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Make Your Bathroom Feel Bigger With These Clever Tricks

Cramped Quarters and Clever Designs

When you purchase your first home, it’s like discovering a whole new world. The excitement of finally having your own space is unparalleled. But as a first-time homeowner myself, I quickly learned that not all parts of that world are equally glamorous – especially when it comes to the bathroom.

You see, my bathroom is, shall we say, on the petite side. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it downright cramped. Just 6 feet by 8 feet, it’s what the experts consider an “average” sized bathroom in the UK. But to me, it feels more like a phone booth with a toilet.

Still, I refuse to let my tiny tub-and-toilet hold me back. With a little creativity and a lot of research, I’m determined to transform this claustrophobic cubicle into a spa-like sanctuary. And I’m not the only one – it seems like every new homeowner I talk to is facing a similar challenge.

Luckily, the design experts are here to help. I’ve tapped into my network of interior gurus, scoured the internet for the latest trends, and even recruited the advice of award-winning bathroom designers. The result? A treasure trove of clever tricks that can make even the tiniest of bathrooms feel positively palatial. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Maximize Your Mirrors

When it comes to creating the illusion of space in a small bathroom, mirrors are truly a designer’s best friend. “Positioning mirrors adjacent to windows is an effective way to maximize and reflect light,” explains David Smith, Senior Designer at Ripples.

But it’s not just about where you place them – size and proportion are key as well. “Try to keep the mirror either the same size or smaller than the basin or vanity unit,” he advises. “Mirrors that are larger can appear top heavy.” However, if you’re using side lights, the exterior limit of the lights can extend beyond the basin or vanity.

And don’t stop at just one mirror. “Consider a full-length mirror to create a wow factor as well as being highly functional,” says Smith. Though in smaller spaces, you may need to get a bit more creative – “try positioning a mirror horizontally along the bath instead.”

Embrace the Curve

When every square inch counts, sharp corners can feel downright claustrophobic. That’s why Corine Maggio, Founder of CM Natural Design, recommends looking for curved alternatives. “Rounded edges on baths, showers and furniture are much friendlier and, of course, save space, all adding to the visual flow of the bathroom.”

The same principle applies to your shower enclosure. “In tight spaces or access, a quadrant enclosure will provide a softer and more gentle look than a rectangular enclosure,” says Smith. Plus, the curved design helps maximize the available floor area.

Let There Be (Reflected) Light

Mirrors aren’t the only way to harness the power of light in a small bathroom. Reflective surfaces of all kinds can work wonders. “Glamorous and reflective materials such as marble, glass, mirror and metallic finishes instantly scream luxury and create a wow factor in the bathroom,” says James Lentaigne, Creative Director at Drummonds. “They also have the added advantage of brightening the space by bouncing light around the room.”

Even your tile choices can make a big difference. “Use light coloured tiles on the walls and floor,” advises Smith. “If you must have different floor tiles, keep the difference subtle and don’t use contrasting colours.” Larger format tiles with fewer grout lines can also create a more spacious feel.

Streamline Your Storage

When every inch counts, bulky vanities and cabinets can quickly make a small bathroom feel claustrophobic. The solution? “Wall hung units give the impression of greater space by keeping everything off the floor and maximizing floor space,” says Smith.

Recessed or mirrored medicine cabinets are another clever way to stash your essentials without taking up precious real estate. And don’t forget about vertical storage – “Tall units can be used where there is minimal floor space,” Smith notes.

The key is to keep clutter to a minimum. “Display only your favorite and most frequently used, well-designed products,” advises Lentaigne. Everything else should be neatly tucked away in closed storage.

Borrow From Adjacent Spaces

Sometimes, the secret to a more spacious bathroom isn’t found within its own four walls. Ina Rinderknecht, an international interior designer, suggests looking to the areas around it for inspiration.

“If your extra-small bathroom doesn’t have storage space, don’t force it!” she says. “Skip a full towel rack and add either a hook for shower time or a small rack for a hand towel.” And if you have the luxury of an adjacent room, you might be able to “borrow” a bit of unused space. “Consider reclaiming some of your space with a curved sink or shower that extends into the adjacent room,” Rinderknecht suggests.

Embrace the Unexpected

When you’re dealing with limited square footage, it’s easy to default to safe, minimalist designs. But according to designer Fanny Abbes, that’s not always the best approach. “Though it might not seem like the first place to spring to mind for your art collection, a gallery wall is sure to add a stately air to even the tiniest of bathrooms,” she says.

The same goes for bold, unexpected color choices. “I had a friend growing up who had a bathroom with a theme of lips. Her mother loved lips. I loved that bathroom and found it incredibly fanciful,” homeowner Fanny Singer explains. While you might not want to go quite that far, a touch of personality can go a long way in making a small space feel more intentional and inviting.

The Versatile Bathroom

At the end of the day, the key to a successful small bathroom design is flexibility. “Your small bath may just be your next favorite room,” the experts at Architectural Digest proclaim. And with the right tricks up your sleeve, I have no doubt that mine will be, too.

From clever storage solutions to reflective finishes and unexpected design elements, the possibilities are endless. So don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the (phone) box. With a little ingenuity, even the most diminutive of bathrooms can feel like a luxurious oasis.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some measuring tape and mood boards to attend to. Wish me luck on my mini-makeover mission!

[1] Architectural Digest. “Small Bathroom Ideas for a Brighter, Breezier Space.”
[2] Homes and Gardens. “How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger.”
[3] The Design Sheppard. “Tips & Tricks for Designing a Small Bathroom.”
[4] Dear Modern. Instagram Profile.
[5] Thrifty Decor Chick. “This Simple Trick Will Make Your Small Bathroom Feel Bigger.”
[6] Room for Tuesday. “How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Larger.”
[7] First Choice Warehouse. “Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger.”
[8] The Clever Carrot. “Why Won’t Sourdough Rise?”

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