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Solutions for Small Bathrooms

Solutions for Small Bathrooms


When it comes to bathrooms, big is not always better.


By FamilyTime

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Not every house or apartment has a cavernous bathroom that can be transformed into a spa-like space with gleaming tiles, shiny faucets, oversized showerheads, and deep soaking tubs.

In fact, most of us deal with the reality of small bathrooms, often without much storage or even adequate natural light. The good news is that with sensible planning and good, old-fashioned do-it-yourself effort, these diminutive spaces can be functional, comfortable and attractive.

Following are solutions for transforming your pint-sized bathroom into a space you can enjoy.

  • Light colors, large tiles, and sleek fixtures will make your bathroom appear larger.
  • Replace a standard-sized tub with a smaller one — there are lots of styles to choose from these days.
  • Upgrade the lighting so that there are a few recessed lights rather than a single fixture in the center of the room. This makes the space less industrial looking. Select light bulbs that emit warm tones.
  • Install sconces on either side of the bathroom mirror. You need good light for shaving, applying makeup and similar activities.
  • If there is a window, consider frosted glass rather than a curtain for privacy. The glass allows natural light into the room.
  • Replace window curtains with faux wooden blinds (real wood does not do well in moist environments), shutters, roman shades or another pull-down shade. These “unclutter” the window.
  • When choosing a new bathroom cabinet, select the largest that fits in the space. If it’s recessed, all the better. If re-using the existing cabinet, consider painting or staining it.
  • If the cabinet does not have a mirror, select the largest mirror you can for another part of the bathroom. Large mirrors give the illusion of space, although more than one in a small area is not recommended.
  • Pedestal sinks free up room so that the bathroom does not seem crowded. Only select this kind of sink when there is ample storage elsewhere. When you choose one, go for a sleek, proportional look.
  • Vanities with an under-the-sink cabinet and drawers allow you to store supplies, toiletries, and other items right in the bathroom. For most small spaces, this function is desirable. Take your time finding the right sized vanity for the room.
  • If you replace the existing tub or shower stall with a new shower, make sure it is large enough for you to comfortably bend over and also raise your arms. Standard-sized stall showers are about 32 inches square, but if you have the space, try for one that is a little larger.
  • Consider a pre-formed, fiberglass shower or tub enclosure. These may not have the cachet of a custom tiled space, but they are generally less expensive.
  • Clear glass shower doors give the illusion of space, while shower curtains can make a room seem smaller.
  • When you buy a new toilet, buy one that fits the room. There should be at least 30 inches from the front of the toilet to the nearest fixture (tub, sink, wall) and about 16 inches from the center of the toilet on either side.
  • Install hooks instead of towel racks where space is a premium.
  • A shelf rack with hooks is a good way to get a little extra storage. You can stack clean towels on the rack, which looks especially inviting.
  • If there is space, replace the hinged bathroom door with a pocket door. This sliding door will save room.
  • Paint the walls a soothing, peaceful color. Calm blues and greens are good choices, as are neutral beiges. Dark or loud colors can make the room seem cramped.
  • If you re-tile, think about a simple pattern with little splashes of color. Too much color can make the walls close in, but a little will liven up the room.

Yes, even minor remodeling will probably cost more than you might think. After all, when you work on a bathroom you usually need to hire a plumber and an electrician, and sometimes a carpenter. Plus, it’s very easy to drive up the final cost by choosing high-end furnishings. Be careful about splurges.

Shop around at home stores and online to find the best deals on supplies. Search plumber and electrical supply outlets for ideas, too.

Finally, relax and enjoy the “new bathroom.” Big is not always better!



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