Small Bathrooms with Bold Statements

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As the owner of two small bathrooms, and the past renter of several others, I can deeply empathize with those in a similar predicament. Small baths are generally viewed as an inconvenience – an unfortunate feature that we must somehow work around. Rarely considered luxurious or noteworthy, tiny bathrooms have an undeserved bad rap. Why undeserved? Because these overlooked spaces present a wealth of opportunities, namely being bold in your design choices! Though an obvious plan of action for some, let’s recap a few supporting arguments.

A small bath is great for experimentation and risk taking

Small bathroom
Image: The Design Files

Since we spend such little time in the bathroom, less than an hour per day according to the American Time Use Survey, it’s the perfect occasion to employ otherwise intolerable design choices. Even more so in a small bath, where limited doses of crazy colors and patterns are less likely to overwhelm. An added benefit is the ability to close off the space from other rooms and your overall design scheme. Continuity is of little concern. Shut the door and your bold bath is hidden from the world.

Bold Bathroom
Image: Architectural Digest

Less square footage means lower costs

Striped Bathroom
Images: (Left & Right) AD Russi via Sukio

If less space doesn’t seem advantageous, take a second look! Your bath’s small size can be highly beneficial when sourcing materials like tile and wallpaper, or negotiating installation fees. A sizeable renovation budget can afford you the most extravagant resources available. While those with large spaces must resort to cost-saving white subway tile, you can line the floors and walls with luxurious Carrera. Obscenely priced wallpaper becomes doable when you only need a single roll. The double vanity and private water closet may be unattainable, but lavish finishes may ease the pain.

Mirrored Bathroom
Image: Town Residential via Street Easy

Daring design can be an enjoyable, short-term solution

Marble Bathroom
Image: Lonny

Nearly ten years ago, I rented an apartment with an outdated, pink and brown bath (pink toilet too!). While brainstorming solutions, a graphic design friend opened my eyes to the possibilities. Her advice: embrace it and go crazy – i.e., add pink and brown patterns from floor to ceiling. In short, don’t bemoan. Just have fun!

Bold Printed Bathroom
Image: Lonny

Many homeowners find themselves in similar straits, living with small baths in desperate need of a complete gut job. When circumstances prevent much-needed renovations, using bold wallpaper, paint color, or decorative accessories can not only make your small bath bearable, but statement-making.

Do you have a tiny bathroom just waiting for a bold touch?

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Desiré is a designer, blogger, and lover of all things glamorous. Though primarily a self-taught decorator, Desiré studied at The Art Institute, where she honed a distinct aesthetic largely influenced by the Modern Glamour movement, the theme of her popular design blog, Sukio. Not only is she considered a "closet fashionista," discreetly stashing handbags and shoes whenever possible, but, as an MIT graduate, she’s also an undercover nerd. Fashion, nerdom, and several years as a Washingtonian have combined to shape her unique perspective on interior design.