There’s a Small Bathroom Design Revolution and You’ll Love These Rule-breaking Trends

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. 

Tired of your small, dark and uninspiring bathroom? Are you ready to finally give it an overhaul? Well, there’s no better time to give your small bathroom a fresh look. Small bathroom design is finally stepping out of the cookie-cutter bathtub, sink cabinet, mirror and toilet combination.

The latest small bathroom design ideas are fresh and revolutionary, rethinking what we all expect a bathroom design to look like. Wall-mounted toilets and sinks defy gravity. Cabinet doors are gone. Bold texture and patterns take over a small bathroom space. Get ready to break some rules and open your mind to what your small bathroom should look like with the following nine concepts.

1. You don’t need as much bathroom storage as you think

A minimalist bathroom in France features floating cabinetry. Image: For House

The first small bathroom design idea for 2017 is a big one: you really don’t need more storage, just a more minimalist attitude! Think about this one for a minute. Those large vanities with the deep cabinet space under the sink are really an inefficient use of space. Things get lost at the back of the cabinet. And the scale takes up so much real estate in your small bathroom design that your bathroom ends up looking smaller. So how do you solve the issue?

  • Get rid of clutter and unnecessary items. How many towels, cosmetics and hotel toiletries do you really need?
  • Replace the clunky bathroom vanity with a floating sink or cabinet or narrow open shelves. You’ll be less tempted to clutter your bathroom when the stuff is on display. And you’ll open a lot more visual space in your bathroom. Like this bathroom image:
A New York farmhouse gets a space-savvy update. Image: House Designers

Here are some of our favorite floating vanities:

Floating Sinks

2. Instead of adding storage, add function

This Paris apartment converts a small bathroom into a multipurpose space that includes a washing machine. Image: Bertrand Fompeyrine

Once you clear clutter and replace the oversized bathroom vanity with something more minimalist, think of all the useful things you can do with the space. Like adding an all-in-one washer and dryer. Or creating a vanity space.

Here are more ideas on how to add more utility to your small bathroom:

Images: Philip McCann, Sean Litchfield

3. Small bathrooms mean you can splurge on finishes

High-end stone and tile, a chrome towel warmer and exotic wood create a luxurious small bathroom experience in Rome. Image: Francesco Todaro
Brushed chrome accents and a combination of tile featuring inexpensive white subway tiles and expensive glass and marble chevron tiles create a visually interesting small bathroom. Image: Robert Frank Interiors

Some of the most expensive items in a bathroom design are the fixtures, tile and finishes. Since you’re working with a smaller space, you need less. It’s time to break out of thinking that a small bathroom isn’t worth the money. It’s time to splurge on making your small bathroom design look like a million bucks! Some ways to add more luxury on a little less budget include:

  • Choosing quality accent lighting fixtures
  • Tiling a stripe (or the upper half of your bathroom) in a more expensive tile or marble
  • Adding a towel warmer that doubles as a towel rack
  • Swapping your toilet for a new floating style
  • Upgrading to a glass shower door, which is the next small bathroom design idea

Here are some of our favorite luxurious updates for your small bathroom:

Square Tile | Floating Toilet | Herringbone Tile | Lighting Fixtures | Towel Racks

4. Add a seamless glass shower door to your small bathroom

A minimalist yet earthy small bathroom in Barcelona, thanks to the reclaimed oak floors. Image: Roca
Images: At Studio, L’Essenziale, Jodie Rosen

Here’s a small bathroom design tip that may not sit well with traditionalists: tear out the bathtub and add a modern walk-in shower surrounded by seamless glass. It’s a great way to save tons of space in your small bathroom. A seamless glass door may be more expensive than a shower curtain, but will definitely be more durable. Not to mention, it will open up the space and add value to your home.

Not ready to give up on the bathtub? You can still add a seamless glass shower or tub enclosure.

5. Go crazy with texture and pattern in your small bathroom

Three-dimensional white tile adds depth to a small bathroom space. Image: Jasmine McClelland
A Scandinavian tile in a repeating pattern creates the feel of a larger room. Image: Poopuu Design
The floors provide a great surface to create a bold and richly patterned design. Image: Pinar Miro

Most designers tell you that dark colors or busy patterns are not a good idea in a small space. Think again. Strong patterns and textures add depth and play to a space, creating the illusion of more size and life.

Here are some of our favorite tile patterns and textures for your small bathroom:

Bathroom Tile

6. Wall-mount everything and throw away the doors

Wall mounted or floating elements and a wood-look tile add a modern look to this basement small bathroom. Image: Rozonova
Images: Rethink Design Studio, Ar-Ka Studios, Philip McCann
Porcelain tile in the look of plank wood and floating bathroom design elements create a new, modern small bathroom space. Image: Inne

The small bathroom design keyword for 2017 and beyond is: floating. Float everything, including the toilet, from your walls. It’s a great way to make cleaning easier, when you can access the floor below. Not to mention the space looks bigger, because our eye tends to judge space by analyzing the floor area. You also maximize valuable wall space, which is often left bare. And let’s be honest, it looks pretty fresh and cool!

7. Cubbies aren’t only for toddlers

Bathroom cubby ideas that add storage without taking up space. Images: Color Theory, Catlin Stothers Design, Roca.
A built-in wall nook with open shelves houses essential bath items. Image: Catlin Stothers Design

It’s time to tear up the walls (or add new ones) for cubbies. The inset wall cubby is an ingenious way to add integrated storage to a small bathroom without sacrificing space. It’s also known as an alcove, niche or recessed niche.

Behind bathroom walls, between the studs, is just enough of a gap to create a useful cubby. And nowadays, you can even buy a DIY tile-ready niche at Lowe’s.

Don’t want to tear up the walls? Find new ways to add cubbies to your small bathroom, by adding a shelf, wall mounting a floating cubby shelf or choosing a cabinet with open shelves to store extra items, like the bathroom below.

A wall-mounted storage cubby coordinates with the floating cubby sink base. Image: Reliance Design & Build

8. Mirrors instead of walls

When creating a bathroom mirror wall, choose mirror that is treated to withstand moisture to avoid dark spots from developing. Image: Optimise Design
A long wall of storage mirrors reflect light from the windows. Image: Elanandez
Images: Interior Solutions Design Group, Maya Parkhani Interior Design 

Mirrors do an incredible job at creating the illusion of more space. Want to add more space to your small bathroom design? Then add more mirrors, like the inspiration images above.

Check out our favorite bathroom mirrors:

Bathroom Mirrors

9. Add more black to your white

Images: Optimise Design, SF Design BuildMarcelle Guilbeau

An all-white bathroom does feel brighter and lighter, but it can look a little cold or lack the depth your eye registers as space. Adding black to your bathroom, in the form of black walls or a black-and-white tile design or a black ceiling adds the “POW!” your small bathroom is begging for.

Which one of these new small bathroom design trends are you ready to try?