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Small bathroom ideas: eight style tips for a small space

From clever storage to creating a feature wall, these decorating ideas will make a huge difference to your small bathroom

Decorating a small bathroom doesn’t have to feel daunting. If anything, it should be viewed as a fun puzzle to crack! With the right colours, lighting, storage and fixtures, your small bathroom design will have just as much impact as a large, sprawling room – in fact, a small room can sometimes be more dramatic than a big one.

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To help you on your small bathroom decorating journey, we’ve delved into the YourHomeStyle archives to find some of the savviest small bathroom ideas and added in a few indispensable bathroom products that we think will help to make the most of your limited space. These tips and tricks will make your small bathroom feel bigger and hopefully make it a pleasanter place to spend time in.

Looking for ultra-speedy fixes on a tight budget? Then be sure to check out our guide to the best ways to update your bathroom on a budget, too.

How to make a small bathroom look bigger

1. Paint walls a bold colour

Good idea! Crittall-style screens bring a touch of industrial styling to a bathroom. If possible, get the pattern digitally printed so the screens are smooth and easy to clean.
Lisa transformed a dated, cramped bathroom. See the makeover here.

Wondering what colour to paint a small bathroom? Oftentimes white paint is chosen as the best option for opening up a small space, but there are many other colours to think about when it comes to a small bathroom. Picking a deep, bold colour can embolden a small room and make it feel cosier, rather than cramped, and warm rather than bare and cold which can often be the case in white bathrooms.

Another option is to create a half-wall paint effect like Lisa has done in her compact bathroom makeover above. The white half on top gives the illusion of a much higher ceiling while the deep emerald green on the bottom half makes the room feel more welcoming.

2. Choose stylish storage

‘This room originally had a tiny shower and we always banged our elbows using it, so we wanted to go as big as we could with the new shower. With no vanity unit, I needed somewhere to put our bathroom towels and products and this cabinet, from Mustard Mead, looks great and it’s amazing how much storage space it has. The shower, gold taps and shower head are from Lusso Stone’
‘This room originally had a tiny shower and we always banged our elbows using it, so we wanted to go as big as we could with the new shower. With no vanity unit, I needed somewhere to put our bathroom towels and products and this cabinet, from Mustard Made, looks great and it’s amazing how much storage space it has. The shower, gold taps and shower head are from Lusso Stone.’ See the makeover here.

With nowhere to hide in a small bathroom, storage should be as stylish as it is practical. Think outside the box, as Liz has above in her bathroom makeover, with a statement pink storage locker.

Dunelm AW20 Retreat Bathroom
French cane towel rail, £20, Dunelm

If floor space is limited, take to the walls! Over-door storage baskets and hooks are ideal for renters as you don’t need to drill into the walls. There are some great style options too, like rattan and metal, to suit a range of interior aesthetics.

Removable hanging strips will also come in handy for adding stylish hooks or floating shelves which you can use for storing bathroom trinkets as well as displaying plants.

3. Pick statement tiles

Home makeover: 'I've learnt so much from revamping my home'
‘Our bathroom has been completely transformed with tile paint, and the whole makeover only cost about £250. I found the ladder shelving on Wayfair and have added bright pops of yellow with towels and a hanging planter from George Home.’ See the makeover here.

Statement tiles have been all over Pinterest lately; they’re the perfect decorating idea for combining practicality and style in a bathroom. Wondering how much to tile a small bathroom? Whether you fancy being tiled to the nines with both tiled floors and walls or just fancy feature tiles behind your sink or shower, any addition will add interest and charm to a small space.

You don’t have to replace your existing tiles to make a difference, though. Sometimes a lick of tile paint will have just as much impact, as Carla did in her dinky bathroom makeover above. This monochrome look, with the classic white metro tiles, is a safe choice for small bathrooms.

Judith knew the limitations of the small space but still managed to pack in all of the bathroom essentials and add impact with a dramatic colour scheme
Judith knew the limitations of the small space but still managed to pack in all of the bathroom essentials and add impact with a a dramatic colour scheme. See the makeover here.

In Judith’s compact bathroom makeover above, she went for decorative floor tiles to create impact. ‘It was love at first sight with these tiles. I really wanted to create a monochrome patterned floor and knew they’d look amazing teamed with some white wall tiles laid in a herringbone pattern.’

