Small bathroom ideas

Updated May 7, 2013, 4:24 pm WORDS Kylie Jackes, Yahoo!7


Make the most of a tiny bathroom with savvy design ideas that push the boundaries to deliver big appeal.

Space is often at a premium in powder rooms and second bathrooms, yet this doesn’t have to affect style and functionality. When planning an update, start by creating a floor plan to determine the dimensions you have to work with and what will fit in. Consider who will be using the room, how often and what you need. “If it is a second family bathroom, storage and more durable finishes will be a top priority,” says Darren James of Interiors By Darren James. “If it’s a guest bathroom or powder room, it is likely to be used less and therefore the focus can shift to creating a more luxurious feel.” Where space is limited, you’ll need to consider all the angles. “Ensure you allow adequate clearance for bathroom and shower doors and don’t forget vanity unit doors, too,” advises Belinda Geels of Reece. Sliding doors aren’t intrusive and can be pushed back when not in use.

Stylish storage

Investing in good storage will reduce visual clutter, instantly making your room feel bigger, recommends Suzie Dyson of Omvivo. “There is a move towards mini vanities, which hold the essentials without taking over the bathroom,” she says. With everything in its place the space will feel less cluttered and more conducive to relaxing. Mirrors are another great way to create the illusion of more space and brighten smaller bathrooms. “In tight spots you always want to ensure accessories offer maximum functionality, and mirror-fronted cabinetry is ideal,” says Belinda Geels of Reece. Full-length mirrors offer real wow-factor, while mirrored tiles are a subtle way to boost reflections, bouncing natural light around the room.

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Wall allure

Choosing tiles in a light neutral palette is a simple design trick to allow walls to recede into the background and enhance the sense of space. “In small areas, keep the majority of the walls and floor neutral so the tiles are not too overwhelming,” advises Berrick Wagstaff of Ceramica Senio. “Stone is always popular, and one of the latest looks is ceramic tiles which look like timber, perfect for floors. If you want a splash of colour, introduce it with feature tiles set behind the splashback or within an alcove in the shower.” Larger format rectangular tiles – either 300mm x 600mm or 400mm x 800mm – are a good choice to enhance the sense of scale. Laid in a brick pattern, they will elongate the room, while they’ll give the illusion of more height if placed vertically.

Floor show

“The more floor you can see, the larger the room will feel, so opt for floating cabinetry and vanities and wall-mounted basins and accessories,” suggests Lee Hardcastle of Enigma Interiors. “If you only have room for a shower, ensure it’s as spacious as possible by creating a wet area with a frameless screen.” If you have room for a bath, freestanding styles with feet create a feeling of space. When it comes to toilets, in-wall cisterns are the least obtrusive on a floorplan.

Let there be light

Make the most of natural light with cleverly positioned glazing and skylights, and showcase focal points with a mix of ambient and task lighting. Back-light shelves and vanities with recessed LEDs to add a sense of depth, illuminate the surrounds of mirrors to draw the eye around the room and, in powder rooms, create a striking statement with a feature light. “Pendant lights can look great but work best with a ceiling height between 2700mm and 3000mm,” advises Darren James of Interiors By Darren James.

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Little luxuries

Smaller proportions can offer big benefits. With less space your budget will stretch further, opening up possibilities for bespoke finishes, designer tiles and tapware. Luxuries are not lost either. Heated towel rails, beautiful accessories and fragrant candles work wonderfully together to create a mini pamper zone. If it’s a bathroom just for two, the sense of intimacy can be further accentuated with double shower heads and basins, furniture for bath-side conversations and vanities with personalised features such as iPod outlets and LED lighting.

Key measurements:
For a bathroom to be user-friendly and comfortable, factor in sufficient spacing between fittings and fixtures. The guidelines below will help.
- The standard size of a powder room with a toilet and small vanity is 2m x 1m.
- The average size of a small bathroom is 3m x 2m, a standard bathroom 3.5m x 2.5m and a large one 4m x 5m.
- At a squeeze, you can fit a shower recess into a 900mm x 900mm space,but 900mm x 1200mm is far more comfortable.
- The dimensions of an average bath are 1500mm x 720mm x 400mm deep.
- For comfort and ease of cleaning, allow 450mm either side of the toilet.
- Ideally, leave one metre between the front of the basin and the nearest wall or other object.
- The minimum distance between the back wall of the toilet and the opposite wall is generally 1500mm. However spacing requirements are influenced by the location of the doorway and position of the toilet.

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  1. trekessa n11:13am Monday 22nd July 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    BHG.....PLEASE HELP!:D Bought my first house end of last year in Brisbane and the house was built in the 50's.....tiny bathroom in dire straits with a vanity that isnt even fixed to the wall!lol..Being a single Mum of one I am on a small budget and have no idea where to start:( Any advice or help is much appreciated! Trekessa

  2. Matthew Tunstall07:01pm Monday 15th July 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    there is a special paint you can paint over the tiles ask Bunnings or Masters for more information

  3. denise02:10pm Friday 03rd August 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Hi Tara, I have just bought an apartment and am on a budget. The tiles in the bathroom are beige gloss brick size and are in good condition however there is a border 3/4 to the top of a dated 90's pattern tile. Is there any solution to this problem other than get a tiler to remove the border and replace if so can it be done seeing as they have tiling above and below I wish to keep?

  4. Madlin10:35pm Sunday 22nd July 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Hi Tara my name is Madlin i want to know if you can help me to fix my bathroom please we do have 2 bathroom in my house & each one had it's own shower & my husband not willing to giveup that shower but i realy need some help with with changing it but i'm limited on my budget please let me what to do many thanks


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