Guest bathroom ideas – 8 ways to up your hosting game when designing this small space

With our guest bathroom ideas, you can be sure your friends and relatives will be comfortable and impressed when staying over

A bathroom with double mirror
(Image credit: Amos Goldreich Architecture. Photo credit Ollie Hammick)

Getting the house ready for summer guests means it's time to look for some great guest bathroom ideas. If you love hosting and want extra brownie points, think ahead of their arrival and spruce up the home, especially the bathroom, to make visitors feel welcome and wanted. 

Prepping the bathroom with fresh towels, adding new flowers, replenishing toilet paper and more are just a few things you can do to ensure your guests feel like it’s their home away from home. In addition, if you are in the process of renovating your home or building a new one, a few extra elements could help to a modern bathroom into a more guest-friendly space. 

If you're ready to give this room some love, here are our best guest bathroom ideas.

8 guest bathroom ideas for a comfortable, luxe space

'Guest bathrooms can be the perfect place to not worry about bringing in items, art, and finishes that need to endure everyday use and abuse,' says Jennifer Morris, founder of JMorris Design. 

1. Don't skimp on the style of this space

A small bathroom with a wallpaper behind the mirror

(Image credit: Mary Patton)

Sprucing up the guest bathroom doesn't mean going for a bland and inoffensive scheme. For a guest space, you can consider something bolder for your home, without the worry that you're going to tire of it quickly, given that you won't be looking at it every day. 

'I like to treat guest bathrooms like jewel boxes,' says interior designer Mary Patton (opens in new tab). 'If you have the budget for a wallpaper, great! If not, choose a bold wall color. You won’t get tired of it, because you aren’t in that space that much. Choose a fun mirror, sconces, and personalized hand towels as well.'

'A guest bath is a fun place to get creative,' agrees Jennifer Morris. 'Install an unexpected wallpaper or hang artwork and not worry about enduring everyday humidity from shower.'

2. Add a basket of essentials for the guests

A small guest bathroom with storage baskets under the vanity

(Image credit: L M Design Associates. Photo credit Jess Isaac)

We understand that you may have spent big bucks on designing and decorating your living room and master bathroom but that's okay. The guest bathroom too can be lifted, on a budget, with smart ideas. Don't have space for a storage cabinet or drawers? Bring in pretty baskets to keep toilet paper rolls, bathroom essentials, and more. 

Use vibrant jars to store cotton rolls, toothpaste, etc. While they look lovely, you'll also be able to easily see at a glance when anything needs replenishing, plus your guests won't have to go rooting around in cupboards. 

'A small space should never sacrifice in function or visual appeal,' says Lauren Martin-Moro, founder & creative director at L M Design Associates (opens in new tab). 'We took advantage of a small bathroom footprint to include unique materials. An intricate floor tile pattern adds a graphic edge, while a natural stone vanity counter will age gracefully with time. A custom metal hand forged, organic shaped mirror from Mexico serves as the piece de la resistance for this warm and modern bath.'

When it comes to adding more storage, baskets come to the rescue. 

(Image credit: James Merrell)

'Decorating with a basket full of essentials that your guests may have forgotten to bring is not only thoughtful but can look beautiful in the space,' says Shoshanna Shapiro, founder of Sho and Co. 'Keep a basket with a hairdryer and small makeup mirror and, make sure you have lighting options for guest to get ready. Keep a small table next to the shower/tub with extra towels, soap, etc.'

3. Keep the design minimal where it counts

A small bathroom with white subway tiles

(Image credit: Heju Studio)

If you're dealing with a compact space, then it's possible to streamline a guest bathroom much more than a family one, helping a small bathroom feel bigger. Choosing lightweight bathroom furniture can really aid in extending the sense of space. 

'We designed a Memphis-style bathroom with a contrast between pastel colors and darker ones,' says Hélène Pinaud, founder of Heju Studio (opens in new tab), who designed this space. 'We defined two areas on the floor to make the space look bigger: the sink and toilet area with terrazzo tiles framed with a black and white checkered floor; while grey terrazzo and the shower area covered in small white tiles. We wanted the toilet and the basin to be suspended so the floor is the main element and the space looks bigger. We wanted the sink to be light so we designed a simple birch shelf with a round sink above.'

4. If possible, add a bench for comfort

A small guest bathroom shower with a bench

(Image credit: Dekorati Interiors. Photo credit Jacob Macias)

Of course, this idea cannot be casually executed. But if a reno is underway or if you're building an extra bathroom in your home, then a great consideration to keep in mind. 

While a shower bench may seem like an unnecessary detail, once you have it installed, you’ll wonder how you ever went without it. Not only will it give upir luxury bathroom the edge, but it will also make for a beautiful second bathroom you can use when guests aren't around. The ledge can be used for shower supplies and is a great space to perch on while shaving or relaxing. This can be especially useful if you have older relatives visit, making for a multi-generational home.

