Ideas for a small bathroom

A small bathroom does not have to compromise on style & quality

Pictures of designer bathrooms with large whirlpool baths, double basins, walk-in showers, large designer radiators, can be misleading, as not many of us have the room (let alone the finance) to accommodate this. In fact, the average British bathroom struggles to provide even three sq metres of floor area, after allowing for a standard 1700 x 700 bath, and a small basin and toilet. Plan carefully and choose wisely, and you can have a bathroom that will achieve all your requirements and be something that you will be proud of.

Make a plan

Having limited space in a small bathroom does not mean that you need to compromise on style. Take your time, do some careful planning and you will maximize the space available.

Bath or Shower

An important decision is to decide what you want from the bathroom. If you are aiming to create a relaxing bathing experience a bath is a priority, but if you prefer an invigorating shower you may wish to dispense with the bath, and fit a large shower or even create a wet room. But removing the bath is not something that is encouraged. Not having a bath in the main bathroom will limit your potential buying market and make it harder to sell your home, as buyers today do expect to see a bath in the house.

Some useful ideas for small bathrooms

  • Hanging the bathroom door so that it opens out of the bathroom (if practicable), or alternatively a sliding door can allow you to fit a shower cubicle where it was previously not possible.
  • Consider moving sanitaryware around, but remember that moving the soil stack pipework is usually a lengthy job.
  • Heated towel rails doubling up as radiators mounted high up at eye level can free up valuable floor space.
  • Choose products that are in proportion to the room. In a small bathroom, basins should be no bigger than 550mm, and plain simple minimal designs work best.
  • If you have room for a bath and a separate shower consider a shower enclosure with a bi-fold or sliding door. 800mm radius Quadrant Showers are also great space savers as they work well in any small bathroom, as they have no fourth corner to get in the way.
  • Frameless shower enclosures look and feel more spacious, and allow in more light than conventional framed shower panels.
  • If no corner wall is available, then consider a “D” shaped cubicle, as this will fit against a flat wall and is self supporting.
  • If you cannot fit a separate shower then consider a shower bath. These are similar to a standard bath but have an enlarged standing area at one end. Becoming more and more popular almost by the day, the shower bath is available in a regular bath length down to a size of 1500mm (5 feet) and combines the best of a full bath turning into a complete shower enclosure with a decent standing area when required.
  • Wall-hung furniture is another way to free up more space as the floor area is kept completely free. The basin and toilet are supported by hidden steel frames that sit only about 150mm away from the wall and this space is then used to hide all the pipework and to fit the very slim cistern.
  • Wall-mounted taps above the bath and basin will reduce clutter.
  • If you need to use the bath as a shower then you might want to use a shower screen rather than a shower curtain. If you do, look for a shower screen that folds away when it's not in use.
  • Consider installing fitted furniture in a small space. Not only does this create essential storage that is neat, but it also produces a very streamlined look that’s easy to keep clean. Today’s range of fitted furniture is ideal for small bathrooms as it is very minimal in projection (unlike the freestanding vanity units of old).
  • A large well lit mirror should be included in every bathroom, as it is not only a very practical, it will also create a space enhancing effect.
  • Use robe hooks on the door for hanging bath robes and towels.
  • In a small bathroom the bidet can be regarded as unnecessary.

Compact Baths

Small bathrooms often require small baths, and the Trojan Derwent Range now provide a range of baths that start at 1200mm (with or without a built in seat), and include 1400mm, 1500mm, 1600mm and the standard 1700mm bath. Compact shower baths starting at 1500mm with a built in shower area and shower screen. Granada baths in heavy duty 8mm acrylic are available in 1675mm lengths that make them compatible with the old imperial five and a half foot size of bath.

Compact sanitaryware

A recent and very welcome arrival is the corner toilet, and also the short projection toilet. Available in modern styles, these tuck neatly into a corner, with a bare minimum projection into the room and still giving full functionality.

Decorating and Tiling

Light pastel colours are an ideal way to achieve a calm and spacious feeling in a small bathroom. Pastel colours have long been a favourite with interior designers to give an open and relaxing effect. Tiled floor and wall tiles of the same size and colour provide a sense of continuity within a small space and can keep a small bathroom clean-looking. Consider large tiles, as these work well in small areas, Use a pale shade for maximum impact. Bathroom Cladding panels are easy to fit, and can create a light and airy feel to a small bathroom.


Moisture can be a problem in a small bathroom, as it can penetrate the ceiling, walls, floor and work surfaces. Ventilation fans are measured by the amount of air per minute (in cubic feet or litres) they move. You will need to consider a fan that can extract through the ceiling or wall or the window, so that the air in the bathroom can be replaced effectively.


Amazing results can be achieved with mirrors to make your bathroom feel larger. Placing them right with a mix of effective lighting can make your bathroom feel more spacious and brighter. Avoid using them on opposite walls.

Use natural light to its best effect

Natural light is the best. Make the best use of the window in your bathroom. Providing natural light can make the bathroom very inviting.

Don't go in heavy with the accessories

Never be tempted to add lots of accessories and decorative items (pictures and ornaments) into a small space. Keep frills to a minimum and go for a contemporary look - this reduces clutter and keeps the space open. Always be limited by the size of the bathroom. Remember in a small bathroom, a minimal approach can give maximum impact

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