This small bathroom makeover is a lesson in space-saving design

Planning your own small bathroom makeover? Take note of these tips

Bathroom with green wall tiles, white splashback tiles and matt black hardware
(Image credit: Juliet Murphy)

It's notoriously tricky to get your bathroom design right, especially when you're dealing with a small space – and let's face it, how many of us have huge bathrooms? If you're looking for bathroom ideas for tiny spaces, you've come to the right place – because architects Emma and Ross's family bathroom is packed with ideas to steal.

Part of a bigger renovation of their home, including a small two-storey extension, Emma and Ross had the chance to start from scratch with a smaller bathroom than before – but they didn't let that get in the way of adding character to this tiny part of their quirky Victorian terrace. Notepads at the ready: here's how they did it…

Before shot of bathroom with dark blue walls and white suite

(Image credit: Juliet Murphy)

The before

Profile

The owners Emma and Ross Perkin, who own architectural practice Emil Eve, and their children Jess, six, and Tom, three
The property A four-bed Victorian terrace in Stoke Newington
Project cost £8,000

‘When we moved in, the layout was completely different,' says Emma. 'The house had been rented out as bedsits so it didn’t work as a family home.' The original bathroom was actually bigger than the new one, but it was dated and in need of some serious TLC. Emma and Ross agreed on a two-storey extension, with a small addition on the first floor used as the new bathroom and the old bathroom converted to a spare bedroom.

Bathroom with green wall tiles, white splashback tiles and matt black hardware

Sanitary supply, EC1 Bathrooms. Tiles, Johnson Prismatics

(Image credit: Juliet Murphy)

Letting in light

The couple made the most of having two outside walls by creating dual-aspect views across the surrounding trees. Maximising window space means the small room is flooded with light from two directions – plus, it makes for amazing views from the bath. Frosted glass keeps things private – and the windowsills offer a handy extra perch to display plants and curios.

Shot of sink with green tap, mirror and built-in oak shelving, white square splashback tiles and deep green wall tiles

(Image credit: Juliet Murphy)

Savvy storage

Emma and Ross designed the joinery themselves, and it's been put to good use in the bathroom, where it maximises space and offers a bespoke storage solution for the family. The oak cabinets are recessed into the wall, so they don't intrude on the room – creating the illusion of more space. A built-in mirror helps bounce light around and reveals a view of more joinery opposite.

Bathroom with monochrome pattern floor tile, white square tiles up bath, and deep green square tiles on wall

(Image credit: Juliet Murphy)

Tile style

Contacts

Main contractor County Construction

A small bathroom doesn't mean you have to play it safe, as this space shows. ‘Bathrooms are a really key space and should be as characterful as the rest of the house,’ says Emma. 'We created a line following the bottom of the windowsill, below which everything is white, while above there are flashes of oak and the deep green Victorian-inspired tiles, which tie in with the era of the property.’

Close-up of open shelving in bathroom made from oak

(Image credit: Juliet Murphy)

Cutting costs

‘Any project is about prioritising, especially financially,' says Emma. In order to spend more money elsewhere in their house – including the kitchen, where they wanted a stainless steel worktop and Danish brickwork for the extension – they compromised elsewhere, including opting for cheaper tiles in here. It's all about weighing up what matters to you and spending where quality is most important, like taps and other hardware. 

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Ellen Finch
Ellen Finch

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.

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