Apartment bathroom ideas – 9 clever ways to enhance a studio space

Maximize the potential of a studio or rental with these inspiring apartment bathroom ideas

Apartment bathroom ideas
(Image credit: Future)

If you are looking for apartment bathroom ideas, then you’ll be more than aware of the tricky task of making a small bathroom look much bigger than it actually is, while also trying to make every corner beautiful, practical and fully-functional. 

Up to recently, bathroom ideas for small spaces always required a compromise – often with the bathtub becoming the first victim in the battle for space - not to mention issues arising from lack of small bathroom ideas that include storage. 

Here we explore the very best apartment bathroom ideas, with expert advice from a selection of our favorite bathroom designers.

Apartment bathroom ideas 

Whether you opt for a sleek streamlined look, or traditional detailing, there are plenty of ways to pack a decorative punch with your apartment bathroom ideas. 

1. Invest in luxury materials in a small space

spa bathroom with neutral coloured stone floor and wall tiles and gold fixtures and fittings

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

'Apartment bathrooms can often be compromised when it comes to space, so clever design and luxury finishes are paramount,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens. 'This stunning bathroom has all-encompassing marble tiles that give it a hotel spa feel despite its compact size.'

'There are few materials that can create a feeling of opulence in modern bathroom design that marble can. Elegant, understated and effortlessly beautiful, marble can be used to great effect in a luxury apartment bathroom, no matter the size or style.'

2. Keep it light and bright for a spacious feel

marble bathroom with shower over tub, wall mounted double basin vanity, mirror, ensuite

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

White bathroom ideas are still the biggest selling 'color' in the bathroom market place, and there's no denying that choosing a white scheme does make an apartment bathroom look more spacious.

'Working with a predominantly fresh, white palette helps more compact bathrooms feel spacious,' says Clara Ewart, senior designer at Kitesgrove. 'By incorporating natural materials like marble, the overall scheme remains light and bright whilst the veining of the stone helps to create contrast and character. To maximize bathroom storage ideas within this apartment bathroom, we incorporated niche shelving within the shower as well as designing the vanity to include subtle under-basin drawers.'

3. Be bold and choose a vibrant wallpaper

Bathroom with Aspa Green wallpaper Sarah Vanrenen for Penny Morrison at The Fabric Collective

(Image credit: Penny Morrison/Mike Garlick)

'Bathroom wallpaper ideas works really well in big or small apartment bathrooms – a large light bathroom can take brighter fun patterns with a large print,' says Penny Morrison, interior designer at Penny Morrison. 'A small or dark bathroom is best using a dark, moody wallpaper – there are so many spectacular papers in animal prints, lacquer effect finishes and even ones that look like alligator hide. 

'Wallpaper can either have a clear varnish put over the paper to protect it from water – from any good paint supplier. Another tip is to have quite high up stands behind the bath and basin if using marble, or a large sheet of glass behind bath and basin is what I usually use.'

4. Choose a dramatic color scheme for impact

black and white bathroom with black tub, black and white graphic floor, wall lights, mirror

(Image credit: OKA)

Bathroom paint is such a wonderful design tool, and you can use it in this instance to make a small bathroom feel larger. 

‘Sometimes it’s the smallest spaces in your home that allow you to be the most creative; having less room to play with makes it easier to make a really dramatic statement,’ says Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director, OKA. 'In this bathroom, the contrast of the dark walls with the bright white tub, bathroom rug and accessories is all that’s needed.'

5. Split the space 

bathroom with walk in shower, black tub, window blind, rug, radiators, side table, crittal doors

(Image credit: Pooky)

Broken plan bathroom ideas are the new, post-pandemic, practical alternative to open plan spaces. Broken plan bathroom layouts allow you to create a wide range of clever and inspiring ways to make your apartment bathroom work for you.

'Apartments can be lacking in character, so give your bathroom plenty of it by choosing on-trend steel-framed doors for the shower,' ,' says Lucy Searle, global editor-in-chief, Homes & Gardens. 'Carry the black accent through into the tub, stool and blind and choose bright brass towel rails and fixtures for added luxury.'