4. Add a feature wall

‘I’ve replaced the classic colour combo of blue and orange with a modern twist of copper and inky blue’
‘I’ve replaced the classic colour combo of blue and orange with a modern twist of copper and inky blue.’ The doors and woodwork are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Railings, a dark and cosy shade. See the makeover here.

There’s a range of styles to choose from when thinking about a feature wall. Murals, a gallery wall, statement wallpaper, and a simple yet impactful painted arch are just a few examples of packing a punch in your small bathroom.

If you favour a rustic look, you may want to give a copper-effect wall a go, as Charlotte did in her bathroom makeover above. She found a copper-effect paint from Craig & Rose; to apply you simply paint the wall, dab with a sponge then paint on the solution where you want the patina effect to be.

 5. Opt for a walk-in shower

Finding a small black framed shower cubicle was quite tricky but Judith eventually found one on eBay; it now fits snugly into the corner and has two small hinged doors, so it doesn’t take up too much space
Finding a small black framed shower cubicle was quite tricky but Judith eventually found one on eBay; it now fits snugly into the corner and has two small hinged doors, so it doesn’t take up too much space. See the makeover here.

This will be off the cards for bath lovers, but if you prefer a shower day to day, then it may be worth waving goodbye to your bath and replacing it with a space-saving walk-in shower instead.

If you’re on a budget, try looking at eBay, as Judith did above, or bargain bathroom stores like Big Bathroom Shop and Bathroom Mountain.

Bathroom makeover: 'I’ve given my bathroom a Miami vibe!'
A high-quality square shower enclosure fits snugly in the corner and the minimal chrome lessens the impact. The stunning green tiles carry on the colourful flair, as well as protecting from splashes. See the makeover here.

In Keeley’s bathroom makeover, she proved that even a tiny cloakroom can be made into a glamorous shower room. She made use of a tight corner for her walk-in shower cubicle, as shown above.

6. Make an impact with mirrors

Brass accessories warm up the monochrome scheme. Liz couldn’t resist the print, which bears a strong resemblance to her own bathroom
Switching up the mirror in your space will freshen it up instantly. See the makeover here.

Mirrors, no matter how big or small, will instantly add depth to your small bathroom. For added impact, choose a couple of mirrors in different sizes or go big and bold with a large mirror.

Round mirrors are a good idea for a dinky bathroom as they counteract the look of tight, sharp-edged corners (like in an under-the-stairs loo). Or, for an on-trend look, try out a wavy mirror!

7. Get the lighting right

Wanda LED bathroom light, £39, MADE.COM
Wanda LED bathroom light, £39, MADE.COM

If you’re lucky enough to have lots of natural light in your small bathroom, try not to overcrowd your windowsill with trinkets or products and avoid blocking any of the light and taking up too much wall space with a prominent blind. Try frosting film for your window instead as this will help to open up the space more and take full advantage of the daylight glow.

Many small bathrooms are without windows though, so how do you make your bathroom feel lighter in this case? It can be as simple as adding statement wall lights, like the MADE.com ones shown above, in favour of cold stark ceiling lights. Position wall lights near a mirror to get the double the glow.

Opting for a bulb that emits a warmer glow, such as this Porcelain LED Dimmable Globe Bulb from John Lewis & Partners is another simple yet effective trick to making your small space feel cosier and lighter.

8. Use multi-purpose furniture

Convert a sideboard or chest of drawers into a sink unit. It's stylish and provides much more storage than a conventional bathroom cabinet.
Convert a sideboard or chest of drawers into a sink unit like Sarah has. It’s stylish and provides much more storage than a conventional bathroom cabinet. See the makeover here.

Be savvy with bathroom furniture and choose pieces that have multiple uses, such as Sarah’s sideboard above that serves as a washstand and storage unit. You can also pick up these kinds of items for bargain prices on sites such as eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.

‘I found this 1950s sideboard on Gumtree and turned it into a stand for the basin from Victorian Plumbing, as well as storage for the towels,’ she says.

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If you liked our guide to decorating a small bathroom, then be sure to check out our guides to styling a narrow kitchen and creating the perfect home office.