It’s difficult to get small bathrooms just right. It all comes down to striking a balance between form and function while taking into account features like the sink, shower, vanity, storage, and bathroom. When space is limited, you may feel as though you have less options to consider when it comes to design.
There are, however, creative design techniques you can use to maximise the space you do have. In some cases, it’s about flipping the design on its head and embracing the little area, producing a small powder room feel with major wow-factor.
Our collection of contemporary bathroom designs for compact spaces is evidence that you can do it well. Continue reading for tips from the designers on how to maximise even the smallest of areas.
Ideas for 10 small bathrooms that you can copy
AVOID BEING PUSHED FROM THE FREESTANDING BATHTUB
The freestanding bathtub, the pinnacle of the luxurious modern bathroom, offers the room a spa-like atmosphere and emphasises the notion that your bathroom is a place for pampering and relaxation, not merely a functional space. Don’t give up on your dreams of a freestanding bathtub just because you have a lesser space; your bath has the potential to become a stunning aesthetic focal point and the most opulent location for nourishing the body and soul.
According to Emma Joyce of House of Rohl, “When designing a compact bathroom, most choose a boxed-in bath to try and maximise the space.” “In practise, the result can feel constricting, and the space might seem to be dominated by a bath.”
A freestanding bath is a clever design choice since it may open up the floor and wall space, giving the impression of light and space.
A small or short freestanding bath can be as small as 47 inches for bathrooms with limited space. Think of a slipper bath, which is an asymmetrical standalone tub with one end raised so the bather can enter. Smaller bathrooms benefit from a short roll-top or back-to-the-wall design with at least 100mm of space around each edge, according to Barrie Cutchie of BC Designs.
You can compensate for a smaller size choice with more material. The smaller bathroom in this concept by interior design firm Zulufish has allowed the piece of furniture to really shine in wow-factor copper.
COLOUR THE CEILING
Investigate the possibilities using the “fourth wall” to draw the eye higher. The urge to paint your bathroom in light, neutral colours like white, cream, grey and beige could overcome you. These colours consistently reflect light throughout the room.
Keep it bright and light, advises COAT Paints’ Aaron Markwell. You don’t have need to use a pure white paint to brighten your home, but it may be tempting. To make a bathroom feel spacious, choose a light green or pale pink. A pastel colour can lighten the space and create a relaxing hideaway that feels like a spa.
“Whatever colour you choose, consider painting your walls, ceilings, and doors the same colour. This elongates the room, gives the illusion that the space is higher, and creates a cocooning effect.”
In this illustration, a bright flash of pink on the painted ceiling makes up for the absence of colour in the lower portion of the bathroom.
GET RID OF VISUAL CLUSTER
There are many simple things you can do in a small bathroom to reduce the visual clutter that shifts the mood of the area from one that should be relaxing to one that is stressful. The visual clutter that results from having too many items in a small bathroom will make it appear even smaller.
According to Cagla Akguner-Taylor of CHEG Architecture, who created this chic, elegant bathroom, “ensure the space feels clutter free and calm with details like larger tiles and minimum grout lines, concealed cisterns, a wall recess and frameless shower screens.” The bathroom will be free of visual clutter as a result, giving it more breathing room.
USE THE WALLS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Use your room’s construction to your advantage by trying to squeeze the walls into the area to make room for storage or, in this case, a tiny washbasin. Denise Hall Montgomery of DHM Architecture adds, “We highlighted the niche with a colourful tile selected from Hudson Penny Round Emerald and added solid walnut shelf accents.”
Without taking up any additional room, the wall sconce “adds a touch of sparkle.” Meanwhile, gorgeous bathroom tiles truly accentuate the place.
CHANGE THE LAYOUT TO IMPROVE SPACE MANAGEMENT
Sure, the placement of the fixtures is rather common in most bathrooms. The arrangement and style of the room, though, might be improved if you’re up for a redesign. The small bathroom’s shower, bathtub, or vanity area can be rearranged to create additional space for circulation. Additionally, a bathtub by the window will not only provide views but also divert attention from the modest size of the room.
