Bathrooms are complex to design, both because of space limitations and due to their functional role in the home. Choosing coverings is part of a creative process that not only defines the style of the bathroom, but also helps to change how it is perceived, emphasizing its volumes, enhancing its merits or hiding its structural defects.
A small bathroom can become a stimulating design challenge: rooms with a unique character can be brought to life by combining sizes, tactile effects and decorations. Here are five inspiring ideas for designing the coverings of a small bathroom with a strong personality.
1 | Transform the floor into a decorative carpet
When the bathroom is very small and the walls are difficult to enhance (due to the necessary presence of a door, window, radiator or other encumbrances such as columns) you can focus all the attention on the only uninterrupted surface: the floor. The decor can lend character to the floor, which becomes a ceramic carpet.
Once the floor is identified as the standout feature of the project, you should ideally choose suspended furnishings and bathroom fixtures to interrupt or hide it as little as possible. Thus the eye will not be drawn to other elements, but will tend to focus on the appeal of the decor.
You can give free rein to personal preferences: geometric decors and cement tiles (such as those included in the D_Segni or Scenario ranges), decorative tactile effects or stones with varied textures (such as Ceppo di Gré). Porcelain stoneware today offers endless possibilities in this regard.
2 | Focus on an impressive wall
Even in small bathrooms, you can choose a wall (or part of wall, preferably free and totally tileable) to transform into a striking ceramic canvas. This can be the wall on which the bathtub rests, the back wall of the shower area or the wall on which the bathroom cabinet is installed. However, there is nothing to prevent you using a wall that is completely free of furnishings and bathroom fixtures (consider, for example, a long, narrow bathroom in which everything is installed on the long side of the room).
Once again, the goal is to draw attention away from the size of the room and to highlight the main wall, which will add depth to the bathroom.
To create an impressive wall you can use tiles of various sizes and tactile effects: White Deco, for example, features elegant backdrops decorated with iridescent three-dimensional motifs (60×180 size); Alchimia geometric decorative modules are available in the same size; Momenti offers additional decor ideas in a more flexible size, 40×120. For those who want to focus on colour instead of decors, there is a dynamic and unusual alternative: opt for a small or medium size and play with contrasting joints. One collection that allows you to experiment in this way is Eclettica, which includes both decors on a 40×120 size and very original mosaics.
3 | Create volume with 3D tiles
Three-dimensional wall reliefs create movement, change volumes, play with light and shadow, and lend character to bathrooms. 3D tiles are a great alternative to give a small bathroom an elegant and unusual touch, without necessarily choosing a high-impact decor or effect. They are an ideal compromise for those looking for a way to enhance small rooms with moderation and neutral colours. They can be used to cover one or more walls or part of them, including by horizontally dividing the bathroom.
The 3D decors are available on different tactile effects: the Dover and Fresco collections, for example, offer multiple structures, as do Eclettica (mentioned earlier) and Fabric, some of Marazzi’s tile collections that offer three-dimensional decors.
4 | Bright reflections thanks to glossy tiles
Glossy coverings’ ability to reflect light turns them into an important decorative element, especially in a small room like the bathroom. This is why using them to change how a space is perceived is a sound design choice.
Today, Moroccan-inspired tiles are also very trendy (such as Zellige) or those that pay homage to the surfaces of traditional majolica tiles (such as Rice or Lume), in small to medium sizes that can be carefully enhanced with joints.
The extra-glossy marble-effect stoneware has a different stylistic impact, creating almost mirror-like surfaces: it makes even the smallest of bathrooms sophisticated and bright.
5 | Neutral yes, but never mundane: the stone effect for a small private spa
Combining light, neutral colours is a traditional solution that is always popular. These shades make the bathroom elegant, decorating walls and floors with moderation and thereby allowing the furniture and bathroom fixtures to play a key role. An alternative to uniform surfaces is offered by marble-effect or stone-effect porcelain stoneware: from shades of white to cream or grey, with varied textures or natural veining, this type of tile makes bathrooms airy and bright, as well as relaxing and elegantly inspired by the atmosphere of oriental hammams.
Small or large size?
One last piece of advice for those wondering about covering sizes. There are no universal rules regarding the tile sizes that are most suitable for a small bathroom: while, generally speaking, large tiles help to expand spaces by limiting the number of joints, the composition must still be carefully considered to avoid unsightly cuts that undermine the overall effect.
Therefore the size of the slabs will not be as important as the overall design of the room, which can also feature unusual combinations of different sizes. The end result