Whether creating an extra WC for the family or a powder room for guests, these practical tips will help you create a bathroom that functions perfectly and looks amazing.

downstairs bathroom hallway - how to successfully design a downstairs bathroom - home improvements - granddesignsmagazine.com 

Image: Crosswater 

Make the most out of the smallest room in the house by turning into a stylish and functional downstairs bathroom. Follow these design tips and tricks to kickstart your renovation journey. 

Make a plan 

self contained sink in a red bathroom - ripples

Image: Ripples Bathrooms 

Whether you’re building a new home from scratch, giving a redundant under-the-stairs cupboard a much-needed overhaul or ripping out a dated cloakroom suite and starting again, there are ways to make this small space practical and stylish.

Identify exactly what you want the space to achieve. ‘Is it primarily for your family or will guests use it, too?’ asks architect Richard Gill at Paul Archer Design. ‘A room next to the utility/boot area where children, adults and dogs come in from outdoors will need to be very different to a cloakroom off the main entrance hall.’

Design details

orange bathroom taps - how to successfully design a downstairs bathroom - home improvements - granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Vola

Striking a balance between practicality and aesthetics can be challenging when working with a limited space but it also provides an opportunity to be a little extravagant. ‘An expensive tile or wallpaper that may be out of your budget for larger areas could be more achievable,’ says Melissa Robinson, director at MW Architects.

Experiment with colour, choose a decorative basin or an interesting tap. As it’s most likely to be used by guests, this is a great place to make a big impression.

Choosing ceramics

patterned bathroom floor tiles - how to successfully design a downstairs bathroom - home improvements - granddesignsmagazine.com 

Image: Britton Bathrooms

If you are working in a small room, many bathroom suppliers offer a range of small space-saving solutions, such as shallow basins and short-projection toilets. Some, like Victorian Plumbing, offer two-in-one toilets and basins (with the basin above the cistern) for the tighest of spots.

‘Avoid filling the floor: a wall-mounted loo and basin will give the impression the area is larger than it is,’ says Scott. ‘A shallow countertop with a small inset basin and shelf below is preferable to a chunky vanity unit with storage that you may not need.’

Light works

blue tiled bathroom - how to successfully design a downstairs bathroom - home improvements - granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Duravit

Putting time and thought into the lighting scheme will pay dividends, especially if your space doesn’t have a window. Layer different levels of lighting rather than relying solely on ceiling fittings that illuminate the space from above. ‘A great effect can be achieved by adding LED strips below basin counters or within niches,’ says Scott . ‘Back-lit mirrors are also ideal for creating a luxurious feel.’

The materials you choose will play an important role in how the light is reflected. ‘Pale, reflective surfaces will help make a small area feel bigger,’ says Martin Carroll, managing director at Duravit UK. Incorporating gloss or satin finishes will achieve this effect.


Are you planning on designing a downstairs bathroom? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page. 



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