Got some extra space under your stairs – then how? not considering converting it into an additional bathroom?
Many homeowners fail to take advantage of excess space under their stairs. Many use it as a cupboard for storing shoes and hats, but when you consider the potential of the space, there’s a far more useful way it could be used. If you’re renowned for complaining of lack of space within your home, then it’s time to convert that clothing dumping ground into a fully functioning bathroom.
Converting your under-stair space into a small bathroom can really help to improve the functionality of your home. Firstly, you won’t need to fumble around in the dark through the forest of jackets just to find your hat. Secondly, the extra bathroom can prove to be incredibly useful, particularly for busy households. A second bathroom can also add value to the home if it’s installed properly and so can be a fantastic selling point.
Installing a bathroom in the small space can make it feel more like a valid room, rather than an area for storage. If you’re worried about where to store your jackets and shoes then shoe racks and coat trees can turn your storage into more of an ornamental feature – perfect for hallways.
Once you’ve cleared your cupboard under the stairs it’s time to start visualizing it as a small bathroom. Although the space under your stairs might not be the largest, a cloakroom suite could be the perfect way of utilizing the space to its full potential. Now it’s no longer a dumping ground you may even find it feels more spacious than before. To ensure the bathroom is as functional as possible you’ll have to identify space saving bathroom suites that are designed to fit in compact spaces.
Corner bathroom suites are incredibly popular for small bathrooms. Corner sinks with no pedestal can free up floor space as well as wall space. Corner toilets are also an option worth considering, they operate in the same manner as a conventional toilet but take up less space. Only opt for one item of your bathroom suite to be a corner one, however, as it can look a little odd if both your toilet and sink are in corners.
Many homeowners don’t use corners to their full potential –allowing the space to go to waste. Utilizing the corners within your home can create space for other necessary items and accessories. Corner shelves are perfect for displaying accessories without compromising on space. Floating corner shelves are perfect for displaying vases of flowers on. They create different visual levels in the room – great for improving aesthetics and adding a touch of personality to bathrooms, which are often impersonal.
In order to coordinate your bathroom with the rest of the house, you could use a similar color scheme. Also, in many cases there’s no natural source of light for your cloakroom suite, so a bright light will be required to ensure optimum visibility and appearance. Air fresheners are essential to keep the bathroom smelling sweet if there’s no form of ventilation, preventing any unpleasant smells from drifting through your home.
Utilizing the space under the stairs can really help you to use your home to its full potential. Savvy DIY-ers will spot areas of free space and convert them into something useful – so be creative!
Bathroom Design Tips
Showers, baths and sinks
If you have a small bathroom it is worth installing a shower over the bath to save space, you can make this more attractive by inserting a stylish shower screen or curtain. If you have the luxury of a large bathroom then a separate bath and shower cubicle is ideal. Either way, pay attention to the details, choose matching or complementary shower heads, taps, and materials. For more lavish bathroom designs, corner baths and whirlpools work well; large double sinks are practical and look great too.
If you want a really glamorous shower, then think about installing a separate wet room. These need to be properly waterproofed and walls and floors covered in a durable material like non-slip stone or tiles. A waterproof layer like fiberglass can be used to ‘tank’ or seal the room completely.
Bathroom flooring needs to look great and still be practical – non slip, hygienic and easy to clean. The main options are:
Stone flooring – when bonded, limestone, slate, marble, and granite floors are waterproof, long-lasting, and easy to clean. Many people choose stone because it looks great and each individual piece is unique in color and design. Stone can be both cold underfoot and slippery so think about underfloor heating and choosing a stone with some grip. Stone flooring is also a more expensive option for the bathroom but you can cut costs by using reclaimed stone.
Wooden flooring – this may seem like an inappropriate flooring type for a wet area like the bathroom but choosing engineered wood can work well in a bathroom – providing a warm, stylish and durable finish. Laurence Warburton, from Wood Works Flooring in Kent says: “I would not advise using solid wood in bathrooms because it will warp, but engineered wood can work well.”
Porcelain flooring – this is a cheaper alternative to stone flooring and is easier to maintain as it does not require any kind of sealing. Porcelain is a popular bathroom material because it’s so easy to clean and hard wearing.
Linoleum flooring – the most popular brand of lino is Marmoleum, which comes in over 100 colours and designs and is perfect for the bathroom. Lino is easy to clean and install and is made of natural materials including wood flour and linseed oil. David Morley, from Authentic Natural Floors in Stockport says: “Lino has real health benefits as it is anti bacterial and does not retain dust or allergens.”
Heating your bathroom
There’s nothing worse than a freezing bathroom first thing in the morning, so keep yours cozy by choosing carefully among the many different bathroom heating options. Radiators are the traditional heating option and come in a range of shapes and styles to suit your bathroom design. Heated towel rails are also popular – they can warm up the whole room and make getting out the shower on a cold day a bit more bearable.
Underfloor heating is becoming more common in bathroom design, especially in new build properties and can even be powered by a heat pump. Mark O’Brien, from Terra Therma in Essex explains: “Underfloor heating is good in bathrooms because it dries the floor quickly and feels nice underfoot.” You can also save around 25-30% on your fuel bills with underfloor heating compared to radiators, suggests Mark.
Lighting solutions for bathrooms
First, maximize any natural light in the bathroom, then pay attention to areas that require additional lighting, such as around mirrors and vanity units. As well as normal spotlights, ceiling lights and downlights, why not consider some more unusual lighting solutions? Illuminated mirrors, cupboard doors and even taps which change the watercolor are available. Whichever type of lighting you choose, consider remote controls and dimmers to add convenience and create ambiance in the bathroom.
Installing lighting in a bathroom can be dangerous so you need to hire a qualified electrician to fit lights safely and in accordance with building regulations. These rules state that different zones must only use certain voltage appliances made to a specified standard, so check with a qualified electrician to be safe.
Bathroom storage and accessories
Storage is all-important in the bathroom and can pull the whole design together. If you have a small bathroom, use the space cleverly and conceal storage under sinks of in corner cabinets. Built-in vanity units and wall hung cabinets come in different materials and styles to suit your tastes. Consider using freestanding cabinets and caddy for toiletries. To really personalize the room pay attention to the details; match blinds and shower curtains, find a stylish soap dish, and accessorize with ornaments.