For many, having a large bathroom suite is what dreams are made of. In fact, the UK has some of the smallest new builds in Europe.
Research from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) conducted a study and found that new houses in some parts of Europe were found to be as much as 80% bigger than those in the UK.
Another survey, conducted by The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), found that of those questioned, 57% of people said there was not enough storage space, 47% said there was no room for furniture and 35% said there was little kitchen space for appliances such as microwaves and toasters.
Photo credit: @scarletsabode
Dubbed by The Telegraph as ‘rabbit hutch Britain’ the housing crisis or housing ‘squeeze’ that we see regularly in the UK shows no signs of improvement being that house prices here are determined here by the number of bedrooms rather than square footage.
So, whilst we make do with our rabbit hutch homes – how can we improve our bird cage bathrooms? These clever small bathroom ideas will hopefully help you make use of this compact space – read on to find out more.
Natural light from the window instantly brightens up a small bathroom. Where possible, leave windows unadorned with clear or frosted glass.
Light gives the effect of open space so make the most of your windowsill. Remove all clutter and put up some light or pastel-coloured sheer curtains or blinds to ensure you are maximising the chances of getting sunshine throughout the day.
In a loft conversion consider installing skylight windows. These are perfect for bringing in as much daylight as possible without worrying about privacy issues.
For windowless bathrooms; choose a lighting fixture that will bring as much of your electrical light into the room as possible. Don’t go for heavy or domineering light shades.
If you can, add more lighting fixtures around the room like sconces on either side of the mirror, for example. If you’ve got space – hang a large mirror to reflect light around the room and give the walls a fresh lick of paint with some bright or fresh white colourings.
Image source: Apartment Therapy
Image source: Interior Collective
Light colours such as whites, neutrals, creams and pastels are ideal for a tiny bathroom. White bounces the light around the room, whilst shades such as ice blue hues brighten a room. Pastels also create the illusion of more space whilst cool shades give a feeling of peace and tranquillity.
Dark tiles, when juxtaposed against white and charcoal shades can be good for dramatic effect and a hotel-style glamourous vibe but use wisely as they can overpower a small room and cause a claustrophobic effect.
Image source: Interior Collective
Image source: Desire to Inspire
Mirrors are probably one of the best tools around for enhancing a small bathroom. A large mirror in front of the bathroom sink will reflect all of the light in the room and if your small bathroom allows, a mirror that extends over the sink and toilet almost like a feature mirrored wall will give off the hotel-luxury feel.
If space is tight then consider smaller mirrors dotted around the room or mirrored cabinets or even a medicine cabinet with mirrored doors – all of which should create the same effect.
Coloured brassware accessories also help with creating the appearance of space in a small bathroom so consider toilet brush holders, toothpaste holders, and chrome or brushed brass effect taps to finish off the look.
Image source: Decoracion
A glass shower screen as opposed to a shower curtain will do wonders for maximising – or rather, giving the sense of maximised – space. Glass shower doors and walk in showers are increasingly becoming more and more popular – not only for their sleek and functional contemporary design but also for their hygienic, easy to clean properties.
Stay away from textured glass as it may chop a bathroom design up, create a visual barrier and make it feel like it has an extra wall.
A metallic or glass design in a bathroom will help to catch the light and reflect it around the room.
Create a feature floor by utilising medium to large floor tiles in your small bathroom design. Medium floor tiles give the illusion of more space and one of the most popular techniques is through a process called unified tiling whereby the big tiles are laid alongside a grout of a similar colour to create the impression of a cohesive, integrated space.
Not only does using larger tiles make the room feel bigger, it’s also more cost-effective.
Opt for whites and lights and glossy tiles to aid the perception of a big bathroom.
Photo credit: @Krissy
Corner or wall-hung fittings save space, ensure otherwise awkward parts of the room are being used and make the most out of the limited space.
Additionally, pedestal or wall-mounted sinks will also save a lot of bathroom space as opposed to vanity cabinets. Replacing the vanity with a pedestal sink can be inexpensive and will definitely open up more floor space.
For lost storage, utilise the walls. Keep your floor space as free as possible. A couple of wall shelves should help with replacing the space you lost when removing the vanity but keep it simple and clutter-free. Store towels and other essentials out of sight in a nearby cupboard or linen closet.
Photo credit: @thewhitewoodhouse
Image source: Lonny
Bulky storage is seriously overpowering in a small bathroom design so if your budget allows, reframe one of your walls and introduce some open shelves.
Sunken shelf space, particularly in the shower can hold all of your showering essentials without encroaching on valuable space within the room itself.
It’s the perfect way of increasing your storage capacity without making the room seem cramped.
Practical and visually attractive, towels and toiletries will be kept neatly stored and off the surfaces. For extra oomph, install LED spotlights to create creative focal points.
In addition to shelves, there are plenty of ways you can get creative with storage in a compact bathroom. Here are some other great bathroom storage ideas…
Use a bath caddy/ rack to aesthetically place candles, plants, and shampoo bottles. Make the room feel larger by combining your storage and heating with a heated towel rail. You can even purchase radiator hooks to hang robes and dressing gowns to keep them toasty warm.
Baskets can make a small bathroom feel less cluttered if you stylishly fill them with towels and other toiletries.
If you’re suffering from small bathroom syndrome it’s always a good idea to leave as much of the floor showing as possible. This will enhance your room and give the illusion of space. An easy way to do this is to opt for wall-hung furniture. This will give it a beautiful modern touch.
If a white bathroom just isn’t your thing, inject personality, colour and texture with shower wall tiles. Tiling only one wall will create a stunning contrast and save you money.
Photo credit: bobedre
Our overall advice for any small bathroom, ensuite, or enclosure would be to keep it minimal.
Minimalism is a cost-effective and great way to create a bathroom that’s stylish and spacious. Concentrate on having little toiletries on show, keep the walls bright and light (if you can) and if you need that splash of colour, opt for some bold and patterned wall tiles.
Photo credit: @Almaluna Interiors
Although many interior stylists make encourage you to stay clear of an all-black bathroom, it can look fabulous. Go for black matt-painted walls and a monotone patterned floor. You can take it one step further and add even more black with matt black brassware. This might sound scary but if done right this can look epic.
These are just some small bathroom ideas to spruce up a compact space. If you think there’s anything we’ve missed then be sure to get in touch and if you’ve got a small bathroom that you’re particularly proud of – send us your pics! We may feature them in our next article.
Rikki has a passion for interior design and an even bigger passion for writing about it. When she isn’t writing about gorgeous bathroom interiors, you’ll find her discovering all of the latest trends.