Planning Your Space
If new construction or significant remodeling gives you the liberty to plan your bathroom space from the beginning, consider these choices that will make the available space work as hard as possible.
- Opt for a shower only. If a bathtub is an amenity you can live without, you'll save precious space for storage and gain extra room to move around by leaving it out of the plan. Plus, many people consider the standard shower space cramped. You can use some of the saved space to enlarge your shower and still have space left over. A square stand-up shower takes up less floor and wall area than a tub-shower combination.
- Choose a sink and vanity that opens the space. While a traditional vanity provides some storage underneath, a pedestal or console sink adds visual openness that makes the room look and feel larger. Consoles often have a shelf for storage, too. With a pedestal, add decorative, stacking baskets on the floor or shelves nearby. A wall-mount vanity also offers an open design with space beneath to add attractive storage containers.
- Install a wall-mount faucet. Conserve counter space with a wall-mount version. This choice also accommodates a shallower vanity because the sink can sit closer to the wall.
- Add countertop without losing space. When the toilet is positioned next to the vanity, extend the countertop material across the wall in a narrow ledge. This extra counter is perfect for stashing small, everyday toiletries.
- Mount the sink off-center in the vanity. No one said the sink must reside in the center. An asymmetric design can be pleasing to the eye, and you get much more usable counter space than the slivers you get when the sink splits a small vanity top in the middle.
You're always looking for more storage in the bathroom. You can add built-in storage features to an existing bathroom without a complete remodel.
- Use vertical space. Bathroom cabinets don't have to stay below the sink. Look for wall space to add a tall built-in cabinet. Consider space beside a vanity or on a separate wall. Stretch the new cabinet all the way to the ceiling. The bonus storage is perfect for stashing extra towels and linens or cleaning supplies. Even the highest shelves can be perfect for seasonal linens or other infrequently used items. And the vertical design draws the eye up, making the small room feel larger. If you have a double vanity, consider the space between the sinks. Forgo a little bit of counter space for a lot more storage by mounting a shallow cabinet or set of shelves in this space.
- Go inside the walls. Space you can't see is just waiting to be maximized. Carve out storage niches in an interior wall between wall studs. Perfect for underused areas, such as above the toilet or behind the door, large niches can be divided with shelves to suit your storage needs; leave the niche open or conceal it with a door. Above the vanity, apply this trick to turn a plain wall-mount mirror into a recessed medicine cabinet. When remodeling a shower, add niches before you retile to eliminate bulky shower caddies.
Easy Space-Saver Add-Ons
Try these simple ways to make the most of your bathroom space without strapping on a hefty tool belt.
- Add floating shelves. The narrow floating shelves popular in living rooms for displaying photos are ideal for adding storage to the bathroom where space is limited and toiletries are small.
- Provide space for hanging wet towels. Look for multitier, hotel-style towel bars that can be mounted on the back of the door or on an open wall. Mount a small towel bar or ring on the side of a vanity or across the front of a console sink when wall space is limited.
- Use freestanding pieces. A freestanding cabinet or decorative storage ladder uses vertical space without the hassle and mess of installing built-in cabinets.
- Make the most of counter space. Use decorative trays, shallow baskets, stackable bins, and pretty containers to organize everyday toiletries on the vanity countertop. This smart and attractive approach keeps items handy but avoids a cluttered look.
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