Hidden Spaces in Your Small Bathroom

Creating space in your small bathroom means looking in unexpected places and making bold choices.

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Designing a small bathroom can be a big challenge, but it's no time to be timid. Creating space, or even the illusion of space, often calls for confident paint, wallpaper and tile choices, not to mention occasionally punching a hole in the wall or hiking a vanity cabinet off the floor. Los Angeles designer Sarah Barnard shares some smart strategies that can help you find the hidden space in your small bathroom.

Keep a Simple Color Palette

"Using multiple shades of the same base color can visually expand a teensy bathroom," Barnard says. This bath appears much roomier than its 57 square feet by employing a simple, warm beige color scheme carried out in tile that goes all the way to the ceiling.

Note the pattern created in the tile — while you might avoid horizontal bands on a sweater because they make you look wider, you should embrace that plumping effect in the bathroom. "Narrow horizontal stripes make maximum impact with minimum square footage," Barnard says.

To lighten the room even further, you can choose a shiny metallic tone for a band of tile, an art object or your mirror's edge, because reflected light gives the illusion of more space. But don't go overboard with glitz. "It can look dated very quickly," Barnard says.

Another clever space-boosting touch in this bath is placing the sink off center rather than in the middle of the countertop, creating more usable surface to the left for toiletries.

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