Design Ideas for Small Bathrooms

The Challenge

small bathroom

I have been looking for inspiration recently, and it’s a depressing business. You see, I am seeking inspiration for my bathroom. I have decided that I can live with the avocado bathroom suite no longer, the tiling is boring, and the wall and wood colors my predecessor chose for the room have to go. Plus I want new flooring. Basically, I’m looking to do a complete redesign of my bathroom, so I have been hunting through interiors blogs and websites for ideas. Sadly, it would seem I have a problem.

My bathroom is just too small

I see lots of images of beautiful bathrooms with free-standing baths, separate showers, and his-n-hers washbasins. There may be a floor-to-ceiling window, complete with billowing curtains and a sea view. Some will throw in a chaise longue for good measure.

Can you imagine having a bathroom so large it has a seating area? Me neither.

While I would dearly love a snow-white, free-standing, roll-top bath complete with claw feet, if I had one I wouldn’t be able to get to the toilet. Some sites suggest turning a small bathroom into a wet room, and while that’s not a bad idea in principle, I would prefer to have the option of a soak in a bubble-filled bath.

Fortunately, I have been able to pick out a few ideas from the envy-inducing images I have been looking at.

Bathroom Lighting

For such a small room, my bathroom is surprisingly dark. The light over the mirror emits a hideous orange glow which does nothing for me and makes applying make-up quite a challenge. It’s better to rely on the main light and not turn on the one over the mirror at all, but that’s hardly satisfactory.

Having a shower is always conducted in a slight gloom too. The bathroom light is on the other side of the shower curtain rail, and although I do like the idea of the black shower curtain I recently acquired it was not the smartest choice of decor. My morning shower is now in perpetual twilight.

There were some interesting lighting suggestions that I came across on the Bathrooms.com inspiration blog. It would not have occurred to me that maybe I needed to add some more lights to such a small space, but actually, it makes sense. A couple of downlights above the bath would sort out the gloomy shower problem, and create a subdued mood for lazy bubble baths as well. No room for candles, you see.

My basin is in a little alcove, so a wall light on either side of the mirror would really brighten the place. Plus I wouldn’t look orange as I apply make-up. An alternative would be illuminated mirrors, but since that conjures up images of the lightbulb-surrounded mirrors in the dressing rooms on The Muppets I think that might be a bit much.

small bathroom lighting

Bathroom Tiling

If I’m going to the trouble of putting in downlights over the bath, then I want to tile that will be something to show off. The bathroom suite will be white, but the question is whether I carry that through to the tiles. While I would quite like a black and red mosaic effect it might be too overpowering in such a small space. If I’m making it brighter by putting in more lights then I don’t want to go all dim again with the tiles.

White tiling by itself could be quite boring though. The traditional option would be a checkerboard pattern, or maybe a single line of a different color to break up the wall. I did see a quite nice rough stone effect on Houzz which was carried from the wall to the bath surround, but price-wise that might be beyond me. Instead, I think I would like to try something like the white floral design pictured. It’s a bit different, and although red is a strong color it shouldn’t be too overpowering.

For the floor tiles, I think I can get away with something darker. After all, white suite, white and red wall tiles, additional lighting – hopefully by this point my bathroom should be feeling a bit more spacious, light, and airy. So I’ll go for the classic dark grey slate for the flooring.

So, what would you do?

I’m only at the ideas stage right now. Going from inspiration to a completed bathroom will take time. But I’ve set out a few ideas, and I’ve even given you a hint of just how small my bathroom is with the photo at the top.

So, what do you think? Does it sound like a good plan? Being a complete novice when it comes to interior design I would welcome anyone’s thoughts. Maybe you have a small bathroom too – what sort of solutions did you come up with to give your bathroom a bit of style? Please do feel free to comment below, and share your sources of inspiration.

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