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Small Bathroom Ideas: How To Make The Most Of Your Little Space

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When it comes to having a small bathroom, it’s important to try and utilise your space. Keep in mind that a small bathroom will need more space than a larger bathroom. You’ll need to think about every element of your bathroom, from showers, baths & mirrors to floor space and tiling.You’ll need to think about every element of your bathroom, from showers, baths & mirrors to floor space and tiling. You may think that having a tiny bathroom can be a hindrance to your design ideas, but often it’s not the size of the room itself, but how you choose to furnish and decorate it. There are several things you can do to give off the impression of a more spacious wash-area. 

In this article we’ll discuss the most affordable ideas on creating more space in your small bathroom, the cost of renovating a smaller bathroom, and what you can do to plan for your bathroom renovation.


How to make a small bathroom look bigger.

  1. Using Mirrors
sink and faucet with big mirror
mirror and vanity station built in.

Mirrors are an inexpensive way to make the most out of small bathrooms. They not only help bring light to a dark corner, they can also add a pop of colour and personality to your space. Mirrors are also brilliant in design as they can likely be added to any storage unit, for example a storage cupboard door could also be your bathroom mirror. In other circumstances mirrors can be nailed into the wall, or hanging on floating shelves to create more space, using the wall without having anything resting on the floor is the best way to give the illusion of more space. Having one large mirror can be a focus point of your bathroom.

2. Using Light Colours – Mainly White

white bathroom with open plan shower and large mirrors
white open floored bathroom with minimal design and built in shower

Keeping the colours to a minimalistic is a must for small bathrooms, over colouring can create confusion and often make a room feel cluttered. If you have a smaller bathroom aesthetically white is your best option, it opens the room up and allows for less shadow, white is also known as a reflective colour, meaning whenever natural light bounces off of it, it opens the room giving the feel of more space.  You can also compliment the white with added decorations and furnishes with touches of bronze, silver or light blue, these colours have been increasingly popular in the last few months especially alongside white marble countertops. 

3. Alternative Storage Options

Modern bathroom with barn wood sink cabinets

One of the most common complaints for bathroom space is lack of storage, whilst you may be able to fit your toilet, shower, bath & counter in the small space, it might leave little room for added toiletries, storage units & furniture. 

The best way to include more storage space in your smaller bathroom is to think less about the floor space and more about surrounding walls and even the ceiling. 

We discussed before about including a mirror to your storage unit to minimise the need for two separate bathroom items, however another great way to minimise use of space is to use hanging baskets, drop down baskets can be used to hold your toiletries, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush and more, these can be placed either within your shower area, if the toiletries are waterproof, or above your sink/ vanity station.

If you’re not a fan of hanging baskets the inclusion of towel racks on the wall or shelves above the bathtub is also a space saving way to help the room remain clutter free.

Another inclusion of minimising space and clutter is purchasing a bath with inbuilt storage, however often these are more expensive, so a budget plan might be in order if this is your bathtub of choice

4. Shower or Bath Alternatives

Shower and bath in bathroom

If you’re really struggling for space and you feel you’re able to compromise, maybe deciding between bath or shower rather than the two might be a beneficial option for yourselves. 

The extra space adopted from removing one of these items from your bathroom might allow for extended storage space, an extra vanity mirror or sink, or a large standing mirror. 

With this option you may be able to extend the size of your bath or shower slightly, for example you could create a contemporary style bathroom with a freestanding bath for a luxurious feel. 

Alternatively, you could build your shower around a corner of your room, having the shower essentially built into your bathroom can allow for many additional features such as a bench or seat, often made from tile, sliding doors or no-door choice which typically turns your shower into a part-wet room.

That being said you might not have to compromise either, you could combine the two and have the shower utilities above the bath, this works perfectly and the only extra installation you’ll need is a shower curtain to prevent water splashing

5. Lighting 

Spacious bathroom with white tiling, bathtub, chair and round window

As previously mentioned lighting can have a huge effect on your small space. If you have a smaller room, the best thing to do is keep it as well lit with as much natural lighting as possible. 

Having a large window in your bathroom can allow natural light to come through and bounce off the walls.  If you’re worried about privacy there is always the option of a slightly frosted glass. If you’re installing a vanity station, we often recommend mirrors with built-in touch lighting, smaller lighting dotted around the area can also fill a room, alongside your main light, in many cases alternative bulb colours have been selected to give your bathroom more character.

For example your primary light could be a neutral lighting shade, but dotted around your touch points you could include blue or red lights, these also set an impressive theme for your bathroom and compliment the atmosphere of the room well.

Your choice of tiles or wall panels will also come into play when considering lighting, this is because bathroom colour palettes tend to be on the lighter side with whites & cool blues being chosen over the darker colours, that being said black marble can be implemented in the bathroom if it is accompanied by a whiter secondary colour.

The most popular wall panels at the moment include faux-marble texture or patterns with hints or gold & copper, or american-style white tile, these can be accompanied well with ring lights on vanity mirrors or larger decorative hanging bulbs that give off a vintage- inspired aesthetic.

6. Wall Panels 

Clean Panel - Black Marble Effect
Marble effect wall panels

Wall panels are now available in all the colours of the rainbow, making it possible to make a small bathroom look great. Wall panels come in different sizes, ranging from panels of varying thicknesses, to custom made wall panels that have special holes to install television. Wall panels make small bathroom design much easier than you would imagine.

Shower panels not only conserve time & effort but money too, they’re cheaper than your average tiles, and having a smaller bathroom would typically mean you would require even less panels. 

