Decorating for functional rooms can be tricky, especially when it comes to small bathrooms and downstairs lavatories. The line between being practical and staying on-trend can easily be blurred, often leaving you frustrated with your décor. When decorating small rooms, we need to consider the space available ensuring the end result is both functional and visually what we desire. There’s lots of tips and tricks for maximising space depending on the look you’re after. Here, we’ll cover our favourite ideas, from design hacks to the best fixtures and fittings for saving space.
Picking your bathroom suite
If you’re starting from scratch with your bathroom, you’ll already be thinking about the best layout for your larger items. With a toilet, basin, shower and maybe even a bath to work around, it’s worth taking the time to get it right. When it comes to showers, corner enclosures are the most compact choice available and easy to keep out of the way. Opting for sliding doors over a swing door will save you precious space too.
Combination toilets and sinks are a multi-purpose space saver best suited to really small rooms such as guest toilets and ensuites. If you’re working with a standard bathroom and looking for a standalone basin, wall-mounted sinks and cloakroom taps are great for keeping floor space free. Love a bath? Considering an L or P shaped bath with a shorter length and a shower overhead will keep things compact without compromise.
Make room for essentials
Bathroom storage and accessories can too often be forgotten in the planning phase. Thinking ahead will leave you in the best place possible for making the most of your space. When it comes to storage, be sure to seek out ‘hidden’ spaces for built-in towel and cosmetic cupboards. In small spaces, height is your friend making tiered storage a great option. If there’s no floor space available, take to the wall and mount a mirrored cabinet as your storage solution. You might not think there’s many options for heating, but by opting for a ladder radiator or underfloor heating, you’ll leave room for other decorative touches such as plants and wall prints.
Getting clever with colour
Never be afraid to splash a bit of colour in small rooms. We’d recommend starting simple with a neutral palette and build out from there with bolder accent shades. It’s not all about the walls either. Use accessories, fixtures and statement tiles to add a pop of colour. For something a little more subtle, pastels are back on trend with millennial pink leading the way as one of the go to colours for 2018.
Small spaces work great with a monochrome scheme too adding a sense of drama to your interior. Placing black tiles on the floor and white on the walls tricks the eye into believing you’re in a more spacious room.
Using design hacks
Our favourite design hacks for small spaces include choosing furniture and fixtures that match the scale of your room. You may love that chunky vintage cabinet, but it will most likely dwarf the rest of your room. When it comes to tiles, we love the look of tiling part way up walls and finishing the rest of the room in a lighter colour. This will make the whole space feel larger and maximise any light streaming in.
You might be thinking that staying away from fussy patterns is the best way to go in a small bathroom. But, in some instances, patchwork tiles and patterned wallpaper can be your friend. Oversized, playful patterns when used as a feature can distract the eye – just remember to keep everything else simple and let your statement piece do all the talking.
We spoke with Claire O’Brien, British Ceramic Tile’s Head of Design and Product, for some additional tips. Here's what Claire had to say:
We see a lot of fear around decorating small spaces with many thinking their choices are limited. This just isn’t the case. With proper planning and consideration you can make the best of almost any space without compromising on design. Current trends like playful patterns, structured angles and monochrome work great for small bathrooms as they create striking finishes that aren’t overwhelming. For a more understated look, sumptuous surfaces allow you to build texture and interest whilst using a more neutral colour palette.
Thinking ahead about your storage and furniture can save you a lot of headaches down the line too. It’s all about getting clever with the space available and tricking the eye into thinking you’ve got more room than you have. That’s when the ‘small’ part becomes less of a problem.
A final thought from Helena Linsky, Pebble Grey’s Managing Director:
e are still seeing continued growth within the online bathroom market which is no surprise as creating a brand new bathroom could add as much as £25,000 or more to the value of your home. According to GE Money even spending a small amount on a refresh such as adding new furniture or a new shower enclosure from £500 upwards can add at least 3% to the potential selling price of your home. Three percent doesn’t sound too much but to the average UK homeowner, that’s £6,800!
A recent survey found that home movers and first time buyers are the most likely to make updates to bathrooms however with what can be added to the value of your home, every home owner should have a think about sprucing up their bathroom.