How to Save Space in a Small Bathroom — 6 Designer-Approved Tricks to Make the Most of a Tiny Footprint

Don't let a small bathroom get you down — designers swear by these tips to help your space go further

A small bathroom with floating vanity
(Image credit: Tim Lenz. Design: Crystal Sinclair)

If you're struggling with a small bathroom, fear not! There are clever methods out there that the designers swear by to save valuable space. From smart storage solutions to clever design features, there are so many ways to make the very most of your bathroom's footprint, so maneuvering around the room doesn't feel so claustrophobic.

From optimizing wall space to decluttering those drawers once and for all, here are six of the designers' favorite tips for saving space in a small modern bathroom.

1. Make the most of your vertical space

A bathroom with floor-to-ceiling storage

(Image credit: Jonathan Hokklo. Design: Jessica Gersten)

Vertical storage is your best friend when looking to save space in your small bathroom and you might find that your walls present more opportunity for storage space than the footprint.

Think freestanding cabinets that reach the ceiling to floating shelving units that can help store those bathroom necessities while providing a surface for decor. Alternatively, built-in cupboards that are fitted into the alcoves in the room aren't just a great idea for living rooms and bedrooms, and they can provide ample storage for towels and toiletries in bathrooms too.

'Saving space in your small bathroom is as easy as finding smart storage solutions,' says Lauren Levinson, senior project manager of Rise Projects, a full-service architecture and design firm based in New York. 'Medicine cabinets, shower niches, vanities with storage, and decorative wall shelves offer solutions to declutter your countertops and have organized designated spaces for your bathroom.'

The best way to save space in a bathroom is to double up on furniture. Get clever with design that combines form, function and style. Mirrors that double up as cabinets and bounce the light around the room are a great way to disguise clunky bathroom storage.

2. Build in niches for extra storage

A bathroom with built-in niche

(Image credit: Tim Lenz. Design: Crystal Sinclair)

A bathroom niche might just be the answer to your small bathroom woes, says Juan Carretero of Capital C Interiors. 'A recessed niche can save you lots of space and they are nicer than shelves,' says Juan.

The niche is a clever way to incorporate extra storage and remove any need for bulky shower caddies. Even the smallest of bathrooms can benefit from a small niche, just large enough to house your shampoo and conditioner.

They are a great space to have a little fun too. Even in the smallest of bathrooms, you can paint your niche a different color, tile it with a wow-factor tile that adds interest to the room, or even create a niche in an interesting shape (think arched or even hexagonal). Niches can even be lit from above for a modern feel.

'These days you can find prefab storage niches to embed the toilet brush and loo roll in the wall. Some even have a door to put them completely out of sight,' says Juan. Prefabricated niches are easy to install and come readily made.

3. Make the most of the vanity space

A bathroom with floating vanity

(Image credit: Tim Lenz. Design: Crystal Sinclair)

Either opt for a cupboard under your basin where you can slot in extra storage for bathroom necessities, or go for a floating vanity. 'Install a floating vanity. this makes the space feel larger because the floor is extended under the vanity - it has a larger footprint so it makes the room feel larger,' says Crystal Sinclair.

For Alexandra Kaehler, a small-scale sink is another way to make the most of this area of the room. It's compact and takes up little room. 'I love skirting a pedestal sink in a small bathroom. It’s so compact and you can store everything underneath the skirt without anyone ever knowing,' says Alexandra.

4. Go for a compact bathtub

A small freestanding bath in a bathroom

(Image credit: Brock Beazley Photography. Design: Comma Projects & T Teak Projects + Co)

If you're looking to save space in a small bathroom, you might think that you have to forgo certain luxuries - a large, luxurious freestanding bath being one of them. The fact of the matter is, a freestanding bath might not be available to you, but there are smaller models on the market (measuring around 55 inches) that give you the best of both worlds.

Compact slipper baths have an asymmetrical frame that is raised on one end and lowered at the other, meaning that instead of lying down completely, you are a little more upright when in the bath - but a smaller bath helps you save space without compromising on style and elegance.

5. Keep a clutter-free room

A small bathroom with decluttered interior

(Image credit: Malissa Mabey. Design: Susannah Holmberg)

When planning to optimize your small bathroom, decluttering is key. If you're wondering how to organize a bathroom, emptying your bathroom of all those empty bottles of shampoo and conditioner and really assessing what to keep and what to chuck is a great place to start.

I always advise decanting bottles into aesthetically pleasing bottles for a harmonious and seamless look. This makes everything uniform and feel less decluttered just by appearance. Elsewhere in the room, you might want to empty any drawers and reassess what you need.

Organize the space under your cabinets with under-sink storage with a slide-out system that helps you easily access what you need. Drawer dividers can really help you focus the mind and keep things organized and neat. A soap caddy with a small pot for toothbrushes and toothpaste will help your sink area stay organized and avoid any clutter.

6. Try a wet room solution

shower room with green arched door

(Image credit: Michael Sinclair. Design by Maddux Creative)

Finally, if you have a bathroom with an awkward layout, a wet room area might make a great way to save space and getting rid of the need for a typical shower can make your small bathroom look bigger, giving you extra space to play around with.

Think about the partition you have between your wet room area and the rest of the room. Instead of a standard wall, encourage light flow around the room (sure to make the space feel lighter and brighter).

'Another way I make the most of a small bathroom is to install a glass shower partition or install a ceiling track for a custom shower curtain in the length you need,' says Crystal. 'If it's a renovation, I always try and get natural light into the small space, if it's not already there.'

Go for a glass brick aesthetic or even frosted glass for something that encourages light while maintaining privacy.

3 storage solutions to help you save space in a small bathroom

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.