The bathroom. A place where most of us get ready for the day (or, indeed, the night). A place where we cleanse ourselves physically and, sometimes, emotionally. A place which sees the best and the worst sides of us. We all use this room on a daily basis; some of us prefer to be in and out as quickly as possible while others prefer to take the time to spend some moments in privacy after a long day. Whatever your persuasion, few of us would deny the importance of having a nice bathroom, clean, fragrant and warm. Yet, like many people, I can remember harder times, tiptoeing over the freezing tiles to a shower with questionable plumbing and the smell of mildew in the air. That is no way to live.
Unfortunately, many of us do not have the luxury of space in our homes and bathrooms are invariably made as small as possible to make space for our bedrooms and kitchens. While we dream of spreading out in a long, deep bath after hanging our clothes on an ornate rack, the reality is often a narrow shower jostling for space with a small sink, toilet and a laundry basket.
But that is not to say that you cannot make your bathroom a luxury space despite the confined conditions. Here are some ideas to help you make the most out of your bathroom, even if space is at a premium.
Lighting is a crucial yet typically overlooked feature of any room and a bathroom is no different. Not only can the right lighting make the room (and more importantly yourself!) look good, but it can make the room seem bigger. We have all been in bathrooms with a clinical, white dome light which casts a ghostly hue over the room making even the most attractive person look like a murder victim. No one wants that, especially not in the place where you’ll spend the most time looking at yourself in the mirror every day. And if you need to spend a longer chunk of time in the bathroom getting ready, the harsh brightness might give you a headache.
You could do yourself the world of good by installing some nice overhead spotlights that will cast a gentler, more favourable shadow over the room and you within it. There are a range of soothing orange lights for bathroom vanity which you can substitute in for the surgical white dome or fluorescent tube. So, after a long workout at the gym, you can see yourself at a new angle!
It would also be a good idea to invest in a smaller, less dazzling light for those nighttime trips to the bathroom, so your retinas aren’t burning when you try to get back to sleep.
On a similar note, the choice of mirror you opt for as well, as the height and angle at which you position it, will have a dramatic effect on the room. Larger mirrors can catch the morning light and make smaller rooms seem larger, whilst smaller mirrors can be used for a more decorative effect. Mirrors can be bought in all shapes and sizes, including, courtesy of craft websites like Etsy, ones custom made to fit your specific requirements. Alternatively, you will likely find some hidden gems at your local antiques dealers or warehouse sales. Choose wisely and you will be able to check yourself out from a range of different angles in crystal clarity – if that doesn’t make you want to spend more time in the bathroom, I don’t know what will!
The eternal enemy of the small bathroom owner, particularly for those of us with inner city apartments, is black mold. When space is hard to come by, landlords tend to position bathrooms in the interior of the building where there is no window. This means the steam from your hot showers cannot escape and, without proper ventilation, creates dampness in the room, which can lead to mold if it is not dealt with. Unscrupulous landlords tend to simply paint or tile over the moldy areas which does not solve but prolongs the issue. However, in this situation it pays to be proactive, so to prevent mold in your bathroom, make sure it is fitted with a modern ventilation system to transport the dampness outside. It might be worth replacing that rickety old fan which whirs in the background with a newer one… or at the very least regularly clear any dust which builds up between the blades.
It is vital to consider these elements when you redecorate. Even the smallest, most cramped bathrooms can be turned into your little chunk of steamy paradise with the right design choices.