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For most urban Indians, the size of the bath space in a modern Indian home is something they have to make their peace with. While builders may offer affordable homes these days with well-sized master bedrooms, and maybe even a small balcony with the living room, often, this leads to space being sacrificed in the the bathroom.
Sometimes, you’re lucky if the bathroom comes with a window, as well, allowing for natural light and ventilation to add an element of openness. That, paired with the fact that in most homes this is a space used by more than one person (or sometimes an entire family) doesn’t make things less challenging.
The modern bathroom in an Indian home today
With the average size of a bathroom in a city such as Mumbai being approximately 6 feet x 7 feet, fitting in all the necessary amenities in all small bathroom designs can make for a tight squeeze. While this may be a daunting task, the first encouraging inspiration for bathroom designs for small spaces is bathrooms in five-star luxury hotels. These spaces, similarly compact in size, accommodate all the trappings required for a luxury bath—sometimes even a bathtub! The key element to notice here is clever and multiple space utilisation.
How to maximise space in a small bathroom
The simplest tricks can add space or create the illusion of openness even in the tiniest of small bathroom designs.
1. The right paint colour can make a room look spacious
To create a sense of openness, make the tiniest of bathrooms look bright and airy with a light colour of paint on the walls. This rule holds true for your tiles, too. The most clever small bathroom designs work with paint in shades of white or soft creamy pastel tones. Deeper, darker colours, on the other hand, will leave the space looking even smaller and more cramped.
2. Every inch of space counts for storage…even on the walls
While it’s a no brainer to optimally utilise the space on the countertop and area under the sink for storage, the most underrated storage space in all small bathroom designs are the walls. The barren area across the breadths of the walls are perfect for adding cabinetry or open shelving for storing your bath linens and products, along with your sink fittings such as taps and knobs to save space on the countertop.
3. Put corners to good use
Often overlooked, a lot of area gets wasted between wall corners when thinking of bathroom designs for small spaces. With this in mind, several furniture and storage solutions are designed these days to fit into oddly shaped corners for space maximisation—from freestanding shelves and racks to floating drawers.
4. Mirrors can create the illusion of space
While used for the purpose of vanity, a strategically placed or large-sized mirror can trick the eye into believing a small bathroom interior is bigger than it is. Instead of restricting the size of the mirror to the sink, if there’s wall space for it, extend the glass all the way across the wall to add depth to the room.
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5. The most underrated material—glass
Swapping the use of opaque or solid materials in your small bathroom designs with clear or translucent glass will add more openness. Fittings such as a glass sink or clear glass shower area separators will leave your small-space bathroom looking less cramped.
6. Minimalism is key
While your personal style may speak otherwise, all well-planned small bathroom designs centre around less clutter and restricting what you store in the space to the bare minimum necessities. A small bathroom interior is restricting, and the lesser you fit in this space, the more room you create around it.
7. Freestanding furniture will give you more flexibility with space
A rack for your bath linens or a stand for your shower and beauty supplies that isn’t permanently fitted into your bathroom, will give you the flexibility to use it when required and move it out of your small bathroom interior when the need arrives to create more room.
8. Invest in made-to-measure fittings and fixtures
Don’t be dissuaded into believing you have to succumb to living with a cramped small bathroom design. If you have the budget for it, invest in customising your bath furniture and fixtures to the space and nooks provided in the existing space. Think of it as a game of real-life Tetris, fitting all the parts you require for a neat finish.
SMALL BATHROOM IDEAS THAT CAN WORK IN ANY HOME
DON’T IGNORE THE CORNERS IN YOUR SMALL BATHROOM
All small bathroom ideas begin with saving and utilising as much space as possible. But, sometimes, even in the best thought out small bathroom designs, we end up ignoring the most obvious spaces we could utilise for storage.
In this small bathroom interior, a storage closet has been installed in one tiny corner of the otherwise fully used wall, with space to place your shower and beauty supplies, and cupboards for the bath linen.
PRO TIP: You could either fit in a made-to-measure storage option if your budget allows it, or browse through the catalogues of several popular home décor brands that now popularise corner-space furniture.
Image courtesy, IKEA
Image courtesy, IKEA
EVERY INCH OF SPACE COUNTS…EVEN ON THE WALLS
The breath of the walls have a lot of potential for various uses, which often goes unnoticed. Especially in small bathroom designs. From floating shelves and cabinetry to hanging hooks—a lot of storage and display options can be installed on these walls, which would otherwise lay bare, wasting unnecessary bathroom real estate.
