Small bathrooms provide unique challenges and opportunities. The challenge is to make the most efficient use of a limited space; the opportunity is that small bathrooms, which tend to be used by guests, provide opportunities for dramatic or whimsical decoration that reflects your personal style. There are a wide variety of stylish options for fixtures, lighting and cabinetry for small rooms, in price ranges to fit any budget. Here are a few tips and creative options that can help you get the most out of your small bathroom remodel or renovation project.
Suites and collections. Leading manufacturers offer a broad mix of coordinated products that allow you to select fixtures to meet your needs as well as the specific space configurations of your bathroom. Try vanity combos and fixtures that maximize available space while protecting your investment with timeless designs that won't go out of style.
The illusion of size. Just because the bathroom is small doesn't mean it has to feel cramped. Color is a tried and true method for creating the illusion of space in a small bathroom. Solid, light colors, such as pastels, whites and neutral colors on the walls and floor make a small room appear to be more spacious. Cool colors, such as blue, green or mauve fool the eye into thinking that the walls are further away than they are. If you prefer to emphasize the room's sense of coziness, use warm colors like yellow, orange and red. When painting the room, a semi- or high-gloss paint reflects light and helps increase the perception of room size. If you prefer to use wallpaper, choose a pattern with small figures on it, or consider a pattern of vertical stripes, which create the illusion of a higher ceiling.
Lighting. Rooms look larger when they are well lit with either artificial or natural light. Your lights should be well placed, such as a row of light bulbs above the main mirror. Installing additional lights, like recessed can lights, can help brighten a room by eliminating shadows in dark corners. For a more intimate feel, consider wall sconces or a lamp on the countertop. Where possible, skylights are another, energy-efficient way to bring in more natural light. Mirrors can also work with light to create a sense of depth and spaciousness. Locating lights near mirrors, setting two mirrors across from each other or positioning a large mirror so that it reflects more light into the room is a reliable way to increase the sense of spaciousness in a small room.
Make the Most of Available Space
In areas with limited space, efficient use of that space is a key factor in the success of your project. This includes the fixtures you choose for your bathroom.
Showers. The standard bathtub is 5 feet long by up to 32" wide, but sizes as small as 4 feet are available, as are tubs with lower sides. If bumping into a tub is a recurring problem, consider a compact corner shower. Molded one-piece showers take up less space and usually have built-in space saving features like soap dishes and shelves.
Sinks. Wall-hung, pedestal and corner sinks provide good options in small spaces. Wall-hung sinks, in particular, can make a room feel larger because of the open space below them. However, the smaller the sink, the more attention you should pay to the placement and size of the faucet. For example, a single control faucet takes up less space than dual handle models. When a sink cabinet isn't practical, a pedestal sink is a sound alternative that can make a small room feel more open. Corner sinks add a stylish touch and free up the traditional sink area, but offer little in the way of storage options.
Toilet. The two most important factors to consider when placing a toilet in a small bathroom are size and height. The distance between the floor drain and the wall -- the rough-in -- will determine the style of your new toilet. Common rough-in dimensions are 10", 12", and 14"; the standard distance is 12", so you will find the widest selection of models to fit this configuration. A round bowl can save space in a small bathroom, and they are less expensive than elongated models, which are considered more comfortable. Placement is important with elongated toilets because in some cases their location can limit the size of the bathroom door and its swing. One-piece toilets combine the tank and bowl into a single, space-saving design. Two-piece toilets are less expensive than one-piece, but one-piece toilets are easier to clean because they have no seam. A wall-mounted toilet provides more room in cramped quarters because it has a lower profile; however, these models are more expensive and require a thicker wall for mounting. Additional options to consider include low-flow models, which conserve water and reduce water bills; as well as heated and soft close toilet seats.
Vanities and storage. Standard vanities are typically 24" wide and up to 21" deep. Smaller sizes are available, but if the sink cabinet is narrow, or filled with plumbing, it may be impractical for storage. One solution is to maximize storage efficiency by using bins, shelves and racks in cabinetry. Installing recessed storage in the wall between wall studs gives small rooms cleaner lines and reduces clutter. When possible, it may prove more practical to use a well-organized linen closet nearby.
Need some expert assistance? Visit your local Home Depot store to ask associates about products or how-to instructions. The Home Depot expert associates are also available to answer your questions online.