Bathrooms are no longer merely functional spaces like they used to be in the yesteryears. Nowadays, a bathroom is a stylish private space that allows you to relax. However, most modern homes have small bathrooms, which pose the challenge of accommodating all the essential elements within the space without making it appear cluttered.
Which layout is ideal for a small bathroom? Should you opt for the one-wet-wall layout or experiment with two or three wall plans? How do you choose fittings and fixtures to enhance the style of the bathroom? What flooring is best for bathrooms? These will be among the questions that you will need to answer before you get started with designing the room.
Behind the stylish walls of the bathroom is a network of pipes, electric wires, vents and drains. The easiest option for designing the space is to have the sink, toilet and shower installed along one wall as it is more economical than extending the pipes and drains to two or three walls. However, a single-wall design isn’t necessarily the most efficient one. Start by analysing the space to see where you can fit each of the main elements, without spending too much on lengthening the wires, pipes and drains. For example, you can design a two-wall layout with the sink in the corner, sandwiched on either side by the shower and the toilet. Alternatively, you can improve the aesthetics of the room by enclosing the toilet and installing it on a separate wall.
Depending upon the size and shape of the room, you can work out a range of design options by consulting a professional bathroom designer for planning an efficient layout.
While the sink, shower and toilet are the main components in the bathroom, the space would be incomplete without storage and counter space. When you are planning the layout of the bathroom, don’t forget to assess the space for corners or niches where you can create shelves for storage. You can also install a sink with a cabinet underneath for arranging bathroom supplies or toiletries. Ideally, the bathroom should have a combination of open and closed storage. Rails and hooks are other essential elements that should be present in every bathroom and planning where to install them is vital at the design stage so that you don’t end up having to drill through a tile or a painted surface once the bathroom is built.
Design the storage based on the number of people who use the room. Allow sufficient space to move around freely inside the bathroom, and don’t forget to plan for ventilation!
Get inspired by these ideas to transform your small bathroom.
Usually, the bathroom should follow the same design style as the rest of your home. Of course, you can play around with colours to refresh the space or to make it more serene, but it’s advisable to stick to the same theme, whether your house is modern or colonial. Since bathrooms are attached to bedrooms, it makes sense to follow a similar colour scheme so that the transition between the rooms is smooth.
A common mistake that many homeowners make is to decide on the fittings and fixtures once the work in the bathroom begins. However, it’s best to choose them before work commences so that you have a realistic estimate of the total cost of the project, else you might end up exceeding your budget.
The first thing to do before you choose the fixtures is to work out a budget for your bathroom project. This will help to narrow down the options when it’s time to choose the best fittings and fixtures. Don’t forget to budget for everything, including the light fixtures and rails. The basic costs that you incur in renovating or designing a bathroom will go towards the flooring, countertops, cabinets, toilet, sink, bath fixtures, backsplash tiles, lighting and waterproofing.
You can either get help from an interior designer in budgeting for the various elements or visit bath stores to get a rough idea of the costs.
Water conservation is a priority when it comes to bathrooms as it is the area of the house that uses the maximum water. While design is important when choosing taps and faucets, efficiency is a priority so that you don’t waste the precious natural resource. The sink, the shower and the toilet are water guzzlers in the bathroom and using the right type of fixtures can help to cut water wastage dramatically.
Choose high-efficiency flushes that use half the amount of water than conventional flushes. Pick efficient faucets and shower heads with aerators to cut down the water consumption by around 40 per cent. While these faucets and taps are more expensive, keep in mind that you will make a big saving on water consumption and contribute towards sustainability.
Safety and hygiene are the primary factors that a bathroom floor should deliver. Ceramic tiles are popular as they are affordable and easy to maintain, but when you choose tiles, minimize the risk of slipping by ensuring that the tiles have a rougher texture than the ones used for the backsplash. Natural stone is another excellent option for bathroom floors but remember that they require regular maintenance by applying a coating to keep moisture from penetrating through the surface. Natural stone is also more expensive.
Hardwood is not recommended for bathroom flooring as it can rot if it absorbs moisture. A better alternative is to use ceramic tiles that look like wood.
The vanity counter in the bathroom is more than a stylish element that improves the aesthetics of the space. It needs to withstand exposure to water, soap and cosmetics. Therefore, the material you choose should be durable and easy to maintain. Natural stones such as marble and granite are suitable for bathroom countertops, but they need to be sealed to protect moisture from seeping through the porous material. Slabs of marble and granite come in a range of prices to suit almost any budget. A more recent entrant to the market is quartzite, which is durable and requires far less maintenance. It costs almost as much as marble and granite but has the advantage of being easy to repair as scratches on the surface can be buffed.
Laminate and tiles are cheaper alternatives to natural stone and quartzite. However, each of these materials has its own disadvantages. Laminate can become dull over time and the surface can get dented. While tiles are easy to maintain and durable, the grout accumulates dirt and needs heavy-duty scrubbing periodically to refresh the look of the counter.
The best way to figure out the perfect layout and style for your bathrooms is to visit home design stores where you can see model bathrooms on display. This will give you an idea of the quality, finishes and costs of fixtures and fittings. Once you have some ideas, you can work with a professional interior designer or bathroom planner to plan and build a beautiful bathroom.
Find more tips for your bathroom makeover project.