Maximize the Space of Your Small Bathroom

Posted by tpan on 1 February 2018 | 0 Comments

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Older homes placed less emphasis on bathrooms.


More attention was paid to the living room.


This left bathrooms quite small compared to today's standards. Smaller doors, shorter toilets, smaller vanities—these are symptoms of an older way of thinking.


In your home, you have realized that:


  • "I don't want to walk sideways to get through the 28" door."

  • "I don't want to crouch down to use the restroom on a 15" high toilet."

  • "This space is cramped. What can I do?"

I don't blame you. 


The best solution to maximizing the space of your small bathroom is to enlarge it. However, if you planned to do that it's unlikely you'd be reading this post.


Short of blasting out walls, rerouting electrical wires, and moving plumbing waste lines what can you do?


Remove the notion that the bathroom is small.


Enlarge Your Door:


If it is a chore to get inside the bathroom, then you should enlarge the door size. Before the door has been widened think about movement. Does the door currently hit the vanity, shelves, towels, etc.?


Change the door swing.


Just because your home is arranged in one manner does not mean it is optimal.


Consider a Floating Vanity:


Once the door has been optimized take a look at your vanity.


Does it rest on the floor? In my opinion, vanities that connect with the floor add visual weight to the space. Because of this, I created a floating one which allows space between the floor giving a more open feel to the room.


Another benefit of the floating vanity—you can mop underneath without ruining the finish.


Exposed Towel Racks:


Pay attention to your towels.


When a guest stays over do you throw their towels over the toilet tank?


I designed a bamboo towel rack with an open view; it stores 3 towels—plenty enough for a small bathroom.  Why keep old ones when they are clearly on display?


By doing this, the towel never gets in the "way."


An unobtrusive towel rack removes the need for a larger cabinet. If your small bathroom has a towel cabinet, I’d remove it.


Cronin Bathroom Bamboo Towel Rack Reflected In Mirror

Consider Open Shelving:


Smaller wall hung shelves in convenient locations can beautifully display a few items.


The fewer items you have the greater their quality will be.


Floating bamboo shelves provide elegance. Topping them with glass lengthens their useful life and gives you the visual warmth of bamboo.


Cronin Bathroom Entry - bamboo shelving aligned to grout joints.

Open bamboo shelving aligned to grout joints.

Medicine Cabinets:


I feel a few drawers in your vanity or nice baskets on your open shelves can house the medicines you might want to keep.


The less storage space you have the less stuff you accumulate. In a small bathroom every element adds or detracts from the experience.


Things now have a "place." When stuff has a place, you don't notice how small the room is.


There are other things you can do. 


Tying Elements Together with Grout Joints:


How do some bathrooms seem to have “it?” In my opinion they come together when all the elements relate to each other. With this particular design I used grout joints as a design feature.


This is deceptively simple—use grout joints as a feature.


I rarely see grout joints become part of the design. Sure, their color is important—you want this to work with the tile. When I see tile jobs almost none of the joints line up. Take a look next time you are out and about.


This design utilizes stacked joints with a colored grout which created contrast. The white joints emphasize verticality while expressing the horizontal. This gives this tiny room of 45 sf a sense of openness—neatness.


The shelves line up with the grout joints. It all seems to fit.


Cronin Bathroom - Popout Mirror & Stacked Tile Joints

Popout Mirror & Stacked Tile Joints

Try a Mirror:


Notice how this custom pop-out mirror stands tall in the room? This expresses a vertical dimension giving the room a bigger visual feel than if it were a 20 in X 30 in mirror. Add this to a floating vanity and the room takes on a new character.


Cronin Bathroom - Corner View Of Bamboo Vanity & Shelves

Corner View Of Bamboo Vanity & Shelves

Thank you.


Are you planning to remodel your own bathroom? I hope you found some actionable ideas.


If the DIY approach is out of your scope but you want to achieve the spaciousness of this design in your bathroom email me or

call (480) 277-3499.

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