The tiny spaces provided for many bathrooms come with tricky design problems.
Your scale plan will be invaluable when working out the best layout for the space and most compact fittings. The bath, shower, lavatory, bidet, and basin should be grouped fairly close together so they can share the plumbing outlets. This will decide to some extent the arrangement of the fittings.
Built-in fittings often allow more room for boxed-in storage and give the room a coordinated look that will make it seem larger and give it feeling of order. There are baths, lavatories, and other fittings designed specifically to fit into small rooms – for example corner baths, corner lavatories, and corner basins are all available and are particularly suited to long, narrow bathrooms.
Corner equipment can make it possible, with some ingenuity, to create an extra downstairs or attic lavatory in tiny cupboard-like space, by using the whole of width and length of the area and even to fit in a small amount of cupboard space round the basin.
No matter how small, a well-planned bathroom can include several storage places. This is much easier to achieve if the bath, basin, and lavatory, or at the least the cistern, are enclosed. Enclosed fittings often create valuable storage space for bath gels and toiletries, as well as for cleaning equipment. You may be able to create a storage space between the end of the bath and the end wall of the bathroom in the form of an open shelf or a lift-up lid with storage beneath. Enclosing the basin offers opportunities for several shelves underneath. The wall height is often ignored in a bathroom but there are modular units designed specifically for bathrooms. En-suit bath and shower rooms may have to be fitted into even smaller spaces, so measuring and planning is vital.
- You might have room for a tall but shallow built-in cupboard to hide vertical pipes.
- By running a narrow shelf around at the same height as the top of the bathroom door, you could store and display a plate collection or line up rows of bottles and jars you don’t want to throw away.
- Every bathroom should have a lockable medicine cabinet, out of reach of children. Most are very small so you might want to put two matching cabinets side by side.
- Organize tall shelves or lockable cupboard for bathroom cleaning products such as bleaches and lavatory cleaners so they are not accessible to children.
- Store bath toys in a net or bag from the ceiling to save space.
- For couples or a family, a built-in laundry bin or basket can prevent dirty clothes littering the floor.
Safety and Comfort guidelines:
- There are strict regulations on electricity in the bathroom so you should always get professional advice if thinking of installing electric appliances.
- Light switches should be of the pull cord type or fitted on the wall outside the room.
- No electric appliance, switch, or socket (other than a shaving socket) should be fitted within reach of the bath or basin.
- All electrical appliances must be wired directly into a fused power supply outside the bathroom. In some countries, such as the USA, where voltages are low. Electric sockets may be installed provided they are high up and least 1.5m (5ft) away from the bath. With waterproof plastic cover plates.
- If condensation is a problem, introduce good ventilation in the form of an opening window or an electric fan, together with constant low-level heating. Choose a warm surface such as paint rather than ceramic tiles on the walls, and cork or linoleum on the floor.
- For the frail or elderly, the bathroom should have a specifically non-slip floor and be fitted with grab rails.
En-suite Baths options:
En-suite bath or shower rooms a definite bonus. You may have to fit it into an even smaller space than a normal bathroom but there are design tricks to help:
- Position a new shower as near to another bathroom or other plumbing as possible to minimize any extra drainage works.
- Get professional advice on how to waterproof the area and check that the floor can take the extra weight of fittings.
- If the ceiling is low try sinking the lower part of the shower into the floor.
- Make the transition from bedroom to bathroom as discreet as possible by continuing your chosen style throughout.
- A sliding or folding door to the en-suit can be space-saving, but to make sure that the doors are well made and don’t stick.
- Use clear materials such as glass bricks and glass shower doors to bring in light.