Five tips for small bathrooms

Five tips for small bathrooms

Renovating a small space can be a challenging task – working out where to put everything and ensuring all your needs are met within the restrictions of limited space. Small bathrooms are an even bigger challenge, as many of the elements in a bathroom aren’t optional! Luckily for you, we’re here to help with five easy tips to make your next small bathroom renovation a breeze.

Let there be light

With any small space, light is the most important thing to consider. Try to get as much natural light into your bathroom as possible, as this will help your space feel bigger and more open. Dave Gunter, from Coastal Designs in Motueka, says high narrow windows can still be installed above mirrors to allow natural light.

If you don’t have many windows, Dave recommends you get your NZCB builder to install a skylight – these are a great way to increase ventilation, as well as getting more light into your space.

Using high gloss surfaces and large mirrors will also help bounce light around. If your room doesn’t get a lot of light, opt for light colours on your walls and surfaces. However, if your space is bathed in light, a darker colour in a gloss finish can add a sense of old-world charm and luxury to a space – especially when paired with brass fittings. 

Keep the floor clear

Keeping as many elements off the floor as possible will make your space seem bigger (and make the floors easier to clean!) Dave recommends wall-hung vanities and toilets in a smaller space and, if needed, you can use the space underneath your vanity for moveable storage or washing baskets or the like.

Doors are key

We have two tips around doors in your small bathroom – use a cavity slider to reduce floor space needlessly sacrificed to a door clearance; and choose a glass shower door to allow the all-important light to freely move around.

Another popular option is to remove your shower door completely and create a wet room. There are a number of reasons homeowners opt for a wet room style bathroom – the main one being that it does away with the glass shower screens, which are known to be difficult to keep clean.

The openness of the bathroom can then help make it look bigger. This style of bathroom works well where there is limited space, as it removes one of the vertical visual breaks in the room.

Don’t forget shelves

Storage in your bathroom is a must, Dave says, especially in a smaller space. When every item has a permanent home, it’s less likely to get cluttered. Mirror cabinets and shower shelves are both good options, as are built-in timber shelves, he says. A tall, narrow cabinet can be an elegant solution and, if your space is very specific, you can have a bespoke one built to perfectly maximise your available space.

Keep it simple

And our final piece of advice? Don’t be tempted to try to cram too much in. Stick to a palette of similar shades/colours, with a few small accents. Consider how your different materials look together (including flooring) as lots of different materials can quickly become overwhelming in a small space. Use textures to add layers – this could be textured tiles, a wall hanging, plants or simply your towels and softer accents. Or brass, copper or black tapware can add points of interest in a room of mostly one or two similar colours.

To find a nearby NZCB builder to help you with your small bathroom renovation, use the Find A Builder search function on

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