9 ways to make the most of any small space

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  • When space is at a premium – as it so often is in the bathroom – clever design is key. A small bathroom shouldn’t mean compromising on style or quality. Choosing space-saving fittings and clever storage ideas will help you to maximise and create the illusion of space in small bathroom layouts.

    Whether you’re refurbishing an existing bathroom or transforming a box room into a bathroom, here are the key small bathroom layout ideas for a space that is both stylish and highly functional.

    Small bathroom layouts

    According to the Founder & Creative Director of Ventura, Arlene McIntyre, ‘whenever you start planning a bathroom renovation, the same principle applies regardless of size. You need to first work out how you’ll use the room and who will use the room. Is it a purely functional showering space? Will you use it to get ready in and therefore need adequate task lighting? Is it a family space where lots of storage is paramount? Once you have a clear idea of the room’s function and users, you can begin to plan’.

    1. Leave out the bath to make more space

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    A bath takes up a lot of precious floor space in a small bathroom, so if you can bear to sacrifice a soak in the tub in favour of a satisfying drench in the shower, then getting rid of the bath is a fantastic space-saving solution. Replace it with a luxurious walk-in shower idea and the room will feel instantly bigger.

    2. Mount a frameless bath screen

    green tiled bathroom with frameless shower screen

    Image credit: Matki

    If you decide to keep your bathtub (and who can blame you!), then opt for a frameless bath screen. By replacing a heavy frame or shower curtain with a frameless alternative, you’ll remove the physical divide and create a seamless sensation that will make your bathroom feel less cluttered.

    Tile the bathroom walls with a strikingly shaped and coloured tile for a small bathroom that packs a punch!

    3. Choose multifunctional fittings to save precious space

    Monochrome bathroom with black framed shower screen

    Image credit: Omvivo

    When space is limited, multifunctional fittings make a big difference, especially when it comes to extra storage. Whether you opt for a combined toilet and vanity unit or a mirror with hidden storage behind it like the one in this bathroom, your space will feel instantly less cluttered. Hiding clutter is a savvy way to make your bathroom feel bigger.

    4. Opt for wall-mounted fixture and fittings to free up floor space

    wall mounted bathroom sink

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    Becky Dix, Head of Design at The Luxury Bath Company, says: ‘For those with limited floor space, hung cabinetry is a great solution. Not only can a wall hung cabinet create the illusion of space by opening up the room, it can also free up some much-needed floor space and create a natural break between the floor and surfaces.’

    The same applies for toilets – a wall-hung toilet will add to the visible floor space in your bathroom, and the more floor space on show, the bigger your bathroom will appear.

    5. Turn your small bathroom into a wet room

    modern shower room with sky blue wall tiles

    Image credit: Bathroom Mountain

    For a contemporary small bathroom that feels oh-so luxurious, consider a wetroom idea for your small bathroom layout. Continuous flooring, without a shower tray interrupting the flow, will elongated the room, and since minimal fixtures and fittings are required, the room will feel more spacious.

    On a practical level, a wet room is also an ideal option for those with limited mobility, as well as families with small children, as it eliminates the need to step in and out of a shower or bath.

    6. Save space with a slimline sink and loo

    Small bathroom with white metro tiles and flamingo wallpaper

    Image credit: Future PLC

    When planning the layout of a small bathroom, it’s important to take into account the projection of your fixtures (how far they stick out into the room). Short-projection toilets and sinks are a great idea in a small bathroom as they are slimline and take up less room. The short-projection sink in this bathroom is wall-mounted too – ticking two boxes!

    7. Make use of corner space

    corner shower enclosure

    Image credit: Bathroom Mountain

    Every inch of space counts in a small bathroom, so install a corner shower or a corner vanity unit to optimise the space in the corner of the room that would inevitably go to waste otherwise.

    This corner shower, paired with the light marble-effect walls and floor, makes this small shower room feel far more spacious than its footprint would suggest. Especially valid a small en-suite idea to make more of the limited space.

    8. Use the floor plan to maximum potential

    narrow bathroom with walk in shower

    image credit: Matki

    Consider reconfiguring your space to make more of the useable floor space. In a narrow small bathroom layout consider creating a return to house the toilet, while turning the shower positioning sideways to make the room feel more streamlined. Just because the space is small doesn’t mean. you can’t make it work harder to meet your needs.

    In a narrow space simply turn everything on its side to fit the floor plan so it creates an unbroken flow, rather than cutting the room off with a conventional face-on layout.

    9. Hang a mirror on the most prominent wall to bounce light around

    white bathroom with wooden framed mirror and wooden sink unit

    Image credit: Drench

    When planning your small bathroom layout consider all the fixtures and fittings carefully. ‘Mirrors are essential to make a space feel larger than it is,’ says Becky Dix. They create an optical illusion and they also bounce light around the room, and a lighter and brighter bathroom will always feel bigger than a dark and dingy one.

    ‘Whatever mirror you choose, ensure it is anti-steam,” she says. “In a small space where steam will inevitably be an issue, help your bathroom to remain functional whatever else is going on.’ Hang your chosen mirror design on the wall opposite a source of natural light to capture the most amount of light available.

    How do I design a small bathroom layout?

    The are key things to consider when planning a small bathroom layout. ‘When planning the layout, we always begin with the toilet,’ says Arlene McIntyre, Founder & Creative Director of Ventura. ‘You will be limited where you can put this given the soil stack positioning. Once its position has been decided, you can fit everything else around it.’

    Becky Dix at The Luxury Bath Company advises you to ‘always start by considering your bathroom routine and how the space can best cater for it’. How many people use your bathroom, what are the priorities and what can you do without?

    ‘It’s important to maximise every inch of the bathroom when space is in short supply,’ she says. ‘Look to corner units, clever storage solutions, slim basins and toilets. Consider matching finishes of your brassware, flush plates and accessories to give a cohesive aesthetic running through the space; this will ensure there are not too many competing colours in one small area.’

    Both experts agree that good lighting is key, as it will help to elevate the space and make it feel brighter and larger.

    How do you maximise space in a small bathroom?

    ‘When a bathroom’s footprint is small, opt for wall-mounted sanitaryware to help give the illusion of more space,’ recommends Arlene. ‘Rather than a back-to-wall or close-coupled toilet, opt for a wall hung alternative which shows more floor space and keeps the cistern hidden behind the wall. Similarly, opt for a wall-mounted basin, vanity unit and mixers to continue this spacious feel throughout the room. The more floor space on show, the larger the space will feel.’

    Corner and combination units will allow you to make the most of the space too, utilising space that would otherwise be empty and wasted.