Whenever I think of clever small bathroom design ideas, I immediately tend to think....wet room. There is something about a wet room that just makes an impact in a small area; it creates so much more space and it adds a lot of that special something that distinguishes your home from the one next door.
I know it is not always possible to turn a small bathroom into a wet room, but I think it is warranted to give it some consideration. With the reliable and effective waterproofing systems available these days, it is really possible to think outside the box when it comes to small bathroom design; and this is one of them.
In a wet room, there is no discernible shower; the complete space acts as a shower and therefore it must be properly waterproofed. For this reason I suggest that a wet room is only considered where the bathroom is situated on the ground floor.
It can be done upstairs, or in wooden homes, but I am not always comfortable with that idea. If you really trust your contractor or builder, by all means, go for it, but if not, rather leave it. A water leak in your bathroom will leave ugly stains, or worse, cause lots of damage to the structure of your home over time.
In a wet room, the drainage hole is set in the floor, with the floor sloped slightly to drain towards the hole; there is thus no need for a shower tray or cramped enclosure. Remember that the floor level will have to be raised to create a cavity for the piping.
The walls and floors are usually tiled, although other floor coverings may be considered. Discuss this with your designer, but remember that it must be non-slip flooring. No use in having a nice open shower you enjoy and then falling flat on your face when you try to get to the towel.
I prefer tiling as it is:
To prevent the whole bathroom from getting splashed and wet, use a solid glass panel on one side. A wet toilet seat is not a very comfortable place to be and you will save yourself a lot of trips to the corner shop to replace the countless rolls of ruined toilet paper. In any case, it is best to place the toilet as far away from the shower as possible.
A wet room must be lined completely to make it waterproof, and although this might seem expensive in the beginning, it is essential that you see to it that the contractors do it correctly in order to prevent heartache and lots of costs later on to fix it. Once you have decided to install a wet room, it is just not worth it to try and do it inexpensively or to leave the whole project in the hands of contractors.
This is a small bathroom design project where you have to keep an eye on all progress and ensure that it is done properly. Do some research and see that the contractors use the best possible materials, especially the membrane, to ensure the room is completely waterproof.
Ventilation is very important in small bathroom design and because it is an open space, I always advise people to install underfloor heating as well. It is cheap and makes a huge difference in comfort and luxury. It also helps to dry the room after usage to prevent mould growth.
Consider where the electrical power points and heated towel rails will be installed now. Remember that you must comply to the regulations of your local authorities whenever you install electricity in a bathroom and especially in a wet room. Talk to your contractor.
In a small bathroom it is important not to have clutter. Build-in cupboards are ideal as space is limited and the enclosed cupboard protects everything from splashes. For the towels to be accessible, use a wall-mounted peg rail.
The last, but most important thing to give your attention to now, is the focal point of your wet room, the shower. Choose the best and most durable fittings that you can afford. Remember that this is not something you will do very often and you will have to live with it for a long time.
Once you have done and considered all the above during this small bathroom design project, your new addition will add tremendous value to your home and it will be a space that the whole family will enjoy after a hard day in the “office”, wherever that may be.