The Best Decorating Tips For Compact Spaces
Huntley Hedworth, Rachel Whiting, Mark Bolton
Small bathrooms present a unique set of design challenges as there are several essentials – sink, toilet, shower or bath and storage space – that you need to fit no matter the space you have available. The layout and flow of the space need to be considered before you can start thinking about the more enjoyable parts of the renovation, such as the bathroom.
Implementing a successful design scheme in a small bathroom often comes down to clever storage solutions, some visual tricks to make your space appear more airy and larger, and some smart compromises.
“Be smart and think about what bathroom features you can combine in one setup to free up floor space,” says Rikki Fothergill, style expert at Big Bathroom Shop. “For example, choose a vanity with a fixed sink and shelves or cabinets underneath you can stack towels and toilet paper or hide cleaning supplies. There they have combined three essential bathroom fixtures into one efficient unit that takes up much less space.”
Here we look at some clever small bathroom layouts, great color and pattern choices, and where smart trade-offs can be made.
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Small Bathroom Ideas: Miniaturized Bathroom Furniture
Small spaces involve compromises, but it’s possible to fit all the necessary bathroom features – sink, mirror, storage, etc. – if you’re willing to miniaturize. This clever shelf started out as an apple crate, while the tiny mirror hides some modest shelves.
Small bathroom ideas: neutrals
“Neutral bathroom decor has always been popular, and even more so in smaller spaces,” says Ruth Foster, interior designer at Victoria Plum. If you take this into account when choosing the color of your wall and floor tiles, you create a warm and harmonious design with timeless elegance.”
Small bathroom ideas: storage under the sink
In small bathrooms, hidden storage is your best friend. This blocky sink has storage underneath, with a weathered and worn door for a bit of character.
Small bathroom ideas: maximalist wallpaper
The advantage of a small bathroom is that you can experiment with big ideas without them being overwhelming. Blousy florals work well in small spaces – and don’t be afraid of wallpaper in a bathroom, they’re more resilient than you think.
Pictured: GP & J Baker Magnolia Wallpaper at Wallpaper Direct
Small Bathroom Ideas: Compact Double Sink
Small Bathroom Ideas: Embrace clutter
Clutter is only a reality in small bathrooms and can only be contained with clever storage and strict organization. This bathroom offers a bit of charming clutter with mismatched mirrors, towel stacks, and lots of popular accessories.
Shown: Country Living Artisan Stormy Gray ceramic wall tile
Small Bathroom Ideas: Clever Shelves
“Shelves are a great way to store luxury products that you want to show off,” says Rikki. “Rather than wasting closet space on uglier bathroom essentials, create a spa-like presentation with a mix of candles, body lotions and reed diffusers and plants, just make sure everything serves its purpose and stay organized. Hooks at the back of a door can also be useful for towels and robes, but remember to put too much on them as it makes the room look good.”
Small bathroom ideas: Use every corner
Careful space planning is so important in a small bathroom. Consider a corner sink – you can buy some that are only 35cm wide, or if a wet room isn’t feasible, corner showers can be as little as 70cm deep.
Small bathroom ideas: feature items
A feature item or two is quite enough in a small space, so make the most of it. They can actually become inspiration or a base for the rest of the room – like the fabulous powder blue on this Burlington sink.
Pictured: Enchanted Blue Edwardian cloakroom in Burlington
Small Bathroom Ideas: Tiny tubs
The cutest solution for small bathrooms. The tiny Tubby Tub from The Albion Bath Co. measures just 120 cm in length and offers a small dose of luxury even in the smallest of spaces.
Pictured: Tubby Tub Roll Top Bath at The Albion Bath Co.
Small Bathroom Ideas: Uplifting Color
The use of color can change your perception of small spaces – a cheerful and uplifting yellow or sunny sky blue, for example, can open up even the tightest or most claustrophobic spaces. “Consider painting one wall a bright and cheerful hue — it can really open up the space, especially in small bathrooms,” says Rhiannon Johns, interior designer and head of brand at Piglet in Bed your bathroom might be the best place to use them (especially if it’s a bit extravagant) and this will create a beautiful backdrop for your morning routine.”
Small bathroom ideas: mirror cabinets
“A mirrored cabinet is a popular choice for smaller washrooms as it’s another way to combine storage with an important bathroom feature to make efficient use of space,” says Rikki. Your sink gives space and makes everything look a lot neater. An added benefit of a mirrored cabinet is that it helps open up the space and create the illusion of a larger bathroom.”
Pictured: Country Living Wicklow bathroom at Homebase
Small Bathroom Ideas: Attic Bathroom
If your bathroom has a sloped or sloped ceiling that cuts into your space, a clever design trick is to choose pieces that are narrow but as tall as the space will allow – the narrow Kit-Kat tiles, long strips on the sink curtain and large shower screens are great examples – this will create the nod to height where it is lacking.
Pictured: Pickle & Bonbon Stripe Fabric curtain at Colors of Arley
Small bathroom ideas: ambient lighting
There’s a good reason to lean into the cosiness of small spaces and replace harsh overhead lights with softer ambient lighting. “Bathrooms often feature fluorescent, bright lighting,” says Rhiannon. “If you’re not a fan of bright white light in your home, swap out the built-in lightbulbs for warm-tinted lightbulbs. Alternatively, you can stage the evening with candles. Bathing or doing your candlelit self-care routine makes me feel particularly therapeutic.”
Pictured: For a similar marble basin, try this handcrafted version from Etsy
Small bathroom ideas: decorative details
The worst thing you can do in a small bathroom is lose all character. Some framed artwork, an antique towel chair, pretty bath curtains – all the decorative touches go a long way in making a cramped space more welcoming.
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