a shower liner hanging over a bathtub in modern bathroom

Shower Curtain Ideas to Make Your Bathroom Look Bigger

The bathroom is easy to overlook when it comes to design, but in reality, almost every part of the bathroom can be customized to make a small bathroom seem bigger. The toilet, mirror, vanity, even the shower curtain. I’ve seen some quite creative setups when it comes to making your bathroom look bigger. Here are some great ideas to use your shower curtain to your advantage.

1. Use Light Colors

A light-colored shower curtain can greatly enhance the perception of space in your bathroom. Light colors, such as white, cream, or pastels, are known to reflect more light compared to darker shades. This increased reflection can illuminate the room, making it appear brighter, airier, and ultimately larger. So, selecting a shower curtain in a light shade can contribute significantly to creating the illusion of a larger bathroom.

2. Choose a Clear Shower Curtain

PEVA shower curtain being installed

A clear shower curtain can work wonders for a small bathroom by allowing the eye to travel through the entire space without interruption. This lack of visual barrier effectively extends the line of sight, making the bathroom seem larger. It works on a similar principle as using a glass door for the shower, which also offers uninterrupted views through the space. A clear shower curtain, therefore, can make your bathroom feel more expansive.

3. Use a Shower Curtain with Vertical Stripes

Just as vertical stripes in clothing can give the illusion of a taller figure, a shower curtain with vertical stripes can visually elongate a bathroom, making it appear larger. The stripes guide the eye upward, emphasizing the height of the room instead of its smaller width or length. Consequently, a shower curtain adorned with vertical stripes can help give the impression of a taller and larger bathroom space.

4. Select a Shower Curtain with a Large Print

Incorporating a shower curtain with a large print into your bathroom design can create a visual distraction that lends the illusion of a larger space. Large designs or patterns on the curtain can attract the eye and hold its focus. This visual interest and distraction can make the bathroom’s size secondary, giving the illusion of an expansive space.

5. Hang the Shower Curtain Higher

Hanging the shower curtain near the ceiling rather than just above the shower head can create the illusion of a taller room and, as a result, a larger space. The curtain, which hangs down to cover the shower or bathtub, can give the illusion of height thanks to its extended length. This added height can then translate into the perception of a larger bathroom, contributing to a more spacious feel.

6. Extend the Shower Curtain Width

Consider using an extra-wide shower curtain or even two regular-sized curtains side by side. This strategy not only adds a touch of luxury but also makes the shower area appear wider, contributing to the illusion of a larger bathroom. With the curtains fully extended, your shower area (and thus, the bathroom) seems larger, and the extra fabric adds a touch of elegance.

7. Match Your Shower Curtain to Your Tiles

white tile in the shower that matches the white curtain

For bathrooms with tiles in the shower or around the bathtub, a shower curtain that matches the color or pattern of the tiles can create a continuous line of sight, making the space appear larger. This continuity can trick the eye into perceiving the shower or bathtub and the rest of the bathroom as a single, larger space, rather than viewing them as two distinct areas.

8. Use a Shower Curtain with Horizontal Stripes

If your bathroom has a low ceiling but plenty of floor space, a shower curtain with horizontal stripes can help give the room a wider appearance. Horizontal stripes guide the eye to look side to side rather than up and down, emphasizing the width of the room. This can create the illusion of a wider, more spacious bathroom.

9. Incorporate a Shower Curtain with a Mirror Image Design

A shower curtain that features a design which mirrors itself from the center can create a sense of symmetry and balance, which can make a small bathroom feel more spacious. The eye is naturally drawn to symmetry, and by splitting the design down the middle, it can create the illusion of an expanded space, helping the bathroom feel larger.

10. Tie Your Shower Curtain Back

If you have the habit of leaving your shower curtain closed even when the shower is not in use, consider changing this habit and tying the curtain back instead. This action reveals more of the shower area, creating a visual expansion of the space. A tied-back shower curtain gives the room an airy feel, contributing to the illusion of a larger bathroom.

11. Choose a Curtain with a Subtle Pattern


A shower curtain with a subtle, light pattern can add some interest to the room without overwhelming the space. Large, bold patterns can feel busy and crowd the room visually, while subtle patterns provide just enough interest to prevent the space from feeling bland. This balance keeps the bathroom feeling open and spacious.

12. Coordinate Shower Curtain and Decor

Matching the shower curtain to other elements in the bathroom, such as towels or art, can create a cohesive look that makes the room feel more spacious. When the eye can flow smoothly from one element to another, it creates a sense of unity. This sense of harmony can make the bathroom feel larger than it actually is.

13. Use a Shower Curtain with a Gradated Color Design

A shower curtain that starts with a lighter shade at the top and gradually becomes darker towards the bottom can draw the eye upwards, giving the sense of a higher ceiling and a more spacious room. This gradient effect can give your bathroom a designer touch, while also working to create the illusion of more space.

14. Install a Curved Shower Curtain Rod

curved shower curtain rod

A curved shower curtain rod bows out, providing extra elbow room in the shower and creating the illusion of a more spacious shower area. The curvature of the rod makes the shower curtain hang further out from the edge of the bathtub, thereby creating a feeling of a larger and roomier shower area.

15. Avoid Busy Patterns

While some patterns can add visual interest, overly busy or dark patterns on a shower curtain can make the bathroom seem smaller. Stick to simpler designs and lighter colors to maintain a sense of spaciousness. A cluttered design can visually fill the space, making it appear smaller, so avoiding this can help maintain the illusion of a larger bathroom.

colby armstrong headshot
Colby Armstrong
Interior Designer | + posts

Colby Armstrong, born and raised in Vermont, is an inventive designer who developed a fascination for interior design and color coordination from a young age, influenced by his home decorator parents. An ardent hiker and nature enthusiast, Armstrong draws inspiration from natural elements and colors, incorporating them into his unique shower curtain designs.

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