How to furnish a long, narrow bathroom

A common household feature of the 1960s and 1970s, and perhaps the most interesting design challenge, is the long, narrow bathroom: here are our suggestions for furnishing and organising it with the latest design solutions.

A long, narrow bathroom is a rectangular bathroom where the short side cannot even accommodate the two sanitary fixtures side by side, therefore all fixtures are typically arranged along the long side.

The problems with this type of bathroom can often be:

  • the position of doors and windows, usually on the two shorter sides;
  • the difficulty of working on drains to better position sanitaryware (in case of renovation);
  • the need to find the best way to insert elements of greater depth (such as a bathtub, shower or washing machine).

How to arrange a bathroom that is long and narrow

Let’s tackle some of the most common situations in further detail:

1 – Long, narrow bathroom with a shower

One of the most common solutions for placing a shower cubicle in a long, narrow bathroom is to use the entire back wall in order to create a small shower area that can be closed off by a door, or left open with a walk-in glass panel.

If you do not want to cover (even partially) the windowed wall, the alternative is to also line up the shower enclosure against the long side of the bathroom. A three-sided shower enclosure centrally positioned on the long side is sometimes recommended, or a walk-through shower that splits up the length of the room: a less common idea, but one that solves some design difficulties by allowing a large shower area despite the size of the room.

In any case, thanks to the possibility of having made-to-measure shower trays, the dimensions of shower area nowadays are no longer a design limitation.

Pay close attention to the shower door opening especially in narrow bathrooms: which one to choose?

Shower and bathtub in the same bathroom? Here’s how to do it

Small, narrow bathroom? Here are the space-saving shower enclosures

Depending on the position of the window, a walk-in shower enclosure with a door positioned laterally or centrally can be installed as an alternative to the walk-in model, as in this example (Easy, Disenia).

2 – Long, narrow bathroom with a bathtub

In a long, narrow bathroom the bathtub can be placed on the short back wall (perhaps emphasized by a scenic wall covering), or on the long wall just where the bathroom begins.

An average bathtub measures 70 x 170 cm: the most common and widely used size… but luckily, today there are many different and versatile solutions to cater to your relaxation needs even in a smaller bathroom. In the freestanding version, the bathtub can even be placed diagonally in one of the two bottom corners of a long bathroom to create movement.

Is the bathroom being remodelled? How to replace the old bathtub with a designer one?

And now how to choose the new bathtub?

What if the shower is a better idea?

Levante is one of the ultimate bathtubs offered by Disenia. It measures 140×78 cm: maximum comfort despite its compact dimensions.

3 – Long and narrow bathroom: where to place the sanitary fixtures?

According to the latest building regulations, when the toilet and bidet are placed side by side they take up 127 cm of space. Given that a sanitary fixture is generally 36 cm wide, the minimum distance between them must be 20 cm, and the distance between each of them and wall must be 20 cm for the bidet and 15 cm for the toilet. This means that if the​ short side of a long, narrow bathroom is less than 127 cm, the sanitary fixtures will have to be aligned on the long side.

If the short side measures at least 165 cm, the sanitary fixtures could be placed opposite each other, in an arrangement that is perhaps less popular but still functional, especially where the drains are difficult to relocate. This frees up space on the long side for cabinets and a shower (or tub).

4 – Long, narrow bathroom with a washing machine

If the bathroom contains a laundry area you have to take into account not only the depth of the washing machine but also the fact that the cabinet that will possibly hold it is usually even deeper. If the bathroom is wide enough, a launderette may be created right at the entrance of the bathroom, separated by a dividing wall or storage closet. Alternatively, the washing machine can be integrated into the bathroom cabinet with the appropriate module, either on the long or the short side. The rear wall can be ideal for placing very deep furniture (in this case, a bathtub or shower can be placed in the bathroom entrance).

On the laundry area in the bathroom we have published several insights

Creating a linear furnishing combination is one of the possibilities offered by Spazio Time, an Ideagroup collection designed for contemporary laundry but equally perfect for furnishing the bathroom.

Furnishing a small, narrow bathroom

After determining the location of sanitaryware, shower and/or bathtub, the remaining space can be used for the bathroom cabinet (or even just the washbasin), which can come in different sizes. Today’s furniture collections are mostly modular and adaptable to any space, both in width and depth.

A narrow but spacious bathroom cabinet can have a minimum depth of 36 cm, less than the standard (50 cm). This leaves enough space for a person to move around with ease, even considering the depth of the drawers (or width of the cabinet doors). Unlimited modular choices in modern bathroom furniture allow for the addition of wall units and columns not necessarily adjacent to the sink but also positioned on the other walls, provided there is sufficient space and depth.

In the photo: a floor-mounted base unit with shallow drawers (36 cm deep). The washbasin of the Cubik collection maximises every centimetre of space.

Contrary to popular belief, furnishing a long, narrow bathroom can be an interesting challenge, and the result can be very creative. Always rely on a professional interior designer to evaluate all your options. Visit one of the Ideagroup stores to browse our catalogues and see the collections on display, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on the latest news!

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