Bathrooms are meant to be a place to relax and find some solitude but when you can’t dry yourself without knocking your elbows on the shower door this can be a challenge. If you feel that your bathroom is cramped, cluttered and lacks space a few minor changes can make a tight area spacious, charming and sleek. Dealing with a small bathroom is one part effective layout and one part illusion to create the perception of space.
In creating the ‘feeling’ of space colour is a key element. Lighter shades such as whites, creams and pastels open up the space. Larger light coloured floor tiles help give the room a nice even feel. If you have a low ceiling you can create the perception of height with the use of vertical stripes or features such as floor to ceiling mirrors.
A minimalist colour scheme helps keep a small bathroom from feeling overwhelming but this is not to say that some brighter colour cannot be used. It is a matter of being strategic. A feature colour running from the floor to the ceiling behind a vanity may draw attention to this space and create some ‘excitement’ without absorbing the light and making the space oppressive.
Light and colour go hand in hand in design and the use of both in a small area will determine whether it feels open or closed. Large uncovered windows are great for depth perception and brighten a room. If your bathroom has a low ceiling it is important that your choice of lighting doesn’t draw your eye to the ceiling. Bright downlights are fine but decorative, hanging chandeliers are no good (sorry!). Light colours and mirrors help open up areas and reflect light giving the illusion of depth.
Small furniture is the most sensible option for small spaces but one larger statement piece, such as a bath, can create an airy atmosphere if it is strategically selected and positioned. Scale furniture to the space you have, most bathroom fittings come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In recent years inwall toilet suites have become increasingly popular in residential design as they are now easy to install and service and they are a great space saver in bathrooms. By having the cistern behind the wall or in the ceiling the toilet pan is the only part of the toilet suite in the bathroom. They not only save space but the stylish, minimalist look assists in the perception of space.
In keeping with the minimalist theme it is critical to avoid clutter. Avoiding clutter means utilizing the space effectively with storage and products but it also means not overloading the space with decoration. Simple, white towels and clear glass shower screens are examples of minimalist design that create the perception of space. Keep the floor as visible as possible to assist in giving the bathroom a more open look. Furniture with legs or off the ground can add this, for example wall hung bathroom vanities.
Possibly the most important aspect of designing your small bathroom is storage. Use every nook and cranny to create storage. Do you have a space next to your toilet, above the door or next to your bath? Use these dead spaces to create storage areas. Recessing storage into the wall is also a very clever idea. How about recessing a mirror cabinet above your vanity or recessing shelves into your shower? Installing a robe hook on the back of the door is a subtle storage addition for towels or dressing gowns and towel ladders can be a good use of space if you only have a slender area of wall to hang towels