5 mistakes you’re (probably) making in your bathroom design

White contemporary bathroom designcredit

We all think you don’t want a large, free-standing bath in a small room. But sometimes, it’s the smallest (and quirkiest) of design decisions that can actually do the most injustice to what should be the best room in the house. Illuminated Mirrors lists some of the most common bathroom design mistakes and how to avoid them.

Bathroom towelscredit

Not considering the colour/material of your towels

Ok, ok. It sounds like an odd choice, but linens and towels are actually one of the biggest causes of bathroom chaos – not because theyre left on the floor, but because of their colour. Darker shades can leave pieces of fluff absolutely everywhere meaning, while your room might look gorgeous when guests arrive, one rub of wet hands and bits of dark material will make even the newest of suites look grubby. Consider the fluff your different towels will leave, as well as the material they’re made of when buying – a small decision, but one you’ll be grateful for when it comes to the weekly clean.

On the other end of the scale, dazzling whites only stay dazzling for a brief length of time when they’re used as much as a towel is. Opt for shades of cream or muted colours – not only do they bring a statement to your room, but they also save you cleaning/replacement costs in the future.

Illuminated bathroom mirror

Putting mirrors in the wrong place

We’ve all heard the age-old trick that a mirror can add more space, right? However, where you put the mirror is as important as putting it up itself. Consider the places where light is most likely to hit, and avoid placing opposite dirty laundry or parts of the bathroom that need a touch of repair. Reflecting dirty areas of the room or piles of washing will make your room feel smaller and more cluttered – try and position your mirror so it reflects the brightest and lightest areas – whichever feature you wish you had double of (bar the toilet) is always a good start.

Illuminated bathroom cabinet

Poor lighting

Linked directly to the above, insufficient lighting is one of the biggest crimes you can make in your bathroom – it adds a grubby touch to even the cleanest of rooms and makes doing make-up, shaving or general pampering near impossible. It’s a particular problem in rooms with dark features making things like your mirror (in the right place) and clever additional lighting vital. For example, when choosing a cabinet, consider options that come with in-built LED lighting – a small touch, but something that makes a real difference to dark rooms (and as they’re energy saving, your electricity bill too!).

Bulit in bathroom storagecredit

Not considering storage

What’s a bathroom without all the lotions, potions and general commotion that makes us look beautiful? Male or female, we’re all guilty of storing a few too many bottles at the side of the bath or on shelves – however, all these wonderful items can make your bathroom look smaller, dirtier, more cluttered and generally less of a haven. Consider proper storage when you’re designing – making it a feature, rather than a necessity.

Wicker baskets, for example, can look beautiful in the right style of room while metallic, cool cabinets can hold a huge amount in more modern rooms. Think of your theme and what storage can be linked to it – nautical bathrooms, as an example, could really be brought to life using faux fishing crates. Be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment – you can always remove storage solutions if they don’t work!

Louvred windows providing bathroom ventilationcredit

Bad ventilation

No matter how nice the bath potions used, a poorly ventilated bathroom will always smell damp and be a haven for mould. One of the most common offences in the bathroom lies in lack of airflow – either ignoring an extractor fan or a good old-fashioned window. Consider where you can have your ventilation source before any other design or you’ll pay the price in a worn looking bathroom fairly quickly. While a window wide open is always the best trick for a touch of fresh air, consider a) what you’ll do when it’s freezing cold and b) the amount of dirt the open window will bring in. Having a proper think about small niggles like this before finalising any designs can increase the longevity of your brand new suite and avoid any issues in the long-term, keeping your bathroom beautiful for longer.

Your bathroom should be the best room in the house. A few simple changes can make it just that – no matter how big it is. Consider light, air and space and you’ll be onto the best path with a room you can enjoy for a long time.


7 steps to make the most of a small bathroom

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arial view of a compact bathroom image credit: Lushome

Small, cramped bathrooms make your morning routine completely unenjoyable. An ideal solution is to make the space bigger, but this isn’t always possible. If you’re stuck with a teeny tiny bathroom, there are ways to make the room appear more spacious without knocking walls down.

Here are seven things that will help you make the most of your small bathroom.

bathroom with suspended sink unit and overhead mirrored cabinetimage credit: Kia Designs

Suspended vanity

Many bathrooms suffer from significant amounts of wasted room due to irregular-shaped fittings and fixtures. Suspended vanity units above fittings such as the sink or toilet will help make the most of the space. A deep vanity unit can help store everything from spare cleaning products to hair care items and toilet rolls – incorporating all your storage needs in one convenient place.

mirrored bathroom wallimage credit: Heather Cooper Designs

Increase mirror size

Particularly useful in bathrooms which are dark (especially in mornings when it’s hard enough to wake up anyway), large mirrors can help spread any natural light the room enjoys via the reflective surface. A large mirror on the wall which receives the most natural light throughout the day will make the bathroom appear significantly larger.

