To say that a small bathroom is a problem is, well, problematic. It’s not exactly the number one deal breaker when it comes to choosing a place to live, and they can be quite cute—not to mention it’s entirely possible to make a small bathroom feel bigger and brighter than it really is. And no, you won’t have to spend a zillion dollars to carve a window into the wall (or call on something heinous, like glass bricks). We turned to two experts, designers Fleming James of Oliver Street Design and Jenny Wolf of Jenny Wolf Interiors, for tips on turning powder rooms, half-baths, and just little tiny (sometimes windowless) bathrooms into less cramped, more enjoyable situations.
Use Dark Paint
Wait, what? “Oftentimes I like to paint small bathrooms (typically windowless rooms) a dark color, like black. It gives depth and creates an illusion of a larger space,” Wolf says. “Go with a high gloss in a superdark color,” James advises, which will simultaneously impart a big night sky effect and also bounce the little light you have around the space. (Doing so will also draw attention to the light fixtures, she points out, so you’ll need to choose them thoughtfully—bulbs that bring plenty of light in, shapes you don’t mind being pretty pronounced.)
Mirror a Wall
Rather than just hanging one above the vanity, consider mirroring a whole wall of your tiny bathroom—the reflection of light and pattern (and sometimes, that open door) will do the same good work a window does.
Try a Large-Scale Wall Covering
“Medium- and large-scale wallpapers and tile patterns can actually make a space feel larger,” James explains. Whether you choose big tiles or an even bigger pattern is up to you; she says they’ll both “give an illusionary scale in tight quarters.”
Give the Curtain a Lift
If you have the luxury of choosing where your shower curtain goes, James says to “take the fabric all the way up” past the usual height of the tub. “Extending the curtain nearly to the ceiling will certainly elongate the walls,” she says, admitting that the taller your ceiling in the bathroom, the more this will help.
Or Opt for a Glass Door
If you’re starting from scratch, consider scrapping the curtain entirely. “I also recommend glass shower doors in a small bath, as it will help to open up the space,” Wolf says. The slightly more adventurous might even consider no shower door at all (a good drain is wise in that case).
Glass mosaics, seen in the mirror, decorate the master bath in a contemporary London residence.
Inspiration for the glass shower door of your dreams, courtesy of a Jenny Wolf–designed space.
Backlight the Mirror
“This can be a chic and modern way to amplify light,” James says, “if you do not have room for sconces or simply want a more minimalistic look.”
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