Many bathrooms, especially those in older properties, seem to have been included in the architect’s design as an afterthought and are consequently on the small side. For many people, the bathroom is not just a practical and necessary space but also a sanctuary, and so needs to be as functional and beautiful as possible.
How to Design an Elegant Small Bathroom
Simple and Elegant
Elegance is key where small bathroom design is concerned. Fun and funky or frilly and twee will simply not do. Functionality should be your first concern, so your design scheme should be aiming to incorporate decoration and fittings that are simplistic and easy to clean. This is certainly the aim of top designers, who routinely employ easy-to-clean yet visually impactful materials such as granite, marble and porcelain. These materials have smooth surfaces and therefore add less visual weight, effortlessly helping a small bathroom appear larger.
Natural colour scheme
Many of the most visually elegant and space-enlarging colour schemes come from nature and employ fairly neutral colours. Natural materials, such as wood and stone, are extremely popular for their ability to almost fade into the background yet still look visually appealing. They also serve as neutral backgrounds should you want to bring a little colour and texture into your bathroom through accessories.
A big no-no for windows in all bathrooms, let alone small bathrooms, is the hanging of fabric curtains at the windows. Firstly, this is simply a poor choice for an environment that has moisture in the air for a great deal of the time as the fabric will become damp and therefore invite mildew to settle. Secondly, fabric curtains will add actual bulk to the small bathroom as well as visual weight, and frankly are an old-fashioned style choice. A far better and elegant choice for a bathroom is waterproof window shutters. These offer a streamlined window dressing that allows you privacy as well as the ability to control air flow and daylight.
Fixtures and fittings
You can add your personal taste to a small bathroom by your choice of fixtures and fittings. For example, there is a wide variety of taps available, from the overly ornate to the ridiculously minimalist, and from sleek, shiny chrome to burnished bronze or antique gold. Which you choose will depend on the colour palette and style choices that you have made in other areas of the bathroom. A chrome tap system will perhaps not look right in a bathroom that has utilised warm tones in its colour scheme, while gold taps may look thoroughly anachronistic in a monochrome bathroom.
The last element that you should think carefully about in a small bathroom is the lighting. Low-ceilinged properties will benefit from lighting that is placed vertically rather than horizontally on a wall, as this will create the illusion of height. The best place for vertical lighting is either side of a mirror, which will also create a visual illusion of space. For all types of bathroom, spotlighting is a great choice, having minimal visual impact while creating plenty of illumination.
To make the most of your small bathroom, work on the principle of elegant design and simplicity, incorporating neutral colours, understated lighting and appropriate fixtures and fittings.
Would you do anything different to design an elegant small bathroom?
Image: Blue Shower via Shutterstock
The BEST Homes and Interiors Shops
A definitive guide to the online and high street interior shops I use for my home and the blog!