Small bathroom design

With the right ‘designer’ a space as small as 5’6″ square can become a ‘designer bathroom’.

There is no shortage of small bathrooms in UK – many are only a foot or so longer than a standard bath and quite often they are not much more in width.

When planning a small bathroom it is vital that the individual components are chosen with care and it is here where we feel there is no substitute for our 30 years experience.

We have assembled a portfolio of products and ideas that have been designed to do two things – firstly to generate actual space by using cleverly designed components that have no added ‘bulk’ and secondly to generate a perception of enhanced space by having regard to optical effects, lighting and other ‘tricks of the trade’!

Starting with the bath there are not many small bathrooms that wouldn’t benefit from being fitted with a curved bath that gives you all the width you are used to at the end where you sit – but very much narrower at the other end.

Our Spacesaver One bath is just 400mm wide at the ‘feet end’  – i.e it is 300mm less than a normal rectangular bath. 300mm may not seem a lot but, if your bathroom is only 1800mm wide, it represents a massive increase in the perceived width of the bathroom.

It is important to note that our Spacesaver One bath is not a ‘P’ bath. P baths are very popular but they actually take up more space than a conventional bath so are an extremely bad choice if you are looking to generate space – especially as most ‘P’ baths are most illogically designed such that you sit in the same narrow width as your old bath – but with your feet in the massive 900mm shower area!!

Lowering a bath can have a profound effect on the perception of space and is something we often recommend. Not only does the reduced height of a lowered bath reduce the bulk and enhance the feeling of space but it also becomes a much safer bath for anyone  that is ‘not so nimble’. Good for bathing the kids as well!

If you have a shower over the bath we have a bath screen that has an absolutely humungous effect on the perception of space in a small bathroom. Quite simply it folds back flat to the wall when not in use instead of being permanently parked on the bath. This opens up the vista in a remarkable fashion and means that you can enjoy a good soak without the intrusiveness of a conventional screen that steams up within seconds and traps you in!

So with more perceived space due to selecting the right bath we need then to look at the basin and here also there are pitfalls for the unwary.

A small freestanding bowl is a good choice as the lowered top of the cabinet it sits on is helpful in not being too intrusive and it also provides useful storage for your loo rolls and cleaners.

If a semi-recessed basin is preferred you could, if you weren’t careful, pick one that projects nearly 600mm. However, if you were careful and took the right advice there is a basin that holds the same amount of water as a 600mm basin but that only projects 370mm.

Similarly with the wc there are pans that are getting on for a 600mm projection but there are others, just as comfortable, that project only 480mm.

Another important consideration is a wall hung wc as opposed to a floor standing model. This really is a ‘must’ in a small space as the floor can be seen to run continuously beneath the wc creating an illusion of extra space and making the floor much more pleasurable and easier to clean.

We also have a few tricks with cabinet plinths that enhance the feeling of space in a small bathroom. Setting back the plinth of a cabinet has the effect of actually  increasing the floor area so quite often we will ‘steal’ about 100mm of extra space and then if we tile the plinth to match the walls it creates a ‘floating’ feeling for the cabinet and reduces it’s overall intrusiveness.

So these, and many more ideas, are all vitally important if a small bathroom is to be refitted successfully. Individually the ideas may not mean very much – it is the collective effect we are looking for – the effect that has your guests saying “Wow – who did this for you?” and not “I see you’ve had your bathroom done then”!