How to furnish your bathroom

How to furnish your bathroom

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Bathrooms can be tricky rooms to organise whether you're dealing with a small or narrow room or one with a sloping ceiling. But furnishing your bathroom in the right way will help you make the most of the space. From picking out a shower or bath to choosing your décor, read on to find out how to furnish your bathroom.

Important features

  • Size
  • Layout
  • Style
  • Decoration
  • Furniture
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How to organise your bathroom

How to organise your bathroom

Bathrooms are usually where we prepare for the day or get ready for bed – but they can also be a quiet place of relaxation. Considering we spend around an hour a day on average in the bathroom, it's important to think carefully about how the room is organised!

A renovation is a great opportunity to optimise your bathroom space. When making any significant changes, the most important factors to consider are the size of the bathroom (in m²) and the layout of the space.

There's no comparison between small and large bathrooms when it comes to picking sanitaryware such as wash basins, shower enclosures, bathtubs and so on. The size of your bathroom will also affect the type of furniture and accessories you can purchase (shower sets, wardrobes, vanity units, heated towel rails, bathrobe holders, etc). If you have a smaller bathroom, you will have to be careful to make the most of your space.

Large bathrooms are easier to furnish, so you can really prioritise style and comfort. From whirlpool baths to dual sinks, the only limitations you'll have with a big bathroom is your budget and the layout of the room.

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Towel radiators

5 rules for furnishing a small bathroom

If you are at the planning stage of remodelling a smaller bathroom, be sure to pick your sanitary equipment with extra special care. There are a few simple rules to follow in order ensure your room is as well-designed as possible.

Remember: if you want your bathroom to be comfortable and stylish, it's important to create the illusion of space. Bathrooms measuring around 4-5 m² or those with sloping ceilings are particularly tricky to furnish and every decision must be made methodically. With this in mind, we've compiled 5 quick tips for making the most of a small bathroom.

1. Choose the right wash basin

Choose the right wash basin

It goes without saying that a pedestal sink is not a great fit for a small bathroom! As space efficiency is key here, opt for an inset, countertop or wall-hung basin instead. From traditional options to modern designs, it's absolutely essential to find the right type of bathroom sink.

2. Opt for a shower over a bath

Opt for a shower over a bath

Installing a bathtub in a small bathroom reduces floor space and may make the room feel cramped. A walk-in shower, on the other hand, will help to open up the room. If you don't feel up to the task of installing a walk-in shower, go for a traditional shower tray instead. A corner shower can be equipped with the door or panel of your choosing, but opt for clear glass over patterned or opaque screens to avoid breaking up the space. Shower enclosures are easy to set up but tend to take up more room so aren't the best option for small bathrooms.

3. Pick wall-hung furniture

Pick wall-hung furniture

Wall-mounted furniture helps to free up a bit of floor space in petite bathrooms. If you settled on a wash basin built into a vanity unit, go for a simple model that offers a lot of storage space. Shelves, hooks and wall-hung towel rails are all great storage solutions that won't sacrifice much space – providing they measure no more than 15 cm in depth.

4. Choose the right lighting

Choose the right lighting

Low lighting, like dark colours, will make a space feel smaller. If your bathroom doesn't feature a window, try adding a few mirrors to the walls. This will help to reflect the light and create the illusion of space. A neutral but powerful white light will work best and, if possible, fit a few spotlights. If you choose wall lights, go for low profile models and install them high up on the wall.

5. Swap out your door hinges

Swap out your door hinges

If your bathroom door opens into bathroom, swap the hinges out to make it open outwards to gain a bit more space. If you have hanging cabinets with doors, consider changing how they open in accordance with your bathroom layout.

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Wall-hung towel rails

Drawing up a bathroom plan

Drawing up a bathroom plan

There are three important steps involved in planning out your future bathroom.

  • Check the dimensions of all sanitaryware and furnishings in advance.

  • Try to visualise how your bathroom will look and consider different layouts to help make the most of your space.

  • Set up a budget for the project and think about any extra furnishings you may need in the future.

In order to get a real idea of your future bathroom, you should create a floor plan to scale – especially when dealing with a smaller space. It's usually a good idea to draw up a rough draft before creating a final plan with exact measurements.

