Small bathroom upgrades — 5 stunning ideas that will make your space shine

Our design experts are huge fans of these quick small bathroom upgrades

Three pictures of bathrooms - one white bathroom with a blue sink, one bathroom with blue wallpaper, and one with a gold vase with a eucalyptus plant
(Image credit: Styled by Storms / Brittany Ambridge / MBC Interior Design / Lauren Taylor Creative / Steph Everett)

Adding small bathroom upgrades to your home has to be one of the best ways to quickly make it feel like new. Just a few of these will make the space sparkle even more.

We've chatted with interior designers who are used to coming into small bathrooms and transforming them to find out tricks they use to make this room look more stylish. Vintage treasures and wonderful wallpapers are just some of their favorite decorations.

If you're looking for small bathroom ideas to dramatically change up the appearance, these are all useful to have on your radar.

Small bathroom upgrades

Give your bathroom a beautiful glow-up with these tips, which include small bathroom storage ideas, decoration tips, and more.

Our designers have recommended specific products throughout, which we've found in case you want to start glowing up yours.

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

1. Add vintage trinkets

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)

Going down the vintage route when decorating is a gorgeous way to add elegance to your bathroom in an inexpensive way.

“Sometimes it is tiny things that make your bathroom updated, whether you rent or own,” says Sarah Storms, interior designer and founder of Styled by Storms.

A picture of Sarah Storms, a blonde woman wearing a denim jumpsuit
Sarah Storms

Sarah Storms is the interior designer and founder of Styled by Storms. Her unique background in fashion and editorial point of view allow for her creative passion for interiors, textiles, color to shine through every project. These have included updating small bathrooms.

She continues, “I like to add a cool vintage vase, fancy bar soap, and French bath towels, as these small accessories are beautiful and functional without breaking the bank.” 

Head to a thrift store or secondhand furniture store such as Goodwill and get your magpie eyes ready to find your newest (or oldest) treasure.

2. Bring in beautiful plants

A gold vase filled with eucalyptus on a marble surface

(Image credit: Steph Everett)

You may not have thought about putting indoor plants in the bathroom before, but placing one or two on surfaces will quickly upgrade your small bathroom.

“Bathrooms are a great place to bring in color and organic materials to warm up cold tiles and finishes,” says Amanda Wiss, design expert and founder of Urban Staging and Urban Clarity.

A picture of Amanda Wiss, a woman wearing a purple top in front of gray shelves
Amanda Wiss

Amanda Wiss is a design expert and founder of Urban Clarity, a home organizing company. She is also the founder of home staging studio Urban Staging, whose design-savvy team gets homes market ready, which often includes small bathrooms in need of upgrades.

For example, Amanda used eucalyptus in a golden vase (this Hubuish Gold Vase on Amazon is beautiful and budget-friendly) to bring a breath of richness and texture to this bathroom.  

Other plants you could place in bathrooms include peace lilies which love moisture and pothos plants which are low-maintenance.

3. Utilize vertical space

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

(Image credit: Styled by Storms / Brittany Ambridge)

For those working with limited square footage (we feel the pain), it’s time to look for small bathroom storage solutions which utilize vertical space.

Amanda explains, “Consider over the toilet shelves, cabinets, or wall-mounted towel bar, as these can be used to keep visual clutter to a minimum in your bathroom space.”

By keeping your floor as clear as possible, you’ll make your small bathroom appear bigger, which will upgrade how it looks. 

4. Place wallpaper on the walls

A bathroom with blue wallpaper with gold cheetahs, a mirror, and a white sink

(Image credit: MBC Interior Design / Ryan Garvin)

Using the best paint colors for small bathrooms can look great, but if you want to go for bold, unfurling a roll of wallpaper is the way to go

“One of our favorite ways to give a small bathroom personality is to add wallpaper,” says Mary Beth Christopher, principal designer and founder of MBC Interior Design.

A picture of Mary Beth Christopher, a blonde woman wearing a blue shirt in front of white bricks and a black door
Mary Beth Christopher

Mary Beth Christopher has been designing interiors for over 16 years.  She founded MBC Interior Design with a vision of creating timeless, beautiful spaces that are comfortable and functional. This includes updating small bathroom.

She continues, “You won't need very much, so for minimal investment, you get maximum impact.”

Mary says it can truly transform a space in a way almost nothing else can, and we completely agree

If you’re renting, you can still use peel-and-stick wallpaper to achieve the same effect without damaging your walls. We love this Roommates Snake Skin Peel and Stick Wallpaper from Target, which is so glam.

5. Choose a personalized solution

A white and brown bathroom with pink towels, a runner rug, bath, and dual sink

(Image credit: Stephanie Meyer / AVCO Design)

If smaller upgrades aren’t enough for your bathroom, you might want to think about customized solutions.

“In any room, we feel finding ways to incorporate personalized space for each user makes a world of difference,” says Stephanie Meyer, principal designer and owner of AVCO Design.

A picture of Stephanie Meyer, a woman wearing a brown cardigan
Stephanie Meyer

Stephanie Meyer is the principal designer and owner of AVCO Design. Her practice focuses on transforming client intentions into interiors for living well, meaningful connections, and lifelong memories. This includes upgrading and updating small bathrooms.

She continues, “Very detailed space planning and fixture selection is key in configuring a small bathroom to get the most out of it.”

In this primary ensuite, Stephanie modified a closet to allow for a toilet room, custom-built a vanity area to allow for two sinks, as well as bringing in a soaking bath. 

You could do this yourself if you’re looking for a DIY bathroom renovation idea, or can always bring in the pros if you don’t fully trust yourself with a hammer.


Whether you want to go big on your small bathroom upgrades or add subtle touches, there are plenty of clever solutions out there. 

No matter what you choose, be sure anything you bring in showcases your style, so you can feel completely happy when brightening up your small bathroom.

Eve Smallman
Staff Writer

Hi there! I’m a staff writer 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. 

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