Furnishing a bathroom small on space but big on character

Furnishing a small bathroom in style: from tiles to bathroom furniture.

Small bathrooms constitute one of the planning situations most dreaded by homeowners and designers. A number of functions have to share just a few square metres without compromising aesthetics: this post summarises the main interior decoration solutions for bathrooms lacking space but rich in style. You don’t need a large bathroom to achieve that wow effect.

Form | Who said you need a large bathroom to have twin washbasins?  

Choosing tiles and cladding for a small bathroom

How to tile a small bathroom? One of the first steps at the planning stage is to define a moodboard that outlines the materials and textures for the chosen style, and then select tiles or cladding and the bathroom colour scheme.

There are no set rules or compositions better than others to enhance small bathrooms. Nowadays there are infinite solutions for tiling small bathrooms, from mini formats (such as mosaic) to extra-large ones.  However, given the limited area, if considering maxi tiles make sure you assess their visual effect inside a small room.

An excellent contemporary solution is medium-large formats, such as 60x120cm or 80x160cm: large enough for a small bathroom and just the right size to work well in limited space. The advantage of medium-large formats is that they are quick to lay and reduce grouting, emphasising tile texture or an attractive 3D relief effect.

As an alternative to tiles, in order to reduce joints and grout lines, walls can be coated with latest generation resins or wallpapered with special bathroom coverings.  These should be carefully considered for use on just one or two walls to give the bathroom greater depth and expand space by drawing attention to décor details. Small tricks for small bathrooms!

Cladding a small bathroom: contemporary solutions like large tiles or wallpaper to enhance decor details.  Photo: Sheer 80×160 collection (Fap Ceramiche) | GlamFusion (waterproof wallpaper by Glamora)

How to furnish a small bathroom

It may be complicated to use a set bathroom furniture composition. But don’t despair, compositions can also be broken up, for example separating the washbasin unit from the cabinet. A free-standing washbasin is an attractive idea in such cases: suspended units or tall units attached to free walls make up for the lack of a traditional vanity unit.

In truly mini bathrooms everything must be adapted, including cabinets and washbasin units.

MyTime | Compact and super capacious: this washbasin unit occupies just 28cm in depth and 45cm in width, which becomes 60 with an open side compartment.

The technical services of a designer are often needed to optimise space and plan the bathroom so that what may seem impossible becomes reality, like creating a make-up area in a small bathroom.

It sometimes happens that less popular décor solutions, such as floor-standing cabinets, are underestimated; and yet there are bathroom furniture collections that provide elegant, minimal style alternatives.

Cubik | Making use of height to optimise the space available means choosing a floor-standing unit like the one in the photo, featuring three large sliding drawers.
Dolcevita | Internal and external organisation is essential in a small bathroom: practical dividers inside cabinets and elegant wall units are two stylish suggestions not to be neglected.

Light: natural, artificial, targeted

The illumination of a small bathroom is fundamental to make lighting a decor element that can radically change the perception of space.

Everything can help to achieve the result of a spacious bathroom, even if it is an illusion: the effect of natural light, strategically placed LED bars, off-centre light fittings or spotlights that show off a decorative detail or a décor, can create the impression of space.  Light as a décor item can also be an illuminated mirror, perhaps generously proportioned so that it doubles the space.

Cubik: a mirror surface can also be used on a bathroom cabinet so that the amount of reflected light is increased, adding luminosity to the room.

Small bathroom: shower or bathtub?

Although a shower enclosure may appear to be the most obvious solution for small bathrooms, a bathtub should not be dismissed out of hand. There are comfortable, compact models that can create the impression of a small wellness area in the bathroom. 

However, if a shower is the only possibility, there are many solutions suitable for small spaces: space-saving, functional shower enclosures solve the question of space with sliding or folding doors and minimal frames that do not intrude.

Small, windowless bathrooms: a practical example

The pictures below show a project by one of our dealers, in which the made-to-measure decor, optimised space and illumination create a luminous, modern designer bathroom.

The project develops over two walls: the shorter one hosts the walk-in shower, partially closed by a bespoke glass panel machined to accommodate the Aquatek top of the bathroom cabinet, which is magically transformed into a shower shelf.  This is a demonstration that a spacious, comfortable shower enclosure can exist in a small bathroom.

The cabinet, one of the extremely versatile Cubik modules, occupies the full length of the second wall, and conceals the washing machine without needing to change the depth of the washbasin unit top. The uncluttered good looks and particular 45° door give the room a refined, minimal look.

Light coloured tiles and well-positioned lights perfect the end result: don’t you agree that the impression is of anything but a small, windowless bathroom?

Credits: Frick Badezimmer (Ulm – Germania)
As you can see from the pictures, this is not an Italian bathroom: there is no WC in the room because it is housed in its own room, separate from the main bathroom, a common habit in many countries.
Credits: Frick Badezimmer (Ulm – Germania)

If, as in this case, you need to organise a mini-laundry in a small bathroom, take a look here:

Furnishing or renovating a small bathroom is not an insurmountable challenge, but to see all the opportunities available, consult a designer and visit one of our dealers to see collections and proposals with your own eyes.  Look forward to meeting you!

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