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How To Arrange a Small Bathroom?

The bathroom is one of the most problematic rooms – it has particular functions, a lot is going on, and all this in a relatively small space. Are you facing the challenge of renovating or rearranging a small bathroom? See our tips and proven solutions.

Design, Design, Design

Let’s be honest – when renovating an apartment, we rarely decide to pay for a design plan. It’s more common with new construction, but we still tend to perceive paying for a plan as unnecessary. When calculating the renovation budget, we clutch our heads and cut costs and, unfortunately, the professional plan is often the first cut. 

Despite the unshaken belief in your own design powers as regards to the entire apartment, leave the bathroom plan to more expert hands.

Professional designs mean long-term advantages:

  • Cost-efficiency: a designer can calculate the exact amount of necessary materials and suggest which features are worth the investment, and which aren’t a good fit. The plan will help you avoid do-overs, which increase the total cost of a renovation and stretch it out weeks and weeks. Trust us on this one – a good plan provides a surprisingly fast return on investment;
  • Time-efficiency: first, a professional who’s a good listener will consider your inspirations and propose an accurate aesthetic design. The bill of materials will spare you driving around hardware stores and learning the internet by heart; second, a detailed plan makes the job much easier for contractors. No need to breathe down their necks, everything is there on paper. And this is convenient for everybody;
  • Functionality: do you know how much room is needed between the toilet and the shower for comfortable use? How high do you mount the sink, mirror, shelves? Precisely. A designer knows the general ergonomic principles which can be adjusted to the needs of everybody in your household.

Functionality and Ergonomics

Once you have decided to go for a plan drafted by a designer, they’ll make suggestions matching the size and measurements of your bathroom. Still – and foremost – the design should be convenient for you and other bathroom users as regards to functionality and aesthetics alike. 

You may not be planning a renovation, but only a small change in color or one of the fixtures? Regardless of the renovation’s scale, consider:

  • choosing or replacing the fixtures with smaller options. Would a small mounted sink suffice? Extra space will be saved by mounting the faucet above the sink, which saves room on the counter. Think of replacing the traditional fixtures with corner ones. A cumbersome bathroom could benefit from a corner toilet or sink;
  • a walk-in shower. When it became trendy to eliminate the shower base, there was a common misconception that a walk-in fits only larger bathrooms. Myth busted! It’s the only solution in our bathrooms today and they often take little space. Proper glass size and gradient towards the drain will prevent flooding at shower time. It saves you space, makes daily showering easier, and optically adds to the room;
  • the washing machine spot: top-loaders will be perfect for bathrooms with a small nook or where the door would collide with other fixtures. It’s also a good idea to hide the machine under an extended sink counter, relocate it to the kitchen, or… a built-in closet in your hallway. Installing a washing machine under the kitchen counter is easy enough, as there’s an existing water connection. The location of the washing machine should be considered early in the design stage of a total renovation or a new construction project.

Storage And Out of Sight

Bathroom keywords. Your bathroom holds an unruly army of cosmetics, towels, electric appliances, and cleaning products. A window spray and spare rolls of toilet paper aren’t really Pinterest material, so put them away, out of sight, and you’re organized. Our bathrooms are designed to have a maximum of closed storage and we’re very happy about this feature. 

Here’s our list of best practices:

  • a bathroom tends to be irregular in shape. It’s difficult to find perfectly matching cabinets, so we custom design them. This way we make use of (literally) every inch of available space;
  • we remember to include closets to hold, buckets, mops, brooms, and odds and ends. These accessories should be out of sight as well;
  • wherever possible, we build floor-to-ceiling closets. We design for the exact washing machine topped with innumerable shelves and leave it all behind the door. Poof! The entire mess is gone!
  • a shelf behind the toilet likes to collect bits and bobs and… dust. With no extra bathroom space, that’s where we put a cabinet;
  • the washing machine is sometimes placed next to the sink and hidden under a longer counter. This gives more room for necessities and tucks the machine away;
  • drawers are perfect under the sink. They make it easy to store small cosmetics, jewelry, and miscellaneous items all at hand. Wherever space allows, invest in drawers;
  • shower potions and lotions are a challenge, so we like little nooks. They save precious room while keeping the place tidy and easy to clean;
  • it’s a nightmare to have nowhere to hang your clothes or towel. We’re fans of hangers and hooks – they’ll work for a hairdryer and cosmetic bag as well. With no shelf space, you hang on.

Shape, Color, Light

You’ve selected the fixtures and you know what goes where. The technical part is done. Here comes the pleasant and more visual: choosing your tiles, colors, textures. 

As with any other room there are some basic rules:

  • choose bright, cooler colors. If you prefer things darker, stick to one tone e.g. grey. Bet on white, especially for the ceiling and walls;
  • opt for large tiles. A fine mosaic may be pretty, but it makes your head spin. Choose one, maybe two kinds of tiles. Consistent patterns will make for a bigger space;
  • match the color of the grout to the tiles. Your floor or walls will look integral;
  • when designing custom cabinets, you can choose the color of their fronts. It’s a great opportunity to match them to the tiles and integrate them even more. Steer clear of porous textures – they’re harder to maintain; 
  • don’t forget a large mirror. Obviously, it must let you see yourself at least from the chest up. But… a large mirror means more reflected light and optically more space. And again, like with the cabinets, consider ordering a custom mirror without a heavy frame. The cost of this solution is relatively small and the visual effect in your bathroom – impressive!
  • modern shower units with innumerable features are hip, but they look more like spaceships than places of daily hygiene. Walking in such a bathroom, that’s all you can see. And how often do you actually use these features? Go for simplicity. Choose transparent shower glass without unnecessary decorations. It’ll be unnoticeable and so nice to use and clean.

Order And Harmony

Here’s to the joy of your bathroom: regular cleaning. Unfortunately, we can’t do it for you, but… following our advice and applying our tips, you’ll enjoy your bathroom whatever its size.

Let’s sum up our tips and good practice:

  • maximum usage of all nooks and closed cabinets: they’ll conceal the less photogenic products and help you keep things tidy;
  • give up on “displays”. Colorful soaps, mini towels look good only on Instagram. In real life, the fewer, the better, for your eyes and cleaning comfort;
  • large glass and mirror surfaces: they optically make for bigger space and are easy to maintain. Avoid open surfaces – they catch dust, remember your cabinets; 
  • boxes and compartments: if your drawers are snowed under cosmetics and other adds and ends, organize them. You’ll be thankful for this order every morning;
  • quality over quantity: if you’re not a fan of sterility and prefer a personalized bathroom, go for a curious poster (obviously: framed), a nice basket, or a suitable plant (which feels well in your bathroom conditions).

Good luck with your bathroom design!

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