Narrow Bathroom | Advice, Info & Ideas
Do you have an old pantry tucked behind your kitchen that could be the perfect main floor bathroom? Maybe it’s a closet upstairs that could become a small en suite. In either case, this will be a narrow bathroom. Is it too small? Can it really happen? Let’s take a look.
In this post, I’ll go over some narrow bathroom size advice, design information as well as some ideas to make the most of your narrow bathroom space.
Let’s dive in!
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What Is The Narrowest A Bathroom Can Be?
There is no actual regulation defining a minimum size for a bathroom, but the sanitaryware and your ability to move in the space do demand a set amount of room. However, one of the most common narrow bathroom dimensions is 1m wide x 2m long.
These are some helpful guidelines based on popular sizes of fixtures and one crucial regulation.
Bathroom with Toilet and Sink
The smart way to accomplish this feat in the smallest footprint is to install the toilet against the end wall facing the door. The room will need to be at least 500mm wide. A corner-mounted basin by the door will see to your hands. Just don’t expect to do any dancing.
For the more likely scenario where the basin and toilet are positioned side by side on a wall:
In any bathroom, there must be a minimum of 510mm left between the front rim of the toilet and the wall or the basin. That is just enough space to sit down. The average toilet is about 700mm deep from the back of the unit to the edge of the bowl and 450mm wide. So, you could get away with a room that is just 1210mm wide.
To make the most of the space, look for a compact wall-mounted basin to give you a little more wiggle room while in the loo. A small basin will be about 300 to 400mm wide, then you will need another 0.5 metres in wall length to slide in the toilet.
Bathroom with Toilet, Sink, and Shower
You can find a square shower pan measuring between 700 and 750mm wide. If you place this at one end of the bathroom and have your toilet on the opposite end with a sink and door in the middle, you could get have a bathroom as narrow as 700mm. However, it will need to be around 1.8m – 2m in length depending on the depth of the toilet.
This is to accommodate the shower tray, toilet and space needed in front of the toilet. You’ll also only have room for a slim door to access the room, so pocket doors are a great option for these instances.
But remember that if the toilet is positioned with its back to the long wall, you still need a width of 1210mm to comfortably use the toilet.
Bathroom with Toilet, Sink, Shower, and Bath
The most common shortest shower-bath on the market measures just 1400mm long by 700mm wide.
To squeeze a bath in a narrow bathroom, you’ll either need the room to be that minimum of 1400mm wide and place the bath at the end of the room. Or, you’ll need a longer room to place the bath on one end and the toilet on the opposite end. This way the bathroom can be slightly narrower, albeit not very practical.
If you stick to that 1210mm minimum width to squeeze in a toilet, you will have a little room to step in and out of the bathtub.
Leaving Space for Plumbing, Pipes, and Ventilation
When you want to add on a bathroom to an existing house built before your great-grandparents were alive, also think about the extra centimetres that may be needed for waste pipes. If the room has masonry walls, you won’t be able to opt for a hidden cistern or hide supply lines. A new bathroom will also require an extractor fan and a light.
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What To Consider When Designing A Narrow Bathroom
How are you going to get in and out of the bathroom? Most bathroom doors swing in, but that eats up valuable space inside the narrow room. You may want to have the door swing out into the hall or opt for a sliding door that gives you privacy without taking up room.
The position of your fixtures is absolutely crucial in such a cramped space. You need to make sure that you can sit, stand, and turn around without bumping into a porcelain basin or toilet. Before you start construction, you will need precise measurements of every piece and create a written floorplan. Remember to think about light switches, light fixtures, a hook for your towel, and even a tiny rubbish bin.
How To Make A Narrow Bathroom Look Bigger
You can make that tiny bathroom appear welcoming despite its small size with a few smart decor choices.
Look for a toilet, basin, and even bath that use slim contemporary lines. Using modern materials and designs, slimline fittings slice centimetres off of traditional designs. A wide but narrow rectangular basin gives you a little more room to slide past to reach the toilet and shower. Side-mounted taps move bulky pipes out of the way. The toilet can have a cistern hidden behind the wall, leaving you up to 10cm of added knee space.
Oversized mirrors reflect light and the entire room, creating a visual trick that mentally widens your narrow bathroom. You could select a mirror that covers that entire long wall to make the most of the illusion.
Light Colour Palette
Dark colours absorb light and highlight the shadows created by a cramped space. While you may not want white, it does lend a more open feel to the cramped room. A soft pastel or bright colour palette will also do the trick.
Storage to Keep the Clutter at Bay
This may be a very small bathroom, but you still need toilet paper, soap, towels, and shampoo. Where will it go? Even a small vanity below the basin or shelves above it provide a spot to stow your stuff. Consider a shelving rack that mounts over the toilet to maximise function.
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What Is The Smallest Space For A Shower Room?
A good small size for the shower room is 700mm wide by 1500mm long (not including a toilet or sink).
The smallest shower tray measures 700mm square. You could tile a shower room that is narrower but just think about bumping the elbows while washing your hair.
Also, you will want some space away from the showerhead to dry off and pull on your bathrobe or towel. You can eliminate the need to swing open a shower door by using a sliding door or curtain and rod.
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There you have it! Some advice, information and ideas for your narrow bathroom.
Just because you have a narrow bathroom space doesn’t mean you can’t maximise it and get the most bathroom for your buck! A well-considered layout with thoughtful access could mean you can fit more into that narrow bathroom than you thought.
So, what are you waiting for? Get designing that narrow bathroom!
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Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.