Bathroom Space-Savers: Make the Most of a Small Bathroom

Hidden Storage
These bathrooms maximize storage, function, and style within a petite layout and are packed with smart, space-saving ideas to make the most of every inch.

Water Closet

Located in the lower level of a historical home, this 5×8-foot bathroom is barely larger than the average closet. The space is filled with soothing colors and sparkling accessories, making it worthy of its role as the primary bathroom. A small console sink with chrome legs, instead of a classic pedestal, adds vintage style and offers a little storage while taking up about minimal space.

Classic Combination

The renovated bathroom's soothing color palette complements the colors and style of the rest of the house, and the light fixtures echo the vanity's chrome legs and shower fixtures. The blend of vintage and modern gives the bathroom staying power.

Open Up

A new chair rail separates the wallpaper from a restful green paint. A narrow yet deep shower maximizes the bathroom's modest footprint, and the clear glass door creates an illusion of spaciousness.

Spa Treatment

Maximizing function in a small bath adds a layer of luxury that is unbridled by square footage constraints. In the shower, a rain-style showerhead and an adjustable handheld fixture promise relaxation and rejuvenation. A band of glass tile at shoulder height adds visual interest in the shower while referencing the colors in the rest of the space.

Soothing Surfaces

A consistent, serene palette of natural materials is essential to the luxurious look of this small, 9x9-foot master bath. Soft yellow limestone shower walls and vanity counter complement the wall paint, and subway tile along the walls envelope the space in serenity. Underfoot, a pebbled tile floor blends with the scheme but is distinguished by its unusual texture.

Live Large

Against a pale backdrop, dark wood elements enrich the atmosphere. Trading in a boxy vanity for a custom-made open model instantly made the bath look bigger. Choosing smaller sink basins allowed the homeowners to squeeze two sinks into the small space -- a luxury the homeowners enjoy every day.

Store in Style

A linen closet and recessed medicine chests are alternatives to undersink storage. Pretty items are displayed on the vanity's lower shelf. To augment an existing skylight, sconces and recessed fixtures were placed on dimmers. A chandelier is an unexpected touch that punctuates the simple room.

Transparent Tranquility

Space was subtracted from the toilet area and added to the shower. The divider between the two changed from a full wall to a half-wall topped with glass, further opening the room and allowing a free flow of light.

Restful Retreat

The homeowners kept things simple inside the shower, forgoing fancy showerheads for a built-in bench.

Pretty and Practical

At 9 feet 4 inches by 8 feet 3 inches, this powder room occupied a sliver of space between two bedrooms in a 1952 home. Subtly patterned wallpaper picks up the colors and shapes in the tumbled onyx tile underfoot, and ample counter space provides room for both homeowners to get ready in the morning.

Special Touches

Thoughtful details add panache to a bathroom, no matter what its size. Furniture-style feet on the cabinets along with an antique-style framed mirror over the sink suit the traditional theme while adding a touch of glamour.

Linen Station

A built-in painted cabinet across from the toilet stores bathroom linens. The toilet and cabinet are tucked into ends of a small nook off the bathing and sink areas.

Storage Niche

Across from the vanity and sink, crackled subway tile lines a niche in the combination tub/shower. Shelving within the shower walls offers a convenient storage space for supplies.

Surround Streaming

The style of the tub's fixtures feels appropriate to the 1950s era of the home's original construction. For spa-like quality, the homeowners added two showerheads on either side -- a feature they always wanted.

Focal Point

Understated materials and details rely on a deft interplay of color and pattern. The homeowners fell in love with the hexagonal tumbled onyx tile and used it on the floor and as a focal point for a mosaic above the tub.

Tiled Delight

To give this dated guest bathroom a much-needed makeover, the homeowner envisioned something serene and modern with a subtle beachy theme. The challenge was how to include the requested amenities in a small, narrow room with 7-foot ceilings. After gutting the space, they laid the groundwork -- a terrazzo tile floor that looks like a seamless surface of tiny pebbles.

Uniquely Fabulous

The designers wanted the bathing area to be the focal point and make a bold statement. And it does! With space at a premium, there wasn't room for separate tub and shower units. The compact soaking tub has a graceful curve that doesn't impose on the limited floor space. Blue glass tile clads the back wall, with niches decked in 1-inch mosaics.

Outside the Box

Finishing the shower was a challenge. The homeowner wanted a rain-style showerhead, but the low ceiling was a problem. The designers recessed a portion of the ceiling above the tub. It required special plumbing to install the showerhead, but the homeowner was thrilled with the results. For a cohesive look, the ceiling is covered in the same mosaic glass tile as the niches.

Clever Curtains

A thin, retractable clothesline, rather than a clunky metal bar, supports the shower curtain.

Contrast and Balance

Furniture like modern cabinetry maximizes storage, and the dark wood sets off the blue. The organic-looking honed-limestone walls balance the cool hue of the blue glass tile and the dark wood furniture. A convex sink adds unexpected dimension to the vanity. Mosaic tile-backed niches flank the mirror to create a soothing backdrop for simple displays.

Visual Access

Open shelves beside the vanity offer storage without overpowering the room. A glass door on the bottom of the unit allows a peek at the fluffy white towels inside.

Smart Style

This bathroom went from a children's bathroom to a streamlined and sophisticated space, with nary a tub toy -- or tub -- in sight. A combination of wainscoting and wallpaper enhances the continuity of the space. Covered in enamel paint, the wainscoting lends a protective finish to the lower walls, while grass cloth on the upper walls adds texture.

Double Duty

Wood is another important element in this space. Heavily grained oak floors finished with a dark golden brown stain anchor the room. For the custom vanity, the homeowners chose maple because its subtle grain wouldn't compete with the floors. An open shelf at the bottom of the furniture like vanity cabinet keeps towels at the ready.

Round Up

An elegant oval mirror gives the linear bathroom a hint of curves. Satin-nickel light fixtures on either side of the oval mirror bring additional softness to the room.

Elegant Display

A solid-surfacing countertop -- with flecks of white, brown, and gray -- connects the room's sophisticated palette. Pretty glass containers corall toiletries within reach.

Now You See It ...

Rather than spend the money to remove the tub,and potentially decrease the value of the home by losing a full bath, the homeowners hid it behind a sliding door. Made of plywood (drywall would have been too heavy), the wall slides on an upper track, like a pocket door.

Now You Don't

To disguise the track and make the door blend with the rest of the room, thick crown molding covers the track--and continues around the perimeter of the room. To finish the look, a piece of quarter-round on the floor guides the door at the bottom.

Hidden Storage

The tub isn't all that's out of sight. Tucked in the corner, a linen closet provides ample storage to the small bathroom.

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