Make your bathroom feel bigger

Marrying a practical design with period features can be tricky. Pippa Blenkinsop looks at how to make the most of your space without compromising on style

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Hemline tiles in white, from Topps Tiles

As the old adage goes, a clear home aids a clear mind, and nowhere is this principle more important than in the bathroom. It’s the place where we prepare for the day ahead, but also unwind at the end of it, so if there’s anywhere in the home that deserves to be a clutter-free, organised oasis, it’s this room.

In small bathrooms, creating the illusion of space is difficult to achieve, as is reconciling traditional tastes with a fuss-free scheme. The sleek lines and minimalist designs of contemporary bathrooms naturally lend themselves to a more spacious feel, but can look out of place in a period home. So how do you balance the two?

Small bathroom with fitted furniture from Heritage

(Image: © Heritage)

This fitted furniture from Heritage makes the most of a small space

Short of reconfiguring the layout of your home to increase a bathroom’s footprint, there are some simple design principles and smart solutions that you can employ to get the most from your space, as well as maintain a style in-keeping with period features. 

If starting from scratch, think carefully about walls and floors. Whether painted or tiled, opting for a muted scheme will inevitably make a room feel bigger and brighter, yet some experts argue that a dark shade all over can be equally effective, giving the impression of boundless space. 

Small bathroom with walk in shower, bath and heated towel rail

This three-bar, wall-hung towel warmer from Drummonds takes the chill of your bathroom, while heating towels

Also consider heating and electrics – a well-planned lighting scheme combining task, ambient and accent lighting will work wonders, while fitting underfloor heating will eliminate radiators.

With fixtures and fittings, anything that frees up floor space is a win. Wall-hung sanitaryware, furniture and radiators are increasingly available in traditional styles, or simply opt for smaller versions. Finally, for quick fixes, fill any alcoves or hidden surfaces, such as the backs of doors, with wall-hung storage. Mirror-fronted cabinets make for ideal light-enhancing finishing touches.