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 Do I shower or take baths? Is it a shared space that is high traffic? Is storage and clutter an issue? Am I trying to create a certain feel in the room? All are valid concerns in creating a multi-functional bathroom. It takes some know-how, product ingenuity, and creativity to think outside that tiled, diminutive box. Here are a few tips and tricks to make that water closet feel more spacious, comfortable and organized.

Image is Everything with Large Mirrors

Reflective surfaces will help offer a feeling of openness in the room making the space seem more expansive, especially if there isn’t any natural light filtering in. Consider a wall-hung mirrored cabinet that will provide additional storage as well as reflectivity. Generally, a bigger mirror will create a more open-feeling room by reflecting light throughout. It’s also easier to share a huge mirror during the morning rush, when time is a commodity.

More is Less

Having more storage means less clutter, vanities with multiple purposes, plenty of drawers and that take up a smaller footprint in the bathroom can make all the difference for maximizing storage. Using vanities that are mounted on the wall show more floor space, making the area seem larger. Also, the use of upper shelving to the ceiling, above the vanity can offer much needed storage. Other options are recessed cabinetry and shelving within the walls, over the toilet shelving and strategically placed hooks and racks.


If budget and time permits, redesigning the bathroom layout are a way to optimize everyone’s needs. A bathtub that is underused is space consuming and can be replaced by an enclosed shower that takes up have the space. Adding glass enclosures to the shower further creates a sense of unfettered freedom of space. A common dilemma in tight surroundings is the swing of a door; this is where the integration of pocket or sliding entry doors would be a welcome change. Even the addition of a window or skylight, (if allowed by the building) can be a great source of natural light.

Paint & Tile Colour

For smaller spaces, select lighter, monochromatic paint and tile colours to create an open space through seamless transitions. Use the same tone of tile on the floor, backsplash and shower / tub surrounds. Having too many contrasting hues in flooring, wall colour, window coverings, and vanity colour will only accentuate a compartmental feeling. In a smaller space each area has to compliment other, not seem out of place or stand out on its own. Making the palette monochromatic allows each area to play off one another, making each area flow to the next. Bolder complimentary and contrasting colours can be used in areas such as accessories, artwork, towels etc.

Bright Ideas

Illuminating a space with proper lighting that is functional and versatile is a key element to the expansive perception a space can have. The lighting in a bathroom should be unobtrusive, dangling ceiling fixtures or large protruding wall sconces accentuate the lack of space. It is best to use recessed task lighting in specific areas such as in the shower, above the sink, vanity and toilet. Having the lighting on a dimmer can also help control the feel of the room depending on the time of day to prevent glare and control overhead light intensity.

Perception is Reality

An organized, neat bathroom always appears more expansive and spacious than one that is unkempt and messy. Be sure to put things in its place and remove any clutter. Keep only the necessities on the vanity counter and shelves. Avoid the displaying of decorative soaps, creams, and potpourris that are seldom used and collect dust. Once a year, clear out all expired and unused products, toiletries, medications etc. to free up space for the things we currently need to use. Clearing away all the clutter truly gives you sense of liberation from the constraints of having a smaller space.

Lack of space is not a limitation, instead in can be received an opportunity to showcase your own personal style, resourcefulness, and ingenuity, as your imagination and creativity are boundless.


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