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Bathroom Decoration for the Space Conscious Home

by Emily Hall on Feb 28, 2013

An en suite bathroom can add value to a property, and represent a real source of convenience for a family home. Designing one normally involves segmenting an existing area of a room off to turn into a bathroom, which must be properly plumbed and connected to the heating system. As a result, space considerations not previously needed can apply.

The main space consideration in a small en suite bathroom has to do with the relationship between the human body and its environment. An en suite typically consists of basic sanitary ware (a toilet and a sink) plus a shower – the idea being that the users or occupants of the room may have the convenience of showering and using the facilities without having to wait for other occupants of the house.

If the room is being built within the confines of an existing rom, its décor must be appropriately miniaturised. This normally requires the purchase of a half size sink, which is really only suited to washing hands and cleaning teeth. The retraction of the area in which the sink juts out allows the user to move freely around the space without difficulty.

Heating a small en suite bathroom can present a number of conflicting problems. A radiator, for example, takes up space the bathroom probably doesn’t have. Instead, the bathroom designer may specify a heated towel rail, which allows the bathroom to heat and towels to remain in situ, rather than being fetched in from somewhere else.

Cosmetic design may require that the bathroom user buy towels to go with a particular colour scheme. Obviously that’s not a practical necessity – but if the whole room has been designed in a certain palette it can seem a shame to bring in a false note at the last minute.

The role of towels in bathroom design is not always appreciated. A towel has the same place in the design of a bathroom that the duvet cover does in the design of a bedroom. It is a thoroughly practical part of the room; but it is also the most natural element for attaching visual cues to the surroundings.

Towels may be used to offset small colour notes in the tiling and painting of the room. They may also be used to tie together ornamental additions – for example by matching their colour to the colour of a vase of fake flowers or a free standing flower arrangement.

The main bathroom has spatial considerations quite different to the en suite. The main bathroom is the natural environment for storing towel and all other bathroom accessories – and so normally requires a cupboard (preferably heated) to perform the job. In some space-conscious designs, for example a seaside inspired design with plenty of bleached wood and blues colours, the decorative effect already mentioned can be achieved by keeping towels on an open series of shelves. This will allow them to air just as well as they would in a heated cupboard, though it may also leave them open to water spray from a shower (if the shower is combined with a bath).

Choosing to put in, or remove, a bath is one of the core space saving decisions to make in a full bathroom design. No bath means much more room, but can remove one of the key purposes of a bathroom – relaxation.


Billy Cornish is a plumber and bathroom designer. He often advises clients to buy towels to incorporate into their decorative scheme.



Emily Hall

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