Tricks and tips to enlarge your small bath
Is your bathroom too small? You’re not alone in thinking the space could be bigger. A recent survey conducted by faucet maker Moen found that almost half of respondents (45 percent) wish they could make their bathroom larger.
If your bathroom is a cluttered and cramped closet rather than a serene spalike space, you can enlarge it with either renovations or simple tricks. Remember, it’s not the size that matters but how you use it.
A bathroom must contain certain basics like a sink, toilet and bathing area, and often some extras like storage, lighting and mirrors, said interior designer Carla Aston. While repainting to make a room appear larger is one trick, the key is limiting the contrast, Aston said.
“The most important idea here is not the particular color — it can be dark or light — the most important factor is not to break up the space with high contrast. Keep the wall and ceiling finishes all light or the same items all dark for a more expanding feel in the space,” said Aston, whose blog is DESIGNED w/Carla Aston, carlaaston.com. She also suggests blending the tile and wall color as well as taking the tile in the shower straight up to the ceiling for a feeling of expansiveness.
Traditional vanities and cabinets are bulky and take up space. Instead, use pedestal sinks or a vanity designed to float on the wall for a more open feeling, Aston said.
“You just recess the base of the cabinet about halfway under the vanity and tile it for a floating effect. It’s also good to keep the cabinet box at least about 9 inches off the floor when doing this type of cabinet,” she said.
Knocking down walls
To go bigger you might have to bring down some walls, said Jason Avery, owner of Avery Construction in Clearwater, Florida.
“Often baths have a wall dividing the bathroom. Tear it down or just use a half wall to open up the space,” he said.
Replace a shower wall or curtain with a clear, frameless glass door that will help lengthen the room, Avery said. Textured glass may offer more privacy but also adds a visual barrier, Aston said. Clear glass is a better, more modern option.
If a closet in an adjacent room backs up against the bathroom and renovation is an option, Avery suggests “tearing out the closet and capturing the space.” Other renovations include reversing the bathroom door so it opens into the hallway rather than the bathroom, adding a pocket door, and replacing a bulky vanity with a shallow wall-hung or tower cabinet, Avery said.
Mirrors are well-known to enlarge a space, so go big.
“Nothing makes a bathroom feel grander than a mirror that reaches to the ceiling,” Aston said. Use mirrors strategically: A mirror placed on a cabinet directly across from a window will make it appear the room has two windows in the same space, she said.
Another idea is to put unused space to work by adding recessed, builtin shelving between the studs in a wall, Avery said. Open storage can be decorative and functional, while closed storage is needed for personal items.
Lastly, think about the details and lighting. Trade out bulky fixtures for ones that are streamlined, and choose task lighting that gets the light exactly where you want it in a limited amount of space, Aston said.