Homeowners often dream of a large, spa-like bathroom with room for double showers and vanities, separate water closets for the toilet, and large soaker tubs. The reality is most homes don’t have the extra space! But don’t worry; even if you have a small bathroom, you can still live large within the limits of your floorplan.
One of the benefits of a small room is that there’s literally less area to cover. This gives you an opportunity to splurge on more luxurious finishes and really make a splash (pun intended). Compact spaces don’t have to mean cramped and boring – they can still be elegant and functional.
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If you’re able to rejig the original floorplan, you’ll often find better layout solutions. Moving your tub across the end of the room can make the space feel more open. Replacing your old tub with an easily-accessible walk-in shower can help with future mobility issues (aging in place) or free up space for more storage. If you don’t have the luxury of gutting the room, moving walls or plumbing, there are still plenty of things you can do to improve the flow and feeling in your space – just keep reading!
Vanities & Sinks
Elegant pedestal sinks or modern wall mounted vessels free up space and open up the room. They are great for powder-rooms where soap and a hand towel are all that’s needed. However, if this is your one and only bathroom, you will definitely want to consider more storage. Daily toiletries add visual clutter and make spaces feel crowded and messy.
There are plenty of vanities that offer a great look AND great storage, you just need to narrow down your wants vs. needs. Floating units and under-mount sinks make cleaning a breeze and give the illusion of more space. Alternatively, raised bowl-sinks that sit on top of the vanity, give you more storage in the cupboards below. It comes down to your preferences – is cleaning or storage a bigger issue in your daily life? Which look do you prefer?
Wall mounted toilets have a tendency to look a bit industrial, but with the right design, they can fit right in. They take up less space and are so much easier to clean around. They also use much less water since they don’t have to fill a tank each time you flush.
Clear the Clutter
Keeping toiletries hidden is a big key to keeping your small space feeling larger and less chaotic. Drawers can be a savior for keeping clutter to a minimum. You can easily pull the drawer open each morning, use what you need, and then close it when you’re finished – voila! Everything is easy to access, but out of site!
Small spaces force you to be more creative and think of design ideas that you might not have considered before. High shelves above doorways can store towels or baskets of Costco-sized shampoo up and out of the way. Unused wall space can be cut-out to give you built-in storage cubbies. There are now some beautiful new styles of medicine-cabinet mirrors that can help keep things off the counters.
Choose a Palette
As with all small spaces, there are two ways to look at it – would you like to make the space appear larger? Or would you like to embrace the small space and make it feel cozy?
Light colour schemes – creme, white, muted greys and blues – all make a room feel more open and bright, like a breath of fresh air. On the other hand, dark rich colours – navy or grey, forest green, browns – create a warm and cozy space, bring depth, and enhance unique architectural features.
Accents & Lighting
The right accents and faucet can help transform lifeless to luxury. As mentioned above – because this is a small space to work with, it can make it easier to splurge on these items. There are plenty of stylish designs and different finishes to help make your small bathroom space as eye catching as possible.
Natural daylight is always the best lighting, so don’t forget to add windows to your renovation if possible. When the sun goes down, you’ll need to turn the lights on. Overhead fixtures provide ample lighting, but wall sconces will give you softer, more even lighting when looking in the mirror. Let’s face it; we don’t need our under-eye shadows emphasized by having just one overhead light!
Think Outside the Box
Contrasting dark woods and finishes with light ones can help create drama and visual interest. A neutral palette with one strong colour has a similar effect.
Patterns are often dismissed in a small space, but it can actually draw the eye around a room adding interest that distracts from the tiny space. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and have fun!
You can use furniture in the bathroom to keep things from feeling clinical or prefabricated. It adds a lot of character and can create interesting solutions for your small space. Pharmacy cabinets, console tables, decorative mirrors, small chairs – can all make appealing additions.