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Make A Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Monday, 13th September 2010

If you're not in a position to knock down the wall between your small bathroom and the neighbouring room, then you'll have to accept that you can't change its actual dimensions. But you can do a lot to fool the eye into believing that it's far larger than it actually is by reconfiguring the space, accentuating its best features and removing all the visual clutter. Use our 12 tips to transform that poky space you once dreaded stepping inside into a delightful bathroom retreat.

1. Use light colours
When it comes to wall paint, choose pale colours that reflect the light rather than darker shades that will draw the light out of a room. This goes for tiles on the walls and floor too - light-coloured tiles, especially gloss ones with a reflective quality, will bounce the light around a small space, brighten it up and make it feel larger.

2. Add mirrors
A large mirror in the bathroom is not only practical, it will also visually increase the sense of space. A long mirror will make the room appear taller, and a horizontal one will make it seem wider. Another trick is to position the mirror opposite a window where it will capture the light and reflect the view.

3. Increase the natural light
The more natural light entering your small bathroom, the larger and more welcoming it will feel. If possible, replace small windows with larger ones that let more natural light enter. Or, at the very least remove any heavy window treatments that block the light from coming in. If privacy is an issue, consider opaque or frosted glass.

4. Install smart lighting
Banish any dark corners in your small bathroom by installing artificial lighting that brightens the whole space. Opt for higher-wattage bulbs for a brighter look overall, and mix ambient lighting with directional spots that draw attention where you want and away from where you don't.

5. Add an interesting accent
Detract attention from the bathroom's limited space by adding an interesting visual accent. Go for something slim and wall-mounted that won't take up precious floor space, such as a fabulous print on the wall or a dramatic, light-reflecting wallpaper on one wall. Make sure anything you choose can withstand the bathroom's moist conditions, and keep in mind the fules about lengthening and widening a space - a wallpaper with a pattern that runs vertically will make a low ceiling feel higher, while a horizontal-running one will make it room feel wider. 

6. Take the furniture off the floor
Replace bulky cabinetry with a vanity and toilet that attaches to the wall so that it appears to float, or a narrow pedestal sink. This will instantly boost your floor space and create a feeling of increased space in the room. Look to see where else you could take furniture off the floor, such as replacing floor-standing storage units with wall-mounted shelves or wall-mounted cabinets.

7. Look for recessed storage options
This is an option many people overlook when they're trying to find additional storage space in a small bathroom, which is a shame as recessed storage is practical, modern and won't take up valuable space in the room. Look for hollow walls next to the bath, inside the shower or above the toilet where you could add recessed storage for shampoos, spare towels or toiletries.

8. Remove clutter
The number one enemy of a small space is clutter, as it instantly fills up the space and makes it look messy. Find homes inside drawers or cabinets for toiletries and bathroom accessories so they're not taking over your surfaces, then look around to see what else is creating visual clutter. Is there a bulky towel rack occupying one wall that could be re-positioned out of the way behind the door, or a basket of spare toilet rolls on the floor that could be removed altogether?
Remove any unnecessary decorative items such as vases and jewellery stands that only fill up the space, and be ruthless about getting rid of things you don't really use.

9. Seek out low-key fixtures
Large, fussy detailing will only clutter up a small space, so it's far better to look for neat fixtures and fittings that blend into the background as much as possible. Look for small, streamlined taps and choose push-touch doors over bulky doorhandles.
When it comes to tiles, larger floor and wall tiles will give you a greater sense of space than acres of tiny mosaic ones, and they'll have less grouting between them to create visual fuss.

10. Add a frameless glass shower screen
A frameless glass shower screen will let the light through and make space feel more open.

11. Replace a hinged door
A hinged door that opens into the bathroom will instantly add bulk, and significantly reduce the amount of space you have to move around. Replace it with a neat, sliding door that slots into a recessed cavity when open.

12. Store toiletries in co-ordinated containers
A clash of colours and patterns is the first thing you'll notice when you go into a neutral bathroom that's piled high with everyday toiletries such as shampoos and handsoaps. If you can't put it away, then store or decant it into co-ordinated ceramic holders that will all blend neatly into the background.


Georgia Madden

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