Seven renovation ideas for small bathrooms

Living Well | Natasha Perera | Images: Getty | Posted on 23 March 2021

Make a small bathroom feel bigger with these easy renovation ideas.

If you’re renovating a small bathroom, one thing you’re probably keen to do is make the room feel bigger. This may sound challenging, but it’s a lot easier than you think. All it takes is some thoughtful planning and a few clever design ideas and your tiny bathroom will be transformed with a spacious new look.

We asked some experts to share their tips to get you started.


When choosing a vanity, Kate suggests installing a floating or wall-mounted design.

Seven renovation ideas for small bathrooms


When it comes to choosing tiles for a tight space, designer Kate Walker, of KWD, recommends steering away from large-format designs because they can make the room look smaller.

“When you have a lot of lines in the room, which you do when you choose smaller tiles, it can make a room seem a lot larger,” she explains.

Kate recommends floor-to-ceiling tiling where possible, to help draw the eye up and emphasise height, while gloss tiles will provide a reflective surface that helps bounce light around the room to give it a bright and open feel. 


Opt for a freestanding bath instead of an in-built design. “This way you can see the floor material extending beyond the bath,” says Kate, “which is a good design hack to make the room look bigger and packs a lot of punch in a small space.”

Setting the bath behind a glass pane together with the shower to create a wet room is another clever way to make the space feel larger. This will avoid interrupting the flow of the room, Kate says. 


RACV Trades Training Manager Andy Anderson recommends using a frameless glass shower to visually open up a small bathroom, rather than a bulky framed design that will visually encroach on space.

“A clear glass frame allows you to take the whole room in and see every corner, instead of defining the shower as a box in a corner that you focus on, and that intrudes into the room,” Andy says. 


Freestanding baths, frameless showers and smaller tiles can all make a small bathroom feel bigger.


When selecting a vanity, Kate suggests installing a floating or wall-mounted design with a full-height mirror behind it.

“The mirror will reflect the floor material and help accentuate the feeling of space,” Kate says.

The larger the mirror, the better, she adds. You might even consider transforming an entire wall with mirrored panels. 

“Optically it looks like you have one mirror and helps bring more light into the room,” she says.

Kate does caution against vanity units with open shelving as they tend to attract clutter, a sure-fire way of closing in a space. ‘Less is more’ is the way to go.


An undermount basin set into the benchtop is less intrusive than one that sits on top and won’t disrupt your sightline, says Kate, and choosing a smaller basin will free up bench space.  

“With a benchtop basin you can’t use the space behind it, whereas with an undermounted one, you can still put your soap pump and toothbrush holder behind the basin.”

Natural light

Never underestimate the power of natural light in helping to make a closed-in room feel more spacious.

Andy says a skylight is a smart and relatively easy way to bring in light from above. “Some people don’t have the option to add windows and it can be quite costly to put in a bigger window,” he explains.

“A skylight is a fairly inexpensive way to attract natural light, but it can really make a huge difference to the space.”


Consider positioning the doorway so it creates a more spacious view as you step in. Kate says moving a door is not an expensive exercise and will often be one of your best decisions. 

“Entering front-on to your vanity creates more circulation space,” she adds. “I’d also encourage having the longest shower possible, preferably a walk-in shower, to really open things up.”