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Small or secondary bathrooms

Small or secondary bathrooms

How to make the most of a small bathroom is a problem most homeowners and renters face, whether they are decorating a standard-sized master bath, a powder room, or guest or child's bathroom. Many city dwellers reside in apartments with small, sometimes windowless bathrooms, while suburbanites may live in houses constructed a half century or more ago when rooms were built smaller. There are many ways to disguise the size of a small bathroom and give the room the illusion of space, as this chapter will show. You may feel, however, that your small bathroom is not cramped but cosy, and instead of inventing tricks to hide its size, you may instead opt to capitalise on its charm.

To enlarge your space without knocking down walls, you can mirror all or part of a wall. Or, to free up surface area in the room, angle a sink or shower into a corner, install a pedestal sink, or build medicine cabinets and storage closets into your walls instead of mounting them. Consider installing a pocket door instead of a door that cuts into available space by opening into the room. Light, like mirrors, can also be used to increase the perceived size of a space. To use light to its best advantage, install clear glass shower doors. These will expand the room visually in a way that an opaque shower curtain in a dark colour cannot. Installing skylights or additional windows, or using glass block can also be your solution.

Glass block works wonderfully because it lets an enormous amount of light in while providing a privacy barrier you can't clearly see through it. A whole wall in your bathroom can be replaced by glass block, or perhaps just one of- your shower walls.

Choosing light-colored paint, wallpaper, and surface materials or using small tiles on the walls and larger tiles on the floor will also help to visually expand the space. Uplighted high ceilings painted light colours will create a warm, comfortable atmosphere, as well as seem to give the space more height. You may extend the decor or colour scheme of an adjacent bedroom or dressing area into the bath.

By picking up on the decor of an adjacent room, the bathroom cabinets will appear larger. Instead of worrying about how to make a small space seem larger, concentrate on enhancing its qualities. A master bath in a prewar building may have original tiles in good condition which lend a vintage charm to space. Older homes often include rich details, such as intricately carved wood mouldings. Ornate wall sconces or doorknobs that complement a pedestal sink and claw-foot tub may also be part of what already makes your small bath special. The most pressing problem with small baths that cannot be solved through optical illusions is efficient storage.

Clutter from overstuffed bathroom cabinets or unorganised vanity can easily get in the way of your performing routine tasks with ease. If there is limited space for cosmetics or toiletries in the bath, perhaps a makeup table positioned in a well-lit corner of the bedroom, where there is an accessible electrical outlet for hair dryer and curling iron, is the answer. Storing supplies in a hallway closet, adding a built-in to the hallway, skirting your vanity, or building a bathtub frame if space allows will help contain clutter.