Top tips from our Edinburgh Showroom Director Angus
The most important element to any project whether large or small is always the design, however, in many ways a small room is far more challenging, more difficult to work in due to restrictions in available space within which to work and availability of products that will enhance the look of the room and create more functionality.
There are two main paths to take when working on a small room project with a client.
- The Supply and Install approach is the most comprehensive encompassing design techniques based on what can be done with the plumbing and joinery whilst incorporating stylish products, this route allows the designer far more scope and control of a project, working on a “what could be done with this room” principle, enabling a delivery to the client a room that will be far more individual.
- The Supply Only route focuses mainly on product, small space equals small product principle.
As all designers know, the desire to discuss design possibilities with Supply Only clients can be challenging if the construction and drainage are not known, also making suggestions to a Client about what can be done and attempting to convey this to their fitters can create a piggy-in-the-middle scenario, there are generally lots of, “You could do this…. Depending on….”
When creating a design in a small room it is vital to know what the construction of the walls and floor are, also, where the drainage runs are, this will enable the Designer to think differently about what goes where in the room. The first desire in any small room is to have the shower tray drain into the floor, basin supplies and drains into the wall, WC’s and radiators up off the floor or even, no radiators with underfloor heating.
The more floor space that can be seen will give a cleaner sleeker look to the room.
Even with a small room, sheeting and framing out walls whilst appearing to contradict the thought process of opening up a room can have far more positive aspects to design, for example, if a 4” wc drain is creating a problem with the position of a basin and wc then sheeting the entire wall out by approx. 200mm can create far more design possibilities whilst not impacting on the projection of a wc (cistern in the wall) a basin/basin unit (pocket back into the wall). Concealed shower vales can now be fitted, shampoo recesses can now be included.
The though process of installing the largest shower you can in a small room, say for example a 1200 wide shower can completely stifle the ability to think “what is best for this room”. If a small room is going to stand out, having a standard 1200 shower shoehorned into the room will be to the detriment of the wc, basin position and look.
After carefully considering the design of the room, the products should then be decided to work in with the plan. Look and size of the wc, smaller radiators but hung off the floor and higher up the wall, possibly pocketed into the wall over the wc if there is a severe lack of space. Basins can be wider and shallower in depth or standard depth and not so wide however it is important to consider it’s relationship in the space with everything else around it, similar to the shower size, it is often far more balanced in a room to restrict the size of the basin for the sake of keeping the balance and harmony of the design, if additional storage is desired then type of basin unit, wall cabinets, recesses, set down space should all be a priority.
The use and placement of mirrors in a small room should be high priority, mirrors to the rear of recesses can add depth and perspective even to the smallest of features, custom made mirrors cut to allow wall mounted taps are a very effective and practical way to add individuality to a design. There are now several mirrored basin drawer units inc the Roca Inspira which not only adds depth to a small space, it also shows double perspective of the floor whilst “disappearing” into the wall.
Lastly, lighting! So often this is left to ceiling downlights and whatever the mirror gives. LED lighting in a small space works fantastically whilst lighting recesses, under basin units, plinth lighting, ceiling to wall led stripping, all of which can be controlled via regular multi switching for isolating zones or for a better effect, ceiling lights on a conventional switch and all feature lights on a PIR which will automatically light the room upon entering.
There are also a number of very innovative mirrors on the market from various manufactures including Keuco that will give different shades of light to mimic dusk to dawn lighting, this can be most effective in a small windowless room.
I would always advise considering the features of a room at the very initial concept of design, start with a wish list of features and see how many you can incorporate into your design and how you hope to achieve the installation of the features. If you are told that your ideas can’t be done then before moving on, ask the question, “Why Not?”