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Big ideas for a small bathroom

Melanie Whitehouse / 27 April 2016

No matter how compact it is, there’s a design that will fit into your smallest room. Read our tips and tricks for small bathrooms.

Small bathroom
A neutral colour with a warm tone looks good in the cool blue light of the UK

The key to maximising a small bathroom is to use every bit of space efficiently. Storage is key and clutter should be kept to a minimum. Colours should be streamlined and accessories hand-picked. Here’s how to get it right.

Related: make the most of your space

Bathroom storage

Storage beneath basins is useful for hiding away unmentionables. You can even make your own vanity unit from a basin sunk into an old chest of drawers.

Ugly basin pedestal or pipes on show? Disguise the view by sewing a skirt in a pretty cotton and use as an extra storage area.

Wall racks and over-door hooks hold neatly folded and stacked towels, freeing up cupboard space.

The area behind the bath panel is always dead space but you could employ a carpenter to build in easily-accessible drawers.

Floor-to-ceiling shelving is a great storage option but if there’s no room, opt for a ladder propped up against the wall – it makes a great towel rail.

Tips for porcelain

A wall-mounted sink will add space.

‘Floating’ loos and basins will make the floor space appear larger, as will floating shelves for accessories and necessities.

A two-in-one shower and bath will be a better use of space than cramming in a bath and a tiny shower cubicle.

Freestanding baths give the illusion of more space - check out Bathstore’s Norfolk roll top bath, from £549, with a straight side that can be built into the wall and a straight edge for a shower screen.

Adding a designer-style showerhead will immediately give your bathroom a ‘hotel’ feel.

Use corners cleverly: a corner basin or corner loo can free up a lot of space.

Related: revamp your bathroom on a budget

Colour with care

Use neutrals on the floor and walls to maximise space, rather than break up the room into little ‘boxes’ of colour.

White always looks clean and hygienic but it can look cold in our blue, Northern light, so pick a shade with a hint of warmth to it.

Create a hotel-style bathroom with black and white tiles, white accessories and piles of fluffy grey towels stacked on a ladder radiator.

Make an impact with just one feature wall – behind the loo and basin, say. This will add depth to a narrow bathroom.

Add pops of zingy colour with the shower curtain, blind, towels and accessories.

Use moisture-resistant paint and wallpaper in a steamy bathroom or you’ll find it peeling off in no time.

Related: what paint where

Bathroom design tricks

To add height to your bathroom, use wallpaper with a vertical stripe or design. To add width, go for horizontal.

Often rooms without light, small bathrooms can be dingy. Can you open up the roof and add a skylight? Or even a sun pipe, which will siphon light into the room?

Mirrors will bounce light around and mirror tiles are perfect for the walls of a steamy bathroom, although they do need regular cleaning.

Small tiles can look fussy over a large area, whereas large tiles look more streamlined (and are easier to keep clean).

Glass shower enclosures or screens can give a feeling of space while shower curtains close off space.

Hide away everyday lotions and potions and display only those with pretty packaging.

Useful companies for small bathroom ideas include:

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.