Small does not mean dysfunctional!

Decorating a small bathroom does not mean you have to 'do without' those little touches which make a room attractive. There are a number of things you can do to ensure your bathroom is fully functional yet also has comfort and style.

Plan ahead

A small bathroom needs to be carefully planned. For example, you may already have the bath/shower, toilet and wash basin already installed. So now you know exactly what space you have for other fitments, and probably which colors will go.

It's a good idea to take a look at many of the 'space saver' units you can buy such as corner baths, corner bath with shower, corner shower unit, etc. Using these units will then give you more space for other accessories such as cabinets and towel rails.


Tiles - functional and attractive

Decorating a small bathroom often involves using wall and/or floor tiles, and sometimes it's practical to use wall tiles on all the walls, or most of them. Changing the color of walls needlessly will make a small room look even more disjointed, so even if you don't have tiles on all the walls, don't have a sudden change of color.

There are no end of tiles to choose from, with all the colors you could wish for. They come in various sizes, and are available in prices to suit all budgets.

Floor tiles are often a really good idea in a small bathroom, because any splashing tends to go everywhere!


small bathroom

Even with a limited amount of wall space as shown here, it's possible to include all the necessary fitments.

The mirror is lit by a four light unit fixed above it so that light is directed down onto the viewer's face. A towel rail is positioned above the cistern, with glass shelves above it. Using glass for shelves doesn't make the shelves look as though they intrude into the room.

Rather than just have utility fittings, antique brass is used for the towel rail and shelf holders. This gives character to the room. Remember, it's the little details which make all the difference with home decorating.


When planning your main items make sure you leave enough room for yourself! It's no good having all the facilities you want and then finding there's not much room for you to move around.


bathroom storage

Are you the sort of person who likes lots of little storage spaces?

A small bathroom can benefit from this. You can fit little storage units wherever you can find room, and all of them will get filled very quickly!

By using units with a different color from the walls, you can make your bathroom as colorful as you want. This is an ideal way to bring modern colors into the scheme.


The importance of fitments

Take your time when selecting your fitments, especially in a small room.

Wherever you can, use space saving fitments. Make use of every conceivable space, every nook and cranny. Instead of a mirror, use a narrow cabinet with a mirror front. If your bathroom has a radiator, install one which incorporates towel rails. Is there extra room above the sanitary ware? Fix shelves.


bathroom with blue storage

It pays to do your research into what sort of bathroom ware you can buy. Often the basic units are supplemented by other items which can save you the work of looking for them separately.

Stools, cabinets, lights, towel rails and other fittings can make the bathroom look complete with a minimum amount of sourcing on your part.

This bathroom illustrates how you can use a contrast color to impart some life to the room.



You may find a single light source (perhaps in the center of the ceiling) will provide all the light you need. But this is not necessarily the most effective.

Even if the room is small, consider using lights around (or as part of) the mirror over the wash basin, and lights fitted into the ceiling over the bath/shower. Multiple light sources give any room more interest and character, as well as providing light exactly where it's needed.


bathroom furniture

Modern units tend to fit well into small bathrooms. They are usually minimalist in appearance, and don't take up very much room.

There's a wide variety of styles and finishes available, and as with all bathrooms you need to plan your tiles and other finishes along with the sanitary ware.



You can use light colors to 'open up' the room, but if it's small anyway, no amount of light color will make it look that much bigger. Sometimes it's nice just to go mad and use color you wouldn't dare use anywhere else.

Decorating a small bathroom will be influenced mainly by your sanitary ware, it's color and texture. You can either go light with the decor, or have a complete contrast and select dark or bright colors for walls and tiles.

The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets

There's more information on this topic in the section on bathroom decorating ideas.



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