Looking for smart ideas to create a sleek, uncluttered space? We’ve curated top design inspiration, clever buys and practical advice to help you create the ideal room.
Bath, basin and brassware decisions can be so all consuming that it's easy to overlook where you’ll be putting your washing essentials. However, storage is crucial to an overall scheme in order to keep it tidy and clutter-free. Consider this aspect at the beginning of your project and you’ll find there are a wealth of attractive options.
Work out your needs
The bathroom is often the smallest space in the home, but with so many essential things living there, such as towels and toiletries, deciding where to keep them is essential and accessibility is a priority. ‘It’s very important to make sure you get the right answer for your requirements and the area you have available,’ says Keith Alcock, product designer at Roper Rhodes (01225 303 900; roperrhodes.co.uk). ‘First, consider what you’ll be storing and if you want drawers, shelving or both. For example, if you’re going for a vanity unit, decide if you want to be able to keep essentials at the side of the basin or if you want it all hidden away.
Make sure you look at all the ranges on offer, so you can make a fully informed choice. Where possible, see products in the flesh, so you can open the drawers and see how much space they’ll give you.’
Think about how many people will be using the facilities and how often; a family will have more to put away than a couple, for example. Try writing a list of everything that will need to be kept handy and where the clutter hot spots are in your current arrangement. This should help you with planning and avoid replicating problems. For future-proofing, include a little more storage than your household actually requires.
If you’re going for an entire refit, you’ll have the opportunity to include bespoke solutions. Decide if you'd like these to be a feature or cleverly concealed. If the former, you may find it a useful starting point for the layout. ‘Rather than furniture being a utilitarian element, it can be worthy of building your whole concept around,’ says Dan Cook, principal development designer at CP Hart (0845 873 1121; cphart.co.uk). ‘You could try adding some elegant hardware, too. It isn’t a matter of form or function – it’s about having something beautiful and useful.’
Choose the elements
Vanity units have become increasingly popular, making use of the space below the basin while hiding plumbing. They’re good for compact bathrooms and, if they are wall-hung with short projection, help preserve a feeling of space. Similarly, tall, wall-mounted units are ideal for storing bulky items, such as bath sheets, and can be squeezed between a basin and WC – just make sure there’s enough room to open its doors. Open shelving is also a handy addition for things you’re happy to have on show and can fit almost anywhere, such as corners, recesses, above a door or as niches within a shower enclosure or washbasin surround.
However, to make the most of your space, try adding subtle and hidden storage. ‘If you need to build out walls for concealing cisterns and pipework, look at using the recesses these create,’ says Joanne Crane, manager at Ripples (0800 107 0700; ripplesbathrooms. com). ‘These work well when sited at a lower height by the WC, for spare toilet rolls or a brush. Additionally, if you have an awkward space that isn’t useful for a shower area, think about fitting a tall wardrobe. If you’re already building out to cover a water tank or plumbing, take advantage of the in-between areas you’re creating, where you can add an illuminated mirror in front of a cabinet, for instance, with a charging point for shavers and toothbrushes.’
Select clever features
The insides of drawers are often forgotten, but adding a few extras will ensure that things remain as orderly within cupboards as they appear from the outside. ‘Tidiers, such as those that divide the space, will keep accessories separate and make small items easy to find,’ says Simon Davis, retail director at Bagnodesign (01924 233 976; bagnodesign.co.uk). As well as dividers, think about trays and baskets and internal lighting – great for helping you nd essential items on dark mornings or evenings. When specifying electrics that will be used in a damp environment, check that the Ingress Protection (IP) rating of the fitting is appropriate for the zone it will be located in. The IP rating refers to the degree a fixture is protected from water or steam entering the electrical elements.