6. Layer textures for an elegant result 

LED-bathroom-lighting-ideas-Drummonds-Barlow-and-Barlow, mirrored bathroom, wall lights, marble, vanity

(Image credit: Drummonds/Barlow & Barlow)

Designed by interior designers Barlow & Barlow, this Notting Hill apartment skilfully layers textures, color and pattern into an urban update of quintessential British style. 'Our classic bathroom fittings are central to this compact guest bathroom,' ,' says James Lentaigne, creative director, Drummonds

'The Bute bath with a hand-painted blue exterior forms the centerpiece of the space, whilst our chic wall-mounted Chessleton lights bring a contemporary sophisticated feel. An unlacquered brass finish features throughout, adding even more visual interest to this already characterful bathroom.'

7. Be inspired by hotel bathroom design

white bathroom, ensuite, loft, wall hanging double vanity, stool, white modern tub, white floor

(Image credit: House of Rohl/Pippa Patton Design/Paul Craig Photography)

'Whilst other areas of the home have changed in size over the years, the bathroom has stayed pretty much the same,' says Emma Joyce, brand manager at House of Rohl.  'In apartments, the bathroom is usually the space that is compromised the most.'

'However, as the bathroom starts to be seen as a space to enjoy rather than a purely utilitarian space, there are now more compact products available that look great and also work in small spaces. Home bathrooms are very much influenced by hotel bathroom design, and luckily, it’s not only large bathrooms that can be luxurious.'

8. Make a feature of your shower

green patterned tile shower with shelf, black framed glass doors, black wall hung radiator

(Image credit: Bert & May/@yellowcloudstudio)

Bathroom tile ideas have an important role to play in a small room's design – and not just because they provide a practical solution to keeping walls and floors protected from soap and splashes, but they are also provide interest and intrigue to apartment bathrooms.

'Create a focal point in your apartment bathroom by choosing decorative tiles for your shower – it certainly creates impact and a decorative aspect in this otherwise monochromatic bathroom,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens.

9. Use color in a small bathroom layout

Hexagonal tiled flooring and splashback in a small bathroom

(Image credit: Future/Davide Lovatti)

When it comes to designing an apartment bathroom, every inch counts. It is important to measure precisely and take into account doors, windows or sloped ceilings that may dictate your small bathroom layout. 

Don’t be afraid to introduce color, pattern and texture, even in awkward spaces. In this modern powder room from Pippa Paton, the hexagonal tiled flooring and backsplash give a cohesive look, creating a backdrop for this bathroom vanity idea that fits perfectly into the limited alcove space.

How can I make my apartment bathroom look luxurious?

Embrace the best modern bathroom materials, on-trend bathroom color ideas and mood-boosting bathroom lighting to create an apartment bathroom that looks luxurious.

‘Of course bathrooms are practical and functional spaces but they don’t need to be utilitarian,' says Mike Fisher, creative director and founder, Studio Indigo. 'Be adventurous and give the space personality. A bold scheme will provide a conversation piece with guests and friends, particularly in a powder room. Pattern can be introduced through wallpaper, fabric or tiles. Complement your patterns with good light – in a powder room it can be atmospheric but in bathrooms you need light and plenty of it.’

Expertly-chosen bathroom lighting ideas are an integral design element that should be planned at the start of a project, especially when dealing with small spaces.

‘In a small shower room it is crucial not to underestimate the importance of good lighting,' advise Mary Graham and Nicole Salvesen, founders, Salvesen Graham. 'This should always include decorative wall lights either side of a mirror to provide a softer, more flattering light for the face as well as a decorative feature.’ 

How can I make my apartment bathroom better?

The best way to make your apartment bathroom better is to factor in good bathroom storage ideas into your small space. 

‘When it comes to adding storage in small bathrooms think high-level rather than bulky floor-standing vanity units. I always go the extra mile to keep the floor as clean and empty as possible, with wall-mounted loos, vanities and low-level accessories such as toilet brushes or bins. This means thinking cleverly about storage and making the most of any niches, mirror storage units and shelves, says Irene Gunter, founder and creative director, Gunter & Co. 'We love the Oval Box mirror from Ceramica Cielo for its design credentials, friendly price-tag and generous storage.’ 

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.