Picking your bathroom storage accessories

Picking your bathroom storage accessories

Bathroom storage units and accessories should be chosen based on the amount of free space you have and the layout of the bathroom. Slimline or wall-mounted pieces work particularly well in more compact bathrooms. There are a few different storage options to choose from:

  • Standard units (wall-mounted or free-standing)

  • Corner units (wall-mounted or free-standing)

  • Under-sink units and vanities

  • Tall floor units (free-standing or wall-mounted)

  • Shelved cabinets

  • Towel rails and hooks 

  • Shower shelves

  • Mirrored units

If you have a particularly narrow bathroom, or one with a number of corners and alcoves, make the most of your space by adding cupboards and shelves wherever they fit – don't be afraid to be inventive here!

Floating shelves come in a range of sizes and are great for making full use of your walls.

Unlike solid cabinets, open structures provide storage without overwhelming a space. If you have high ceilings, tall cabinets will help to maximise your storage options.

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Bathroom storage units

How to decorate a bathroom

How to decorate a bathroom

Ideally, your bathroom should be designed with relaxation and well-being in mind. You will have to think carefully about what kind of shapes and colours you use. Of course, you should decorate your bathroom to suit your own preferences. However, you may find that the layout or features of your space are better suited to one style over another. For example, a bathroom with exposed stonework lends itself well to a zen-style theme while a bathroom with a number of alcoves and rounded lines will look great with more exotic décor. Your first step to planning your bathroom décor should therefore be to think about the space as a whole.

Decorative elements for a bathroom

There are many ways to make your bathroom your own. Depending on your tastes and the amount of space you have, you might want to pick a few decorative touches, such as:

  • Coloured hooks for hanging up a dressing gown on the wall or, better still, on the back of the door to save space.

  • Plants or even a plant wall are a great way to add a bit of charm to a bathroom. That said, be sure to choose plants that cope well with humidity, such as ferns, and make sure they have enough light. Tropical plants and orchids will do very well in a bathroom.

  • Mirrors and LED lights will add depth to even the most compact spaces.

  • Wall stickers can be chosen to match your towels and furniture.

  • Simple splashes of colour throughout the room can be a great way to create a decorative theme.

  • Decorative bath mats or shower curtains.

  • Accessories, such as laundry baskets, storage boxes and bathroom shelves, can be purchased as a matching set.

  • The base of your shelves can be lined with mirrors. 

When it comes to choosing bathroom accessories, the most important thing is to ensure they look right with your overall décor.

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Bathroom shelves

Creating a themed bathroom

Creating a theme is a fun way to make sure your bathroom works well as a whole. Once again, this decision will simply come down to your own tastes.

Zen-style bathrooms

A zen-style bathroom is all about wellbeing. Choose natural materials such as wood, pebbles and stone and go for neutral tones such as chestnut, white, taupe, beige, green, and so on. A glass countertop basin placed on a teak cabinet will be a stunning centrepiece and can be paired with a walk-in shower to keep the room feeling airy. Top everything off with some eucalyptus shoots and hanging exotic plants to feng shui your space!

Designer bathrooms

A designer bathroom puts the focus on modern shapes and clean lines.  Minimalist and well-organised, these spaces usually feature neutral-toned wash basins and furniture items (e.g. black, grey, white). Opt for sleek storage options with slotted handles to avoid breaking the flow of the furniture.

Contemporary-style bathrooms

Contemporary bathrooms work well in homes with an overall modern feel. Like designer bathrooms, these spaces are minimalist but functional, and are usually fitted with slick pieces like corner bathtubs, vanity units and mirrors. From LED lights to walk-in or corner showers, pick the options you like best.

Moroccan-themed bathrooms

A bathroom with a Moroccan theme will combine warm colours with hammam-inspired furnishings such as a large shower head, benches and open storage cubes. Countertops can be covered with traditional zellige tiles while your walls can be painted in Marrakech red or coated in tadelakt plaster.

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Shower heads

3 tips for creating a functional bathroom

3 tips for creating a functional bathroom

While your décor will largely come down to taste, there are a few more rules when it comes to picking your furniture. Here are our three top tips for making the most of your bathroom:

  • Consider the layout of your bathroom and take any architectural features into account when choosing your furniture or storage solutions.

  • Draw up a plan to scale to get an idea of the actual size of your furniture and how practical they will be in the space.

  • Choose your decorative items to match your tastes as well as the general feel of the room.

Finally, remember that it's not all about budget; an inexpensive bathroom can be more stylish than a high-end bathroom decorated in bad taste!

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Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check. Advise everybody in the DIY shop? Check. Redo bathroom plumbing? Check. If it doesn't work, try again! I'll do my best to advise you in your projects.

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