Monday, January 10, 2011

Design Tips: Thinking Big for a Tiny Bathroom


Sure, a larger bath would be great, but if you simply don’t have the room or budget for something huge, then you can still pack a punch with a tiny bathroom. As long as you provide for the basic functions: bathing, toilet and brushing your teeth, plus a bit of storage space, you can be all set in a full bathroom that measures no more 40 square feet. Or less!

Here are some tips to consider.

1. Skip the tub and go for a large shower, especially if there is a tub in another bathroom in the house somewhere. Even in a large space, a cramped shower will make the whole bathroom feel tiny.

2. If you have the budget, go for a full tiled shower, and have the shower floor be a mosaic version of the same tile as the rest of the bathroom floor.

Visually this extends the floor all the way to the back wall, making the shower a part of the whole room.

3. Use a shower curtain, in white or a quiet color that coordinates well with the shower or wall color. A simple hotel-style curtain with a chrome rod works well, is machine washable and inexpensive. A curved rod will give you more elbow room, too. Keep the curtain open, and you’ll see into shower, thus making the room look bigger. In theory, a glass door accomplishes this, but in reality, unless it’s completely spotless it actually makes the space feel smaller.

4. Consider the largest sink that will fit into the space, with enough space around it for a soap dish and wide set faucets. Again, if the fixture is cramped, it makes the room feel small. A wall hung sink allows for more clear floor space, and open storage below. Or one of those sexy wall hung vanities. If you see a lot of floor, the space will feel larger.

5. Storage should be as open as possible. Clear or translucent glass doors encourage you to keep things neat, not messy. Wall mounted shelves can also be great space savers.

6. Medicine cabinets can hold a lot of stuff. Buy or build the biggest one you can, and make it at least 4 inches deep. The inside can be mirrored, and should have many adjustable glass shelves for easy cleaning. If code and wall depth allow, consider an outlet inside for charging electric razors and toothbrushes accessibly but out of sight.

7. Wall hung toilets can save water, as well as a ton of floor space. If you’re installing one, you may need a thicker wall, though. See manufacturer’s details or talk with your plumber for more information regarding your circumstances.

8. Shiny finishes look great and make the room feel larger and airier, but balance with rough textures to keep the bathroom from looking institutional. Matte floors (honed stone or slate, linoleum, etc.) balance out shiny wall tile and plumbing fixtures. Wall paint should be satin or semi gloss for durability and easy cleaning.

9. Good lighting is critical, and include a window or skylight if at all possible. If you have the opportunity to add lighting, consider four small down lights on the ceiling with shower trim for a neat clean appearance (two over the shower) and one or two lights over or next to the sink. Two sconces at each side of the mirror work better for makeup or shaving if there is space for them.

10. Install the quietest, most effective fan you can afford. If it’s noisy, you may not use it. If the bathroom becomes musty, it will not feel airy and clean. If the fan doesn’t move air, then what is the point?

11. Use the best faucets and showerheads you can afford. If the plumbing works well, so does your bathroom.

Until next time!

--Elaine Bothe


Images courtesy of Kallista and Duravit. See these websites for contact information for your local suppliers.

Also, visit the Better Homes and Gardens website for some more handy bathroom storage tips!

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 

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