A (big) small bathroom renovation

The before shots for this small bathroom almost speak for themselves — not the relaxing space you would hope for and that antibacterial soap is not fooling anyone that this is a hygienic space! 

The room is pretty tiny but not unusually so — 1.9m x 2.4m (7'2" x 7'11"), with no real prospect of stealing space from elsewhere.  The sanitary ware had been lined up along one wall to minimise pipe runs to the soil pipe outside the window.  I'm all for efficiencies but this did mean that the basin overhung the bath and that anyone washing their face would be faced with the toilet staring up at them. The position of the bath under the skilling ceiling made installing a shower almost impossible.  The suite was extremely dated, the vintage wallpaper peeling off the walls, the lino cracked and hardened. No heating apart from the death-trap contraption above the door; if opened vigorously, the door collided with the bath; oh, and the window was riddled with dry rot.   Apart from the period door, there was nothing worth saving. 

Here's what we did:

  • Repositioned the bath to sit alongside the door, which enabled us to use the full ceiling height to install an over-bath shower. The wall space at the end of the bath provided a place for a wall hung heated towel rail
  • (Tip: if you have a similar arrangement with a hinged glass shower screen above the bath, and want your bathroom to feel more spacious, fold the screen back against the wall when you've finished using it — it may be glass, but it still takes up space visually!)
  • Rehung the door to open the other way — this enhances the sense of space as the door no longer blocks the view of the room when you enter
  • Sited the basin on the wall to the left of the door. Giving it its own space creates a more user-friendly experience and provides wall space above for storage / a mirror.  By choosing a wall-hung design, we kept the floor beneath free, which again makes the room feel wider
  • Chose a corner toilet, with minimal alteration to the position.  In general, running pipes for a WC is more costly and complicated than those for basins and baths so, where possible, it does make sense to keep a WC in its original position. People can be a little unsure about corner toilets but they can be really useful in a small bathroom because diagonal lines are the longest in the room  and so allow more space for standing/sitting (just imagine how cramped this room would feel if the loo faced directly into the side of the basin). 
  • Chose the same finish porcelain limestone effect tiles in two different formats for interest without breaking up the space (30x30cm for the floor and 30x60cm for the walls).  We did not tile the room all over as this can appear cell-like in a smaller room, instead the walls around the bath were tiled to full height, while the other two were tiled to dado height to form a continuous line  backsplash behind the basin.  I am not generally keen on 'fake' finishes but porcelain is almost completely maintenance free compared to genuine limestone and looks very effective. 
  • Installed underfloor heating.  If you don't have the luxury of a generously sized bathroom, it should at least feel luxurious when you use it — tiled floors can be chilly and underfloor heating is very cost effective in a small space. 
  • Added a combined mirror / storage unit above the basin, a pale basket for extra bits and pieces and a clock — a less usual choice for a bathroom, but really useful if you have children you are trying to hurry out of the house (don't spend too much on it though as unless your ventilation is hardcore in the extreme it will eventually rust and need replacing). 
  • Added a high spec extractor fan and replaced the rotten window with a hardwood version to avoid a repeat of the dry rot incident (N.B. dry rot is a serious issue which requires extensive remedial action and cannot be remedied by simply replacing the rotten wood as it can live in and spread through the surrounding masonry. Seek professional advice.)
 1. Ikea Molger storage mirror  2. Icon Airflow 30 circular extractor fan 3. Ikea Molger shelf  4.  Mr White Numbers Clock, Karlsson 5.  Micron 36B Beige porcelain tiles, Imola 6.  Techno 120 300mm fixed shower head, Bathstore 7.  Triple control vertical thermostatic shower valve, Bathstore 8.  Premium 50 single basin, Catalano 9.  Mala Rattan drum storage table, Artisanti 10. Dynaset single ended steel bath, Kaldewai

1. Ikea Molger storage mirror  2. Icon Airflow 30 circular extractor fan 3. Ikea Molger shelf  4.  Mr White Numbers Clock, Karlsson 5.  Micron 36B Beige porcelain tiles, Imola 6.  Techno 120 300mm fixed shower head, Bathstore 7.  Triple control vertical thermostatic shower valve, Bathstore 8.  Premium 50 single basin, Catalano 9.  Mala Rattan drum storage table, Artisanti 10. Dynaset single ended steel bath, Kaldewai