No matter where I go, there’s always a small, dark or dreary bathroom lurking in the background that’s dampening someone’s mood. In fact, there’s one in my own house – an uninspiring powder room just a few feet from where I’m sitting now. In an attempt to help me figure out what do with it, I wrote down some ideas that’s demonstrated many times over to make any bathroom feel more spacious. It was published in the Seattle Times recently.
Bathrooms are tricky spaces. There’s a lot going on in them, and often very little room for it all. Yet, there are few things as pleasing as walking into a bright and spacious bathroom. Assuming that you cannot move the walls to gain more space, there are still some tricks you can use to make your bathroom feel bigger.
The number one trick to create space in a room is to make its walls feel as if they stretch on for ever. Non-uniform walls—where the paint color is in contrast with the tile color on the walls, for example —draws our attention to the differences and brings the wall forward. To get the walls to recede, choose a wall paint color that matches the color of the tiles.
When the paint color relates to the wall tile, the walls recede (source)
The same goes for tiles. If your goal is to make your room feel more spacious, don’t get too creative with accent tiles. Contrasting strips and blotches carve up the walls and only emphasize the boundaries. The point is really to get the backdrop of the room to fade away into the distance. It’s better to draw attention to an eye-catching vanity unit than a colorful strip of tiles on the wall.
When it comes to tiles – keep it simple (source)
A little trick that creates the feeling of more space in a bathroom—as in any other room—is to lift the furniture off the floor. A floating vanity opens up the floor space beneath it. So does any other storage unit, like a linen cupboard, that stands on legs. The floor is seen to extend to the walls instead of ending where the furniture starts.
I could not find the source of this lovely bathroom with floating vanity against the charcoal blue wall. If you know who it belongs to, please let me know. Lifting the vanity off the floor extends the floor area.
FRAMELESS SHOWER DOORS
A shower curtain steals your space. It acts like an extra wall in your bathroom. By replacing it with frameless glass, you’ve just visually pushed back the walls at least two feet. To expand the room even more, take the glass as high as you can afford to go. You will also have the added bonus that clear glass acts a little like a mirror and bounces light back into the room.
Chances are that you hardly even use your bathtub. Replacing it with a walk-in shower will dramatically increase the floor space of your bathroom. The ultimate joy is a shower without a curb – go for it if you have the option. Whatever tiles you use for the shower floor, keep it uniform with the rest of the floor.
A walk-in shower with glass panels and no barriers makes this bathroom feel open and spacious (source)
A dark room feels small. A well-lit room feels airy and spacious. Bring as much natural light into the room as you can, and add dimmers to both the general and task lighting for flexibility and different uses at different times.
Uncluttered windows, mirrors and glass panels makes this room light and airy (source)
A large mirror can easily make your room feel twice as big. Mirrors add endless depth, and also reflect light from adjacent rooms into the space to brighten it up. Stretch your vanity mirror all the way to the corners to create a horizontal band, or take it up to the ceiling and add light sconces on the sides.
Vertical mirrors stretch to the ceiling to add height to the room and reflect light more from the window (source)
A cluttered room can never feel spacious. To make your bathroom feel larger, keep your stuff out of sight. Maximize the storage space under the sink with pull-out shelves and organizers. Keep everyday items around the basin and bathtub—if you don’t level it in favor of a walk-in shower—in beautiful baskets and trays for easy access.
Declutter and organize your stuff. Keep unsightly products out of sight (source)
Many of these tricks will also work for any other room that feels small and cramped. Two of the most effective, and easiest tools that you can use with maximum effect are mirrors and lighting.
I couldn’t wait, so before this article was published I had the vanity mirror of our powder room replaced with one that stretches all the way to the corners. Just a small little step, but it immediately opened up, added depth, and brought light to our windowless room. 🙂
I’d love to hear if there’s something that you have done that made your room feel more spacious.
If you are stuck with a room that’s cramped or soul destroying, sign up for an e-consultation or room focus – and let us help.
Cheers for now
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Hi! I loved the article in the Seattle Times this Monday!! I do have a question:
Is it possible to ask some color / design question regarding a bathroom we are about to remodel? It’s some regards best color of quartz counter to match a tiled tub we are keeping in place due to huge cost to remove it. I was wondering your fee for this type of consultation ( or even if you do this)!
Thanks for reading this—I am looking forward to your emails and posts!!!
Krista, thank you for reaching out, I’m glad you found this article helpful.
Finding the right finishes and colors with undertones to match existing fixtures can be very tricky – you are so wise to seek help. I have many times seen how people struggle with this, eventually make a rushed decision, and then either have to do it over at huge expense, or live with a mistake that makes them unhappy forever after.
We love doing consultations like these – helping you to get it right from the start. I’ll be in touch shortly.