You’ve fallen in love with a new apartment or home; it’s everything your heart desires. Except for one thing…it’s got a bathroom the size of a broom closet. You find yourself opening the door, half anxious, half determined, as you imagine a redesign that will bring the petite washroom to life.
But where does one begin? Working with a small bathroom presents its own set of design, decorative, and plumbing challenges as you seek to merge functionality and beauty in the same small space. Recognizing some of these challenges, the team at ARCO has outlined a series of small bathroom hacks that’ll help you turn your own small bathroom into one of the most commanding spaces in your home.
When it comes to the bathroom, the vanity is typically the focal point of the room, and in a small bathroom, it’s important to find the right model for size and look. If feasible, have a custom vanity built, or search for a unit with some space beneath, a great strategy for holding necessary bathroom items in lieu of closet space and/or shelving. A few trips to your local hardware or furniture store and some online searching will reveal a number of optional heights, depths, and widths that will be perfect for your needs.
Sink, Shower & Toilet
Like the vanity, there are a variety of sinks that will aid you in your quest for the perfect mix of size and appearance. Common to small bathrooms are pedestal sinks, which only require a few inches of floor space and do wonders for making small bathrooms appear larger. You’ll lose some countertop space, a sacrifice to some, but pair the pedestal sink with a deep medicine cabinet or awesome shelving and charming jars to house everyday bathroom items.
If you’re working with an extremely small space, take a page from well-designed restaurants and opt for a wall mounted sink. What you lose in storage, you’ll gain in added space in the bathroom overall. This technique works especially well if you’re designing a guest bathroom that has no need for the additional storage necessary in full bathrooms.
Additionally, if your bathroom is ridiculously small, you’ll need to be even more clever in your approach. How about shifting your sink to the corner? There are a plethora of beautiful styles made just for this purpose that are either wall mounted or come with a pedestal or vanity. Of course, with the vanity beneath, you can try an open model that you can leverage for more storage. And for those of you with long, skinny bathrooms, consider a corresponding long and skinny sink that flows nicely with the pre-existing shape of the room.
When looking for accent or functional furniture pieces, search for wiry or thin-legged furniture, which takes up less space and contributes to the illusion of more space overall.
If you’re lucky enough to build a shower from scratch, try installing an indented shelf within the tiling to remove the need for bathroom shelving that juts out from the tiles. As well, if your shower is exposed, make use of the ledge space looking out to your window: instead of using this space for shower accouterments, add decorative items.
When considering toilets, there are a plethora of new, modern styles available. Not only are these newer models beautifully designed, some have slimmer tanks that rise vertically to compensate for the lost horizontal space. You can easily find an inexpensive model to install in your small bathroom and reap the rewards of additional space and striking style.
Storage – Shelving
How you leverage shelving will be one of the most important parts of working with a small bathroom. Without a linen closet to rely on, the shelving in your bathroom could be very important. Design and decorate your shelving for beauty and functionality: try something industrial with dark pipes and reclaimed wood, or go with something sleek and modern like painted blocks or reflective surfaces.
Once you’ve got those shelves up, try to avoid clutter, which will detract from the aesthetic of the room. Add wicker baskets for an added pop. Face your baskets forward and tuck inside rolled towels, the way they present towels in hotels, gyms, and spas.
Similarly, if you’ve opted for a vanity with open space beneath, add metal or wire baskets—the look tidies up the storage area beneath and adds a cool industrial vibe so popular in the design space at the moment.
Another trick is to use the full length of your bathroom walls when mounting your shelving. Keeping the shelves in the eye-level range can crowd the visual, but if you leverage more height when planning your shelving, the spacing between shelves will give your bathroom the illusion of height.
As far as towels go, take advantage of the length of your door. Set a towel rack near the top of the door and another in the middle. With two towels now hidden behind the door, your walls are free for shelving and art.
Have you ever walked into a gym or restaurant lined with mirrors and had your eyes tricked by the illusion of added space? Installing a large or long mirror in your bathroom above or across your vanity will have the same effect of making your small bathroom feel larger than it is.
Clever use of color plays a big role in highlighting certain details of your small bathroom and contributing to a sense of greater size. For example, opposing color schemes can create an illusion of depth and space. Try pairing together white tiles with dark floors (or the opposite if you’re so bold). The same technique can be beautiful if your bathroom’s walls are halved by a chair rail or a wainscoat. Pair white on the bottom with a darker color up top—maybe a chocolate or beautiful gray—to create a contrast that makes the room look beautiful, dramatic, and more spacious.
On the contrary, there’s nothing like an all white bathroom to further the illusion of size. With furniture and bathroom pieces in pure white, it’s difficult for the eye to discern where spaces and shapes end and begin.
When it comes using of patterns and color, beautiful and unique patterns in your wallpaper, tiling, and shower curtains can work wonders. Create depth and intrigue with bold tile selections. Consider a stylish backsplash over the sink. Or, try contrasting one large and one small related pattern on your floors and walls to break up a small space. If you’ve still got extra space after shelving, hooks, and tiling, hang art pieces that add pop to the walls or try a set of pieces above your toilet.
Now that you’ve got a million hacks for your small bathroom, you’ll want to make sure you welcome the right team to help turn your dream bathroom into a reality. When it comes to vanities, fixtures, plumbing, and showers, keep the team at ARCO plumbing in mind.