How to Maximise Bathroom Space

  • April 20, 2014
  • |
  • Penny Homes

At Penny Homes our Master Builders and architectural designers know that a gorgeous bathroom space makes for happy women (and if the ladies of the house are happy, so are the men :-)). We also know that dingy powder rooms and guest bathrooms are not only a nuisance but might be a problem if you think about selling your home down the line. The solution: you need to know how to maximise bathroom space. Managing Director Kellie has some handy tips for every (future) home owner.

Number One Rule: Don’t let lack of space affect functionality or style of your bathroom, whether it’s a cosy ensuite or small second bathroom.

Who is using the room? Think about who will be using the bathroom and how often to determine what actually needs to go in it. Family bathrooms call for storage, resilient finishes and most likely a tub, while a small ensuite probably doesn’t need a bath but you might want to include a more generous shower with a soaker instead. Guest bathrooms on the other hand won’t be used as much so why not focus on creating a luxurious oasis? Powder rooms can be a tranquil little ‘hideaway’ as well.

Get the tape measure out. Whether you’re renovating or whether you’re in the planning stages with our architects, you need to create a floor plan so you know exactly what you have to work with. Penny Homes will bring your plans to life with the latest interactive design technology, but if you’re toying with different ideas, the good old paper sketch and cut-out shapes for showers, toilets and other items will do the job too. Kellie says, “make sure not to forget about sufficient clearance for doors, including vanity doors. Sliding doors are a great space saver.”

Good lighting … no, we mean great lighting!  It’s not only important for putting on makeup, but it makes a small room appear bigger. Make the most of natural light with big windows or even skylights, then add a mix of ambient and task lighting. A back-lit vanity or shelf adds a sense of depth, while illuminating the surrounds of mirrors draws the eye around the room. Power rooms are all about nice feature lights.

Mirror, mirror on the wall … Mirrors are a must when creating a sense of space and they brighten small rooms too. Full-length mirrors are ideal, but if they don’t fit your design, mirror-fronted cabinets are perfect. If you’re lucky enough to have great views like our show home (pictured), mirrors bring expansive landscapes into the tiniest space, and thereby open it up. “Don’t forget your wall tiles either,” Kellie says. “Glossy tiles have a very similar effect as they boost reflections and bounce light around the room.”

Not all storage is created equal. A cluttered bathroom instantly appears smaller whereas the clean lines of good storage (as pictured) make the space feel bigger. At Penny Homes we have storage options and vanities in a range of styles. “Choosing drawers over open shelves helps you keep things tidy and tucked away,” says Kellie.

What to put on the walls? Penny Homes’ interior designers recommend light neutral colours to allow walls to recede into the background. If you’d like your bathroom to stand out, you can always introduce a splash of colour, no matter how small the space is. Simply stick to feature tiles behind the splashback, a recess in the shower or a border around the room as shown in our example below. And here’s a tip: rectangular 300×600 or 400×800 tiles enhance the sense of scale. In a brick pattern they elongate the room; vertically they add a feeling of height.

Show off those floors! “It’s simple: the more floor you see, the bigger the room feels,” shares Kellie. That means floating cabinets and vanities, wall-mounted basins and toilets are your first pick. When it comes to showers, wet areas with a frameless screen are best to enhance a feeling of space. When choosing a bathtub, go for freestanding options with feet. To top it off, choose a toilet with in-wall cistern.

Last but not least: indulge! Beautiful finishes, plush towels, scented candles and personalised features such as iPod outlets make for a luxurious pamper zone which, in turn, creates a feeling for space. While fragrant rose petals might not be suitable for your family bathroom, designer tapware and heated towel rails certainly have their place. Also think about introducing a range of textures such as wooden bathtub caddies, granite benchtops or mosaic feature tiles.

To get more bathroom ideas, visit one of our show homes, browse our Christchurch showroom or talk to one of our interior designers. If you’d like to play with ideas independently first, here are some guidelines and measurements for user-friendly bathroom spaces:

+ Bathroom sizes: powder room: 2m x 1m, small bathroom: 3m x 2m, standard: 3.5m x 2.5m, large: 4m x 5m
+ Shower spaces: small: 900mm x 900mm, more comfortable: 900mm x 1,200mm
+ Average bathtub: 1,500mm x 720mm x 400 mm deep
+ Toilets: aim to allow 450mm either side for ease of cleaning; standard minimum distance between back wall of toilet and opposite wall: 1,500mm
+ Basins: if possible, leave 1m between the front of the basin and the nearest wall/object

Do you own a section or looking to purchase one?

Come and see us today and we will customise your dream home from sketch to reality.

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