Design Inspo

The Best Narrow Small Bathroom Layouts for Homeowners

A narrow bathroom can still have big style with little planning. Follow these tips to create a narrow bathroom layout that’s pure luxury.

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Maybe you’re wondering how to make your small, narrow bathroom work when you’d really prefer to gut it and start over. Before you make any rash decisions, put down the sledgehammer! 

The visual and emotional impact of a bathroom doesn’t depend on square footage. Instead, it depends on how well your design elements come together. Our basic layout and planning techniques will help your small, narrow bathroom become a cohesive retreat in no time. Here's how to design your bathroom!

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Small, Narrow Layouts Can Be Functional

There isn’t usually a lot of variety regarding narrow bathrooms. Most are in a three-in-a-row layout of vanity, toilet, and tub. The differences tend to be in the size and specs of each fixture, but this is where you can exert some control. 

Double Vanities Can Make a Solid First Impression 

Double vanities are popular for the obvious reasons: first, utility, and second, they visually enlarge the space with more mirrors and generous cabinets underneath. 

A double vanity can easily take up six feet of wall space, but if you source a more compact version, you might get by with only using five feet, which can make a big difference in the “elbow room” you have between fixtures. 

Choose a Single Vanity

Creating a little breathing room is vital in a small space. If you don’t really need the double sink, consider a single vanity with a cabinet beneath it that has just enough storage without overwhelming your bathroom. 

Free Up Floor Space With a Pedestal or Console

If storage space isn’t an issue (as is often the case in a powder room), claim even more visual space by installing a pedestal or console sink. Both styles take up less floor space, making the room seem bigger.

The graceful base of a pedestal and the vintage leg accents of the console add a cool vintage feel, while the console’s exposed plumbing can work with a modern industrial style. 

Let a Trough Sink Work With Your Narrow Space 

An extremely narrow bathroom that can’t accommodate a pedestal might have enough room for a slim trough sink that floats along the wall. Here you’ll free up floor space while drawing the eye along the length of the wall for a feeling of expansiveness. You can make the most of your rectangular room by playing it up with the trough and keeping clutter to a minimum. 

Install a Corner Sink

All of the aforementioned vanity styles would work in a corner sink. Corner sinks come on the smaller side but play nicely with a bathroom’s narrow proportions. These sinks allow you to have a full-sized tub for relaxing, which may be worth the sacrifice of a larger basin. 

Bathroom Pocket Doors Might Boost Indoor Light Levels

A last consideration when choosing your fixtures is to remember that your bathroom door needs space to swing inward … unless it doesn’t. Pocket doors are a clever solution to small bathrooms that lack door clearance. Even keeping it open when the powder room is unoccupied can allow light from the bathroom window to pour into the rest of the house. It doesn’t hurt that these sneaky doors look good too.

Shower and Tub Dilemma

You may want the soaking tub and the walk-in shower — who doesn’t? The reality of a small bathroom is that choices have to be made, but here are some options that may help you with that tough decision. 

Hang Curtains Higher 

If you go with a tub and shower in one, consider raising your shower curtains to the ceiling to draw the eye upward, offsetting the narrowness of the space. Keep your curtain pushed back when not in use for better light flow and a sense of roominess. 

Walk-In Shower

Lots of homeowners are replacing their tubs and creating bathrooms with only standing showers. Walk-in showers can increase the feeling of space in your bathroom when the walls are made of clear glass. Glass shower walls won’t disrupt the light flow or the visuals of a larger room. 

All-in-One Wet Room

Take this one step further with the all-in-one wet room that has been catching on around the world. Completely covered in tile, the wet room gives a bathroom an expansive feel, thanks to the uniformity of the floor-to-ceiling tile. It also removes any need to accommodate large shower doors.

How To Make Narrow Walls Seem Broad

Maximize the space in a small bathroom by employing a few old-fashioned interior design tricks:

Choose Light Colors

An all-white bathroom is a classic choice for a light and airy feel, even more so when you use glossy paint. 

