Small bathrooms: big ideas for pint-sized plots



How to plan out a functional bathroom when your space is limited

Maurizio Pellizzoni makes use of the limited space by adding recessed shelving

Planning out a functional bathroom when your space is limited can often feel like you’re playing a game of Tetris, but while the bricks and mortar might be unchangeable (unless you fancy shelling out for a costly extension), there are plenty of tricks for making the room feel much more palatial than it actually is.

“Create the illusion of more space by using mirrored wall cladding or a wall of pictures with reflective frames – these treatments can also work really well on sloping ceilings. Light the space using several sources, so that you can change the mood from functional to relaxing. Built-in storage makes the most of every inch of space and reduces bathroom clutter, allowing decorative elements to take centre stage,” suggests James Letaigne, Creative Director of Drummonds.

And even when dealing with a smaller square footage, adding touches of luxury aren’t out of the question: “An ‘important’ piece like a marble vanity unit can be a design focus and a surprisingly space-efficient solution. Likewise, you can often take advantage of the room’s volume with a high-level cistern and, if you have room for a bath, site the shower above it with a fixed or folding glass shower screen to maintain line of sight.”

One of the bulkiest bathroom pieces, besides the obvious bathtub and shower, is the sink, especially a vanity unit. However, Roy Persse at Porter Bathrooms argues that such a feature is possible even in the smallest of bathroom, as long as you choose one which can multitask.

“There are plenty of designs which can be easily adapted for smaller bathrooms. A slim-line option tucks into a narrower space, while one with handleless drawers keeps the look minimal. The best unit will be able to provide more than one function; our Bellmax washstand range incorporates a heated element into the unit’s metal frame, making a wonderful towel warmer and reducing the need for a radiator in the room.”   

Top tips


• A successful small bathroom starts with smart planning. Begin with the basics and accurately measure your space.


• The products you choose for your bijou bathroom will help you make the most of the space available. Consider reduced-depth basins and toilets, compact shower-baths and slim storage units.


• Conceal the workings of the shower behind a false wall so that only the shower head and controls are on view creating a clean look.


• Keep your small bathroom warm during the winter months with underfloor heating. This will save space, as you’ll only need a small wall-hung radiator for drying towels.

Mike Zarghami, designer at Bathwaters

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