4 Tips to Add Space to a Cramped Bathroom

4 Tips to Add Space to a Cramped Bathroom

If your bathroom competes in size with an airplane closet, you may wonder how it’s possible to add space to a cramped bathroom. The truth is, adding square footage isn’t always an option, but small bathrooms can live large when designed with creativity in mind.

Here are four tips to improve an overcrowded bathroom.

1. Go Vertical

bathroom shelving ideas

Source: Marsha Joseph on Zillow Digs®

When you have minimal space but don’t want to skimp on style and décor, go vertical. Place a decorative ladder or a narrow cabinet to hold towels, candles or small baskets of soap and sponges. If you’re looking for a DIY weekend activity, emphasize height by incorporating floor-to-ceiling tile in the bathroom. While both subway and mosaic tiles make a great backsplash, they also add elegance when creating a floor-to-ceiling shower application. If you decide to incorporate tile, make sure to stay away from big square tiles which can make your backsplash look heavy.

2. Prioritize Storage

small bathroom decor

Source: Kitchen Encounters on Zillow Digs®

Small bathrooms need to make use of all available space. Because the vanity or sink top is often the only counter surface in a small bathroom, people tend to overlook wall space for additional storage solutions. Start with wall corners, which provide extra square inches. If you have a corner sink or toilet, install shelves or build storage units above or below each fixture to maximize space. Floating shelves, a medicine cabinet or wall containers are all great options. If your bathroom is especially tight, place storage caddies, wicker baskets or cloth bins under your sink to store excess shampoo, toilet paper and other bathroom necessities.

3. Light It Up

Zillow small bathroom ideas

Source: Jane Frederick on Zillow Digs®

There is no better friend to a small space than a lustrous mirror. Amplify light and break up visual cluster through mirrors. Instead of hanging a tiny mirror above the sink, get creative. Cluster multiple mirrors of various sizes, colors and textures or hang an oversized statement mirror for an eclectic display. If you want to increase your bathroom brightness even more, install adjustable pendant lighting above the bathroom sink. Adjust the lights in multiple directions so that each light highlights every nook and cranny in the bathroom, instead of focusing on one centralized area.

4. Accentuate an accent wall

small bathroom decor ideas

Source: Todd Emerson on Zillow Digs®

An eye catching accent wall can go a long way when working with limited square footage. While white and monochromatic colors brighten up a space, white hues can lack personality. Create an accent wall by painting one wall a complementary color, applying wallpaper or adding an eye-catching light fixture. If you’re looking for a DIY project, consider painting a graphic pattern, such as art deco-inspired patterns and shapes for a bold display. If you’re looking for a more subdued design, try color blocking or painting vertical stripes. The long, straight lines create the illusion of a lengthened wall, creating visual height.

Even when space is limited, bathrooms still need to serve numerous functions. While a bathroom must contain certain basics like a sink, toilet and bathing area, storage, lighting and mirrors are simple ways to increase functionality to make the most of a compact bathroom. For more space-enhancing design tips and bathroom inspiration, check out Zillow Digs®.

BIO: Miriam Bornstein writes about lifestyle, home improvement and design for the Zillow blog.


  1. What you can do is extend the counter over the toilet; it can be done with stone or a wood slab easily. Now this extended counter creates enough space for you to place a few daily needed items. And yes, the toilet placement is not affected, making your space look tidy and clean. Along this, what about removing the shower door? Instead add a glass panel to free up the needed elbow room.

  2. Great article! Painting any small room the correct colors will make the room feel and look much bigger. Do your research, there are many products out there that will help make the most out of your smaller bathrooms.

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