If you think your small bathroom is too miniscule to make a splash, think again. Whether it’s a small powder room in a new build or a hall bath that’s original to your 1920s Craftsman-style cottage, there’s a whole world of opportunity for tiny bathrooms—and likely with less investment than a larger space might require.
Lindsay Speace of Lindsay Speace Interior Design in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a pro when it comes to retaining the charm of small original baths found in older homes while giving them a dose of fresh style and color. We asked her to spill her secrets for bringing a small bath into the present with flair. Here are her favorite small bathroom trends that feel so right, right now.
1. Add Bathroom Wallpaper
You might think that wrapping a small bathroom in color and pattern will make the walls feel like they’re closing in, but the right wallpaper can be transformative in the best way. “I love to incorporate wallpaper into small baths, especially powder baths, whenever possible,” says Speace. “It’s the perfect opportunity to inject personality, but the stakes don’t feel quite as high as if you were committed to papering your living room.” If there’s a patterned wallpaper you love but you’ve been hesitant to use in other areas of your home, it could be the perfect option for your bathroom.
Selecting complementary paint colors and finishes go a long way in creating the small bathroom of your dreams, so make sure you have all of your elements together before you bust out the seam rollers. And if you love the look of wallpaper but can’t quite make it work within your budget, Speace recommends opting for a wall stencil instead. “Etsy is a great resource for design-minded options,” she says.
2. Use Shades of Blue
Speace is a big fan of going blue in bathrooms that fall short on square footage. “If I’m suggesting a paint color for a small bath, I’ve frequently specified a shade of light blue. Farrow & Ball Light Blue and Benjamin Moore’s Glass Slipper are two favorites,” she says.
Not only are blue hues soothing, but they also tend to work with existing elements. “Bathrooms often have pieces with cooler undertones (chrome fixtures, porcelain sinks, toilets, etc.) and light blue complements those undertones and feels spa-like even in a small space.”
Once you’ve selected your shade, pay particular attention to the finish. Opt for a paint type that is suitable for high-moisture areas so you don’t run the risk of peeling paint.
3. Utilize Mobile Bathroom Storage
One of the biggest complaints about a small bathroom is storage—or the lack thereof. If you find yourself without built-in storage, try making your storage mobile. “In my own small bathroom, which does not have a designated linen closet, I’ve used a large wicker basket to stow folded towels,” says Speace.
Being able to rearrange your storage elements, whether that’s compartments within drawers, floating shelves beside the sink, or even—per Speace’s suggestion—baskets for holding towels, toilet paper, or even laundry, making these space-savers moveable or adjustable will keep them working for you as your needs change. Because even a new skincare routine can set a small bathroom’s storage situation back on its heels.
4. Creative Tile Installations
If you’re not a fan of wallpaper but still want to play up your personality within your small bathroom, try tile. “Tile is also an opportunity to get creative,” says Speace. “Use a penny tile in a bold color, or try a playful stripe with subway tile.” And you don’t have to stop at the shower or bathtub. Depending on the style of your bath, you might find that tiling the walls halfway up adds a bit of vintage charm and gets points for wipe-ability when your weekly bathroom cleaning session comes along.
Although Speace is fond of adding color in small bathrooms, there are a few fixtures where she thinks it’s best to keep things basic. “I wouldn’t say this is a trend, but I’d keep toilets and sinks classic white unless you’re working with existing vintage pieces,” she says.