How To Design A Small Bathroom

In: Expert Bathroom Tips Articles

Small Bathroom - Layout tips blog

Our top ten tips for transforming a small bathroom.

The most common comment we hear from our clients is that their bathroom is ‘small’ or ‘tiny’. When in reality, it’s usually the same size as most of the bathrooms that we transform. You get so used to seeing your own bathroom in the layout it’s in, that it becomes difficult to imagine it in any other way. Thus, you believe this is the blueprint of the room and end up accepting there are no other options for your small bathroom. However, depending on your style, small rooms have the potential to be bright and airy or dark and dramatic just like their larger counterparts. Many hotels have small bathrooms that offer a practical layout.

Small ensuite bathrooms are just as exciting to a designer as any large bathroom. We must think intelligently about the layout, products that we use as well as the style. So that we achieve the maximum potential out of the space while keeping to our client’s brief. It’s a challenge we love.

So, do you think your bathroom is miniature and in need of a transformation? Continue reading for our tips on where to start transforming your space. We will be using a typical bathroom footprint to demonstrate how we designed it using our experience and knowledge. Here are our top ten tips on how to approach a bathroom that is perhaps a tricky shape or simply smaller than you wish it to be; including some neat ways we believe you can trick your eyes into seeing a room that looks bigger than it really is while also offering practical solutions.


1: Keep Your Bathroom Clutter Free!

When you’ve had your bathroom redesigned and beautifully installed, the last thing you want to see are half empty bottles of shampoo and body wash displayed on the side of the basin or the bath. Storage is a major factor in keeping your bathroom looking fresh, neat and tidy. An uncluttered bathroom will also help your mind and body to relax at the end of the day. However, the trick is to know what storage to choose and how much you really need. Read on to find out more in our ‘proportion’ tip.

Accessories for small bathrooms blog

2: Wall Hung Furniture and WCs

Maximising floor space is key to making the footprint of the room feel larger. Whatever material you use on the floor; be it tiles, Amtico or the like, lifting the furniture and toilet off the floor will create an illusion that your bathroom is much bigger than it actually is. Doing so will also allow for further lighting features which will eradicate shadows – another top tip that we elaborate on further on in the post! Having these items elevated above the floor also offers a practical benefit when it comes to housework; the floor will be easier to clean with no awkward obstacles to clean around.

Small Bathroom 3D drawing for blog

3: Shadow Gap Lighting

So, your WC and basin unit are now wall hung. However, you’re left with a shadow on the floor which still gives the impression that the space below the unit is unusable. Resulting in the room feeling the same size as when you first started! This is where shadow gap lighting is essential; using LED strips or mini spotlights to illuminate those areas, not only eradicates the shadows but connects that space back to the room. Moreover, it also offers a secondary lighting option which is softer, less direct and enhances a ‘mood’ effect for long soaks in the bath or relaxing rainfall showers.

Luxury bathroom ideas - strip lighting in Bathroom Thames Ditton

4: Big Tiles, Less Grout Lines!

The seamless look is evermore sought after. Tiles are getting bigger, new technologies in bathroom design are allowing for waterproof wallpapers and the prospect of waterproof plaster in residential properties is a near reality. The fewer grout lines you have will present your brain with less opportunity to calculate how wide or deep a room is. Opting for larger tiles to reduce grout lines gives a seamless and joint-less appearance. With an added benefit of being easier to maintain, as soap and limescale has less to take hold of.

Bathroom Eleven - large Tiles by Porcelanosa for small bathrooms

5: Recesses

Whether they are in a shower wall or above a bath, recesses help the eye to see beyond the wall face by giving it an extra depth which tricks the brain to see further into the space. Incorporating these into your bath and shower areas offers a practical shelf for storing your essential items when you need them. Dressing this space with stylish candles will also transform your mood when opting for long soaks in the bath! If you’re not using the space above your WC for a cabinet, why not create a feature out of it and add some extra recesses here for your more decorative bits and bobs. Placing a light into these recesses is also a great way to accentuate depth and create a softer feature light for your moody bathing and showering times, or indeed low-level lighting for night time visits to the WC.

Small Bathroom 3D drawing for blog

6: Feature walls

Decorating a feature wall or using a contrast tile of some sort, such as a darker shade, differing texture or exciting mosaic brings your eye further into that area making your brain see beyond the three walls that build your bath or shower area. Giving the illusion that the wall is further away than it is.

Small Bathroom 3D drawing for blog

7: Proportion – Size really does Matter!

Just because you could physically fit a freestanding bath or a double basin in the space, doesn’t mean that’s the right option for the room. Everything must be in proportion to each other. Having a small shower and WC but a huge, wide basin is only going to make the units look disproportionate. It will leave the user thinking the room isn’t big enough for that piece of furniture. Likewise, trying to squeeze a freestanding bath tight between two walls will only make the area look cramped – while also filling it with shadows and dust traps. Naturally, we want storage in our bathrooms, as we generally have several products that we like to use – most of which are used daily. However, just because you have a free wall, doesn’t mean you should put a cupboard on it. If you introduce too much boxy furniture, you will end up creating a closed in feel and make the room appear smaller. Our recommendation is to get a sleek unit underneath the basin (preferably wall hung), a mirrored illuminating (and why not demisting?) cabinet above your basin and then some stylish open recesses as mentioned above!

Small Bathroom 3D drawing for blog

8: Don’t Fully Tile

Instead of fully tiling, add depth with a painted finish or a contrasting wallpaper. This is key to adding warmth and softness to a space that is otherwise filled with hard surfaces. Wallpaper is also a great way to help with acoustics. Especially if you’re worried about an echo-filled bathroom.

Wallpaper with gold fish and silver background

9: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall…

Add a fabulous large mirror (although ensure you keep it within proportion of the room) to create depth and an illusion of space at eye level in your bathroom. Whether it’s a mirrored cabinet, hanging wall mirror that matches the width of your basin or, if you opt to go down the bespoke route; a mirror that fits the top half of your wall. This is a great way to instantly double the appearance of the space you have. If budget allows, opt for a demisting pad. A must if you’re planning to use the mirror after a long bathe or steamy shower!

Geberit Display at Bathroom Eleven Showroom in Long Ditton

10: Wet Rooms

Another way to elongate a bathroom is to remove the bath or shower tray. This wetroom option means that you can continue your floor tiling into the shower area thus expanding the appearance of the floor dimensions. You will maximise the space that your bathroom has to offer. The trick to a successful wetroom is to have a professional company to install them – this is one area you can’t afford to cut corners. We recommend going with a company, like ourselves, who offer a five-year guarantee. That way, you can be confident with your new space and thoroughly enjoy your new shower.

Wetroom in Thames Ditton - installed by Bathroom Eleven

…and that’s our top ten tips on how to approach the design of your ‘small’ bathroom.

If you would like to start your journey to a fabulous new bathroom, don’t hesitate to book your initial consultation with one of our designers. Or explore more of our bathroom transformations. You can also find us on Houzz and start saving to your own scrapbook!

Whatever your style, budget or room size, just remember this; when you see an interior style you like, with a bit of planning, it too can be adapted and applied to your bathroom. Just because the bathroom on Houzz, Pinterest or Magazine appears to be double the space you have, that doesn’t mean the same interior design scheme can’t be adapted to fit your space.

We hope you enjoyed these top ten tips! If you found them useful, please do share the link with your friends and family.

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