header blog post small bathroom design

Small Bathroom Design Ideas & Solutions

02/09/2024

Designing a small bathroom presents unique challenges. At the same time, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to get creative with space and aesthetics. Want some bathroom design ideas to spark your creativity?

Whether you’re a home builder, remodeler, or interior designer, these innovative, space-saving solutions will help make your next small bathroom project a success! In this 5-minute read, we’ll cover a variety of small bathroom ideas from practical layouts to professional design tips that not only optimize limited space but also add a touch of elegance and functionality. 

Any design starts with the floor plan, so let’s have a quick look at some of the best layouts for small bathrooms.

Common Small Bathroom Layout Designs

Small bathrooms demand smart layouts to maximize their potential. Here are the most common designs:

The Classic Layout: Often found in older homes, this layout features a narrow space with the tub along one wall, flanked by the toilet and sink. It’s a tried-and-true design that prioritizes functionality.

The Three-Quarter Bath: Ideal for en suites or powder rooms, the ¾ bath includes a shower, toilet, and sink, but omits the tub. It’s perfect for smaller spaces where a bathtub isn’t essential.

The Wet Room: This innovative design turns the entire bathroom into a waterproof shower space. It’s a great way to make a small bathroom feel larger and more luxurious.

The Corner Sink Layout: In extremely tight spaces, a corner sink can be a game-changer. It allows for greater door movement and traffic flow so you can minimize the cramped feeling.

Each layout offers unique advantages, depending on the specific constraints and goals of your bathroom project. By starting with the right layout for your client’s s[ace, you can make a small bathroom not only functional but also visually appealing.

10 Small Bathroom Design Tips & Tricks

Expand your creativity with these 10 practical design tips that work even with a tiny bathroom:

1. Incorporate a Large Mirror

small bathroom with large mirror example
Credit: Cedreo

The Idea: A large mirror isn’t just a practical addition. It’s a design trick to make small bathrooms appear much larger. By reflecting light and the opposite walls, mirrors double the visual space and enhance lighting to make the room feel more open and less cramped.
Tips: Choose a frame that complements the bathroom’s style – sleek and modern or ornate for traditional spaces. Consider positioning the mirror to reflect a window and its natural light; this not only bounces more light around but also brings in the outdoor view, adding depth to the space. For an added touch of luxury, consider mirrors with built-in lighting or heating to prevent fogging.

2. Use Glass

smal  bathroom with glass example
3D render by Cedreo

The Idea: Glass features in a small bathroom maintain visual continuity and help ensure that the space doesn’t feel boxed in. Especially for shower areas, glass shower doors eliminate visual barriers so the bathroom appears as one cohesive space.
Tips: A frameless glass shower door is a modern, minimalistic choice that maximizes visibility. For a more decorative approach, consider frosted or tinted glass options that provide privacy while still keeping the space open. Glass tiles can also be used as vanity backsplashes or accents to add a touch of elegance without overwhelming the space.

3. Install Floor-to-Ceiling Tile

small bathroom with floor-to-ceiling tiles example
3D rendering generated with Cedreo

The Idea: Extending tile all the way to the ceiling draws the eye upward, creating a sense of height in a small bathroom. This continuous line of tiles eliminates visual breaks to make the space feel more expansive and cohesive.

Tips: When selecting tiles, consider neutral or light colors for a more open feel. Textured or patterned tiles can add interest without cluttering the space. For a sleek, modern look, go with large format tiles with thin grout lines. And of course, remember to balance the tile’s color and pattern with the rest of the bathroom’s decor.

4. Get Clever with Storage

small bathroom with maximized storage example
3D render by Cedreo

The Idea: Innovative bathroom storage solutions are key in a small space to keep it clutter-free and functional. Your goal is to effectively utilize every inch of space — from the wall space to under the sink.

Tips: Think vertically by installing open shelves above the toilet or sink for towels and frequently used items. Use the inside of cabinet doors for small items like hair tools or cosmetics. Drawer organizers can help keep countertops clear. Consider niche shelves in the shower for toiletries. They help keep small soaps handy without taking up valuable shower space.

