Small, but oh my! Sustainable baths in a small space

People are spending longer and longer in the bathroom, and so they expect more and more from this room. In many houses and apartments, however, these wishes, in the truest sense of the word, come up against limits – especially in older buildings. This is because the average bathroom in Germany is just 7.8 square metres in size. Quality manufacturers in the German sanitary industry do, however, know that creating an ambiance of well-being has nothing to do with square metres, and they are constantly developing clever and sustainable solutions that make optimum use of the space.

Bathrooms for the most part used to play a relatively unimportant role in the design of homes of apartments. The main thing was that it should be practical. So, people spent very little time in the bathroom. Many buildings in Germany continue to have small bathrooms and a rather impractical layout. Some bathrooms don’t even have any natural light. The importance of the bathroom has, however, fundamentally changed. For many people, the bathroom is a status symbol and has been turned into an individual space for well-being. This development has driven the German sanitary industry forward considerably. But there still seems to be an obstacle: the small surface area of bathrooms. The manufacturers of Blue Responsibility have adapted to this, and offer solutions that can turn even small bathrooms into a show-piece.

Space-saving solutions for all bathrooms
Any bathroom can be individually and flexibly designed to suit the space by making use of a modular concept and extraordinary design elements. Basically, the following is true: “The size of the bathroom has little effect on comfort,” says Volker Röttger from Geberit. Space-saving solutions combine comfort and functionality in the tiniest of spaces. A toilet with an in-built wash function saves space since no separate bidet is required. Special baths such as those offered by Kaldewei concentrate on depth rather than on length. At only 150 cm long, this bath saves space, but offers exceptional comfort with an extraordinary depth of 50.5 cm. “Sanitary items that have smaller projections and innovative storage solutions are ideal for small bathrooms,” explains Beate Vetter from Keramag. This sanitary manufacturer offers, for example, wash basins with projections of just 25, 28 and 32 cm. Toilets with a projection of just 48 cm and water usage of just 4.5 litres are in the range. By placing the fittings on the side of wash basins, valuable centimetres are gained.

“The art of bathroom design is using available space optimally,” stresses Christoph Reiss from Kludi. By using modular elements, such as those offered by Kludi and Burgbad, both tiny and family bathrooms can be designed coherently. “The advantage here is that the individual items of furniture can be put together in many different ways – for example, nestled together to form compact units, arranged asymmetrically, or placed on top of each other. This means the space in any bathroom can be used optimally,” explains Sabine Meissner from Burgbad. Furniture doors are another potential for saving space. “If you have to work with limited space, you should choose handle-free items that can be opened by just touching them. That saves a few extra centimetres,” says Christoph Reiss by way of advice.

Another way of saving space comes in the form of special pre-wall systems. Corner solutions can be provided with them, for example. “We offer, for instance, a special element for corner toilets. They can be used to take advantage of every spare centimetre, and the diagonal orientation also provides an interesting feature from a design point of view,” explains Veit Szpak from Mepa. Pre-wall installations also create valuable storage space. “Small bathrooms quickly look full. Using special pre-wall elements, even in narrow bathrooms, the room can be divided up using ceiling or semi-hollow walls,” adds Volker Röttger from Geberit. Another benefit: Cupboards and mirrors can be hidden behind the pre-wall. This creates the visual impression of a tidy and generously proportioned room.

Rooms can be made to look bigger using special tricks
In addition to space-saving systems, the choice of material and colour can help make the bathroom look bigger. Using glass – for example, as shower dividing panels and mirrors – can create optical width. Combined with large tiles with narrow joints, and bright colours, the room can look more peaceful and larger. Furthermore, ground-level showers make the bathroom appear spacious. This effect can be heightened through wall drains, such as those offered by Geberit, Mepa and Kaldewei. They move the drain completely into the wall so that the shower area can be incorporated into the floor without any interruption. The flowing transition from the bathroom floor to the shower area opens up the room and provides enough space to move around, even in narrow bathrooms. Shiny chrome covers for the toilet and bidet give a classy touch to the bathroom and make the room look bigger. “Plain chrome reflects its surroundings and breaks up the bottom few centimetres of sanitary items so that the wash basin appears to float - this is very effective in small bathrooms,” advises Christoph Reiss. During the design stage, care must be taken to achieve a harmonious appearance. “Small bathrooms in particular should be furnished in a uniform way. For example, the shower, bath and wash bash should not be made from a wide range of different materials,” says Marcus Möllers from Kaldewei. “This brings calm to the room.” Unusual accessories, such as special fittings, give a bathroom a certain something.

A great look in a small space
“Small bathrooms do not have to mean a loss of quality of life within one’s own four walls,” stresses Wolfgang Burchard, the spokesman for Blue Responsibility. The German sanitary industry is constantly developing innovative bathroom concepts that meet varied needs and that are suitable for the space they have to be installed in. Sustainable and yet space-saving concepts combine functionality, comfort and individuality, and help to ensure that you’ll love your bathroom your whole life. “For the future, I would like planners, architects and landlords to place greater importance on bathrooms. Because bathrooms are increasingly becoming a personal space for retreat and relaxation within one’s own walls,” sums up Burchard.

Further details regarding this topic can be obtained on the manufacturers' websites,,,,, and