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How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Larger

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Are you struggling with an ugly bathroom with little storage space? These 7 tips will show you how to make a small bathroom look larger AND more beautiful!

A close up of a sign

When you live in a small home with a big family you have to learn to be a little creative with storage.

At the busiest time in our lives, there were 5 kids, 3 dogs and 4 cats living in our almost 2000 sq. foot house.

#chaos

All our bedrooms are small and different kids shared a room over the years, depending on their ages. That time in our lives was filled with incredible challenges (homeschooling and adoption among them) as well as tremendous blessings.

As our kids began to leave home when they reached adulthood we knew it was time to tackle some BIG projects. 

First up was taking down a wall between our kitchen and living room and totally gutting the kitchen and starting over. (You can read all about that adventure here.)

That was a GINORMOUS project and we hired out some of the bigger jobs.

About a year later we decided it was time for our second bathroom remodel. (You can read all about the first one here.) 

This space was an absolute train wreck. The room joined our front and back halls but was impossible to use. The toilet was in a nook that wasn’t even up to code and was literally made for little people!

A close up of a sink in a small room

If you wanted to pass the person using the sinks both people had to suck it in or move out of the way. So frustrating!

A room with a sink and a mirror

Our five kids never really liked the shower because it was like being in a cave. A very small cave. Claustrophobia, anyone?

The shower always had issues from the very beginning. At the time of the remodel, we only used it to store extra flooring!

A public restroom

Our heating unit used to be in a small closet next to the shower. We bought a new system and moved it under the house when we remodeled the kitchen so this farmhouse bathroom remodel could be possible. (See the full reveal of our farmhouse bathroom here.)

The large cement structure is a chimney used in conjunction with the furnace. It would have been great to have had that additional amount of space but would have been a pain to take apart!

move furnace out of bathroom closet to make small bathroom look larger

By moving our furnace under the house the only thing we needed to keep in this space was the return unit. 

A view of a dirty door

Our number one goal was to create more space, or even the illusion of it.

How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Larger

Disclosure: A very special thanks to Build.com  for providing us with some products for this bathroom remodel. We are so grateful for their support! 

1. Install pocket doors

Often in older homes the placement of doors is awkward. Our bathroom had ugly vented doors, one that opened out into the hall and one that opened into the room. 

I knew I wanted to get rid of the ugliness plus make the room more spacious. We decided pocket doors were the solution. Our contractor built them for us and they slide into the wall when not in use. 

use pocket doors to make a small bathroom look larger

2. Build an open shower

The one step that will immediately make a small bathroom look larger is to demolish the shower and rebuild with a pony wall but no shower door.

We literally had no idea how the room was going to feel once it was completely gutted. Astonishment probably best describes it!

A chair sitting in front of a window

The closed shower kept the room small but creating a pony wall (the half wall between the toilet and shower) and tiling enlarged the space automatically.

Bathroom

I knew I also wanted to update the shower head for resale purposes down the road. Our rainfall shower head is the absolute best! Totally a game changer in style and functionality for this small room.

A close up of a sign

3. Use a non-traditional vanity

This bathroom remodel ended up costing more money than we wanted to spend. (Don’t they always?!) Per our normal, we had to hire contractors to jack up the floor for us. 

One way I saved money was by purchasing a dresser at Goodwill for $3. Yep, you read that correctly!

Goodwill dresser before repurposing for a vanity

There was a broken drawer but I knew I wanted to use baskets so that didn’t matter at all. The paint process was fairly involved, but I couldn’t be happier with the result! (Also, the plumbing is a story for another day!)

The center drawer actually works but the ones on either side are just glued to the vanity to allow room for the pipes.

The white vessel sinks and oil rubbed bronze faucets add just the right touch without taking up a lot of space. 

It was our pleasure to partner with Build.com on this DIY project. Build.com has the best selection of home improvement products in every category from top brands.

Tim and I designed our bathroom to enhance the selling points when/if we decide to sell down the road. Build.com is the perfect place to find products for your entire home improvement project. 

The Kichler light fixtures add to the farmhouse style and go perfectly with the rainfall shower head. I love that each one comes in a set of two lights.

A room with a sink and a mirror

4. Add floating shelves

Almost every project my husband and I undertake has some kind of wood accent or repurposing DIY going on. Tim built floating shelves out of fence boards to hang above the toilet area.

My job was to decorate with all the inexpensive home decor I could find!

use repurposed floating shelves to make a small bathroom look larger

5. Use baskets for storage

I knew I wanted to use baskets both under the sinks and in the new closet space. The baskets add a decorative element while still providing desperately needed storage. 

A close up of a box

use baskets for storage to make a small bathroom look larger

6. Pick your colors wisely.

Use pops of color while staying in the same color family for the majority of the room. I originally went with a lighter gray but decided I wanted a darker wall color to go with the shower tile.

But I had to have some color and these coral and aqua towels and accents add the perfect touch!

A close up of a towel hanging on the wall

7. Create an eye catching design element.

For this bathroom, the open shower definitely is the show stopper! My husband did a great job tiling the shower and pony wall.

farmhouse bathroom with floating wood shelves and open shower

We keep the shower curtains open which emphasizes the beauty of the tile.

It IS possible to makeover a bathroom and create more space! What is YOUR favorite way to make a small bathroom look larger?

BATHROOM REMODEL SOURCES

(I’ve included some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)

Wall Color: Cosmic Quest by Behr Paint

Oil Rubbed Bronze Faucet  / Vessel Sinks / Rainfall Shower Head  / Shower Handle / Shower Arm / Pressure Balancing Valve  / Vanity Light / Mirrors (similar to ours) /  Shower Curtain  (can be used as a liner as well) / Corner Shower Rod / Mosaic Shower Tile / Waterproof Plank FlooringAqua and Coral Towels / Faux Rattan Grey Baskets / Water Hyacinth Basket  

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17 Comments

  1. Amazing tips and such a beautiful bathroom! You’ve picked wonderful colors and I love the part about adding an eye-catching design the most. It’s amazing how you made your bathroom more open, bright and airy. A slight pop of color is also amazing and makes your bathroom look like a modern oasis.

  2. I had two very tiny, very old bathrooms in my house when I bought it too! It’s amazing how much a little space can be improved! Wish I would have thought to use a piece of furniture for the vanity!

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