Tiny Bathrooms, Big Challenges

One of the main design challenges for bathrooms with small floor plans is to make the limited space as functional as possible.

A good layout enables someone to access the toilet, shower or bath in private while at the same time allowing someone else to use the hand basin to brush their teeth or shave. The overall look needs to give the space the illusion of being bigger than it is, without sacrificing all the essentials and while still maintaining comfort. Here’s a few of the elements you can add to make your bathroom feel that much bigger.


All bathrooms need mirrors, and an extra large mirror doubles the look and feel of any small space. A strategically placed mirror is also very effective positioned above a vanity or along side a narrow bathroom.

Vertical mirrors give a sense of raised height whereas horizontal mirrors widen the space. The larger the mirror, the more it reflects light. Wall-to-wall frameless mirrors are a nod to the 90s, whereas framed or smaller mirrors are a more contemporary look.

Floating vanities

Forget bulky vanity units. Swapping floor cabinets with off the floor, wall-hung cabinets free-up valuable floor area. It creates the perception of a bigger space especially if floor tiles are large and long. Floating bathroom vanities are the ‘in’ trend of the times. Consider the weight of the unit when it’s mounted to the wall, especially if it has a stone top.

You can often push a vanity into the wall cavity for extra wall depth, but this requires a degree of customisation for the waste plumbing.

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Recessed mirror cabinetry

Again, use that space in the walls; there are a lot of narrow items in the bathroom that will fit nicely in wall-recessed mirror cabinets. Ensure during the planning stages to get the door swing above the basin spout.


This is another way to use the wall space, just be careful with the waterproofing if they’re in the shower. If you’re looking for that really sleek look and something super easy to keep clean you can’t go past a seamless Corian Niche.

Tiling floor to ceiling

A dark wall with a white ceiling can make the bathroom feel enclosed. Tiling up to the ceiling may be a bit more expensive, but the consistency adds depth especially with light-toned tiles.

Bathtubs and Showers

This is one of the biggest challenges, as one would assume having the shower above the bathtub would be the most space saving. However, a shower above the bathtub should be the last resort as it can have a negative impact on property value.

These days this combination is used predominantly in small apartments or units where the demographic of these occupants tends to be busy young people or retirees. Easy access, large, open showers tend to be the preferred option.

Toilet suites

It’s money well spent to opt for wall-hung toilets as the cistern and plumbing are smartly hidden in the wall and the toilet is off the floor, making the bathroom appear larger. You can even install these in that extra long shower area.

A few extra tips

Building code regulation changes have made it very difficult to do a partial renovation these days. Therefore, when planning a bathroom renovation, a complete strip out is almost a compulsory requirement. A full bathroom remodel project can definitely transform the room to produce more generous space.

For more information about designing your small bathroom, get in touch with our team today – we look forward to hearing from you.