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How to decorate a small bathroom

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

How to... Decorate a small bathroom

Bathrooms are often the smallest space in a home, but that doesn't mean they can't be big on personality or style. Follow these tips for decorating your small bathroom.

How to decorate a small bathroomStep 1: Pick a theme

A bathroom is supposed to be a sanctuary. It's the place you get ready for your day — or wash off the vibes of the one you've already had. So before you start decorating, it's important to decide on a theme, style or vibe you'd like your bathroom to echo. Are you looking for a space that's energizing? What about relaxing? Maybe you're looking for something more exotic. Deciding between these elements will help you choose the colors, fixtures and accessories — and how to balance them.

Step 2: Choose one standout feature

When decorating a bathroom, it's important to create a focal point. Bathrooms tend to be small and adding too many décor elements (bold walls, a standout countertop, a large shower, etc.) can make the space feel cluttered and unwelcoming. So focus on one element you want to highlight. Accessorize with natural/neutral elements. If you want your countertop to sing, pick light tones for your walls. If you want to install moldings, avoid buying any other large or bold accessories (they may make the space feel smaller than it actually is). This will create balance.

Step 3: Clear clutter

Washrooms often become the most cluttered spaces in a home (packed with the towels, products and accessories we use to get ready for work every morning). This can create chaos in an otherwise small — and supposed-to-be-relaxing — space. So clear your bathroom of any needless items that may overwhelm it. Toss beauty products in wicker baskets. Get roll-out drawers or trays to store your makeup. Buy an armoire to house towels and soap in a neat and organized way. By banishing clutter, you'll create a more open and airy space.

Step 4: Spend your money in the right places

Buying great accessories for your bathroom need not be expensive. All you have to do is know when and where to spend your money. Since you — and your guests — will be wrapping yourselves in towels, don't scrimp on quality. Ditto for fantastic smelling soaps and hand creams. But the rest of your washroom's accessories — like a toothbrush holder, a toilet bowl cleaner or a shower curtain — can be bought inexpensively at any design store.

Step 5: Open up the space

The best way to add an air of elegance to a teeny tiny bathroom is to make it feel larger than it actually is. Paint the walls a neutral color. Add an elongating mirror. Add lattices or moldings to make the walls feel taller. Combined, these elements can make your space look like it's befit for a mansion – instead of a bachelor or one-bedroom apartment.

Step 6: Choose the right lights

Natural light is one of the best ways to create a relaxing bathroom atmosphere. If you don't have a window in the vicinity of your washroom, pop into your local hardware store and ask them to find some inexpensive, eco-friendly bulbs. Doing so will up your bathroom's spa-like air, and will also make your space feel larger and more natural than it currently is.

Step 7: Get scented

Catering to your sense of smell is one of the easiest ways to make a space feel larger and more welcoming. So whenever possible, befit your bathroom with lovely scented products: from soap to air freshener and even flowers. This will give the ever-so-small space an air of openness.

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