Small wet room ideas open up the opportunity for contemporary design, without the need to squeeze in a shower enclosure or raised shower tray to your master bathroom or ensuite.
Small wet rooms provide a spacious showering area and the high-end look of a luxurious hotel spa. They are also level entry, so easily accessible to all, not to mention hygienic and easy to clean.
However, small wet room ideas are a big project to take on when it comes to bathroom ideas. You may want to weigh this up against the longevity of the space, as a wet room’s seamless design makes it a great option for accessibility and future-proofing your home for years to come.
Small wet room ideas
A wet room or walk-in shower will add a truly luxurious-up, spa-like showering experience to your wet room ideas. Done well, a wet room is incredibly desirable and can boost your home’s value, too. Here's how to achieve the best results when planning a small wet room.
1. Go for all-over plaster in a small wet room
Hygienic, seamless and extremely beautiful, polished plaster is a popular choice right now. In small wet rooms and walk-in shower ideas, polished plaster’s waterproof prowess and elimination of moisture-seeping joints is the big story. Venetian plaster requires waxing to seal out water, but most micro-cements and Tadelakt plasters are inherently waterproof, not to mention stain-resistant, UV-stable and easy to clean.
The polished plaster look can be very sleek and contemporary, or more rustic for an earthy effect. Adding pigments allows customisable color, and most types of polished plaster are suitable for use on floors, walls, ceilings and even furniture.
2. Take a less is more approach
‘When choosing colors and materials for small bathroom ideas and wet rooms, less is more. Here, we deliberately reduced the palette and created a streamlined design to really bring the focus to the materials,’ explains Katie Lion, interior designer, Kitesgrove.
‘Natural marble is a quietly luxurious choice that instils a sense of sophistication and calm in any wet room. Its unique veining can be a simple but impactful way of bringing interest and layers to what is often a smaller space. We chose a brass finish for all the trims and fixtures to pick out the warm tones of the marble striations, helping it feel cohesive, elegant and timeless.’
3. Introduce a color hit
A wet room – no matter how big or small – can often leave you feeling cold and exposed, even if the space is well heated. Here, clever color blocking techniques demonstrate how you can break up an empty space, put the shower area in the spotlight and add a much-needed dose of visual warmth.
Red tones promote coziness – the color here is Silestone’s earthy, Mediterranean shade Arcilla Red – and also work well with textural materials such as wood accessories and woven storage.
‘Silestone surfaces come in a great range of colors and large format slabs so there will be minimal grouting to clean,’ adds Ross Stewart, general manager, Cosentino Newmarket.
4. Create cocooning curves
Tucking your shower into an alcove will contain splashing but, if space allows, a curved showering area is far more impressive. And you can still pop a robe hook nearby without risk of soggy towels.
‘Curves provide a cocooning environment that will help you unwind physically and mentally while you shower,’ says Mandarin Stone’s creative director, Louisa Morgan.
‘They also provide welcome relief to all the hard edges and surface finishes typically found in bathrooms.’ The trend for stacking skinny tiles vertically makes creating soft curves easier; add a generous border in a darker shade at floor level to really accentuate the shape.
5. Work the walls in a small shower room
It goes without saying that the floor of a wet room needs to be fully tanked but what about the walls? Shower tile ideas – on every inch of your wall – can prove incredibly sterile, not to mention costly. In this small wet room by Richstone Properties the walls are only tiled where absolutely necessary, namely in the main shower area and above the basin, and the space feels much more inviting for this restrained approach.
Do install tiled or stone upstands rather than timber skirting boards to protect lower walls from water damage. Remaining surfaces can be painted in a moisture resistant paint, like satin or eggshell, and don’t forget decent extraction.
6. Divide your wet room
In smaller wet rooms, it pays to divide the space into wet and dry zones. A tall metal-framed screen lends an industrial edginess to this striking wet room, while keeping water away from the beautiful marble-topped vanity.
Making a feature of this dividing point boosts the overall design, particularly the clever mix of fluted and plain glass. The former nods to mid-century industrialism, adding an element of privacy, and the latter lets in maximum daylight from the window beyond. Locating the shower controls well away from the showerhead is also a smart idea.
7. Combine a small wet room with a bathing area
‘It’s often a feature you’ll find in luxury hotels and allows plenty of personal space while making a bold statement. Try pairing with a freestanding tub to enjoy the best of both worlds.’
In this small wet room by Leanne Ford Interiors, the floor has been raised to accommodate drainage pipes, with a stepped front. The entire space inside was then tanked and tiled, essentially creating a giant shower tray that keeps water completely contained.
8. Take a dark and dramatic approach
Don't be afraid to use a dark color in a small wet room. A good bathroom color scheme is essential for creating the look, feel and design you want in your space – and you can use everything, from tiles and sanitaryware to accessories, to create a unique look. Introducing a dark and dramatic hue to your wet room – or walk-in shower – will really lift your whole home, bringing this functional space in line with the rest of your decor.
9. Invest in luxury bathroom materials
There are few materials that can create the feeling of a luxury bathroom design that marble can. Elegant, timeless and effortlessly beautiful, marble is usually used in wet rooms to create a statement finish, and although it is an expensive investment, it is a look that will last a lifetime.
'Marble bathroom ideas work wonderfully in small wet rooms, and because of the relatively small space, it is also cost-effective, too. However, consider the use of marble carefully for spaces where you are using it in swathes because no slab of marble is the same as another.
'What I love most with marble is the activity, veining and coloration,' says interior designer Cara Woodhouse.
10. Make sure you wet room is warm and ventilated
It’s important to take extra steps with regard to heat, ventilation and drying. No one wants to exit a wet room onto carpeted rooms. A screen will help to contain major puddles, but underfloor heating and heated towel rails will also speed up drying and help prevent slip hazards. And, do consider all non-slip bathroom flooring options when at the initial planning stage.
Mechanical ventilation is a must – and will help to clear steam quickly – look for models with intelligent humidity sensors that automatically boost when required.
Is a wet room good for a small bathroom?
A wet room is a good idea for a small bathroom. There are lots of benefits to having a small wet room – from being able to utilize a tiny or awkward space where a bath or standard shower enclosure cannot fit, to future-proofing your home.
What is the smallest size needed for a wet room?
The smallest size usually recommended for a wet room measures a minimum 800 x 800mm.
According to the best bathroom designers, when planning a shower design for a small bathroom, there are a few aspects which may determine the space required. Will pipework be exposed or concealed? Do you need to install a glass panel to prevent other areas of the room from getting wet?
Plus, don’t forget that adequate ventilation must also be installed in line with building regulations to prevent mould and damp spots.
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Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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