'This was a small bath with tub, so we created a wide shower stall with accent tiling on the bench with Mir Mosaic large format tiles,' says Rati Mishra, founder of Dekorati Interiors (opens in new tab). 'The contrast created between the black & white tiles has been balanced by the warmth of the brass fixtures and patterns in the accent tiles. The vanity here adds extra storage for all the guests' necessities.'

5. Include a cupboard in the guest bathroom for extra storage 

A narrow bathroom with a cupboard

(Image credit: -L M Design Associates. Photo credit Public 311)

While you might not need to go as full-on when it comes to bathroom storage ideas in a guest bathroom, if space allows, it does provide extra space for overflow storage for your home. 

Frameless cabinetry is a great choice, as this construction allows for larger drawers and can fit into a niche or a small space. Integrated handles will make the design look cleaner and sharper.

Within the cabinets, consider roll-out drawers, that are practical for towels or toiletries. Tilt-out trays can help you keep toothpaste, floss, and toothbrushes, stopping them from slipping down. Storage racks on the backs of doors can hold hair dryers. 

'Originally what was a long hallway like bathroom due to the home's main stairwell (which could not be moved), became a light filled reverie due to smart storage ideas and finessing the layout,' says Lauren. 'Extra square footage was unearthed during construction allowing for a generous new double wide shower area. An oversized window offers ample lighting and provides a hilltop view. New materials in cool, muted tones invite guests to take their time and enjoy the art of getting ready for the day. A custom-built vanity and extra large mirror incorporate bespoke elements including interior storage organization and a custom make up station.' 

6. Use open storage for a guest bathroom

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors)

Open shelves are a great way to add storage without reducing the square footage of the room or making it look smaller. By fitting shelves or by floating them on walls, you can contribute to the surface area of the bathroom, provide space to keep things, and make the room comfortable. It also means you have storage so that guests can find what they need, without rummaging in the wrong drawers or cabinets.

Fitting shelves in niches is a great way to utilize space you might not even know you have; a great addition during your bathroom remodel. If this is an interior wall that does not have insulation or plumbing running through it, that is a space you can use. 

Keep in mind, when using open storage like this, transfer toiletries out of their plastic bottles, and into decorative containers. It will instantly make the room feel less cluttered and more stylish.

7.  Bring in greenery and candles for a spa-like effect

storage ideas for small bathrooms

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Give the guest bathroom a refreshing touch with oxygen-boosting plants. These will not only make the space seem decorated and full but also add a subtle touch of color, especially if your bathroom is largely white. 

Some plants that are ideal for the bathroom are Tillandsias, Snake plant, Aloe vera, Split-leaf philodendron, and Succulents. If the guest bathroom doesn't get a lot of natural light, ensure you choose the best houseplants for low light.

Apart from plants, to add another layer of beauty, aesthetics, and sensory touch, include candles or scented diffusers to the room to make it seem luxe.

8. Choose a soothing color combination to make an impression

A small bathroom with grey tiles and pink mirror

(Image credit: SML Architects)

Commitment to color in a guest bathroom is often avoided, making its appearance a little drab or sterile. But don't forget that the guest bathroom isn't only meant for outsiders. This space is a part of your home's design story and deserves a lot of love and thought as well. Give it a refreshing and fun twist with appealing hues, induced via paint, wallpaper, or even tiles. Try the latest bathroom trends and give the flooring, walls and sink a second thought.

'We chose this color combination for the bathroom as a continuity of the color combination and material palette used in the rest of the house,' says Mahek Lalan, director and principal architect, SML Architects (opens in new tab). 'We picked up handmade porcelain mosaic tiles for a striking look.'

What should you put in a guest bathroom?

A green-painted bathroom

(Image credit: Mary Patton)

The point is to make your guests feel like they're in their own homes. This means, putting yourself in their shoes and thinking of what essentials you use in the bathroom. And then add some more to give them a feeling of being pampered.

Whether it's a small bathroom layout or a large one, several elements can be fit inside the space to make it feel plush. Add a few rolls of tissues, toilet paper, bath towels, washcloths, hand soap, an extra toothbrush, and a hair dryer in the cabinet for them to use. Perhaps a monogrammed bathrobe, q-tips, lotions, and even a nail clipper can help.

Don't forget bathroom slippers, and add some candles or a diffuser to give the space a spa-like vibe.

How do I make my guest bathroom like a hotel?

Currently, hotel-inspired bathrooms are a big trend, and it's easy to see why. In today's day and age when self-care is of utmost importance and where luxury and beautiful homes have reached the top of people's priority list, having an indulgent bathroom has become a must. 

Create a luxe space by using quality materials like marble or quartz. Choose glistening, metallic fixtures in bronze or silver, and go for a stylish, designer tub, ideal for a deep soak. Invest in the fluffiest, plushest towels, and add a personal touch by monogramming the hand towels. Bring in a tall palm here, for a touch of greenery. And, stimulate your senses with scented soaps, signature bathroom scents, and candles.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.