5 Design Tricks to Make Your Bathroom Feel Larger

As a Portland-based eco-lifestyle blogger, I know the challenges of creating a stylish and functional bathroom in a small space. Growing up in this vibrant, sustainability-minded city has shown me that you don’t need a massive bathroom to achieve that spa-like feel. In fact, with the right design tricks, you can make even the tiniest of bathrooms feel open, airy, and downright luxurious.

I’ve seen it repeatedly – homeowners getting frustrated by their cramped, cluttered bathrooms, feeling like they have to sacrifice style for function. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! By leveraging the power of light colors, mirrors, glass shower doors, vertical lines, and strategic lighting, you can transform your small bathroom into a serene oasis that feels bigger than it is.

Compact bathroom with corner shower and pedestal sink

In this article, I’ll share the five design secrets I’ve learned that can help you create the illusion of a larger bathroom, no matter the square footage. Get ready to say goodbye to that closed-in, claustrophobic feeling and hello to a bright, beautiful space in which you’ll love spending time.

Light Colors

The use of light colors can significantly impact the perceived size of a bathroom. Lighter hues can reflect light and create an airy, open atmosphere. Studies have shown that light colors can make a room appear up to 25% larger than it is.

I always recommend sticking to a palette of soft, pale shades for small bathrooms. Consider instantly painting the walls in a calming blue or soothing green to make the space feel more spacious. And don’t forget about the floors and fixtures – opting for white or other light-colored tiles can further enhance the reflective properties of the surfaces, amplifying the sense of openness.

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Cozy bathroom with beige walls and freestanding tub

The great thing about light colors is that they make a small bathroom feel bigger and make the space feel brighter and more welcoming. It’s a win-win in my book!

Large Mirrors

Strategically placed mirrors can be a total game-changer in small bathrooms. They create the illusion of depth and expand the perceived size of the space. Mirrors are excellent reflectors of light, which can help brighten up a cramped bathroom and make it feel more open and airy.

Studies have shown that mirrors can make a room appear up to 30% larger than it is. I recommend installing a large, wall-to-wall mirror in a small bathroom. Not only does this create the impression of a more expansive vanity area, but it also enhances the flow of the space, making it feel more organized and cohesive.

Contemporary bathroom with dark wood vanity and lighted mirror

But it’s not just about the size of the mirror – the placement is crucial, too. Positioning a large mirror opposite a window or light source can maximize the reflective properties and create an even brighter, more open feel. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the mirror frame – the right style and finish can elevate the overall look and make the bathroom feel more luxurious.

Glass Shower Doors

Another powerful design trick for small bathrooms is incorporating glass shower doors. These transparent barriers eliminate the visual obstruction of traditional curtains or solid doors, creating a seamless, open flow that can make the space feel significantly larger.

Glass shower doors can make a small bathroom appear up to 20% bigger than it is. Glass allows natural light to flow freely through the room, enhancing the sense of openness and airiness.

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Minimalist bathroom with white walls and floating vanity

Regarding glass shower doors, I recommend opting for a frameless design to maximize the illusion of space. Frameless doors create a sleek, modern look while minimizing visual obstructions. You can also consider a sliding or pivot-style door to save even more space and avoid the need for a swing-out door.

Vertical Lines

Vertical design elements are another clever way to make a small bathroom feel more expansive. Vertical lines can create the illusion of a taller and more spacious room by drawing the eye upward.

Studies have shown that vertical lines can make a space appear up to 15% taller than it is. This ancient architectural principle has been used for centuries to create a sense of grandeur, and it can be just as effective in small bathrooms.

Modern bathroom with white walls and black vanity

One of my favorite ways to incorporate vertical lines is by using tall, narrow cabinets or shelving units. Not only do these storage solutions maximize vertical space, but they also draw the eye upward, creating the perception of a larger room. You can also achieve this effect with vertical tile patterns or striped wallpaper – simple design choices that can greatly impact the overall feel of the space.

Strategic Lighting

Last but certainly not least, thoughtful lighting design can play a crucial role in enhancing the perceived size of a small bathroom. Strategically placed lighting can help to brighten the space and create the illusion of a more open and expansive atmosphere.

Proper lighting can make a small bathroom appear up to 10% larger than it is. Combining task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent lighting can create depth and dimension, making the space feel more visually expansive.

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Modern bathroom with black vanity and geometric patterns

Consider installing recessed lighting or sconces to illuminate the entire bathroom, creating a bright and welcoming feel. You can also incorporate LED strip lighting under cabinets or along the ceiling to add a touch of drama and accentuate the vertical elements of the design.

Remember, the key is to balance the lighting sources to achieve the perfect blend of functionality and ambiance. With the right lighting strategy, you can transform even the most cramped bathroom into a spa-like oasis that feels open, airy, and luxurious.


By implementing these five design tricks – light colors, large mirrors, glass shower doors, vertical lines, and strategic lighting – you can create the illusion of a larger, more luxurious bathroom, even in the most compact spaces. These design strategies leverage the power of perception to make your small bathroom feel bigger, brighter, and more inviting.

Small bathroom with bathtub and window

So, what are you waiting for? Embrace your small bathroom’s potential and start incorporating these design tricks today. With creativity and attention to detail, you can transform your cramped, cluttered bathroom into a spa-like oasis you’ll love spending time in. Happy decorating!

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