08 Apr 2019
Our Leicestershire showroom includes many innovative room sets and design features. However, the display that amazes everyone is where we've designed a fully-fitted luxury bathroom into a space less than six-foot square.
Here, bathroom designer Stuart Irving explains the thinking behind this remarkably tiny bathroom.
The first thing to remember, when designing a bathroom in a tiny space, is function must be the main criteria. Don't be tempted to squeeze in some design features you've seen in a home décor magazine – there isn't room.
The first consideration should be the fitments. We are going to include a bath, basin, toilet and shower, so these will probably need to be smaller than you would first consider. However, a well-chosen selection of smaller fitments will come together to create a sense of well-being that’s essential when you’ve invested time and your money into your home.
Let’s start with the bath. The first rule here is not to think that a short bath will give you a flying start because it won’t. Short baths are excellent for your children but are too short for most adults and often end up used as a deep shower tray. The bathing experience they offer for most people is not an enjoyable one.
I’d avoid an L-shaped or P-shaped bath, as they use more space than a standard tub. The extra width is only of benefit when showering. When bathing, you’ll need to sit in the narrow end, unless you want to sit on the plug and have the taps sticking into the back of your neck.
The best bath for a small room is slightly wider than a standard bath at the bathing and showering end, but then only 500mm wide at the ‘feet end’. This 200mm width saving can be convenient in a small room and often is the key to a practical design.
Something else to consider when selecting your bath is the height at which you fit it. Visually the optical effect of a lower bath is quite space-enhancing. Practically, a lower bath is much safer when the user gets out. Ask your bathroom designer about it.
As for an over-bath shower, the best option is one with a bath shower screen that you can ‘park’ flat to the wall when it’s not in use. In this way, it does not form an intrusion when you use the bathroom. You also avoid that claustrophobic feeling of sitting in a narrow, steamed up channel, when having a bath. This type of bath shower screen is quite special, and it needs a clear wall to allow it to ‘park', so the shower design is essential – again ask your designer.
The correct choice of basin is vital. The best ones have a bowl size very close to the size of the overall basin ‘footprint’. The logic here is that chunky wasteful pottery is not a luxury in a tiny space, but a liability. There are quite a few basins are suited to small rooms – a 400mm oval freestanding bowl will offer a decent volume and be proportionate to the size of the room.
Above the basin, ‘go for it’ with a mirror as large as you dare. Add a demister pad to keep it reflective at all times.
If you are stuck with the basin in the window, you can install a large mirror on the side wall. It will still be usable and, when not in use, makes a space-enhancing feature – especially if made to stand off the wall with backlighting.
The best option for the WC is a short-projection wall hung pan with a concealed cistern frame. Fitting it higher than standard – say 460mm to the seat – will open up the floor and make cleaning easier. Angling it to maximise knee-room makes a huge difference – especially if there is a heated towel ladder or radiator within touching distance.
Storage is vital in any bathroom, and low-level storage is usually possible beneath the basin in a small bathroom. High-level storage can be more of a problem. There is often space above the WC for a wall cabinet – or perhaps you can add a slim mirror-fronted wall cabinet over the basin.
For spare towels think about a high-level shelf over the towel radiator. Another idea, if the airing cupboard is accessed off the bathroom, would be door shelves on the back of the door.
Smart lighting helps a small bathroom too, so think about a ‘well-being boost’ with secondary lighting controlled by a movement sensor.
Add to this underfloor heating and an electric heated towel rail – these finishing touches can make all the difference.
A combination of these design elements should be enough to convince you that any bathroom is big enough to be a luxury bathroom.
To see Stuart’s six-foot square luxury bathroom, visit the Ablutions Showroom or call on 01530 814058.
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