According to interior designer Lonika Chande, the bathroom was formerly a chilly chamber with a sloped roof. Bathrooms are frequently sterile rooms, but I prefer them to be cosy and welcoming. It helps to choose the right materials and use fabric and rugs. The arrangement was changed, with a bath placed in front of the window, tongue and groove panelling added, and a frigid tile floor replaced with cosy oak engineered boards. Storage, a casual Roman blind in a favourite Robert Kime fabric, and old kilim rugs were added.
To spruce up the small space, add a chic vanity.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how a chic bathroom vanity can enliven even the most formal setting. Think about installing a fluted vanity in a deep tone to make your little space appear larger than life. To make an intriguing vignette, place a mirror above that is similarly striking.
Eddie Maestri, the owner of Maestri Studio, describes the Texan mansion as “a sleek and modern dream transformed from the 1980s.” When it comes to the enchantment that a little architectural design on the vanity, that can change a place, “No space is off-limits.”
CONSIDER CREATIVE TILE LAYING METHODS
According to Amanda Telford of CTD Tiles, little bathroom tiles can ‘bring the area to life’. ‘Try to be imaginative in how you arrange them. Consider innovative layouts, backsplashes with focus points, etc. Rectangular metro tiles can be used in a variety of ways, such as by stacking them vertically to give the impression that the room is larger or by arranging them in a herringbone pattern for the greatest visual impact. Consider choosing pinks, greens, blues, or even black for a designer statement in small bathrooms, where you can frequently be a little bolder with your design decisions.
BRING IN AN ATTRACTIVE WALLPAPER TO DETRACT VIEWERS FROM THE SMALL SQUARE FOOTAGE
Bathroom wallpapers are the ideal choice when it comes to making a bold colour and pattern decision. These not only provide colour to the room’s decor but also detract from its modest size and give the space a confined, jewel box-like look.
Erin Fearins, a partner at Studio SFW, says, “We took this windowless powder room and turned it into a glowing rich space with high gloss black printed floral wallpaper from Brett Beldock of Brett Design, which we applied to both the walls and the ceiling.” To add character and appeal to the area, “We worked with the existing modern brass and black marble washstand and added beautiful vintage touches like the towel ring and inlaid bone mirror.”
In a tiny bathroom with a shower or a bath, it is preferable to use waterproof wallpaper or murals since condensation can harm standard papers. This is because the room is moist. The wallpaper in a small guest bathroom or powder room, which won’t experience the same level of daily use as your family bathroom, is your best chance.
USE MARBLE TO ADD SENSE OF LUXURY
It is not impossible for a tiny place to be luxurious. Marble walls and a marble washbasin are wonderful ways to make a small, minimalist bathroom feel contemporary, polished and smart.
According to Ali Baldiwala, owner of Baldiwala Edge, “the bathroom floor is lined with white statuary marble giving an illusion of space, a perfect representation of bare-bones craftsmanship and simplicity.” In contrast to the gold Kohler fixtures that give the room a sense of luxury, the use of a cone-shaped washing basket is a stylistic borrowing from the Japanese school of design.
ADD VIBRANT SHUTTERS TO THE WINDOWS TO DECORATE THEM
Modern window treatments can sometimes fill the void left by excessive frills and decorations in a small bathroom.
The benefit of selecting vibrant blinds or shutters is that they are a timeless, durable, and useful addition that will let filtered light inside, open up views when you feel confined, provide privacy with style, and also deter people from noticing the small dimensions of the room and instead encourage them to look outward at the beautifully framed vistas.
Window treatments, according to Sally Denyer of Shutterly Fabulous, are a great way to add an accent colour to a small bathroom. Colourful shutters will reflect the window’s natural light, enhancing the impact of your chosen shade. Additionally, they will draw attention to the window, making the bathroom appear more inviting.
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