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Design Tips to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Looking for what colors, tiles and decor can make a small bathroom look bigger? There are a few tricks designers use to maximize the appearance of a small bathroom.

In my home, I’ve recently made over my powder room and master bathroom. In both rooms, I did a few things that made the small and a narrow bathrooms look bigger.

It’s all in the paint color you choose, the tile size, and using mirrors to reflect light!

Ideas to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Seriously, it really is a simple formula to make a small space look bigger. It’s all about tricking the eye and making it appear more open and spacious!

  1. Lighter calming paint colors in shades of blue, green, gray, or tan with white accents or white cabinets. 
  2. Strategically use mirrors on doors to make the room feel more open.
  3. If renovating, choose smaller format tile to make the bathroom feel bigger. Not renovating? Use light colored rugs instead. 
  4. Like a stained wood cabinet? Opt for a light washed oak or driftwood look versus a dark espresso stain

With a little DIY gumption you can use paint and mirrors to create more “visual” space.

What Paint Colors Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger?

You are going to be surprised by my answer because the answer isn’t just a light paint! The size and shape of the bathroom will affect what paint colors you can use. 

In general, very light shades of any color – just a hint above white are going to brighten and enlarge any space.

In my master bathroom, it is a long and narrow space. To make the bathroom look wider, I chose a pale gray blue paint that was soft and inviting.

master-bathroom-remodel-mosaic-tile-basket-weave-floot-benjamin-moore-wales-gray-shadow-storm-marble-tub-deck-drop-in-tub-porch-daydreamer
Photographer: Tiffany Ringwald

Here is the before of my master bathroom. Doesn’t it “feel” smaller with the cabinets painted a color?



Of course the tile and new counters are a huge help too! 

Sage Green Master Bathroom Cabinets

In order to make the cabinets “disappear” and visually push back in the space, I painted them white to blend with the tile.

See how the vanities recede and the pale green cabinets are more forward visually? It makes the whole room appear wider. 

Then another trick was to use the same white paint color as the cabinets behind the mirrors to add more light into the dark space and set back the walls above the vanity. 

bathroom-cabinets-painted-with-valspar-cabinet-enamel-in-benjamin-moore-decorators-white

Using the same gray blue paint would have closed off the space versus the white. It’s also nice to look into a white wall, when I am doing my hair and makeup.

See the full master bathroom remodel reveal here

However, in a small powder room I went opposite of this and did a very deep color. BUT, painted the bottom of the room white and selected a light stain.

Guess what? That cabinet was painted to look like wood!

Modern-Coastal-Powder-Room-in-Behr-Blueprint-with-Seadrift-Pottery-Barn-Finish-vanity

Shop the Look

If you want to learn how to faux finish a cabinet in a driftwood look, click here

The white board and batten was designed to conceal the toilet and visual make it blend into the space.

Then by using a deep blue on the upper 2/3rds of the wall it actual pushes back the walls visually. Cool trick right? 

See the full powder room makeover reveal!

Here is the before picture of this powder room. See how the espresso stain made the room look really small?

owder Room Before Makeover of a Misfit Powder Room

The blue walls feel really close even though this picture was taken farther away through the door. 

Paint Colors To Make a Narrow Bathroom Look Bigger

  • Narrow bathrooms will look the best in light shades of paint: blue, green, gray, or tan. Stay away from yellow or orange hues as they can close in the walls visually.
  • Paint walls behind vanities and cabinets white to “push” them back visually into the space.

When I say light shades, I mean the top color on a paint swatch chip.

Light to Dark on a Paint Chip

Paint Colors To Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

  • Small bathrooms MAY be painted with a deeper shade like the hue 3 or 4 down on the paint chip above. Paint only the top third a dark color and the bottom third white. 
  • Paint the cabinets white or if you like a stained wood look opt for lighter stain options. 

Paint really is the most powerful component to change a room inexpensively.

If you don’t know where to start when choosing a paint color, read this post!

Strategically Use Mirrors to Make a Bathroom Appear Larger

Once my master bathroom remodel construction was complete, I felt something was lacking and the space felt too flat.

It needed something extra and I’d always thought the linen closet between the vanities could look better.

Of course, I had grand ideas of built in storage and hampers, but it just wasn’t in the budget!

beveled-mirror-added-to-door-panel-to-reflect-vanity-details
Photographer: Tiffany Ringwald

What WAS in the budget were custom mirrors for the panels of the doors.  Having mirrors made using online companies is more affordable than you may think!

See how much more interesting the entire room looks with the mirrors? How much did 4 custom mirrors cost? $250!

I chose 3/16 inch thick mirror with a 1/2 inch beveled edge and ordered through One Day Glass. Their service and delivery was excellent.

Mirrors on the door panels make a bathroom look bigger by:

  1. Reflecting light and color around the room.
  2. Drawing your eye to new areas opposite the mirror.
  3. Creating dimension on a flat surface.

blue-and-white-bathroom-mosaic-floor-dog-mohawk-home-white-bath-rug-porch-daydreamer

Shop the Look

Mick LOVES to check his look in the lower panels and at first thought it was another dog LOL!

Are you wondering how the mirrors are hung on the doors? Easy! Foam mounting tape.

The mirrors have held up perfectly and I open / close these doors often. 

A side benefit of the mirror on the door behind my vanity is that I can prop it so I can see the back of my head when doing my hair!

What Size Tile Makes a Bathroom Look Bigger?

If you have the budget to update the tile, you are probably wondering what size tile is best.

Well I can tell you after trying samples in both of my bathrooms, SMALLER tile definitely was the best choice to make the bathroom look larger.

OR you an also do a light colored brick or square tile with white grout to make the floors as simple as possible.

mosaic-basket-weave-marble-look-tile-charcoal-dot-shadow-storm-marble-pink-hydrangeas

In both bathrooms I chose mosaic small pattern tiles designs. The larger sized tile that was in the rooms previously took up so much visual space.

The other thing I did is lay the tile in the powder room to make the room look wider. You can see the tile layout on the right makes even that small space look larger.

All ways to visually trick your eye into seeing something different!

Deciding which way to lay Jeffery Court Dovetail White tile horizontal or vertical

The smaller tile acts as a nice neutral base making the bathrooms appear larger.

My before and after pictures above tell the story – go back and study the floors now 🙂

Pin It for Later!

how to make a small bathroom look bigger tile paint mirrors

I sure hope that this tutorial was helpful and you now know what steps to take to make your small bathroom look larger.

Please consider signing up for my weekly email newsletter and following me on Pinterest and Instagram for daily inspiration.

Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer

Tracey

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5 Comments

  1. It’s great to know that narrow bathrooms will look the best in light shades of paint. My wife and I are planning on renovating our small bathroom and we were wondering what color to paint it to make it look bigger. I’ll be sure to tell my wife that we should look for blue, green, gray, or tan for the color of our bathroom.

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