FREESTANDING FURNITURE WILL INNOVATE ALL SMALL BATHROOM DESIGNS
Unlike fixed furniture and fittings, freestanding storage and display options are any small bedroom design fixture’s more bohemian cousin. Even if your bath space has a limited footprint, and you’re not sure whether adding more will leave it cramped, pieces such as a moveable rack of shelves or storage tables can be brought it to use, and moved out if the need for more space arises.
INSIDER’S EYE: The towel-rack ladder in this small bathroom interior not only affords a flexible storage option, but also makes good use of the empty space along the wall it rests on.
Image courtesy, IKEA
Photography by Prachi Damle
TRICK THE EYE INTO SEEING MORE SURFACE AREA
Fixtures such as the toilet pot and sink are required in every bathroom. However, a way to save space and leave more floor area open and clear is by installing wall mounted toilet pots, sinks, and their consoles.
When you’ll see more empty, unused area on the floor, even if it’s under a fixture, you’ll still feel less cramped.
FOLLOW THE EASIEST RULE IN THE BOOK WITH A SIMPLE ALL-WHITE COLOUR PALETTE
This rule may seem like a no-brainer, but is still often overlooked. Light, bright colours—especially white—will instantly make even the smallest of small bathroom designs feel airy, well-lit and open. This works especially well in modern Indian bathrooms where, sometimes, there’s a very small window for any source of natural light and ventilation.
PRO TIP: While white painted walls and matte tiles can brighten a room, it can also leave the space looking a bit stark. Have fun playing around with colour and texture with your accessories. Or add a couple of small plants to add life to the space.
Image courtesy, Grounded
Image courtesy, FADD Studio
MADE TO MEASURE FITTINGS AND INTERIORS WILL HELP UTILISE EVERY INCH OF SPACE
The key to any successful small bathroom design is maximising every inch of space wisely. While there are several readymade furniture and fitting options available in a range of budgets these days, opting for customised solutions that fit the exact size requirements unique to your bath space will leave not a single nook or cranny unused.
In this bathroom, a single wall has the sink and its console, along with the shower area all fitted onto one humbly sized wall.
PRO TIP: Extending the mirror all the way up to the ceiling utilises every inch of the remaining wall space to add visual depth to an otherwise small room.
YOUR STORAGE OPTIONS SHOULD BE A TOP PRIORITY
The area under the sink is a gold mine for storage real estate. No matter how narrow or small your sink countertop may be, creating cabinetry or a chest of drawers under it will help in the long run for all your storage requirements.
Even if you’re a minimalist with few shower products, these spaces can house extra bath linens and cleaning supplies. This also helps conceal the pipework from the sink, making the space look more put together and neater.
PRO TIP: The lesser that’s on display in any small bathroom design, the more open the space will look. Too many products lying around the cloakroom will leave the room looking busy and messy.
Image courtesy, FADD Studio
Photography by Niveditaa Gupta
A SMALL BATHROOM DESIGN DOESN’T HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR SINK COUNTERTOP CLUTTERED
Just because your bath space is small in size, doesn’t mean you have to succumb to a cramped way of using it. Even if your existing layout or fittings don’t allow for storage below the sink, you can still work with creating a neat countertop.
Only keep the basics you reach for every day on your sink, and leave the rest elsewhere in a more convenient storage and usage space in the home. You can go a step further, like this small bathroom design, by concealing all your personal products in a neat accessory box.
PRO TIP: Concealing your beauty supplies on the countertop is a good practice especially when entertaining guests. It instantly makes the space look more put together, and adds an element of privacy—you don’t want everyone rummaging through your belongings each visit.
SMALL BATHROOM DESIGN IDEAS CAN DISPLAY YOUR PERSONAL STYLE
The thin, unassuming floating shelves in this bathroom rest on a wall adjacent to the sink and toilet—a space which would otherwise be left empty due to its impractical location. A figurine and colourful frames of art add a pop of colour to a muted colour palette.
INSIDER’S EYE: If you can’t commit to a single piece or art or like to play around with colour and elements of design in your living spaces, these shelves give you more freedom to add or remove things when required.
Photography by Niveditaa Gupta
Image courtesy, Eden Locke
THE RIGHT MIRROR PLACEMENT CAN OPEN UP ANY SMALL BATHROOM INTERIOR
At first glance, this small bathroom design could feel like a nightmare. The door opens right into sink area which takes up the entire entrance space.
However, a strategically placed (and sized) mirror, paired with the unique play of bright colour and texture, makes the space look more open and inviting.
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