But if you want your small space to have the high impact of darker colors, let them recede into the background against the contrast of striking, light bathroom fixtures. Think dark teal walls offset by a floating marble vanity. You are going bold here, so go all the way! The bathroom shown above is a great example of making bold design decisions while still having a small space feel airy.

Use Larger Mirrors 

No matter what color you choose for the walls, running a large-scale mirror on one of them greatly increases the amount of light in your room and the illusion of extra space. Let this mirror cover the entire wall to use all the vertical space available. Mirrors make a huge statement while visually balancing the narrow proportions.

Move Towel Bars

Nothing disrupts the appearance of a sleek, streamlined bathroom like a blocky towel drying on a towel bar. Consider attaching your towel bars to the vanity to prevent this. Even hanging your towels on a two-pronged door hook could be enough to keep the bathroom feeling airy and organized. 

Install Big Tiles for a Bigger Space

It is tempting to think of tiny, delicate floor tiles for a petite space, but small spaces actually look bigger when you use larger-scale floor tiles or planks. Shop for bathroom tiles (12 x 24 inches in size) and set them on a diagonal across the floor to further manipulate perspective and give a feeling of spaciousness throughout the room.

Use Light to Your Advantage

You’ll need a combination of natural light and light fixtures to increase feelings of space and relaxation. 

Add a Window or Skylight

If you are going all the way with a remodel or new build, consider a transom window over the tub or shower. All of that sunlight opens up your small space. If you don’t have a window, adding a skylight may be an option that, coupled with mirrors, can fill your room with light. 

Create Ambience With Multi-Level Lighting

Narrow bathrooms don’t often have room for a grand chandelier above a large soaking tub, but that doesn't mean you can’t have stylish light fixtures. Try hanging vintage brass wall sconces on either side of your vanity for glamor or modern drop orbs with a coordinating pendant overhead. 

If you combine overhead light with wall sconces and backlight the mirror, you now have three levels of lighting. Multi-level ambient lighting gives your small space a sense of mystique in the evening when it is time to unwind with a bubble bath. Source the right lighting for your bathroom in Spoak’s product discovery feed to find the perfect match.

Bring In the Natural World

Natural materials don’t change your room’s dimensions, but their soothing effect on the mind counteracts any feeling of being cramped and stressed while getting ready for the day. 

Bring In Natural Materials for Connectedness

Incorporating wood into interior environments has been shown to produce feelings of wellness and greater focus in study participants. Bring other natural materials like granite, marble, bamboo, and slate into your biophilic interior design to create an emotional response of calm and a connection to nature. 

Cultivate a Green Thumb In the Bath

The easiest way to introduce nature to your decor is to simply place a few plants in the bathroom. Hang plants like pothos in the shower — they can benefit from the humidity of the shower and even thrive in lower light. Once their leaves grow nice and long, they can create a natural rainforest feel in your space.

Layer a couple of potted plants with art on a narrow, long vanity ledge. The color of the greenery can be a bold contrast to your bathroom colors and fixtures. 

Small Bathroom, Big Design Ideas

Hopefully, you see that your small, narrow bathroom isn’t the oppressive little space you once thought it was. Instead, it’s an opportunity to let your design skills shine. You can create a small, narrow bathroom that makes the most of your space while creating the feeling of a mini-spa at home.

Photo Credit: (Left) Home Edit


Walk-in showers replacing baths in many remodels | The Columbus Dispatch

What is a wet room, and why should you get one? | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

How to Design a Bathroom Wet Room | U.S. News

Physiological effects in humans induced by the visual stimulation of room interiors | Springer

Biophilia: Bringing Nature into Interior Design | ArchDaily

All You Need to Know About Transom Windows | Bob Vila

Use Spoak’s Design Suite to mock up your bathroom layout and bring your vision to life.

Date Posted
February 28, 2023



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