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Tiny Bathroom? MrSteam’s Tips to Maximize a Small Space

Whether you've embraced the current "tiny home" trend or simply have a home that lacks room to enlarge your bathroom, it's critical to learn how best to maximize a bathroom in a small space. The last thing you want is to feel cramped and uncomfortable.  

To combat this trend, Mr. Steam has compiled some great design tips for you, whether you are redesigning your small bathroom or just looking for some optical illusions to give you a greater sense of spaciousness. 

Space Design

Reconsidering your floor plan can yield some surprising benefits. An efficient layout plan can give you more space while still letting you explore your style through colors and materials. Here are some ways to trick the eye and use the area you have to best advantage: 

Avoid anything that pokes out into your limited floor space.

Use interior wall space to create attractive niches to display and store bathroom essentials. 

Think about hanging the toilet and storage from the walls rather than placing them on the floors. Space-saving fixtures like a wall-hung toilet give occupants more foot space, creating the illusion of size. 

Also, placing your bathing facilities against the furthest wall maximizes the space. Opt for fixtures with a compact design whenever possible, such as storage racks with a narrow profile or sinks without wide lips or shelves.  

Placing your bathing facilities against the furthest wall maximizes the space.

Consider your floor and wall tiles.

Tiles placed on a diagonal may make the room feel larger. So, too, will larger tiles with fewer grout lines. 

If you're redoing the tiles in a shower with a glass enclosure, flowing the same tile design into the shower stall makes the whole room feel larger. 

Wall tiles stretching all the way to the ceiling can also make the room feel higher. 

A colored or decorative tile near the ceiling helps your eye move upward. 

Using a colored or decorative tile near the ceiling help your eye move upward.

Keep your designs and details simple – but don’t limit yourself to “small” elements.

Small-scale patterns can make a room feel smaller, while larger ones give the room more prominence. 

A large-scale element, such as big and vibrant tiles, may create drama. Just avoid combining a variety of patterns, which will make the room feel cluttered and claustrophobic. 

Keep your designs and details simple – but don’t limit yourself to “small” elements.

Color Is Key

You want to think long and hard about the color palette in a small bathroom. You're not limited to one choice, but several color schemes are proven to be effective, while others simply won't work:  

  • White and neutrals make the room feel bigger and brighter. They are also associated with cleanliness. 
  • Opt for a light color palette if you don't want a white bathroom. Pastels, pale colors, and muted tones reflect much light and won't make the space cramped and cave-like. 
  • If you want more color, keep to a complimentary palette. Too many clashing colors will definitely make the room look "busy," cluttered, and smaller than it is. 
  • Really want a more dramatic, darker color? A glossy sheen captures many benefits of a light color palette by reflecting the light and giving you the illusion of space.  
  • Pops of color can bring a room to life. Think about bold, vibrant towels, accent colors on a window or door frame, and colorful accessories. 

Choose the Right Door

Sliding doors, especially ones that utilize a rail rather than a hinge, are a real boon for small bathrooms. If installing one is impossible, ensure your bathroom door swings out. You never want a door that bumps into a fixture, especially a toilet, as it opens. 

Also, choose a door that offers organizational solutions. Over-the-door hooks for towels and robes will help you save wall space. They can also provide airy storage so your tiny bathroom is less likely to develop a musty smell. Double over-the-door hooks or a row of hooks can make even more use of the space. 

White and neutrals make the room feel bigger and brighter, and are also associated with cleanliness.

Great Lighting Is Your Friend

Use lighting to make the room appear larger visually. A well-lit space always seems to increase a room's size. 

Avoid using any suspended lights, as they will "drop" the ceiling and make it feel lower than it is. Instead, opt for recessed lighting inside the ceiling, which won't take up any room. 

If you have wall space, wall sconces, cove lighting, and other wall mount fixtures create the impression of higher ceilings and more expansive space. Having multiple sources of light (both wall lights and recessed lights in the ceiling) also eliminates shadows that can make the room feel small.  

Have a very narrow room? Consider illuminating one wall with light to open up the area. 

Use lighting to visually make the room appear larger.


Mirrors make a huge difference in cramped rooms, as reflective surfaces are among the easiest ways to open up a tight space. Your mirrors can be oversized to reflect more of the room. Or you might hang vertical oval mirrors, which stretch upward (and also mean your taller guests don't have to hunch over to see themselves). 

Consider adding extra mirrors, including small ones for makeup or one behind a door. 

