Friday, June 5, 2015

Remodeling Tips for a Small Bathroom Space

Last week we offered "Three Simple Tips for a Small Kitchen Design." Our tips were meant for homeowners who lived in older homes, which were often built with limited kitchen space--and limited space to expand.

Unfortunately, the same is true for bathroom space. As This Old House notes: "While new home baths have nearly doubled in size over the past 30 years, old home bathrooms average about 5- by 8-feet."

Until the 1980s, in fact, the bathroom was widely considered purely functional--a place to do your duty and leave. In most home designs, valuable space was given to other rooms.

But we do spend a lot of time in the bathroom. A recent Scottish study revealed that:

"...going to the toilet accounts for the biggest chunk of time spent in the bathroom – an average of one hour and 42 minutes a week, or almost 92 days over a lifetime. Another hour and 25 minutes of each week is then spent in the bath or shower – a total of more than six months of your life. The average Brit then spends just under half an hour each week – or 62 days in a lifetime – drying themselves off and cleaning your teeth takes almost 18 minutes a week..."

If the average Scot spends six months of his/her life in the shower, one can only assume that the average American spends substantially more time lathering and the like.

No wonder home design has evolved to incorporate larger bathrooms. Today's homes often borrow valuable space from other rooms to create large, luxurious bathrooms. If you live in a new house, then, you just might enjoy ample bathroom space.

But what about homeowners with smaller spaces? If you're considering a remodel of a small bathroom space, take a look at our handy tips below!

In this MKBD project, we borrowed space from an adjacent utility room to transform a powder room into a master bathroom.

Borrow Space from an Adjacent Room

As we noted last week, it can get tricky to borrow space for a kitchen (although an open floor plan is often a great option). Fortunately, this is not necessarily the case with bathrooms, which are often situated next to larger rooms that can afford to lose a little space.

Now, annexing an entire room for a bathroom can be the ultimate in luxury upgrades, but a bathroom can be dramatically improved with even the smallest additions: the added space of a closet, say, or a little extra room from a utility room.

In the MKBD project above, the original room had enough space to house a mere toilet and pedestal sink. So the adjacent utility room was converted into a convenient laundry room, and a little extra space was borrowed to make room for the vanity and shower.

Thanks, utility room, for the vanity and shower!

Depending on your layout, you might be able to increase the size of the bath without borrowing from an extra room. An addition can be more costly, but the added space can be designed explicitly for the bathroom--instead of trying to fit the bathroom into an existing space.

Use Storage Efficiently

Efficiency is the mantra for all small bathroom designs--and it should really be the mantra for all bathroom designs. Unfortunately, many bathrooms (and especially bathroom vanities) simply do not take advantage of all possible storage opportunities.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Use your vertical space: building storage up to the ceiling can help maximize valuable floor space in a small bathroom.

2. Add deep wall cabinets: wall cabinets are often laughingly slim, housing only a few shelves of unused medicines. Maximize your space by building deeper cabinets, and fill the space with towels and toiletries--stuff that you actually use.

3. Maximize your vanity space: like medicine cabinets, vanities often house useless junk that gets lost in the tangle of pipes. Make sure your vanity deserves its space by adding plenty of drawers with pull-out trays and baskets.

In this MKBD project, we installed a cabinet with deep drawers and an open space for hand towels and toilet paper. Beautiful and efficient.

Install a Smaller Sink

Do you really need a bulky sink? Most bathrooms, small and large, would do well with smaller sinks. Consider a vessel sink, a basin mounted atop a counter, or a a pedestal sink, a basin supported by a pole.

This little blue gem of a vessel sink is a perfect choice for a smaller space.

A porcelain pedestal sink from Kohler is the perfect match for this marble powder room. 

The great advantage of both of the sinks above is that they maximize floor space--an illusion that can actually make your bathroom feel bigger. Alternately, many people choose to use the space below these types of sink for storage. Just make sure you keep the clutter to a minimum.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

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