We all know that there is a lot more freedom for design and layout in big spacious bathrooms. Usually this is a luxury that not many can afford – in many properties that we have done refurbishments in London there were very limited space bathrooms or just small shower rooms. Still, even in small space it is possible to fit a bathroom that’s convenient and well suits your needs – you just have to use imagination, planning and this artcile may give you some ideas for small bathrooms.
You should start with layout plan: draw where and what units will be installed. Very often the old layout is used without even thinking that it may be possible to relocate shower, toilet and wash basin in better positions – obviously, some more plumbing work is involved, but in the end it may be worth. After all, you don’t do bathroom renovation often. Usually, everything is possible on the ground floor bathrooms, while it could be more complicated on other floors – subject to which direction the floor joists are installed, what is the type of walls partitions, etc. In the old days plumbing was always done exposed – pipes running on the walls or just above the floor. We always look for ways how to conceal the pipes inside the walls or below the floor, avoiding unnecessary pipe boxing. All the boxes, hiding the pipes, not only look ugly but also take up some space, which is extremely valuable in small bathrooms.
Modern sanitary equipment gives you a lot of flexibility: there are different sizes and shapes wash basins (with smallest ranging from 20 cm across, fitting in the corner), shower trays, different sizes bathtubs. Of course, brushing teeth or washing your face in the smallest basin can be difficult – the comfortable wash basin should be about 60 cm by 50 cm. Having installed different size (perhaps longer, but narrower) wash basin will still be easy to use, saving some space. When choosing wash basin for a small bathroom, firstly you have to consider, if it is ergonomic and how much space it will take, leaving enough room for passing by. Usually round shape wash basins work better in limited spaces.
You can think of creating a recess for wash basin or toilet. You could have a nice recess (built with studwork, plasterboards and tiled) with shelves above the toilet cistern. For that purpose best choice would be concealed cistern toilets. The frame is up to 1.2 m height, the rest of wall height you can use for shelving. This would work out nice and integrated: toilet pan is lifted and looks better (no cistern is visible, no unnecessary elements exposed - just a small neat toilet pan); besides, cleaning the floor is easier and the floor area is visually bigger.
If there is no space left for washing machine, that’s not a big worry – modern good quality washing machines work silently, you can install them in some storage room or cupboard or in the kitchen under the worktop. If there is no space for a bidet, not a big problem either – you could get a small shower, connected off the wash basin. In this case wash basin and toilet should be located next to each other. Or you could have a bidet shower connected off a separate water supply – just a little more plumbing required.
Often you have to choose between the bathtub with shower and the shower cubicle. The third option you could choose is making a small wet room area – install a shower trap on the floor, no need for shower tray. In this case we always make sure that walls and floor is properly waterproofed before tiling.
Good ventilation is always important and especially in small bathrooms. Obviously in any size bathroom there has to be an extractor fan installed. Best position for it – close to the shower in the ceiling or in the wall just below the ceiling. And to make ventilation better we advice to install small grill at the bottom of the door (or leave a bigger gap between the door and the floor) for the air to get into the bathroom – thus making air circulation better. It is best to tile walls up to the ceiling in small bathrooms – helps to avoid the mould appearing.
And the last things to consider (but not the least) – type of finishing: tiles, paints. Light colours usually look much better in small spaces – visually creating bigger space. A big mirror inset with tiles does really make a difference. After all, best looking designs, especially in small bathrooms are simple, clear, with no unnecessary details.