Making the most of a Small Bathroom

Isn’t it frustrating to see the wonderful bathrooms in the catalogues. Freestanding baths set in the middle of a spacious room, with free standing cabinets, a walk in shower and multiple basins. The fact is most houses in the UK have tiny bathrooms. The UK have lagged behind Europe for quite a while and with the age of much of the housing in the UK the option for these great big luxurious bathrooms is simply not an option.

Having just completed a small bathroom, here are some ideas to make the most of the available space.

Use a smaller Bath


Compact P Shaped Bath

It seems obvious but using a smaller bath does mean that the design of the room can be altered. In this room the wall where the bath now sits was too small for a standard bath. The original bath was along under the window, which is not practical with an over-bath shower firstly as the water goes everywhere and the whole street gets a silhouette of you showering.

The shaped bath not only makes showering much more spacious, but also fixes the other other problems already mentioned.

As a bath it still is very useable. It is a bit shorter at 1500mm instead of the 1700mm that is standard but it is still functional. It has steeper sides so you sit a bit more upright but this does mean a large person can still bath comfortably.

Other options would be to remove the bath entirely and just have a shower. However, in a 3 bed family house retaining the bath is good for kids or dogs. Just not necessarily together.

Built-in cupboards

Custom built in furniture

Custom built in furniture

This bathroom has made the most of the space by using built in furniture. The furniture is not just great storage, it also serves many other practical purposes.

The soil stack in this property is installed well into the room which is typical of houses which originally had a low-level WC. Installing a modern close-coupled WC would make mean very expensive moving of the soil stack or boxing the WC forward which really looks awful. The furniture hides the cistern and allows the WC to be fitted looking correct.

The choice of the countertop basin is not just stylish. It makes more useable storage in the cupboards beneath and it allows the cupboards to be deeper than the normal 300mm without looking ridiculous. The cupboards need to be deeper for the WC.

The cupboards are not standard bathroom furniture, but are adapted from other units to make the most of the space. The doors are high-gloss painted and fitted with push-to-open hinges for a clean look. With the floor tiles used to create the plinths to give an impression of a larger floor.

Using light and shape to make things bigger

It is all very well using the space, but if it feels cramped then it is not good. Keeping cabinets out of the eyeline helps increase the perceived space so keeping cabinets low is vital.

This bathroom uses reflective surfaces to increase the feel of space. The doors are gloss white which blend with the vitreous china. The tiles have a metallic element that reflect the light, reducing shadows and making the room feel bigger.

The worktop is a brushed aluminium effect which picks up both colour and the reflective qualities. This was a last minute design change and to be honest was about the last finish on our minds at the beginning of the design.

The tiles are long and thin with a 2:1 aspect ratio. This allows us to stretch the perceived room to make it feel bigger. Large tiles are used to keep the design simple as many grout lines would make the design busy and close the space in. The grout also being almost the same colour as the tiles gives an impression of a continuous surface. Alternative splashwall solutions can give similar effects.


This bathroom feels modern and clean. It is small, but the best use of space can be fairly easy to achieve with good use of materials and scaling the furniture to achieve a practical solution.

This bathroom you will be surprised came in under £5000 fitted. This included the custom furniture, re-plumbing the room, electrics, plastering etc.

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