You could also only add a touch of panelling if you didn’t want the whole room panelled you could create a feature wall, often this is where the vanity station & sink are, the panels compliment the furniture and storage unit nicely and add a touch of elegance to your bathroom without becoming overbearing. 

There are also hundreds of styles to choose from when considering panels, much more than possible with standard tiles, considering colour, style, pattern, texture and thickness. You could design a simple American style bathroom, a rustic approach to a vintage bathroom or even opt for faux-brick panels, each will give off a different experience to your newly designed washroom.

Planning your small bathroom remodel

  1. Find inspiration online 

Using social media or search engines look for similar size bathrooms that have already been styled, try and find similarities that you like within them, or a new style that you think might work within your home. 

Find decorations and furniture items you like & build your bathroom around a similar theme, although don’t over decorate as it may appear more cluttered than styled, you need to find the right balance between the both. 

Online resources are also incredibly helpful as they usually come with alternatives through blog posts about different products and price comparisons meaning you’re more likely to find a bargain online than you will in store. 

  1. Plan your budget

It’s easy to get excited when thinking of redecorating, but it’s also important to set yourself a budget for where you want to splash the cash. If getting a new vanity station is important then allow for more spendings on the storage unit, but maybe opt for a cheaper flooring option. Alternatively you could find competitive prices online for shower panels or bathroom panels & using apps like Etsy or Depop to find furniture and decorations.

The Cost of Small Bathroom Renovation

A full renovation that includes adding physical space to your bathroom typical costs between £8,000-£15,000, however if you’re simply trying to make the most of the current space you have you may be looking at much smaller prices, typically the average cost of re-furnishing a bathroom can be between £500-£4,000 depending on whether or not you require a new bathroom/shower or toilet. 

If you’re in need of a new boiler this will definitely increase the amount of money you’ll need for planning as a new boiler alone can cost between £500-£2,000. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of where you will typically spend your money during a bathroom renovation

  1. Walls 

Here you can decide whether you’d like to use tile, pain or shower panels / wall panels. The cheapest option being paint, although paint can also be considered the less durable option. When considering tiles or panels you will have a guarantee of the colour maintaining the same for an extended period of time. 

The average cost of painting a bathroom in the UK is £30 for a standard tin of paint, and a small bathroom may be looking at between 2-3 tins of paint depending on whether you intend on doing double-coating. This cost does not include the cost of hiring a painter & decorator, if you’re not a confident painter you may be looking at additional costs for hire. 

Tiles can be slightly more expensive than painting, to hire a professional tiler to provide tiles for a medium sized bathroom is typically around £2,000 depending on quality of tiles and experience of tiler

Shower/ Wall Panels are possibly the cheapest & convenient way to redecorate your bathroom whilst still ensuring quality and durability, it’s likely that you won’t need a fitter to install them, however some choose to install the fitter to be able to size the panels properly for the job, this may incur extra fees. 

The average cost of using shower panels to decorate your bathroom is between £300- 500 including installation.

Flooring

When considering tiling the floor, the price will usually depend on square meter, at an average of between £20-30 per square metre. The average small bathroom is considered to be between 30 – 40 square feet, which may lead the price to an average of £300-500 in total including installation. 

Although if it’s budget you’re looking for the cheapest flooring option would be vinyl, however these are known for being less durable due to their cheap prices, and may need replacing in a few years. It’s important to consider that the lower budget items are often lower quality. Whilst water won’t necessarily damage the vinyl, it can be damaged by movement causing it to tear. 

Decorating 

This is typically the cheapest part of a renovation, due to a rise in DIY, Social Media influencers & local craft enthusiasts it’s quite easy to find bargains, or ways of creating your own decorations and furniture without breaking the bank. 

Using apps like Etsy to search for local artists who produce craft decorations is a great way of helping a local business grow and finding something totally unique to style in your bathroom, you can also find small businesses on Instagram and facebook, their prices tend to be cheaper than big retailers and offer good value for money and quality within their products. 

If you’re looking to decide on a theme for your bathroom you can typically find loads of great ideas through social media or online platforms, a lot of designers, painters & decorators will run their own blogs or business accounts pointing you in the right direction for each product. 

There is no typical average cost for bathroom furniture due to it being a personal choice, you may like having many decorations and candleholders, soap dishes etc however  it’s truly dependent on how minimalist you want your bathroom to be. 

Bathtub, Shower & Toilet

The most expensive part of redecorating your bathroom will be the essentials needing to be placed in it, stand alone these products are expensive, not to mention they’re usually met with large delivery charges & then added fitting and plumbing expenses. 

On average a standard bathtub may cost between £200 – 800, there are more expensive bathtubs that include jacuzzi features and built in storage options that range toward the £1,000- £4,000 range.

The average single door shower may cost  between £2,000 – £5,000 although it is possible to find showers in the £500 range, it’s depending on the size and functionality you require. The higher end showers typically cost between £10,000 – £12,000 and will be more of a wet room experience with built in chair features, massage features & other added accessories. 

Finally toilet prices can range between £100 to £500 but typically toilets are the cheapest bathroom suite piece you’ll need to purchase. However wall mounted toilets can be considered slightly more expensive, although the price difference is not drastic and can usually range between £400- £900.

Conclusion 

small bathroom
small bathroom with light features

To summarise, there’s a lot of things you need to consider if you’re planning on renovating your small bathroom, consider lighting & colours above all first. In order to create the illusion of more space you need the room to be light and open. Manage your budget well and highlight the important purchases. 

Remember a bathroom renovation doesn’t have to happen overnight, and you can take time building the renovation piece by piece to achieve an amazing new bathroom, this will also help with saving as you can make changes little and often. 

Jessica Bosward

Jessica Bosward

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