Tricks and tips to en­large your small bath

The Progress-Index - At Home - - OUTDOORS | HOME - By Melissa Erick­son

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.

Sim­ple steps

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, car­laas­ 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.

Decor tricks

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.

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