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Top Tips for a Successful Small Bathroom Fit-Out

Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider


A small bathroom can feel small, but it doesn't have to feel small. There are many things you can do to make a small bathroom feel larger and more comfortable. You may need to do a complete bathroom renovation to achieve the results you want, but if you should decide to sell your home, the renovation may pay for itself. If your budget doesn't allow for a full renovation, a bathroom makeover can make a small bathroom appear larger.

  1. Use light colours
  2. Get things off the floor
  3. A freestanding bathtub
  4. A wall mounted toilet
  5. A floating vanity or an open vanity
  6. Choosing lighting and natural light
  7. What about your shower screen?
  8. How to use mirrors to make a small bathroom appear larger
  9. Recess the storage areas
  10. How to fit out a small bathroom

Use light colours

In any room of the house, light colours make a room feel larger. Use light coloured paint, but also use lighter coloured tiles on the walls and perhaps the floor.alt

Light colours will make a small bathroom feel larger, but light colours need to be combined with other features to make a small bathroom feel larger.

Get things off the floor

A small bathroom can feel cramped if everything is on the floor. These can include a built-in bathtub, a floor mounted toilet and a vanity that extends to the floor.

A freestanding bathtub

A freestanding bathtub is a good idea. Built-in bathtubs take up space, but a freestanding bathtub allows you to see more floor space. It can be any design, from an old fashioned clawfoot bathtub to a modern design.

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A wall mounted toilet

Wall mounted toilets are off the floor and create an illusion of greater floor space. Some wall mounted toilets have cisterns in the wall and will make a small bathroom appear larger because the toilet isn't taking up too much space.

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A floating vanity or an open vanity

Vanities that extend to the floor take up valuable floor space. A floating vanity will "float" above the floor and you can see more floor space, which makes any bathroom appear larger.alt

Another way to create space is to install a vanity without doors. Doors block space, but a vanity without doors makes a bathroom appear larger. For an even better effect, have a cabinet maker make you a vanity custom made for your bathroom.altHaving a freestanding bathtub, a toilet off the floor and a floating or open shelf vanity will make any small bathroom appear more spacious.

Choosing lighting and natural light

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One overhead light is not enough for a bathroom today. You need task lighting, but you also need ambient lighting. Read Using lighting for maximum impact in a small bathroom for some tips on how to bring light into the bathroom.altNatural light is also important. Install a window and a small bathroom will appear much larger because the window extends to the outside of the house. For privacy, the window can be higher on the wall, but will still give you a view of the sky and tree tops.alt

Between lighting and natural lighting, a small bathroom can feel much larger.

What about your shower screen?

Showers take up space in any bathroom, but if you choose a frameless shower screen with clear glass, the shower enclosure won't appear to take up so much space in the bathroom.alt

Also consider changing to a wet room. A wet room doesn't have a shower enclosure. It may have a single pane of glass to keep water from splashing where you don't want it to go, but a wet room makes a small bathroom appear larger. For some inspiration, read Wet Room Design Ideas and look at our Wet Room Design Ideas photo pages.

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How to use mirrors to make a small bathroom appear larger

Mirrors reflect what's opposite them and can make a small bathroom appear larger. The placement of a mirror may be important, but even a large vanity mirror can make a small bathroom appear much larger.altIf the mirror extends to the length of the vanity, it will make the whole bathroom appear larger. This can be much better than having a small mirror which may make the bathroom appear smaller.

Recess the storage areas

There is enough space behind your walls to create recessed storage areas. They can be used for display purposes or to hold the things you need in your bathroom. A carpenter can make recessed shelves for you.alt

To make the storage areas more attractive, buy bottles or containers for soap, shampoo and other bathroom necessities. Also add display items to make the room more attractive.

How to fit out a small bathroom

A bathroom renovation can be expensive, but you don't have to have a full bathroom renovation. For some prices, read How much does a bathroom renovation cost?

A bathroom makeover may be a better idea if your budget is tight. A makeover is not a full bathroom renovation. You can leave many things as they are, but just do things that make a small bathroom appear larger. A bathroom makeover will depend on your budget, but even doing some minor work on a small bathroom can make it appear larger.

  • Installing a window will make the bathroom appear larger
  • Light colours will make the bathroom appear larger. Paint is inexpensive or you may want to hire a tiler to install lighter wall tiles
  • A carpenter can install recessed shelves for you
  • If your vanity is outdated, a cabinet maker can build a vanity without doors for you
  • Mirrors are not expensive and installing a mirror the length of your vanity will make the bathroom appear larger.
  • Shower screens are not expensive and a frameless shower screen with clear glass will make the bathroom feel larger

Getting the bathtub, toilet and vanity off the floor will mean you need to install floor tiles and may need to hire a plumber to install the bathtub, toilet and vanity sink. That could be expensive, but you needn't do everything included in this article.

Your budget will decide between a full bathroom renovation or a bathroom makeover. If you choose a bathroom makeover, take a good look at your bathroom. What will make the biggest difference? If you have a frosted shower screen, replace it and definitely paint the walls a lighter colour. If you can afford to install a window, it will make the bathroom appear larger. Lighting can be expensive because it needs to be installed by an electrician, but you can also install decorative lighting and it won't be as expensive as installing downlights and ambient lighting.altDo what your budget allows and you can even make changes as you can afford them. Start with lighter colours and think about installing a larger vanity mirror. These will help and you can make further changes as you can afford to do them.

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