Fortunately, there are many ways to make a small bathroom look bigger when adding actual square footage isn’t an option. Employing devices that artists and interior designers use to create an illusion is not as complicated as it seems.
Adding Visual Space to Make A Small Bathroom Look Bigger
The trick, if you will, is to direct the eye around a room in a manner that visually enlarges the space. Color, artificial and natural light, materials and finishes, and use of pattern all affect the perception of the room’s size.
Generally speaking, light or neutral colors make a space feel larger. Shades of white, light gray, or watery blues and greens are good choices for the foundation of your color palette. Keeping all the finishes in the same color family adds interest to a monochromatic color scheme. Choosing the color is just the start. How color and pattern is used can make a small bathroom look bigger.
Artful placement of an accent wall can create the illusion of more space. Vertical stripes make a room look taller; horizontal stripes make a room look wider. Caution: with the use of stripes: don’t use them on all the walls. That treatment will leave you with a funhouse effect! Wider stripes are best. Paint is one option, but wallpaper in a great pattern – think geometric or a wonderful texture – would add interest and a bit of luxury, as well.
If the ceiling is low, or you simply want to add another element of space, bringing the ceiling color down onto the wall a foot creates the illusion of a taller room. This can be especially effective if an all-white bathroom doesn’t appeal to you. Darker walls and light floors and ceilings can achieve the same effect.
The color, design and installation of flooring can make a small bathroom look bigger. A herringbone or another pattern installed in the correct direction visually extends the room, creating depth or width, whichever is needed.
Using Light to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger
Natural light always makes a room feel airier and lighter, and therefore, more spacious. Enhance existing natural light by minimizing moldings and trim. Remove it if possible or paint it the same color as the wall. The goal is to minimize lines of demarcation that stop the eye’s travel. Adding a skylight where possible, especially if there are small windows or none, is a lovely effect day and night. Not only do they add a light source, they draw the eye up, making the room seem taller.
The principles of artificial lighting in a bathroom are similar to any other room: task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting. Ambient, or general lighting, is typically a ceiling fixture of some design. As in any room, the scale of this fixture is important. This is an opportunity to add both beautiful form and function.
Sconces positioned correctly on either side of the mirror over the sink are another opportunity to add style. The direction of the projection can also make a small bathroom look bigger. A rule of thumb: sconces should be placed with their center approximately 66 inches from the floor. This helps avoid casting shadows on the planes of the face, enhancing their work as task lights. If a light over the mirror is your choice, choose something about three-quarters of the width of the mirror, centered.
And speaking of mirrors . . . skillfully placed, they are an excellent choice to make a small bathroom look bigger.
Function may not be accent lighting’s main purpose, but in this case, placement can call attention to a space and enhance the perception of more space.
But wait. . . There’s More!
These tips are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating an illusion of more space. Resources abound using search terms like “make a small bathroom look bigger,” or “paint techniques to make a room look bigger,” or any version of that phrase. A few are included at the end of this article.
While using these techniques is possible for anyone, designers are trained to evaluate the space and recommend the approach(es) that best suit the room, the client’s personal style, lifestyle, and budget.