheme. If you like the look, find more inspiration with our design ideas for beautiful ways to use metro tiles. Find more tile design ideas for making a small bathroom feel bigger in our guide, too.

That said, the same space-enhancing effect can be achieve with a white paint, in which case you might want to take a look at our pick of the best paint for bathrooms.

small bathroom design idea with white colour scheme and grey hexagonal floor tiles by ikea

Maximise wall space with these clever storage solutions from Ikea

(Image: © Ikea)

8. Opt for open shelving to avoid a 'boxy' feel

Open shelving is another effective small bathroom idea worth considering if you're worried about fitted units making a small bathroom feel boxy.

With a relaxed, unfitted feel, it not only offers ample storage, but makes for a stylish design feature if styled with house plants, folded fresh towels or other attractive bathroom essentials. Opting for recessed shelves, as seen below, also helps make the most of an awkward shaped bathroom, with shelves blending into a scheme if painted in the same shade as the rest of the bathroom.

If you like the look of this on-trend, atmospheric scheme, you'll find plenty more inspiration with our black bathroom design ideas. Then, browse more of our bathroom paint ideas.

small bathroom design ideas with dark scheme and pink metro tiles by tile flair

Find the Haban Rose Tiles from Tile Flair

(Image: © Tile Flair)

9. Pick a roll top bath with compact proportions

Desperate for a stylish roll top bath? And why not – they look good, and, because they're not boxy like standard fitted baths, they enhance a small space.

If you've always dreamt of a bath for your small bathroom, browse our traditional freestanding bath design ideas, which includes some small-bathroom-friendly models.

Small bathroom design ideas with white scheme and bronze tubby by The Albion Bath Company

This Tubby Torre plinth bath is just as deep as standard baths, but small enough to fit in a compact bathroom. It measures L119.5cm x W670/730cm x D800/930cm and costs £2,484, The Albion Bath Company

(Image: © The Albion Bath Company)

10. Stretch space with clever decor

This small bathroom scheme performs several subtly clever tricks: the bathroom floor tiles, laid diagonally, create the visual trick of making the floor area seem longer and wider; the bathroom colour scheme – with a dark colour below and a light one above – makes the ceilings seem taller; the double mirrors reflect light and make the room seem larger; and there's bags of small bathroom storage ideas to hide away clutter. 

For more handy design tips, browse our bathroom design tricks for small spaces.

Small bathroom design idea, green and white colour blocked scheme with white accessories and geometric shower curtain by Ikea

Recreate the look with Ikea

(Image: © Ikea)

11. Choose the right sized tiles

Getting the right tile size for a small bathroom, whether for walls or floors, will have a big impact on making your small space feel bigger and brighter. A small bathroom can actually benefit from a large tile. With fewer grout lines the walls and floor are less cluttered and the room visually expanded. 

Using smaller tiles, such as mosaics, will give you lots of grout lines, which can give the bathroom walls a grid-like appearance that can promote the feeling of being boxed in – making your bathroom feel smaller still.

This doesn’t mean you have to rule out small tiles out, however. If you've fallen for some beautiful mosaics, you can mix it up a bit by using different sized tiles in different zones of your bathroom, with smaller tiles being limited to the showering area, a larger format tile used in the majority of the room, and mosaic tiles in alcoves or recesses (spaces you don’t expect to feel generously-sized).

Looking for more tips? Use our guide to choosing the right size tiles for a small bathroom to enhance your space.

small bathroom design idea, a shower with a combination of blue and green patterned wall tiles and white metro tiles with wall recess by drummonds

Find this beautifully crafted Shower Rose and Dalby Surface Mounted Shower at Drummonds

(Image: © Drummonds)

12. Exaggerate space with a mirror

Here's an easy small bathroom idea: hanging a large mirror in a small bathroom will help it feel larger – especially if you've chosen a dramatic dark colour scheme. Picking a round mirror will create a softer feel than a square or rectangular one, and choosing one that's frameless will allow it to look less bulky. All handy tricks in a small bathroom.

Find our pick of the best bathroom mirrors in our stylish buyer's guide.

Monochrome small bathroom design idea with dark walls and floor, as well as checked blinds and a round mirror and tiled bath

(Image: © Megan Taylor)

13. Install good bathroom lighting

It's very likely you'll be using your bathroom for at least half the time when it's dark. So, ensuring the lighting is good – and not just relying on a single overhead bulb – will make it feel bigger when it's dark outside and you can't rely on space-enhancing daylight. Small bathroom ideas need to work in the evening, too, right?

Find more bathroom lighting advice and inspiration in our specialist guide.

marbled sink space with basin and large mirror and light, a great small bathroom design idea by davey lighting

Find similar lighting at Davey Lighting

(Image: © Davey Lighting)

14. Swap window dressings for window film

If your bathroom isn't directly overlooked you might get away with swapping other bathroom window treatments for window film, which look less bulky and allows in maximum light all of the time.

See our window film design gallery for more ideas – and explore more bathroom window treatments.

Bathroom window with window film, a great alternative to a traditiional window dressing for a small bathroom by Purlfrost

Find similar window films at Purlfrost

(Image: © Purlfrost)

More inspiration for small (but mighty) bathrooms