Many people dream of having a large bathroom with a double vanity and a separate tub and shower. While your bathroom design may not reflect this vision, it’s possible to change the appearance of any bathroom significantly, even a small bathroom, making it appear larger. The following tips will help you make your own small bathroom look larger with ease.

Choose light, calming colors

Pale, soft color schemes often give the illusion of space. White is a classic choice that works well in most bathroom spaces. If white feels too stark, consider cream or light beige paired with blue or sea green. If you want a bold color or pattern in the mix, choose more vivid accents and accessories, such as a border paint color or bathroom towels.

Carry the color scheme through the whole bathroom

Using a single, cohesive color scheme in an entire bathroom makes it appear larger. When you combine colors drastically, such as pairing dark tiles with light walls, you chop up the space, and it looks smaller. Paint the ceiling the same color as the walls, particularly if you have an angled ceiling or a bathroom with oddly-shaped low areas. A uniform paint job draws attention away from the unusual shapes, expanding the space visually. Once you’ve settled on a light, calming color scheme, you can still add in a hint of bold color or pattern to give the room a little contrast.

Be careful with the transitions

The fewer transitions a room has, the less contrast it has, creating a more expansive feel. For example, choose a single tile for the floor and the shower. Run the tile right up to the ceiling.

Let in as much natural light as possible

Take advantage of Pittsburgh’s sunnier days by letting the light in. Covering up windows with shutters or black-out window coverings creates privacy but doesn’t let in any light. If the bathroom requires a high level of privacy, consider a translucent window shade or tone-on-tone stained glass window, to maintain a desirable natural light level.

Add extra lighting

One or two additional light fixtures further brightens up the room and adds visual interest. Recessed can lights in the ceiling make a bathroom significantly lighter while bringing focus to the vanity workspace. If you want to add warmth to a small bathroom, think about wall scones or a countertop lamp. For a larger renovation, change the light in the room dramatically with a larger window or a skylight.

Add a large mirror

Adding a mirror to reflect the space is a tried and true method for making any room look bigger. It may seem counterintuitive to choose a larger mirror for a smaller space. You want to strike a balance and pick a mirror large enough to be effective at reflecting the space without being so large that it dominates the entire room. Choose a mirror that fits with the aesthetic of the bathroom and adds character to the room. Look for mirrors trimmed in wood or tile with lighting installed along the top or hanging in front of it. A mirror paired with lighting doubles the impact of the light, making the space grow even larger. Place the mirror strategically to maximize its effect.

Swap out a traditional vanity for a floating vanity

A floating vanity is a great choice for a small bathroom. While a pedestal sink creates the smallest footprint, it doesn’t provide any storage. Be honest with yourself about your preferences and needs for the bathroom as well as the available space. If storage is a high priority, and you have space for a vanity, go for the floating vanity. It makes the space more open while still giving you storage. Our personalized design service can walk you through the process of designing a vanity that’s perfect for your needs and your space.

Get rid of visual obstructions

A frosted shower door or dark shower curtain makes a bathroom appear smaller. Swap out a frosted door for a clear door. If you have a shower curtain, choose a light-colored curtain. Push it back to the side when the shower isn’t in use. Opening up the shower space this way allows you to see to the back wall, giving the room a larger appearance.

Expand the ceiling

Painting a lattice or molding design around the edge of the ceiling creates the illusion of a raised ceiling. You can also opt to install crown molding around the ceiling. Paint the molding the same color as the ceiling, ideally white or another light shade.

Less is more

When you have a small bathroom, strive to keep it minimal with a little negative space. The more furniture and accessories you cram in any bathroom, the more cluttered it will feel. The smaller the space, the quicker it becomes cluttered. It’s important to have storage, but don’t create more storage than you absolutely need. Weed out items you no longer need or use to maximize your existing storage. Limit the countertops and shower shelves to essential supplies you use every single day to keep these spaces open and clean.

Making a small bathroom look larger may take some trial and error. Remember that none of your changes are permanent. If you aren’t happy with the placement of your mirror, change it. If you don’t love the paint colors or feel they don’t help the appearance of the space, try a new paint palette. Keep working on it until your bathroom looks suitably larger and you’re happy with the appearance. If you are interested in a full bathroom remodel, our team of experienced design consultants in the Pittsburgh area can help you every step of the way to maximize your space in a style that suits you.

Next, take a look at these hot trends in bathroom design and décor for 2019 and these 10 things to know before you start a bathroom renovation.