When it comes to space, bathrooms often fall short. Here are 20 big ideas to make small bathrooms seem anything but!
In most homes, the bathroom commonly has the smallest footprint in the house as space is sacrificed for bedrooms and living spaces, explains Reece Bathrooms Business Manager, Daniela Santilli. “This has encouraged the development of many clever space saving solutions to squeeze the most out of the space,” she says, noting colour, tiles and compact fittings and fixtures, as just some of the savvy space saving starting points.
Here are 15 ways to create the illusion of space, in your bathroom.
1. Wall mounting
Wall mounting as many fixtures as possible - from vanities to toilets - frees up the floor and bench, and provides the illusion of space, Daniela notes.
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2. Draw the eye
Mirrors combined with beautiful low hanging pendant lights will draw your eye straight to them, and away from poky corners, advises Tammy Nathan of style accessories company Nathan & Jac. “Choose wisely and you will provide lots of wow factor,” she says.
3. Attract sunlight
“If there’s an opportunity to go even bigger with your windows or install a skylight, take it, as nothing makes a small room feel larger like plenty of sunlight,” says Daniela.
4. Use existing structures
When renovating, by using existing plumbing points and opting for a retrofit, will help to keep costs down and still allow you to make significant changes to the feel of your space.
5. Enhance perception
“Larger tiles will make your floor look bigger by minimising grout lines, and a hot tip is to take the same tile from the floor up the walls to enhance the perception of a larger space,” notes Daniela.
6. Get innovative
“Using innovative towel rail solutions like freestanding or swivel options will give you a touch of luxe with a small footprint,” Daniela explains. A floor to ceiling heated rail also takes advantage of vertical height available in the bathroom.
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7. Natural elements
White can make a bathroom feel bigger but it will also make it feel quite cold, cautions Tammy, so if you want a complete white-out, prevent it from looking too sterile with some textural, natural elements. “Warm it up by adding a floating timber shelf or two, and use cascading plants for a sense of calm. Scented candles and luxurious towels will also allow for finishing touches.”
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“Matching your grout to your tile colour will make the lines practically disappear and produce a smoother look,” advises Daniela.
Running tiles horizontally across the wall will make the room seem wider, while laying tiles vertically will make a ceiling feel taller.
10. Creative installation
“By installing an in-wall cistern for your toilet, you can save valuable inches while creating a sleek and modern finish,” notes Daniela.
“The use of mirrors is without a doubt the most effective way to add light and the feeling of space to a bathroom,” says Tammy. Try adding a mirror to an entire wall for real impact.
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In a small bathroom, placement of doors must be carefully considered. The way your shower, vanity and entry doors interact can really impact space, so make sure each door has enough clearance to open on its own, urges Daniela. “Opting for sliding doors to the bathroom and shower are great space-saving options, while removing doors from the vanity and choosing open vanity shelves can help to create a feeling of more space,” she adds.
13. Go streamline
Joinery is also a very powerful detail to save space, notes Tammy. “Joinery with recessed finger pulls instead of handles removes another element and can visually streamline a smaller bathroom."
14. Add softness
The use of plants in a bathroom gives a natural softness to all the hard surfaces, and many species will actually thrive in a bathroom.
If you can live without a bath, fully tile a space and create a wet room, removing solid walls and using fixed frameless glass screens to manage water spray, suggests Tammy. If you really are a sucker for a soak, an inset bath is a great way to go, adds Daniela. “When space is at a premium, an inset bath is usually the way to go as you can place it right up against the wall and tile all the way around,” she says. “Inset baths are great for retrofitting, using existing plumbing to give your bathroom an instant update, and certain baths are now available in smaller sizes without sacrificing form or function.
16. Create space with texture
"You can do a white bathroom but the use of different tiles - such as a large format tile on the floor and then a mosaic or shaped tile on the walls - will give a great sense of space,” advises Catherine Valente, Interior Designer at World of Style by Porter Davis.
17. Sink To New Lows
Using an under-mount sink or a plain style (low line) will also give a feeling of space and openness. “Match the basin with taps on the wall or even through the mirror to keep the vanity area clean and the lines simple,” Catherine adds.
“Showerheads that come from the ceiling keep the walls clean and open up the shower space,” notes Catherine.
“White or versions of white play a massive part in creating a larger sense of space,” notes Catherine. Either gloss or matt finishes work, and light ‘Scandinavian’ timbers are better to create a sense of weightlessness rather than heavy, dark tones, she adds. “Run the grain of the timber or timber laminate horizontal to create a sense of width.”
18. Thin Is In
“Be careful with the overall thickness of the towels,” urges Catherin. “If you love thick fluffy towels maybe only have one on show over the towel rail as the thickness can look like its taking valuable space away.”
“Always have the doors open out rather than in,” suggests Catherine. “I would always prefer a door rather than a sliding door, but where possible include some glass to allow natural light through and if you have landscaped outside you can create a sense of the outside/in, blurring the space and feeling like the overall space is extended.”
19. Keep The Shower Clean
Shower curtains give a sense of closing in the space, whereas glass will always push the space back out, says Catherine. “Where possible have a sheet of glass rather than a shower screen – this will allow you to walk directly into your shower and blur the lines of the space - and if you want to do a screen, a semi frameless or frameless option will always help the shower itself feel bigger but help reflect the overall space. “
20. Avoid a Black Out
Metallic and black are featuring heavily in bathrooms at the moment but be careful in a small space, urges Catherine. “If you want to use black, do so just on the vanity and keep the rest of the elements chrome.” Black in all areas could create too many focal points, make the space too busy and start highlighting elements you may be trying to deflect, she adds.
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