5. Make It a Wet Room

small wet bathroom example
Credit: Wild Rose Interiors Inc

The Idea: A wet room (where the entire bathroom is designed to handle moisture) can be a stylish and practical solution for small spaces. It eliminates the need for shower doors, curtains, or trays to give small bathrooms a more streamlined and spacious feel.
Tips: Remember to ensure complete waterproofing and effective drainage. Go with non-porous materials and a tiled sloping floor leading to a drain. Wet rooms also allow for creative design choices, like continuous floor tiles that extend across the entire room for a unified look. Underfloor heating can also add a touch of luxury and practicality, helping keep the floor dry and warm.

6. Choose Quality Finishes

bathroom 3D render
Credit: Cedreo

The Idea: In small bathrooms, every detail counts. Since you’re closer to everything in a small bathroom and its spaces see higher traffic than larger bathrooms, your clients will notice more if the finishes and fixtures aren’t up to par. 

Tips: When selecting finishes, consider the durability and aesthetic appeal. Matte finishes can provide a modern, sophisticated look. Glossy finishes reflect light and add brightness. Natural stone, high-end tiles, and quality metals for fixtures can make a significant impact. Remember, in a small space, a little goes a long way, so choose one or two areas to highlight with these premium finishes.

7. Choose a Petite Tub

Petite tub bathroom example
Cedreo’s 3D render

The Idea: A carefully selected petite tub can fit snugly into small bathrooms without sacrificing style. It’s about finding a tub that complements the space, providing comfort and luxury, without overwhelming the area.
Tips: Look for tubs specifically designed for small spaces, such as alcove, corner, or freestanding models. Consider a deeper tub for a more luxurious bathing experience in a compact form. For a touch of elegance, a clawfoot tub can be a stunning focal point. Balance the tub with the overall décor and remember to keep sufficient clearance around it for ease of movement.

8. Use a Pattern to Create Focus

Focus point example in a bathroom
3D rendering by Cedreo

The Idea: Patterns in a small bathroom can create a striking focal point, draw attention, and add a splash of personality. The right pattern can transform the space and turn it from a drab, neutral bathroom to a unique, dynamic space that reflects your client’s personality.
Tips: Choose a pattern that reflects the bathroom’s overall style – geometric shapes for a modern look, or floral patterns for something more classic. You can introduce patterns through wallpaper, an accent wall of tiles or even floor tiles. Just don’t forget to pair the pattern with neutral tones to maintain balance and prevent the space from feeling too busy.

9. Draw Up the Eye

small bathroom example
Credit: Cedreo

The Idea: Creating vertical visual lines in a small bathroom give the illusion of height and make the room feel larger. The idea is to guide the viewer’s gaze upwards by incorporating design elements that emphasize verticality.

Tips: Vertical stripes or patterns on walls can do exactly this. You can also install tall, narrow shelving units or cabinets to enhance the effect. Consider design elements on the ceiling, like a different color paint or a unique light fixture, to pull the gaze upwards. Even hanging plants or wall art placed higher up can contribute to this vertical illusion.

10. Try a Wall-Mounted Cabinet

wall mounted cabinet in bathroom
Source: Kave Home

The Idea: Wall-mounted cabinets are a sleek and efficient storage solution for small bathrooms. They provide essential storage space without taking up too much floor area.

Tips: Choose cabinets that complement the bathroom’s style – minimalistic designs for modern bathrooms or something with more character for traditional spaces. Position them at a height that is accessible yet doesn’t interrupt the visual flow of the space. Try using mirrored cabinets for additional functionality.

How Home Design Software Can Help with Small Bathroom Design

In the world of small bathroom design, precision, and creativity go hand in hand. This is where Cedreo home design software becomes an indispensable tool for housing professionals like you. Cedreo’s intuitive interface and intelligent features streamline your design process and save you loads of time and money.

A few features you’ll enjoy while designing your next project:

  • Easily create realistic 3D renderings that accurately depict how your small bathroom designs will look in reality — no 3D experience necessary. Clients LOVE these!
  • Cedreo offers a variety of pre-designed templates and customizable elements to speed up your design process.
  • Smart drawing tools let you create an entire 2D and 3D bathroom design in a fraction of the time it used to take you. 

With a FREE version, you’ve got nothing to lose. Try Cedreo today!

Take your interior design business to the next level with Cedreo!

See Pricing Plans

These articles might be of interest to you:

Explore the articles covering the latest Cedreo’s features, keep up-to-date on 3D home
design news, and hear more about what our clients have to say.