Transforming a cramped, dreary bathroom into a relaxing oasis is possible with some strategic paint colors and design tricks that make the space appear larger. Light, bright shades like soft whites and pale pastels will reflect light and open up the room visually.
You can also paint ceilings, trim, and moldings crisp white to make the bathroom feel taller and airier. Adding pops of bold navy or deep green on accent walls creates drama without closing things in. Opting for small tile patterns rather than large tiles makes floors and walls seem expanded.
And cleverly placed mirrors multiply the sense of space. With the right colors and design details, even the tiniest bathroom can take on a spa-like feel.
Read on to learn more ingenious tips and color suggestions from experts to make a petite bathroom look and feel so much bigger.
Tips To Help Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger
- Paint walls and ceilings with light colors like soft white, pale gray, or light blue to reflect more light and make the space look larger and brighter. Benjamin Moore’s White Dove is a popular white for bathrooms.
- Use small, light-colored tile patterns on floors and walls rather than large, dark tiles – the grid-like look will make the room appear more expansive.
- Strategically place mirrors across from windows or opposite the shower to visually enlarge the space. Framed mirrored panels on doors also add light and dimension.
- Add plenty of lighting fixtures, like recessed cans, sconces, or under-cabinet lights, and use bright LED bulbs. Well-lit bathrooms feel more open.
- Clear clutter and place necessities in drawers, cabinets, or wall-mounted storage to minimize visual clutter. Floating shelves also keep things looking neat and spacious.
- Paint vanities, trim, or wainscoting a lighter color than the walls to make boundaries seem pushed back. Continuing wall color into adjacent rooms also makes things look seamless.
Use Light Colors
One of the most important things you can do when choosing paint colors for a small bathroom is to opt for light, bright shades. Light colors reflect more light, which automatically makes the space look larger and airier.
Soft whites are a popular choice because they keep things bright without being too stark. Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and Swiss Coffee are softly warm whites that work well. If you want something slightly warmer than true white, look for an off-white or oatmeal shade like Behr’s Shaker Beige.
Pastel hues like blush pinks, pale blues, and sage greens also make good bathroom colors. Benjamin Moore’s Borrowed Light is a pale blue that’s bright but still soothing. For pink lovers, Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster is a gorgeous dusty pink that will make walls look airy.
Paint Ceilings and Moldings White
Painting ceilings, trim, and moldings bright white, even if walls are a different color, helps reflect more light and makes the room feel more open. Contrast between ceiling, walls, and trim also creates definition that makes the room appear larger.
Use Dark Colors Sparingly
In general, darker paint colors will make a small bathroom feel smaller by absorbing light. However, you can use deep, saturated colors sparingly to add drama and interest. Paint just one accent wall in a bold shade of navy or deep green. Or opt for dark-colored fixtures like an espresso vanity that will stand out against light walls.
Just be sure to balance darker elements with plenty of light paint and reflective surfaces like tile or glass shower doors. And stick to darker accent colors rather than painting the whole room a moody hue.
Choose the Right Tile Color
Like wall paint, floor and wall tile color impacts how large a bathroom appears. Light-colored tiles such as white, beige, or pale gray reflect light and make the room look more open.
Smaller tiles, such as mosaics or 4×4 inch squares, also tend to make a bathroom look more expansive than large format tiles. The grid-like pattern of small tile breaks up the floor and walls, tricking the eye into seeing more space.
Pick Neutral Grout
Grout lines between tiles can chop up a room visually. Choose a neutral grout color like white or light gray rather than a dark color. Seamless grout lines will make tile blend together better for a more continuous, expansive look.
Strategically Place Mirrors
Mirrors effectively double the appearance of space, making them a small bathroom’s best friend. Place a floor-length mirror near windows or opposite the shower to expand views. Hang mirrors behind sinks to make the vanity area look larger too.
Mirrored medicine cabinets also provide added storage without taking up wall space. And consider framing out a portion of wall or closet doors in mirrored panels to add dimension and light reflection.
Create an Optical Illusion with Color
You can use color strategically to create an optical illusion of a larger bathroom. One designer trick is to paint the bottom third of walls a lighter color to visually raise ceilings. You can also paint vanities, trim, or wainscoting a contrasting light color against darker walls to push back boundaries.
Painting the back wall a lighter color behind toilets, tubs, and sinks also makes them look like they’re floating rather than taking up space. Continue tile or paint color into adjacent rooms to give a seamless, flowing effect.
Let In Natural Light
Nothing makes a small space look larger than plenty of natural light. If your bathroom has a window, don’t block it out or paint over it. Consider ways to add more light, like a skylight or glass block window in the shower. Swap out a shower curtain for clear glass doors to keep things open and bright.
Lighting also helps a dark bathroom look airier. Add extra fixtures such as sconces, under cabinet lights, or recessed can lighting. Swap out dim incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs that provide bright, crisp light.
Develop a Minimalist Look
Clutter makes any small space look more cramped. Develop a spa-like, minimalist look by concealing necessities in drawers, cabinets, and built-in shelving. Clear off counters and windowsills to make them look more open and expansive.
Floating shelves, illuminated mirrors, and wall-mounted fixtures also help reduce visual clutter. If your bathroom is tiny, look for creative storage solutions like corner shelves, over-the-toilet stands, or two-tier carts with casters.
Paint Makes a Major Impact
When it comes to easy bathroom updates that make a major visual difference, paint is the undisputed champion. With some careful color choices and strategic application, paint can completely transform a tired, dated bathroom and make it look fresh, larger and more modern.
Before committing to new paint colors, purchase sample sizes and paint large swatches on walls to see colors in the space and light. And don’t forget cabinetry and trim – a fresh coat of white paint on vanities and moldings makes them recede, opening up the room.
With the right colors, nearly any bathroom can be made to look more inviting and spacious. The key is balancing light and dark shades to reflect light while still adding color. A thoughtfully painted bathroom reflects who you are in an uplifted environment.