Bathroom layouts can be challenging, however, a small bathroom layout can be particularly difficult to get right. Johnny Lamprecht from leading sanitaryware and tile supplier, Bathroom Bizarre, offers some tips and advice for those of you who you need some ideas on how you can make your small bathroom a more attractive, comfortable and functional space: “Just because your bathroom is short on space, does not mean that you have to sacrifice good looks for functionality – with the right combination of materials, sanitaryware and design, your small bathroom can feel inviting, serene and stylish.”

1. Storage is key

Most of us don’t have the luxury of space in our bathrooms, but more often than not, what we do have is overflowing drawers, cluttered counters and shelves spilling over with a collection of beauty and hygiene products. All this ‘stuff’ will make any space feel cluttered, disorderly and smaller than it actually is. In small bathrooms especially, clutter can exacerbate the problem and make the space seem claustrophobic. As such, storage is one of the most important design features when you are creating a layout for a small bathroom.

Says Johnny: “The truth is – you can’t have too much storage in this space. Although pedestal basins remain a great way of saving floor space in a bathroom layout, the problem is that they do not offer any useful storage. Rather opt for wall-hung, floating cabinetry that acts as a sink vanity, with added storage. Bathroom Bizarre offers a range of various modular units that can be pieced together to fit virtually any custom space. For a seamless finish, we also offer custom-size filler pieces that are manufactured from the same material as the cabinetry to fill in where the unit joins up against the wall. Now homeowners can benefit from customised cabinetry, at affordable off-the-shelf prices.”

2. Using tiles

When it comes to tiles, there are a number of considerations that are important to think about, notes Johnny: “My number one rule is that bigger tiles are better when it comes to smaller spaces – larger tiles help create the illusion of more spaciousness as they create less grouting lines when installed, and these lines tend to break the space up visually. Also, be sure to use one uniform tile for the entire bathroom floor. With regards to wall tiles, it is imperative to tile from the floor right up to the ceiling to create the illusion of height. Another clever way of creating the illusion of added height is to lay the tiles vertically to draw the eye upwards – this is especially effective when using subway tiles.”

3. Selecting colours

Only use light hues in your small bathroom’s colour palette advises Johnny: “This is one of those go-to design tips that is especially true in a bathroom where you have so many built-in features. Lighter colours tend to open up the space visually – giving you room to breathe and making the space feel lighter and brighter. If you want to use darker colours in this space, then reserve them for the floor to create a nice contrast between the floor and walls, and keep the overall scheme light. Also, avoid over-fussy and busy designs, as they will make the space feel cluttered – rather opt for clean, simple designs.”

4. Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Mirrors remain a great way of adding depth, width and length to a small room. They also reflect light, which makes the space seem brighter and bigger. Johnny notes: “Adding a mirror across an entire wall can double the look and feel of a small bathroom. This is particularly effective above a vanity or along one side of a narrow room.”

5. Keep it off the floor

In small bathrooms, you will be short of floor space, so it is important to look vertically and use the real estate on your bathroom walls, notes Johnny: “By not breaking the line of site on your bathroom floor, you can create the illusion of added floor space. This can be achieved by mounting as many things on the wall, instead of opting for freestanding designs. Consider the likes of floating vanities, recessed and open shelving, and wall-hung cabinetry that offer a lot of storage without taking up too much visual- or floor space. Wall-hung toilets are another a great option – they save space and add legroom by having the cistern built-into the wall behind.”

6. Lose the tub 

Baths take up twice the space of a shower, and they break the space visually as well. As such, Johnny advises that for smaller bathrooms it is best to ditch the bath altogether in lieu of a shower instead: “By swapping out your bath for a shower you will be able to open up your bathroom space significantly. If you opt to go this route, then be sure to include glass shower doors and panels, as these let more light into the space and don’t break up the line of site throughout the room. Also, opt for continual flooring and a curbless shower floor if possible – by eliminating the curb around your shower, your flooring will continue right into the shower for a seamless end result and it will help to make the floor space of the room appear larger.”

7. Making an entrance

Aside from eliminating the bath, one of the biggest space-saving ideas to consider involves switching out your normal entrance swing door, and replacing it with a pocket or sliding door. Johnny explains: “A Pocket door slides into a recess that is created in the wall alongside – this saves floor and wall space, and it will also give you more flexibility when placing your fixtures. However, a pocket wall is quite costly to create – to achieve a similar effect at a fraction of the cost, you could opt for a surface-mounted sliding door instead that slides open on the wall outside the bathroom.”

8. Light it up

As mentioned above when we were talking about colour choices, the lighter and brighter a space is, the larger and airier it seems. With this in mind, it is very important that your small bathroom is well lit, using both natural and electrical lighting. Johnny offers some tips: “Open up the window spaces to let in as much natural light as possible – don’t block them with heavy blinds. If privacy is an issue, then rather swap the glazing out with opaque glass, so that people can’t see in but the natural light can still light up the room. If the room is still dark, consider a skylight. With regards to the electrical lighting design – be sure to create a layered lighting scheme, with general, ambient and task lighting. It is a good idea to ensure that each different layer of lighting is separately controlled.”