Small bathroom? Try these clever design tricks to create space


Bathrooms should be a sanctuary, but when you’re struggling with limited space this can be hard to achieve.


We caught up with Interiors Addict founder Jen Bishop and Jessica Ormsby, founder of La Abode hampers (@la_abode on Instagram), to get their thoughts on how to get the most out of a small bathroom space.

We also asked the design aficionados for some clever small bathroom design tips and tricks to try.

Go shower-only if you can

“When it comes to small bathroom designs and ideas, you’d be forgiven for wanting to take the bath out of the equation,” says Jen.

Before and after images: Taking the bath out of the equation can do wonders for small bathrooms. Picture: Jess Ormsby

While this doesn’t sit well with Jen as she’s a big believer in bathing, she understands the benefit of creating a shower-only bathroom for small bathroom spaces.

“A shower-only bathroom – or indeed a wet room – can give you more space and a less squashed look,” she says.

“Just bear in mind that families like baths so if the home is likely to be sold to a family buyer later, a lack of bath could put them off.”

Read more: Shower vs bathtub: The big bathroom decision

Keep it functional

Jess is no stranger to working with small bathrooms. She recently finished her own bathroom renovation where she wasn’t able to structurally change anything – except for the design.

“Functionality is paramount when dealing with any small space as gaining any extra room for storage will be the gift that keeps on giving,” says Jess.

One of the biggest trends in cabinetry for bathroom ideas is functional (and good looking) storage options. Photo: James Geer/Thomas Archer

No fuss, clean lines & natural light

Winning small bathroom designs focus on clean lines as they’re a great way to create the illusion of space.

“Say no to anything fussy – and know that maximising natural light will always help,” says Jen.

While you don’t have to stick to white, lighter colours definitely work better.

“Take advantage of the small, narrow vanities, sinks and toilets on the market, which are designed with small bathrooms in mind.”

Consider your bathroom door

If you don’t have bucketloads of space to play with, think outside the box.

“For my own renovation, I swapped a hinged door to have a cavity sliding door,” explains Jess. “This made the space feel double the size.”

A subtle mint door is reflected in the bathroom mirror in this savvy small bathroom design. Design: Molecule Studio. Photographer: Derek Swalwell

Be creative with storage

In a small bathroom with teeny, tiny space, efficient storage is a must.

“Try and incorporate a vanity with built-in storage at the very least,” suggests Jen.

A must-have small bathroom design feature is a vanity with built-in storage. Picture: Ikea

Other small bathroom design storage tricks?

“Include some kind of recessed storage by the bath or in the shower for soap and essentials.”

Some things need hiding away but others can look nice in open storage

“Open shelving doesn’t take up much space and can allow you to put bales of towels up high. If you don’t have built-in storage, consider a large basket or metal bucket to store rolled up dry towels. This can look really nice,” says Jess.

Read more: 6 ways to upgrade your bathroom without renovation

There are certainly some things that need to be hidden away (think toilet paper and cleaning materials), but others can look nice in open storage, such as clean towels and fancy toiletries.

Make your towel rail work hard for your space

Don’t have space for a large towel rail? Don’t fret – you can add a rod to the shower screen, says Jess, and this will act as a towel holder.

“We picked up a matte black one that matches in with our fixtures,” she says of her own bathroom renovation.

Towel rails are an awesome way to make the most of small bathrooms. Picture: Bunnings

TIP: “Be sure to ask the contractors providing you with the shower screen to drill a hole to accommodate this utility.”

Meanwhile, Jen suggests opting for a heated towel rail.

“It not only provides heating but somewhere to hang, and dry, your soggy towels and keep them off the floor.”

Reflect light to create space

It’s no secret that mirrors reflect light and make spaces look bigger – and you certainly need them in bathrooms.

Mirrors make small bathrooms look bigger! Picture: Pottery Barn

So, why not consider an entire mirrored wall?

“Some other tricks are to use horizontal tiles, which can give the illusion of wider walls, and to keep everything in a very similar palette so as not to ‘chop up’ the space with contrasting colours,” says Jen.

Read more: 9 way to update your bathroom on a budget

This article was originally published as Small bathroom design ideas by and is written by Kristy Barratt .

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