Design ideas for small bathrooms

If there’s no possibility of extending into a landing or spare room, it’s vital to plan your small bathroom space in detail to ensure a successful renovation project

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en suite with moroccan floor tiles and blue panelling

Compact sanitaryware

Invest in a suite specially designed for smaller spaces, including small basins, reduced-length baths, corner WCs and compact shower cubicles. However, don’t attempt to shoehorn too much in – ideally you will need at least 60-70cm in front of the WC, 70-80cm around the bath to get in and out and about 70-80cm in front of the basin.

A shower over the bath will save room; look for D- or L-shaped baths with one end deeper to make showering easier. Where there’s space for a separate shower, try a quadrant model with curved sliding doors, or build a stud wall against the end of the bath to form one side of the shower cubicle.

marble tiling around a bath in a small white bathroom

Walls and floors

Don’t shy away from large-format tiles. They require fewer grout lines, avoiding the grid effect that standard tiling can lead to which might make a small bathroom feel boxier.

Glossy surfaces will reflect light around the room, but take care that floor tiles have a non-slip surface.

bathroom with black metro tiles and glazed metallic tiles

Lighting choices

Natural light is always best in a bathroom and adding frosted film will allow light in, yet maintain privacy if the room is overlooked. High windows are another option and mean you are left with plenty of wall space to hang sanitaryware.

Recessed downlighters in the ceiling are more flexible than a single light in the centre of the room. In bathrooms, there are restrictions on where you can place lighting fixtures depending on their proximity to water, so the correct fittings with the right ingress protection rating will need to be used.

Either fit a pull cord inside the room or a switch outside. Adding a dimmer will allow you to select different light levels depending on your mood.

sloping ceiling bathroom in a loft master bedroom

Showers and wetrooms

If space is tight, then a shower room or a more contemporary wetroom could be the answer, although the latter will be a more expensive option. Be aware that the room must be completely tanked (lined with waterproof membrane) to ensure there are no leaks.

Be careful when adding fixtures and fittings, as a WC, for example, will need to be wall-hung or fixed with adhesive, as fixing to the floor with screws will compromise the membrane. If you don’t want to create a full wetroom, mimic the look with a walk-in shower.

bespoke fitted bathroom with grey open vanity unit

Essential storage

As with kitchens, you can never have too much storage, but make a list of what you need to store in there before planning storage. Vanity units below basins or behind a wall-hung WC will provide much needed space in a small room and can also be used to conceal pipework. Tall wall-hung units will free up floor space, which will, in turn, make the room feel bigger.

Adding a cupboard for towels at the end of a boxed-in bath is a good use of space, as is a cabinet over the basin with a mirrored finish, which has the added benefit of reflecting light, to help give the illusion of space.