The new classic: This small family bathroom design packs a pretty punch

This small space is big on style
Martina Gemmola

When considering a small family bathroom design, ideas can come from anywhere. Starting a virtual scrapbook or Pinterest board can help to organise your ideas. Still, we recommend collecting inspiration wherever you go – from hotels to restaurants, magazine pages and showrooms of bathroom supply companies. Look for clever uses of space, plumbing ideas and hardworking solutions to storage and layout.

A small family bathroom design to inspire

This bathroom may be in a tight space, but it showcases a perfect blend of form and function, created by Interior Designer Carmel Wylie for GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens.

The original bathroom had an unusual layout – part walk-in robe, part dead space. As the only bathroom in the house, the brief was to make the most of the space without losing the linen cupboard and to put in a bath, shower and vanity.

Small family bathroom design combines your choice of colours, style, fixtures and fittings. (Credit: Martina Gemmola)

True to the weatherboard house it inhabits, this bathroom features timeless subway tiles and brass tapware. The ‘Blue Sunflower’ floor tiles from Jatana Interiors, says Carmel, add personal style. “And they’re divine,” she adds. Look closer and see that all pink design elements here are accessories. The clever choice of base colours – including neutral timber, classic navy and grey in the floor and wall tiles – lend themselves to any colour palette, so they can be changed with the seasons and updated anytime in the future without needing an expensive makeover. Genius!

Using the same wall tiles in two different colours is a clever way to add interest to a small family bathroom design while keeping the visual clutter down. (Credit: Martina Gemmola)

The best layout for a small bathroom

“To get the most out of the space I lined all the plumbing along one wall which gave us an open shower/freestanding bath space which just works so well” says Carmel. The handmade subway tiles are in two colour ways, white and charcoal from Sunlight Tiles. Colour is kept to the floor tiles and white subway tiles run along the longest wall section towards the window to capture the natural light. Matching grey tiles on the back wall create a subtle feature wall without interrupting the line.

“To get the most out of the space I lined all the plumbing along one wall”

Carmel Wylie for GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens
A change in accessories to pump up the navy or add a moody charcoal would alter the entire aesthetic here. Basin Omvivo “Venice” 450mm from Reece, tapware and accessories Arc range in live brass from Roger Seller. (Credit: Martina Gemmola)

A wall-hung vanity is the perfect choice for a small family bathroom design. Ensuring enough space for storage, Carmel didn’t want the vanity to fall under 1000mm, “So I worked backwards from there,” she says. “I also put the large mirrored cabinet over the vanity and toilet, which as well as being storage helped to bring light into the darkest end of the bathroom.”

Storage in a small family bathroom

Integrated storage makes sense to avoid cabinetry encroaching on the limited floor space. Borrow from adjacent rooms or dig into actual wall cavities if possible. The timber of the linen cupboard matches the vanity and the door handles are brass, like the tapware and towel rails, for a streamlined look.

Beautiful linen cupboard with door handles by Made Measure and Joinery all custom made in Laminate “Sublime Teak” Riven finish. (Credit: Martina Gemmola)

“It is and will be a family bathroom so it was important that there could be more than one person in there at a time”

Carmel Wylie for GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens

Add a wall niche

There’s a reason shower niches have become so popular in home renovations – particularly when considering small family bathroom design. They’re easy to clean, maximise available space and blend seamlessly into the wall structure. Limiting shelf space for bathroom products also avoids a buildup of clutter.

Shower niche with brushed brass tapware and rain head
(Credit: Martina Gemmola)
Bloom bath towel in dusty pin


Leona Edmiston x Jayson Brunsdon ‘Bloom’ bath towel in Dusty Pink (set of 2)

$49.95, Trendpose

Best for: Designer luxe in the bathroom

Born of the creative collaboration of longtime designers and friends, Leona Edmiston and Jayson Brunsdon, these sumptuous towels are plush and petalled for the most affordable statement of luxury homewares this season.

Colours: Peacock, Mulberry, Watermelon, Dusty Pink and White.

Materials: 100% cotton.

Key features:

  • 650 GSM
  • Soft, plush pile in a jacquard weave
  • Dimensions: W70 x L140cm
Caroma Contura II Wall Mixer in Brushed Brass


Caroma Contura II wall basin/bath mixer in Brushed Brass

$360, The Blue Space

Best for: Everyday elegance

With its compact design and gorgeous finish making it a delight to handle with each use, investing in this contemporary tapware ticks all our boxes – sexy metallic finish (in 5 choices of metal), streamlined form and robust function.

Colours: Brushed Brass, Brushed Bronze, Brushed Nickel, Matte Black and Chrome.

Materials: Lead-free brass.

Key features:

  • 20-year warranty
  • Australian designed and engineered
  • Dimensions: H121mm


Clay soap in Rose and Pink

$24.90, Kinfolk and Co

Best for: A fragrant handmade touch

Made by the lovely family at Church Farm General Store, these soap blocks bring old-school charm to everyday personal care for the whole family.

Colours: Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia Oil, Eucalyptus with Australian Black Clay.

Materials: Pink clay, rose geranium essential oil, sweet almond oil.

Key features:

  • Rose geranium essential oil is known to reduce inflammation
  • Handmade in Australia
  • Tested on friends, not animals
Timberline Swift Wall Hung Vanity with Ceramic Top


Timberline Swift wall-hung vanity with ceramic top

$397, The Blue Space

Best for: Tight spaces

This wall-hung vanity is perfect for a small family bathroom design, with an integrated basin and streamlined silhouette. Choose the best size for your space and whether you’d prefer a tap hole or wall-mounted mixer. The soft-close European steel drawer runners are built to withstand the rigours of a busy family.

Colours: Satin white painted exterior or timber look.

Sizes: 600mm, 750mm, 900mmm and 1200mm

Materials: Ceramic top.

Key features:

  • Integrated ceramic basin top
  • Australian made in Armidale, NSW
  • Dimensions: H121mm
  • Plug and waste sold separately
Glinda Arch Wall Mirror


Glinda arch wall mirror

$139 (usually $189.95), Temple & Webster

Best for: Introducing curves

What’s not to love about an arched mirror? A clever way to soften the corners of bathroom fixtures, the gentle curve of the arch is mounted flush to the wall to float gently atop a rectangular vanity.

Colours: Gold, Black.

Materials: Aluminium, iron, glass.

Key features:

  • Australian made in Armidale, NSW
  • Dimensions: H85.5 x W 80.5 x D2.5cm
  • Weight 7.2kg, wall mounted

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