Our Expert Warns To Avoid These Small Bathroom Design Mistakes At All Costs

Bathrooms are where many people start and end their day, so the bathroom's design can make a world of difference. But when the bathroom is small, it can be difficult to create a space that's conducive to relaxation and optimal design principles. "The star attraction of the bathroom is the toilet!" Cliff Tan, architect, feng shui expert, and owner of Dear Modern says in an exclusive interview with House Digest. "[I]n feng shui, the toilet represents waste and also how good energy is literally flushed away. Because of this, it's important to not have the toilet face the door or be the first thing you see when you enter the bathroom." A toilet directly in front of the door can make it an unwanted focal point, and it can be unappealing if the toilet is the first detail you see.

"Another common mistake is having too many toiletries which you do not use," Tan adds. "Often we have our favorite bottle which we use most often, and lots of unused products lying around, perhaps creams which we found not suitable for our skin, or just things which we use for certain occasions. Keep these stored away." It's easy for clutter to accumulate in bathrooms. The variety of products for your hair, face, and shower can add up, especially if more than one person uses the bathroom. Clutter can make a bathroom much less functional and hinder the relaxing energy that a bathroom should have.

What to do about a door facing a toilet

For optimal bathroom feng shui, toilet placement matters. "The biggest mistake is, therefore, having a toilet facing the entrance to the bathroom," Cliff Tan says in an exclusive interview with House Digest. "Especially with smaller bathrooms, this can sometimes be inevitable, but if you have the chance to design it, keep this in mind." Even with renovations, space may not always allow for optical toilet placements. With small bathrooms, the layout of the room and the location of plumbing can dictate where a toilet has to go. In these cases, placing a toilet directly in front of the door may be inevitable, but there are still options to remedy this design mistake.

"If your bathroom is so small that the toilet has to face the door, try to use some tricks to make it less obvious," Tan says, "for example, using a door for the bathroom that blends in with the wall, so even when there is 'toilet energy' you do not notice it until you open the door. Another trick is to simply keep the toilet cover closed and the bathroom door shut at all times." Opt for a flat paneled or flush-mounted door with minimal trim to help the feature blend into the wall.

Another option if you're able to design your bathroom space is to add a water closet. "If you have the luxury, having the toilet in its own separate room is always a luxurious bonus! This also makes the bathroom experience more private and comfortable."

Creating a serene bathroom

As Cliff Tan says in his exclusive interview with House Digest, clutter from toiletries can be a detriment to the serenity of the bathroom. Finding storage solutions for all the toiletries and products you use in a small bathroom can be a challenge. The trick is to use as much vertical space as possible. Wall shelves and mirror medicine cabinets are good places to store medicine bottles, rubbing alcohol, and other products you need easy access to but don't use daily. If you rent a space or don't want to put holes in the wall, consider an over-the-toilet storage shelf.

Underneath your sink, store cleaning products, toilet paper, and excess bottles of soap and shampoo. Keep your counter space as clear as possible. Items you use daily, like your toothbrush and skincare, can be kept here for ease of access. It's also a good idea to take stock of what you use and don't. If something has been sitting around unused, consider throwing it out or donating it if it is unopened to free the space of clutter.

"[R]emember a bathroom is a place to relieve yourself, so keep it calm and relaxing," Tan advices. "Even though we regard [the] bathroom as a bad place in feng shui, it does not mean it should be neglected; if designed well, it would allow you to feel comfortable inside and out!"