Reflective bathroom fittings and wall tilesimage credit: Sarah Richardson Design

Use reflective fittings

On a related note – reflective taps, towel racks and other fittings will bounce light around the room, acting in the same way as the mirror.

The team at bathroom specialists, John Louis Bathrooms, enthuses about reflective fittings:

“Fixtures such as chrome taps are ideal for small bathrooms, helping to brighten the room and creating a simple contemporary appearance.”

Recessed bathroom lighting image credit: Topps Tiles

Recessed lighting

Removing obtrusive light fittings without compromising the quality of light spread around the room can help create an impressive modern appearance and open up additional space in the bathroom. Recessed lighting can be positioned almost everywhere in the bathroom – wherever it fits most subtly and attractively.

John Cullen Lighting offers a selection of lighting options including LED lights behind a bath or above a mirror. Eschewing traditional lighting positions can help you utilise the full available space of the bathroom.

walk-in shower image credit: Nils Koenning

Walk-in shower

Removing the bath and implementing a walk-in shower can immediately save significant space in the bathroom. Consider how the door will open up into the space of the small bathroom to avoid obtrusive space-consumption. A high power shower head can make up for the romantic opportunities lost when the bathtub is ripped out.

Modern monochrome bathroomimage credit: Boscolo Ltd

Simplify feature colours

A myriad of colours used throughout the bathroom can create a clustered appearance in the bathroom – so it may be prudent to use a simple, single tone feature colour throughout features and additions. A fixed colour scheme throughout towels, tiles and more can create an attractive yet minimalistic consistency, helping you make the most of your small bathroom.

Chrome hanging towel racksimage credit: Shell Vacations Hospitality

Hanging towel racks

Large, cumbersome towel racks are a completely unnecessary use of space. Small, subtle towel racks can be hung on almost any surface – ideal for small bathrooms. Hanging towel racks on the back of the bathroom door can help you fully utilise otherwise wasted space – freeing up floor space for other fixtures or just to remove any cramped feelings.

A small bathroom makeover with a great tile effect

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White tiled shower roomimage credit: The Design Chaser

Many homes have one or more small-sized bathrooms, if you have one you’ll want to make the space seem as large as possible. Knowing how to choose the right tiles is a great start in doing this.

Choosing the wrong tiles can make a small bathroom look as though there’s even less space in it. You just need to put a little thought into your remodelling to reverse that and create a roomy feel.

white tiled bathroomimage credit: Into the Gloss

The Colour

A bathroom is always going to appear larger if its décor is mostly light in colour; cream or traditional white are an excellent choice if you want to create the effect of space. Of course, these colours may be a little too traditional and basic for some tastes. If you want to add a splash of colour to the proceedings do it with a mirror with a bright frame. This has the added advantage of being another giver of a feeling of space. Your towels can also be a great way of brightening your bathing area. You can even complement accessories with edgings for the tiled area.

green tiled showerimage credit: James Balston Photography

The Size

It’s not a good idea to use really large tiles in a smaller-sized bathroom; likewise very small tiles are not ideal. The smaller the tiles, the larger the amount of grout that’s visible. You can click here to learn more. Medium-sized tiles are usually the best choice, less grouting and less cutting than would be required for larger tiles. That being said, where there’s very little exposed wall, such as between units, smaller tiles can be the optimum way of filling a hard to tile area.

blue mosaic tiled wall border above a WCimage credit: Better Homes and Gardens

The Pattern

Huge, fussy patterns are not a good idea in a small space; they’re overwhelming and lead to an overfull feel. Likewise, really intricate patterns in the minimum of space can be very uneasy on the eye and feel a little claustrophobic. If you want to use patterned tiles in a small bathroom the best way to do it is to use them intermittently, as a splash back or as a border. Another technique of adding interest to a bathroom without reducing appearance of space is to choose light, same-coloured tiles that have some texture to them.

dark tiles on a bathroom wall laid on the diagonalimage credit: Home Designing

The Installation

Most people lay their bathroom tiles in a traditional straight row, straight tile pattern; it’s by far the most popular positioning technique. Diverting from the norm, by adopting a diagonal pattern, fools the eyes into thinking that the area covered by the tiles is larger than it actually is. Another great way of giving the sense of additional dimension to a bathroom is to use matching wall and floor tiles in a lighter tone. By doing this you allow the interior design to flow right through the room which makes it seem less cluttered and larger.

A small space can be just as beautiful as a larger one; it just requires a little creativity of thought.