Those who have seen the Gwyneth Paltrow / John Hannah movie ‘Sliding Doors’ will not forget how a chance occurrence connected with a closing door on an Underground train changes the characters’ lives.
Well, the designers of tube trains know a lot about crafty packing and the maximisation of limited space. This they have in common with bathroom designers, who are working in the most space-challenged part of the house. It would be stretching a point to say that their washroom solutions are life-changing, but they can certainly make our ablutions a whole lot easier.
Whenever you have a folding door, you have a waste of space that swings into your way. So wherever there is a hinge, question the need for it and see if it can be avoided.
Starting with the bathroom or toilet door itself. Can you design a double wall section into which it can slide and disappear? Or just run a track along the wall so that it is still visible, but far less intrusive?
Then consider the window (if you have one) – not technically a door, but work with me here… Make sure that any opening sections fold outwards, or specify a sliding arrangement for when you need to ventilate the room.
Next there are the cupboards. You can buy many excellent ones with hinged doors, and if you have room then why not? But if you really lack square footage, then consider building your own mirrored and other cabinets with sliders. Especially for the over-sink one, because when space is tight in your tiny en-suite, it’s a pain to step out of the way of the sink when you want something in the cabinet.
The other big space saver can be the shower cabinet, or shower bath: in each case there are attractive options that provide sliding doors instead of intrusive hinged access doors.
Consider this Sienna Sliding Door Enclosure, with its ‘Hydrostone Matrix’ tray that makes it one of the strongest and lightest in its class, being made of a polyurethane filler including volcanic ash that is strong and impact and scratch resistant: but is as much as 40% lighter than most conventional stone resin trays. As important in the context of this article is that it boasts a 6mm toughened glass sliding door arrangement for easy and space-maximising access. Plumbworld offers a large choice of corner shower units in this vein, of various specifications and sizes. Corner entry enclosures allow access from both open sides, for even easier entry, and again if the doors slide rather then hinge then this avoids losing space inside a tight cabinet, especially when exiting.
Finish your scheme with a flush bath storage panel with removable pieces and you are as efficient as you can possibly be. But for animal welfare reasons, don’t attempt to swing a cat just to prove the point…
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