Houzz Contributor. houzz.com
When you think about your bathroom, do phrases like “itsy-bitsy,” “minuscule” and “claustrophobic” pop into your head? Or perhaps you’re going to add a new bathroom with limited square footage. Not sure how to fit everything you need into the space? Not to worry. This ideabook will show you how to get the most out of whatever room you do have.
1. Claim as much space as possible. Creating niches is a great way to utilize space you might not even know you have. Inside your walls are studs, and they are usually 16 inches apart, while the depth of the stud plus the drywall on the front of it gives you a little over 4 inches in depth. If this is an interior wall that does not have insulation or plumbing running through it, that is space you can use.
This long niche next to the vanity pictured here has glass shelves and lighting at the top. It provides a handy place for a towel or toiletries, and it looks beautiful at the same time.
Tip: When using open storage like this, transfer toiletries out of their ho-hum, mishmash plastic bottles and into decorative containers. It will instantly make the room feel less cluttered and more stylish.
Okay, I know this is a huge bathroom, but big bathrooms often offer ideas that work in smaller spaces too. The towel niche next to the shower here would work very well in a tiny bathroom, since towel bars normally protrude 4 inches from the wall and can prevent doors from opening all the way. This type of niche gives you extra storage without taking up space, and it frames the towels so they look neat and tidy, even when hanging on a hook.
Reflected in this mirror here is another towel niche. This one had to be framed out because it is wider than the space between the studs. But it gives room to store four full sets of towels and washcloths. If you look closely, you’ll see that the bathroom door opens onto that wall. There would have been no room to even hang a towel bar without it interfering with fully opening the door.
Tip: Using white towels in this all-white bathroom provides a minimalist, soothing look. You don’t have to go completely monochromatic, but a minimalist color scheme will help to keep a small bathroom from looking busy.
A low privacy wall is another spot where a niche can be installed. In this case it happens to provide a spot for soap next to a pedestal sink. Another niche below that one on the other side could hold extra toilet paper.
If you are serious about gaining some space, then consider taking your shower niche to the extreme in size. The black band to the left is a niche that runs the entire length of the wall. This is a very custom way to go and involves framing out that space, so it increases the cost of creating this shower. But wow! You would have room to place everything you need in the shower or bath.
If you put shelves in your niche, then you can go the extreme vertically instead of horizontally. This is a little more affordable option when it comes to the work of constructing the wall.
2. Reclaim door space. This bathroom has a pocket door that takes up zero space in the room. And what I particularly love about this pocket door is that it is beautiful and has a handle that is easy to get hold of. Most pocket doors have a tiny, circular depression to hold so that it can slide all the way inside the wall. If you can make your pocket door opening a little wider, then you can spare a few inches for a skinny, vertical handle like this.
Notice that in this bathroom, if the door had been a swinging type, it would bang into the tub. The pocket door was the perfect solution here.
Pocket doors slide within the wall, while barn door hardware lets you slide a door along the outside of a wall. Sometimes you have wall space where you can slide a door, but there are pipes or electrical within the wall that would be hard to reroute. A barn door– style slider might then be a good option for you.
Using a translucent material is a great way to allow extra light into the room and still provide privacy. It also is a great style statement in this home.
Bifold doors are an option you don’t see very often. When people think about those, they usually picture those louvered ones hiding laundry facilities. But these beautiful wood and frosted-glass bifold doors are a great way to minimize the space taken up by a door that swings its full width into a room. These take up half the space when folded.
If your bathroom door swings inward and a pocket door isn’t an option, consider flipping it around so that it opens out away from the room. Yes, it will require some work on the framing around the door, but it can be worth it to not have to try to scoot around the door when it is open and taking up space in your room. You also might need to open your door with a little more caution to avoid whacking someone coming down the hall — but this may be an acceptable trade-off when you are desperate for a little extra room.
Tip: Let your door do double duty as a message center or a full-length mirror. If family members get ready at different times of the morning, this is a perfect spot for everyone to post messages. If you need a full-length mirror and don’t have wall space for one, then putting a mirror on the door also would be a great idea.
3. Think “wall mounted” to make great use of space. The tank of a wall-mounted toilet is inside the wall behind it, so it uses the depth of the wall to reduce how far it protrudes into the room. For the carrier system inside the wall, you can get one that either fits into a wall with 2-by-6-inch studs or one that recesses into a wall with standard 2-by-4 studs.
I’m not a contractor, but in general, exterior walls have 6-inch studs and interior walls have 4-inch studs. Once in awhile you may have things already inside the wall that would be problematic to reroute, so installing your wall-hung toilet recessed into the wall may not be right for you. But consider building out a section of wall specifically to house the carrier system. Although it won’t reduce how far the toilet protrudes into the room, you can create storage above it for a seamless look that is highly functional.
Capturing all of that storage space above the carrier system definitely costs a lot more than installing a cabinet on stilts that straddles your toilet tank, but it looks so much nicer.
This is one more bathroom with the same idea of using that space that would normally not be fully used above a toilet tank. It’s a very clean-lined and uncluttered look.
A wall-mounted vanity will give you some undersink storage while visually opening up your bathroom space, since you can see the floor all the way back. If storage isn’t such a huge issue, but the feeling of being crowded is what’s bothering you in your small bathroom, this solution is still better than a pedestal sink because of the storage space. And it isn’t any harder than hanging wall cabinets in the kitchen.