By Jaydi Dinsdale of Timber + Lace Interior Design
Photo: Amanda Sneddon Photography
We have all said it before – “I love this house, but the bathrooms are so small”; however, with thoughtful design and detailing, instead you could say – “I love this house, AND the bathrooms are so small!”. The fact is, a small bath can be a very good thing. As long as a bath has a highly functional layout, there is no reason why it can’t be a tiny shining gem within your home.
In a compact space, your eye will notice and appreciate elements that would otherwise be less apparent in a larger area. Accents like a beautiful gold-framed mirror or a wellplaced piece of art can take center stage; while simple white subway tile with contrasting black grout can bring a sleek and contemporary look. Smaller details like cabinetry pulls, bathroom accessories and counter edge profiles can easily unify a small space and help to define the intended design concept. Remember, less is more, make sure not to overload your small spaces with too many items, patterns or materials, as this can cause the space to appear busy and cluttered. Keep it simple.
Small square footage can often assist in achieving a high end look. Splurging on a Carrara marble countertop is much less costly when there is only a few feet of counter space. The material quantities are low; so treat your small bath as an opportunity to finally use the luxurious wallpaper you’ve been dreaming about, or finish the floor in a bold custom tile pattern. (Only use wallpaper if your bath doesn’t have a shower. Paper and humidity often don’t mix!). As an alternative to a standard 4” backsplash, consider bringing the backsplash material behind the vanity all the way up to the ceiling, or tile the whole wall behind the sink for a glamourous (and easy to clean) feature.
Embrace your Creative Side
Small spaces force you to use every square inch of space; which then provides the opportunity for creative solutions that you may not have considered before. Try using the space between wall studs to create recessed storage for display of accessories or storage of toiletries. Drop in bits of bold and playful colour, pattern or textures, this will help to create a focal point; just make sure to balance the rest of the space with a more subdued palette. Don’t be afraid to customize your cabinetry to suit a tight space. This could mean a shallower section of shelving, or perhaps accessing storage from the side of a cabinet as well as the front. Plumbing fixtures have come a long way and are now becoming functional art; find a fixture with a unique shape, finish or installation and let it speak for itself.
If you are wanting to update or renovate your home, a smaller bath could be a great place to start. Taking on a large renovation can be overwhelming, but updating a space with less square footage is a great way to ready yourself for the complexities of a larger design project. Bathrooms and kitchens require a lot of similar design elements: plumbing fixtures, countertops, cabinetry, and durable flooring. By using these items in a smaller scale and closed in room before using them in your kitchen, it can give you a small glimpse into how your kitchen could look. Of course, there are interior designers (like Timber + Lace) that could help you with any and all of your design decisions no matter the size of the project.