Opening up a Small Bathroom

Small bathrooms can be cozy, but many of us would still love to have a luxurious and spacious bathroom to relax in. Bathrooms are quite often one of the smallest rooms in the house and yet one of the most important. However, owning a small bathroom needn't be a problem if you know how to open it up and make the best use of the space. Choosing the right decor can dramatically transform the entire room by turning it into an inviting and spacious looking haven.

One of the biggest problems with many bathrooms, regardless of their size, is the organisation of the room. Cabinets and vanity units, too much clutter, dark colours and limited light can all contribute to owning a gloomy and uninviting retreat. A few simple steps and some decoration can work wonders, or you could completely revamp the entire area and plan everything more effectively.

One of the first things to address in your bathroom is the amount of clutter you have, as excessive clutter brings the room in and can make it feel claustrophobic. Remove it all and then select only those items, which are essential all the other items can then be stored away until they are required. You could consider fitting a lighted shelf to store some of your essential bathroom items on, as this will look much tidier and will add additional light to your room.

Think carefully about the colour scheme; dark colours can also bring the room in. Opt for pale, soft colours; pastel tones, neutrals and whites, as these will provide a light and airy background. You can then think about adding a little colour and height with the use of stencils or faux painting. Vertical lines add height to a room; painting a stripe, stencilling a small design going up in a line, or wallpaper with a similar design can give the same effect. Lining the edge of the ceiling with a border or illuminating the perimeter can make the room appear larger and will remove dark corners. Alternatively, you could tile all the walls right up to the ceiling, as this will also make your room look more spacious.

Observe how much light is coming into the room; consider skylights, instead or in addition to conventional windows. Think carefully about your lighting and incorporate more to enhance the space. The use of lights round a mirror, recessed lighting, dimmer switches, etc., can all help to increase the feeling of spaciousness and change the mood of the room.

Look at your flooring too; this should be kept light and contemporary. You could consider ceramic tiles, wooden flooring, cork or bamboo. If the floor is dark and you cannot afford to replace it, try placing a light-coloured rug on the floor instead.

Mirrors are a great way of opening up your bathroom, as they reflect the light in the room and pick up colours and patterns. They can add depth, width and length too, but don't over use them. One large mirror above the basin will probably give you the desired effect.

If you have a frosted shower door it can prevent you from seeing to the back of the wall. To overcome this problem, try replacing it with a clear door or a shower curtain instead. Shower curtains can be pushed back out of the way when they are not in use, which will give the illusion of more space.

Keep your walls simple, by adding tasteful fittings and perhaps installing a heated towel rail instead of a radiator. If you are revamping your room, avoid vanity units and fit a wall mounted or pedestal basin instead. A white bathroom suit will also make your room look brighter and more spacious.

Finally, add your finishing touches in the form of a light-coloured blind, suitable plant, some light, fluffy towels, a bath mat and one or two scented candles to soften the mood. Some exotic-looking soaps and hand cream can also help to add that extra touch of class to your completed room.

author: Jane Grimshaw

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