When you only have room for a small bathroom there’s no need to skimp on style, writes Catherine Nikas-Boulos
When designing small bathrooms less is more
Not everyone has the luxury of space for a master ensuite with matching his-and-hers vanities. Most apartments, or even semi-detached homes for that matter, don’t have a huge amount of space, so bathrooms tend to be designed for functionality over style.
While there’s no need to skimp on style, there are some rules you should follow to maximise whatever space you have.
When designing for a small space, less is definitely more.
Wesley Sinclair from Highgrove Bathrooms says the biggest mistake people make is trying to include too many design ideas. This ends up cluttering a space instead of making it feel bigger.
“Keeping things neutral and simple is the way to go in a small bathroom,” Wesley says.
He says while bold colours are best avoided in small bathrooms, you don’t have to completely dull it down either.
“Bold colours tend to be on the darker spectrum, creating the illusion of a smaller space,” says Wesley. “Whites and neutral-coloured tiles are a better choice.
“If you’re looking to incorporate some colour, soft pastels are your best bet.”
He says that there is no such thing as a too small bathroom, and given the right design, any bathroom can be made to feel luxurious.
“If you don’t have enough floor space to install a freestanding bath, a frameless glass panel shower screen works well to trick the eye into seeing expanded space,” Wesley says.
“No bathroom is ever too small to work with — even an outhouse can be styled well with the right fixtures.”
For unusually small spaces, narrow wall-mounted basins with concealed inwall cisterns are a must to free up floor space.
With the cistern hidden behind a wall structure, Wesley says you’ll be able to save a few extra centimetres for more leg room. To create an expansive bathroom feel, opt for a wall-mounted toilet. They take up no floor space and are also easier to clean.
When designing for a small space, less is definitely more
Lighting can sometimes be overlooked when designing a bathroom, but when it’s done right, the light can create a much bigger feel to a tight space.
Wesley suggests flush-mounted ceiling lights for the perception of greater space, or add lighting around the vanity.
“A well-lit mirror or strip lighting on cabinets and vanity tops works well,” he says.
Flushed with space
As home lots are getting smaller, it’s not just the width of the home that is feeling the pinch.
Display homes, such as Domaine Homes’ Arizona 26 design measures 8.68m wide and is designed to fit on a 10m block.
Sticking to muted colours and a large mirror to reflect light around the space, the bathroom appears much larger than it actually is, even with the addition of a bath running along the entire side of the room.
Architect Sarah Blacker has also renovated small bathrooms, making them both delightful and multipurpose.
In a single-storey two-bedroom terrace in Newtown which had a small living room, old bathroom and eat-in kitchen, Sarah spruced up the bathroom, using subway tiles and a large mirror. She even squeezed a laundry into the bathroom to save space. “The laundry is now concealed behind movable wall panels on one side of the bathroom,” she says.
“It’s positioned in the under stair area, but it has a generous laundry cupboard with storage space.”