When it comes to making the most of your home, how you design is more important than how much space you have to design. You could have a massive house, but if it’s not optimized for your family and your lifestyle, it won’t function in an effective (and beautiful!) way. Likewise, small spaces aren’t doomed to disorganization and disarray–in fact, the opposite is true. Even the most petite area of your home can live large when you combine form and function into a design that caters to your unique needs.
A perfect example of that ethos? These genius small bathroom ideas, which rely on clever design hacks and decor additions to maximize the potential of every square inch. From caddy-cornered sinks to creative organization, these small bathroom ideas will inspire you to make the most of your powder room or petite primary bathroom so you can recharge, indulge in self-care, and wash up in style.
Add a Skirt to Your Sink
Storage vanities aren’t always an option, especially in small bathrooms. If a pedestal sink is all your room can fit, you can still sneak in some storage space with help from a sink skirt. Not only will the gathering of fabric add a pop of texture and pattern to your space, but it can disguise the area below your pedestal sink so you can stash extra rolls of toilet paper or hand towels. Looking to DIY your own creation? Head to Miss Mustard Seed to snag the tutorial from Marian Parsons for the skirt seen above.
Try a Wall-Mounted Cabinet
When considering bathroom storage options, many homeowners go straight to large-scale solutions like armoirs or built-in linen closets, both of which spell trouble for small space dwellers. Instead of sucking up your square footage with a too-big storage solution, opt to go small with a wall-mounted cabinet. Here, designer Meta Coleman put an empty corner to good use with a custom cabinet designed to nestle perfectly into the space.
Install a Floating Sink
When space is at a premium, every inch of the floor counts. Gain back a few square feet by swapping a pedestal sink or storage vanity for a floating design. It automatically adds a modern touch to your bathroom, while also freeing up the space below for a storage basket or garbage bin.
Hang a Custom Shower Curtain
Bathrooms don’t have many moments dedicated to design and whimsy, so you have to carve out opportunities for decor where you can. In her small bathroom, creator Jennifer Griffin of Dimples and Tangles created a custom shower curtain and cornice out of playful floral fabric to help bring pattern and color to the space.
Choose a Bold Stone
In a small bathroom, all eyes are going to be on your sink anyways—so you may as well give them something beautiful to look at! Instead of opting for a builder-grade vanity, spring for a custom marble countertop that boasts heavy veining or unique colors, like the calacatta viola marble seen in this powder room by designer Heidi Woodman.
Opt for a Glass Shower Enclosure
When it comes to small bathroom ideas that make your space feel larger (and more functional) than it is, look for ways to maximize whatever light the room already has. Many petite bathrooms have a single source of natural light (if that), so it’s important that nothing you install in your room impedes that. We love how this shower in a project by Garrison Foundry relies on an all-glass door from Manhattan Steel Door Co. to allow light from the interior window to flood the rest of the space.
Reuse an Antique Piece
Pro tip: Antique pieces of furniture often have smaller footprints (as houses used to be much more modest in size), making them a great small bathroom idea if you’re looking for a piece of furniture to fit your snug space. Instead of a traditional vanity, shop for an antique cabinet or washstand—like the piece seen here, found by Danielle Herrett of Candlewood Cottage—that you can retrofit with plumbing to function as your sink and storage. Not only will the smaller size work better, but you’ll score a one-of-a-kind look that ups the style of your space.
Lean Into Maximalism
Sometimes, when designing a small space, you may feel like the quieter your design choices are, the better. Not so—at least, not when it comes to something as fun as a powder room. Small bathrooms are a great opportunity to lean into a more maximalist mentality. Case in point: This charming more-is-more bathroom designed by Katie Rosenfeld, which features impeccable details like designer wallpaper, a custom sink skirt, bespoke artwork, and antique details.
Caddy Corner Your Sink
No free expanse of wall? No problem! In a small bathroom, creativity is the name of the game—even if that means sticking your sink into the corner of your space. In this petite powder room designed by Mallory Lunke of Plural Design Studio, a modest porcelain vessel eeks out just enough room in the corner, allowing the room to still accommodate a toilet, an expansive mirror, and other odds and ends.
When In Doubt, Go Custom
Sometimes, a custom storage or furniture solution can mean the difference between a room that functions beautifully and one that falls flat. If you’re dealing with a small bathroom that also has an unusual shape or unique use, your best bet may be to option custom finishes that will help you make the most of every inch. Here, designer Missy Baxter of Baxter Design leveled up a snug powder room with help from a custom fluted vanity, specifically designed to fill a small corner and maximize counter space.
Incorporate Playful Accessories
Who says a toilet paper holder can’t be beautiful? There’s not a sight unseen in a small space, making it even more important to pay a little extra attention when choosing decorative accessories like towel racks and toiletry holders. Designer Whitney McNell had fun with color in this Connecticut space, where the towel rack, toilet paper holder, and towel hook all coordinated with the room’s contrast trim.
Take Advantage of the Space Above the Toilet
When storage is at a premium, no surface can go untouched. While many consider above the toilet a “dead” space, it’s actually the perfect spot to eke out some extra organization, especially if your bathroom is too small for a traditional linen closet. We love how Jamin and Ashley Mills of The Handmade Home installed floating shelves above their toilet for a visually airy—yet extremely effective—place to stash linens, toiletries, and more.
Don’t Forget About Decor
While all your focus may be on dreaming up small bathroom ideas that make the most of your space, you shouldn’t push personality to the wayside either. Even the tiniest of bathrooms can be designed as an extension of your home and personality, complete with trinkets and decor that make them feel like you. Here, Christina Gerstner of White Pepper Vintage dotted the cabinet above her toilet with favorite antique collectibles—plus a few practical additions (like cotton swabs), too.
Stick to a Unifying Color Scheme
The right color palette has a magical way of tying a space together, and even a dark and rich hue can work wonders in making a small bathroom feel larger (yes, larger!). The perfect example: While this bathroom by designer Natasha Burton of NB Interiors is actually very slim, it boasts tons of visual depth and interest, thanks to a moody color scheme anchored in navy blue that is carried throughout almost every detail.