Smart planning makes for big impact in your small en suite

Small really can be beautiful. So having a bijou en suite is a perfect excuse for a little smart planning to create a functional space that oozes style.

Boxing clever

Make the most of the space at your disposal with a vanity unit complete with drawers. And for all those necessary knicknacks, how about a cupboard beneath the basin? Great for getting rid of clutter! Tip: A wall-hung model means you see more of the floor – and that helps creates the illusion of space. Make the most of any corners with a neat angled solution and remember that shallow designs won’t take up precious space.

Slot in a shower

A quadrant enclosure could be the answer if you’re looking to squeeze a shower into your en suite. The quadrants are designed to save valuable floor space thanks to its quarter-circle shape (two sides have the same length, with a rounded outer edge). What’s an offset quadrant? It’s the same as a regular quadrant except one side is longer than the other. A pentagon shower enclosure looks like a square or rectangle with one corner missing – a design plus is that it’s less intrusive than a traditional square shower enclosure.

Back to the wall

If you like the idea of an wall-hung vanity unit, combine it with a wall-hung toilet, meaning you really get to open up the available floor space. For a modern minimalist look, a back-to-wall loo is a great choice. Shop for a short-projection wall-hung or back-to-wall toilet – some are 20cm shorter than the standard size. Achieve a neat finish by concealing the pesky cistern in the wall or a piece of furniture. Add storage above to compensate for the space you’ll lose.

Open door policy

Choose shower doors that don’t intrude on your en suite space. Sliding doors are available both in rectangular and quadrant form, and bifold doors are also a smart choice – a glass panel folds in on its hinges. Don’t rule out a pivot door either: it needs less clearance than a hinged door despite opening outwards, because the far edge of the door swings backwards into the shower.

Walk-in wonder

Working a hulking great shower enclosure into a tiny en suite can be just too much for the size of the room. So what’s the answer? A walk-in shower can be no more than a simple glass panel combined with a low-profile or recessed shower tray. This makes for a smooth transition between the floor and shower area. Or keep it simple and do away with the glass altogether! By installing a waterproof membrane that’s laid on the floor (creating a waterproof barrier) you can dispense with a shower tray too. The floor finish is then laid on top of the membrane.

Go for soak

If a long soak is more you than a quick power shower, shop around for a compact bath (some are 20cm shorter than an average bath) – and there are some great shapes and sizes around. Or go for a corner bath to make the most of an awkward space. And of course you can always have a shower above – the best of both worlds!

Why not move the loo?

Okay, moving the loo can be tricky, not to mention the cost of moving the soil pipe. But nothing is impossible (unless your building contractor or plumber tells you it IS!) Bottom line: get professional advice.

Lights fantastic

Mirrors create an illusion of space, so think clever. Buy mirrored bathroom cabinets to boost storage as well as creating light and the feeling of space.

Streamlining creates space

Simple flowing lines will give the impression that a room is longer than it actually is. But breaks in the line of the wall can visually shrink the room.

Clean cut approach

There’s no better way to create a sense of space in your en suite than to rid surfaces of clutter. Store products in mirrored cabinets, where you can also charge toothbrushes and electric razors. Go for tall, wall-hung cabinets that free up precious floor space, and you might even use the void under your bath as a small storage drawer. So be clever with storage – and make the space suit your lifestyle.

Open shelving adds personality

Make a feature of your favourite lotions and potions by displaying them in open storage. Niche storage also allows you to store bottles discreetly in the shower. Glass shelving is a great choice if you can’t build niches into the wall; it’s less intrusive than non-transparent alternatives. But always style open shelves so they look neat and tidy as well as functional.

The dark side can be cosy!

Yes light colours can often make a room feel bigger. But be careful. Light all round can also emphasise a room’s small size, so look to build on the benefits. Being ‘enclosed’ can create a real sanctuary feel in the en suite, so dark tiling with a mix of textures can work brilliantly. If you can, choose large-format tiles to avoid lots of cuts and distracting grout lines in your cocoon.

The heat is on

Bulky radiators can impact on valuable space, so consider underfloor heating. Choose a slimline towel warmer too – one that can be plumbed into the hot-water system rather than the central heating. It means you don’t need an inconvenient dual fuel system for hot towels 12 months of the year.