In the world of inner-city living, the bathroom is one of the most neglected rooms in the house. Lack of space often means that bathing facilities are squeezed into a corner with only room for the most rudimentary of fixtures.

Sydney’s rental accommodation provides quite amusing and sometimes distressing solutions to accommodating the bathroom. I’ve seen the smallest bathrooms imaginable. My girlfriend once inspected a house where the shower was over the top of the toilet, which might make for early morning efficiency, but isn’t particularly pleasant when you need to use the loo after someone has just had a shower. A lot of inner city living is based on making do, but if you have the luxury of renovating to suit your needs, then a little thought can make a functional and attractive bathroom possible in even the smallest of apartments.

Who doesn’t love a great big bathtub? What a shame the bath is often put last on the bathroom wish list in new apartments! It’s true that baths take up a fair bit of space, but sometimes you really need a soak and the shower just doesn’t cut it. Anyway, it’s a waste of water to spend 30 minutes in the shower. Fill up your bath and you can stay in there as long as you want -“ even share the water with people you trust.

Another space-saving idea is to put your shower over the bath. This is a very common way of saving space in bathrooms and it’s been around for years. Some people don’t like stepping into a bathtub to shower, and it can be dangerous for less able people, but if it’s a choice between this or no bathtub at all, I think it’s preferable.

There has definitely been a trend towards industrial/institutional chic in bathrooms lately. I don’t know who first put a hospital-style hand basin in a domestic bathroom, but the idea has really caught on. They are standard issue in many new apartment developments. I personally have a problem with the excessive use of these as they are generally oversized and their shape and volume means that you need a relatively high quantity of water to fill the bowl. They are not the most space-efficient choice of hand basin and have fad written all over them. Definitely not the evergreen of bathroom fixtures.

Another fixture better avoided is the freestanding claw-foot bath. Some people love the old world charm of this type of bath, but the joy is quickly eroded by the additional cleaning required. Modern bathrooms tend towards the integration of all fixtures to minimise visible pipework and simplify cleaning, and I reckon this is the way to go. Semi-recessed basins, concealed cistern WC pans and inset baths with easy-clean benchtops and tiles all make life easier.

Efficient storage is also the key to making your small bathroom work. There’s nothing worse than bathroom clutter which tends to attract soap scum and mould. Modern narrow mirrored cabinets above your hand basin are a sensible way of hiding storage away.

There are many ways to make your bathroom work better. Check out some bathroom magazines for more ideas, and remember, even inner-city residents deserve a sexy bathroom.

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