Remodeling your Bathroom

29INTRO
In small living areas the bathrooms are unfortunately often squeezed into a dark corner, but this is no excuse for a lack of style.

When planning your small bathroom remodeling think outside the box and look for brilliant space saving ideas. Small bathrooms can be designed to appear larger with careful planning, clever use of colour and minimising on clutter.

STYLE and DESIGN
Smaller bathrooms are best kept clean and simple. In other words, opt for a minimalist style. This implies concentrating on important spaces and utilizing it practically in order to create a clutter free bathroom and selecting functional, compact bathroom furniture with strong clean lines. Fittings that are too ornate are unpractical and will only add to the clutter.

Only fit the essential. A compact bathroom with lots of accessories is likely to appear even smaller. For storage space, fix metal baskets or open shelves to your walls. This creates a “lighter” look than bulky cupboards and eliminates open cupboard doors taking up space. These can also take up unused areas higher up on walls and in corners.

As mentioned in my previous article, one should choose lighter paint colours such as white, off-white and cream, and tones that will compliment each other. This allows smaller spaces to feel less cramped and more open.

Another really good tip is using large, unframed bathroom mirrors, giving the sense of more open space. If opting for a framed mirror, use light colours on the frame that will blend in with the surrounding wall space.

SANITARY FITTINGS
Wall-mounted basins and toilets are better suited to compact bath rooms. With no foot piece, these take up less floor space. Regarding shape; oval or rectangular basins are less obtrusive and often more suitable for small bathrooms.A variety of bathtubs, showers, vanities and basins are designed specifically for small bathrooms. Go to your local sanitary ware supplier and look at a few examples.

Most compact bathrooms have shower cubicles nowadays. Unfortunately, more often than not they are fitted with a tripple slider that sticks and climbs off the rail. Frameless shower doors give a sense of more space and can change the look of any bathroom.

If the budget allows, opt for a WC with a concealed cistern. This means your toilet’s water tank is built into the wall and the only part visible is the bowl. This is generally more expensive, but often more water wise and a great space saving method.

VENTILATION
As mentioned in my previous article, proper ventilation is crucial for any bathroom or cloak room. It has become common practice, especially in group housing developments and apartments to have internal bathrooms with no windows. This creates a number of hurdles, ranging from unfriendly smells to constant dampness and mould.

This can be counteracted with the use of a professionally installed extractor fan and fresh air supply. Should you have an enclosed shower cubicle, the extractor should preferably be in the ceiling over this area. In order to make up the extracted air, either make use of a fresh air supply system or you can undercut the door to create a draft.

Have your extractor on a delay switch or timer. This way it keeps extracting fumes a minute or so after you’ve switched off the light.

SPACE REQUIREMENTS and LAYOUT
The following plans indicate suggested space requirements for different sanitary fittings:

Bathroom 1:

  • Showers with corner entry creates a little more space in front of the cubicle, allowing for better circulation.
  • Basins come in various shapes and sizes. The one indicated here is 460×460. There are smaller ones available, but bigger a WHB is more user friendly.
  • Overhead shelves are indicated at door head height (2,1m). This intigrates the shelf with the door frame ans is aesthetically more pleasing.

Bathroom 2

  • If really pressed for space, there are smaller baths available. In my opinion, the one indicated here is the smallest size for a bathtub still to be fairly comfortable.
  • Opt for a shallow, rectangular or oval basin. This allows for better movement and more space when using the basin. Ones where the taps are wall mounted or, as with the example used, to the side of the basin allows for a bigger, more practical bowl.

Bathroom 3

  • For those really small spaces
  • 900x900mm shower
  • Small rectangular basin as with Bathroom 2
  • Sliding door: Although not the best insulator of sound or smell, a sliding door serves well as a space saver. If space outside the bathroom allows – say in the case of an en-suite – a normal swing door can be fitted, opening out.

These floor plans are purely to indicate possible use of small spaces. Actual layouts will depend on your unique situation, requirements and bathroom size. Sizes are given in millimetres.

CONCLUSION
I once, while on holiday, showered in a 800×600 cubicle, I’ve also bathed in a 1400x600mm tub and coudn’t help but laugh at myself – point is; size depends on the space available, but do not try to squeeze too many fixtures into a too small area. It will not be as funny if I had to use that bath on a daily basis!

This concludes our three part bathroom remodeling column. If you have any further questions, please post your questions on my facebook page or go down to your local plumbing and sanitary supplier.

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