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How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Everyone seems to want a larger bathroom, but major renovations aren’t always feasible. Fortunately, with some clever adjustments, you can make a small bathroom feel more spacious without knocking down walls or adding on to your home.

Install a Larger Mirror

Mirrors can create the illusion of a bigger space and reflect more light. Consider upgrading to a larger mirror—up to 5 feet long and 3 feet high. Installation is straightforward with a cordless drill, drill bits, and screws, and costs less than $100 for a DIY project. Alternatively, you can install two mirrors in an L-shape to amplify light and enhance the spacious feel. Frameless mirrors tend to open up the space more than framed ones. Ensure you screw into studs to support heavier mirrors and look for a tarnish-resistant coating to prevent damage in high-moisture areas.

Increase Natural Light

Natural light makes a small bathroom feel larger. Clean any windows or skylights to maximize light. Skylights covered in moss or dirt can be cleaned with warm water and mild detergent. Fix any broken blinds or curtains to control light as needed. For a more permanent solution, replace clear glass windows with frosted privacy glass. Clean window screens with water and a soft brush to ensure they don’t block light.

Replace the Bathroom Vanity Cabinet

While vanity cabinets provide storage, they can take up valuable space in a small bathroom. Consider replacing your vanity cabinet with a cantilevered countertop or a pedestal sink. Pedestal sinks, which cost between $150 and $400, can be self-installed and free up floor space, though you’ll lose some countertop area. You can regain storage by installing a medicine cabinet, which sits flush with the wall. If you remove the vanity, you might need to refloor the area, so it’s often best to redo the entire bathroom floor. Always turn off the water supply before removing a sink.

Thin Out the Decorations

While decorative items can make a bathroom feel cozy, too many can cause clutter. Consider removing excess accessories to create a more open space. This is a free and instantly effective change. Limit yourself to one of each decorative item and ensure it either serves a function or makes you happy. Otherwise, relocate or discard it.

Decrease Color Contrasts and Dividing Lines

Sharp contrasts and dividing lines can make a bathroom feel smaller. Minimize these by matching the wainscot to the wall color and painting crown molding the same color as the ceiling or walls. Extending wall tiles to the ceiling or removing them can also help. Simple painting projects can range from $50 to $150. Choose light colors to make the space feel airier and consider replacing tall baseboards with shorter ones. Removing crown molding can further enhance the sense of openness.

Add a Clear Glass Frameless Shower Enclosure

The shower or bathtub/shower combo is often the largest item in a bathroom. Make it less bulky by opting for a transparent, frameless enclosure. These are made from thick tempered glass and appear nearly invisible, enhancing the room’s openness. Frameless shower doors start around $600 and can go up to $1,000, with larger enclosures costing between $750 and $5,000. Check specifications for door types (left or right opening, sliding, or pivot) and consult a professional if needed, as DIY installation can be challenging.

Use Similar Materials Throughout the Bathroom

A mix of different materials can make a small bathroom feel chaotic. Simplify by using similar materials throughout. For example, replace striated marble tile, glass mosaic, painted drywall, and ceramic tile with more uniform materials. Consider removing tile wainscot in favor of drywall and baseboards, and replace a ceramic tile countertop with a quartz one that matches the shower/tub surround. Costs for these changes can vary, with tile removal starting at $200 to $400 and full remodels ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. These upgrades not only refresh the bathroom but can also increase your home’s resale value.

By implementing these tips, you can transform your small bathroom into a space that feels much larger and more inviting.