Even a tiny bathroom 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 firstly the individual components are chosen with care, such that actual space is created by the inclusion of those fitments that have a small footprint, and secondly by using the various techniques that can ‘optically’ enhance the perception of space. 

Starting with the bath there are not many small bathrooms that wouldn’t benefit from being fitted with the sort of shaped bath that has a normal width at the bathing/showering end but that saves space by being much narrower at the ‘feet end’!

Please note that this is not the P shaped bath as these are normal width at the seat end and then have a space wasting 900mm wide ‘feet end’ that robs valuable floor space.

Lowering a bath can, besides making it safer, enhance the perception of space and there are now bath shower screens that fold back flat to the wall and thus become far less intrusive than conventional  bath screens that need to be permanently ‘parked’ on the bath rim.

So with more perceived space due to selecting the right bath it is then important to select the right basin. A small  ‘thin walled’ 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 loo rolls and cleaners. If a semi-recessed basin is preferred then careful selection could mean a full size basin that projects less than 400mm – and not so careful selection could mean choosing a basin with a 600mm projection but that holds less water!!

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.

As for showers the option here is to consider a tiled floor deck rather than a shower tray - something that with correctly designed glassware does not mean that it becomes a wet room in the literal sense.

If a conventional enclosure is preferred then choose a frameless model as these are now available at just 1500mm high – something else that can have a massive effect on the perception of space.

These are the basic ground rules for successfully designing a small bathroom but there are other design pointers that can help too:

  • Wall hung cabinets reveal more floor and thus make a room seem bigger.
  • Mid-height units with a top lower than the eye height of the shortest adult in the house creates a better feel than high level wall units.
  • Bathroom doors that open back flat to the wall   
  • WC cisterns that are just 80mm deep

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 that makes the difference – the effect that has your guests saying “Wow – who did this for you?” and not “I see you’ve had your bathroom done then”