You can also think "out of the box" regarding mirrors. If a window over the sink means you can't hang a mirror, include one to the side. Or – for a touch of drama and a bonus in privacy – hang the mirror over a window, using the space in a new and innovative way.   

For even more reflected light, consider fixtures and installation with mirrored surfaces. Medicine cabinets with exterior and interior mirrors, brightly mirrored light fixtures, and even mirrored light switch covers help light bounce around the space. 

Okay, Let’s Talk Storage

We know – storage is the biggest issue you face in a tiny bathroom. So here are some clever storage hacks to improvise and make the best possible use of the space you do have: 

  • Lower shelving under vessel or pedestal sinks won't impede any natural light that you might have in the room. You can also use classy woven baskets to hold supplies and towels. Stackable baskets also help you use taller empty spaces without sacrificing organization. 
  • Putting a shelf or two over a toilet can create a niche around it. Over-the-toilet storage uses empty space and can either hold decor or covered storage solutions to free up space elsewhere. You'd be amazed how much even shallow over-the-toilet storage can hold! 
  • Elevating a sink cabinet allows you to stow extra items underneath. 
  • Go vertical – all the way to the ceiling! Install wall-mounted storage options like floating shelves or shallow cabinets. Put items you don't need every day on the upper levels and those you do within easy reach. 
  • A ledge right above the sink or a radiator can be a great place to store those items you use every day – toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap dishes or dispensers, and more. 
  • Use those interior walls to create niches. One excellent place to create a niche is right over the sink – which you can close off with a mirror flush with the wall. Recessed cabinets are an innovative, convenient solution for tiny bathrooms without much storage. They're even better for toothbrushes, eye care items, and makeup that would otherwise add a lot of visual clutter. 
  • Doors are often wasted space. In addition to adding towel racks or hooks, consider over-the-door pouches or even medicine cabinets. 
  • If you really want a vanity, buy one that is scaled explicitly for apartments and other small bathrooms. By curving the edges of the vanity, you gain more space and won't bump into them (ouch!) 
  • Opt for convertible furniture and fixtures, such as extendable towel racks that give you more control over the final layout.  
  • Stackable and foldable furniture, like foldable shower seats, can also fold down out of the way when they're not in use.

A trendy oval sink take up less counter space than a square.


Clunky sink cabinets can look massive on the floor of a small bathroom. Instead, you might opt for a floating countertop with a vessel sink. Alternatively, a pedestal sink is easy to install and gives you plenty of foot space. 

Or, if you have a large family where several kids will want to use the sink at one time, a long trough sink might mean fewer arguments. Find an all-in-one sink and vanity fixture with closed cabinets and drawers where you can store bottles, towels, or even individual baskets of supplies for each kid. 

Finally, a trendy oval sink takes up less counter space than a square. 

Showers and Bathtubs

You can optimize shower space by opting for a small, more efficient shower shape or using part of the shower for storage. Consider a curved or triangular shower stall, which will take up less space in the room.  

Open up the room with glass. Your shower stall and tub will benefit from clear glass enclosures with minimal hardware. If glass is not an option, use clear shower curtains that allow light in.  

A barrier-free shower is even better because it doesn't have a raised threshold that cuts the floor plan of the bathroom into tight sections. 

You might even consider removing your tub and replacing it with a spa-like steam shower. 

Open up the bathroom with glass shower enclosures

If you're worried that you can't have a steam shower in a tiny bathroom, think again! You can enjoy a steam shower in virtually any size bathroom. 

>> See “Yes, You Can Have a Steam Shower in a Small Bathroom" 

A steam shower provides a touch of elegance and luxury to your bathroom. The wet heat provides therapeutic benefits that can’t be found in a basic tub or regular shower. 

>> See 40 Benefits of Steam Showers 

There is also water conservation to consider: a 20 minute steam shower uses 2.5 gallons of water while a regular shower uses 50 gallons. A full bath takes a whopping 80 gallons of water! 

To maximize your eco-friendliness, go with a steam generator that is made of recycleable stainless steel. 

MrSteam’s Steam@Home generators from are ideal for starter homes, urban living and guest baths.

For example, MrSteam's Steam@Home generators are ideal for starter homes, urban living, and guest baths. Designed for smaller spaces and tighter budgets. Steam@Home lets you bring the luxury of steam into your life in a space as small as 3' x 3 ' x 7'.  

So, with some imagination, design flair, and planning, a small bathroom doesn't have to feel so tight and confined. We hope these tips will push out the confines of your bathroom and make you feel just as relaxed, comfortable, and happy as you would in a larger space! 

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Topics: Benefits of Steam, Bathroom Remodel