Tiny spaces happen to the best of us, and a small bathroom remodel can leave you with what feels like fewer choices. The good news is that small doesn’t have to mean the room is short on style or convenience. And there are lots of homes with small bathrooms, so there are more small bathroom fixtures to pick from than even a few years ago.
Some design tricks can fool the eye into believing the room isn’t as tiny as it might be. Some celebrate the charm of a tiny bath while using clever use of space for storage.
However you approach your petite bathroom, here are a few space-saving ideas to help make the most of every square inch without a cramped look or feel.
Add Recessed Shelves to A Small Bathroom Remodel
Recessed shelves create space where none existed before. Walls, both exterior and interior, have hollows inside. These are perfect spots for adding storage shelves or even slim, inset cabinets.
If the room on the opposite side of the wall has space to spare, you can even bump out the back side of the shelves or cabinets for deeper storage.
One drawback to this idea is the chill that could appear from using the space inside an exterior wall. If you fill the hollows with shelves, you lose insulation. Where possible, try to reserve open shelf ideas for interior walls.
Small Sinks Work Well in A Small Bathroom Remodel
Slim sinks (above left) fit close against the wall and project about half as much into the room as a traditional sink or vanity. This is a great idea for narrow bathrooms.
A narrow sink works better if it makes up in width, what it lacks in depth from the wall out. You’ll still use the same amount of water for washing your face and hands, so you need a basin that will contain it. If it’s too narrow or shallow, water will splash out.
Choose a Small-Scale Toilet for Your Tiny Bathroom
A small-scale toilet takes up less room than a traditional toilet, and many of them use a lot less water. Be sure you choose one designed for an adult bath, not a child’s bathroom, which is shorter.
Small toilets may be a bit narrower from side to side, or they may have a more rounded form that doesn’t project as far out from the wall as a classic style. They aren’t so much smaller that they’re uncomfortable to use. But that extra inch or two that you gain can make a world of difference.
Installation of a smaller toilet might require some adjustments. The base is probably not the same size as a standard toilet, so bolts from an older toilet might not be in the right location. Your plumber can make those alterations.
Custom Cabinetry Can Save Floor Space in Your Remodel
Sometimes clever design makes all the difference. A custom made cabinet can offer loads of storage, look deceptively grand, and still take up less floor space than a small vanity cabinet.
Think about expanding the footprint of a vanity cabinet unit from side to side, instead of out from the front into the foot path. If your vanity at the center is deep enough to hold the basin, cabinets on either side can reach as high as the ceiling without interfering with your walk space.
With one half bath, I had a floor to ceiling cabinet built for a corner to get enough storage. This also allowed me to get the pedestal sink I wanted. In another bathroom, I had custom cabinets built that were 15 inches deep versus standard 24 inch base cabinets. You can also explore if a carpenter can cut down a standard cabinet to give it a thinner profile.
Most Bathroom Remodel Projects Benefit from a Curved Shower Rod
If your bathroom has a shower, a curved rod is a simple, inexpensive way to make the shower feel more spacious. Curved rods install at the same position, about 72 inches up from the floor, as a traditional straight rod, but they bow out at the center.
The benefit of a curved rod is that even in a tiny shower, the curtain isn’t against your elbow, which adds to a cramped feeling. It bows out just enough to add a roomier feel, but not so much that the curtain falls outside the base of the shower or tub.
Tiny Floor Tiles are a Smart Idea for Small Spaces
With a small bathroom remodel, the usual flooring choices might not be the best choice. Choose flooring that produces a small pattern, such as penny or small square/hex tile, to complement the space.
Large-pattern flooring makes the bath look smaller than it really is. The effect is similar to a little girl trying on her mother’s shoes — they're just too big.
Small designs give you the full pattern of the flooring once installed, and they don’t stand out as overwhelming. Narrow wood flooring is another option that doesn’t compete with a diminutive bathroom. Just be sure all the precautions are taken for sealing against water damage.
Small Bathroom Remodel Can Use Hooks for Storage
Wall hooks are brilliant. You can hang them in groups, or individually here and there. You can add one in the tiniest spot, or create a row along an entire wall. The best part is they remove the need for a large towel bar.
Towel bars take up a wide portion of dedicated wall space, and some bathrooms just don’t have it. Hooks let you hang towels in spaces that are no more than two or three inches wide. They also help keep bath robes and clothing off the floor.
Designing a small bathroom remodel doesn’t have to give you a headache. Just remember that the standard fixtures might not look or function well. Scale down, and you’ll create something that’s just right.
With a few tricks, such as using recessed cabinets and small-pattern flooring, and finding scaled down fixtures, your tiny bath will be big on form and function.
Do you have a small bathroom remodel that you’d like to show off, or have some ideas to share? We always welcome input from our readers!