10 Painting Tips to Make Your Small Bathroom Seem Larger

Source: iStock

Small bathrooms are a burden to us all. We could always use more space, but physical limitations prevent many from expanding their current bathroom.

A terrific, easy, and cheap way to make your bathroom seem larger is with paint. There are plenty of ways to make your small bathroom feel larger, but few tactics give your bath more of a punch than paint. If you think your bathroom is small, but want that real master feel, be sure to check out our 10 painting tips to make your small bathroom seem larger.

1. Use Light Colors

The best way to make your bathroom or any room seem larger is to use bright paint colors. Some will say that more white makes for a larger appearance, but that debate will go on for years to come.

This entire article is about optical illusion. Light and brightly colored walls are more reflective, making any space feel open and airy. Additionally, light colors help augment the effect of natural light (which we all love). As such, paint your bathroom cream, icy blue, or other soft variations of green and blue.

Want to give it a try? See what it costs to paint an interior room.

2. Keep All Same Tone

As we will get into later, just because light colors make a small bathroom seem larger, the entire bathroom does not have to be the same color. However, if you really want your small bathroom to feel like the master that you deserve, keep all colors within the same tone.

Light color walls are great, but if you installed dark tile on the floor or in the shower, the light colors will not stand out. These types of large contrast will clog up the space and showcase how small your bathroom really is. We don’t want that.

Looking for DIY bathroom hacks besides paint? See 10 Affordable Ideas That Will Turn Your Small Bathroom Into A Spa.

3. Blend Tile Color and Wall Color

This tip jumps off the previous hack, but many don’t want the same tone all over the bathroom. Fear not, for as long as you blend the shower tile and wall color, you are golden.

Blending your wall color and shower tile makes the entire room feel like one continuous space. Choosing to go with a darker wall color and white tile for the shower, for example, makes the bathroom feels like two separate rooms. By blending the color of the shower tile with the wall, it will show as one larger room.

4. Paint Ceiling and Wall Same Colors

As you have probably noticed, a trend of similar, bright colors is emerging. The same holds true for the ceiling and walls.

One problem with small bathrooms is short ceilings. As you might expect, using dark colors for your ceilings will make it seem low. Avoid white (unless your walls are also white), which will stop one’s eyes right at the ceiling line. Using the same color for the wall and ceiling will help the eye travel effortlessly throughout the space, giving once again, the appearance of a larger bathroom.

5. Paint Vertical Stripes to Make it Seem Taller

Some bathrooms are taller and some are wider. Oftentimes, we can’t have both and are left with a wide bathroom feeling cramped or a tall bathroom feeling cluttered.

If you have short ceilings and want to make your small bathroom seem taller, paint vertical stripes on the walls. As we just went over, paint colors help guide the eye throughout the room. With vertical stripes, the human eye is guided up and around the room. This, in turn makes it feel larger than it really is. When painting vertical stripes, stick to the same color palette as the rest of the bathroom. Simply make one shade slightly lighter than the other. Be careful, as too much contrast won’t go over well.

6. Paint Horizontal Stripes to Make the Room Seem Wider

There are other bathrooms with really tall ceilings, but not a lot of space around. Never fear, as the same eye principle applies. By painting horizontal stripes, you are guiding the eye around the bathroom, giving it a larger appearance.

7. Use Light Colors on Doors, Windows, and Molding

Light colors do not only apply to the walls and ceilings. There are many fixtures and elements of a bathroom you can paint or augment. Do not forget about the doors, windows, and moldings. Paint your wall trim, window covers and moldings in a lighter color than your walls. When you paint your moldings light, the wall appears farther back, making your small bathroom appear bigger.

8. Color Unexpected Accents

Let’s jump out of this repetitive color mindset and add some bold splashes to the room. As luck would have it, there are ways to bring color into a small bathroom. Try painting your radiator, adding a colorful bathmat, or using a vibrant shower curtain. In fact, if the hallway leading into your bathroom uses a darker color, ease a lighter tone of that color into the bathroom. It will once again fool the eye into thinking it is one big room.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

9. Paint a Statement or Accent Wall

Keep the bold theme going by painting a statement or accent wall. Before you do so, make sure you choose a color you absolutely love. If you followed our advice and went with light colors all around, this accent wall will stand out like no other.

Don’t veer off the road too much and go with straight black. Even though it’s a statement wall, you want to make sure it still blends in with your overall theme.

10. Other Tricks

Finally, there are always subtle tricks to dupe the eye.

  • Paint the shorter end walls a shade slightly lighter than the longer walls.
  • Paint the ceiling a certain color and extend the same color down the wall about 14 inches.
  • Paint with an arched design to make the ceilings feel taller.
  • Use murals as your accent wall.


Space or money should never deter you from having the appearance of a large bathroom. Using the tips discussed, any small bathroom can feel and look like the master bathroom of your dream.

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