Old houses are large and drafty, except for those small bathrooms with their teeny windows, squeaky floors and miniscule hand basins. Nobody knows why architects scrimped on bathroom space, but thirty years later we do know that 5 by 9 feet is considered a claustrophobia-inducing nightmare to be totally avoided unless bladder control dictates otherwise.

If everyone you know with a fear of small spaces uses their own bathrooms before visiting your house, it’s time for a revamp. Small spaces can feel deceptively big with the right interior design arrangements, décor and colours. Here are a few tips to make your small bathroom feel bigger, and your friends feel more comfortable.


In a small bathroom floating storage frees up space. A floating vanity allows for place to store towels and toiletries, while the top-end offers a place for a bowl sink. It also frees up floor space making the room look bigger. You can also opt for a floating vanity behind the toilet or along the wall, separate from the basin, allowing for more toiletry, décor or towel-packing space. Carefully selected décor will draw attention away from the lack of cubic metres, allowing visitors to focus on the beautifully packed fluffy towels and sweet-scented soaps.


For all those people who bought homes with small bathrooms filled with outdated finishes, this is for you. There is nothing wrong with moving the toilet, basin and storage area around to maximise on space, and installing a large window to let in more light. Antiquated floor plans did not consider factors such as open space to move about, which means installing a wall-mounted basin, relocating the toilet, and installing a wider window is an absolute must in most cases.


Go big or…go big. The bigger the better. Due to the lack of space in small bathrooms you can really splash out on a wall-to-wall basin or bath. Don’t stick with the standard small design because then you’re back to square one. Due to the small space you can go for that expensive water vessel because you’re buying less materials. Look at a hand-carved marble sink or bath to go with your ornately gilded mirror. Or you can stick with the contemporary and ask your plumber to install a stunning and sleek basin complemented by stylishly shiny showerheads and taps.


The old olive green and brown paint, and mottled mustard and orange tiles really have past their sell-by-date, which means it’s time to add some bright colours and shed some light on the situation. However, if you prefer dark, rich colours then by all means, include a feature wall. Paint only one wall with a dark colour and you will see how it recedes against the white or bright walls, creating a bigger space. It also actively contributes to the fluidity of traditional and contemporary interior design. White on white tiles also give a feature wall a big introduction, and opens up a room.


Stark lighting is an atmosphere killer in any setting and should be avoided at all costs. Ambient lighting really brings out the features of any room, big or small. Take your small bathroom from zero to brilliant in next to no time. Install a beautiful chandelier or stunning wall sconces for a stylish up light effect, or perimeter lighting to create an ambient lighting effect underneath your new basin, along the wall or floor.

There are many alternatives to help you create the illusion of a bigger space. Dividing walls for the toilet and basin area, turning it into a wet room with no demarcating glass for the shower, or placing a large framed mirror on one wall to deflect attention from the small footprint, the options are plentiful. However, all renovations will need to be overseen by a plumbing company with a background in renovations.

It’s all well and good to create a wonderful space to relax in, but if you don’t get the plumbing guys in, it will eventually flood and ruin all your hard work. Just because you’re overhauling the old décor doesn’t mean the old plumbing doesn’t need a bit of an upgrade. It’s a package deal.