Small bathrooms are better than no bathrooms at all, but they can be claustrophobia-inducing and frustrating for homeowners who want a little more breathing room. That frustration will leave some homeowners believing they can't do anything to remedy a tiny bath, and so they simply resign themselves to living with it. However, a small bathroom doesn't have to be cramped quarters; in fact, it can be a surprisingly open space if the right design principles are brought into a renovation. Below are several design ideas that will help you convert a small bath into an open, airy room that won't leave you feeling confined:
Keep the floors clear of clutter
As with many things in life, starting at the bottom is a good idea when it comes to opening up a small bathroom's space. One of the secrets to making a room feel more spacious is to remove clutter from the floor and create open sight lines. In a small bathroom, several things can get in the way of this objective: sink vanities, hampers, cabinets, and even tubs can all be problematic. For example, a vanity will create a barrier in the room; you can't see through it, and it also forms an obstacle to free movement.
One excellent way to open up floor space in your bathroom is by replacing vanities with pedestal sinks. Pedestal sinks only use a fraction of floor space as the vanity, and that opens up sight lines. The same concept can be applied to other obstructions mentioned; the more floor space you reveal, the larger your room will feel.
Use natural lighting and paint
Another way to open up your bathroom is by permitting as much natural lighting to enter the room as possible. Darkness is confining, and making the room brighter can help eliminate that impression. However, there are often practical limitations that can make this a challenging goal. Many bathrooms have only a small window, if they have one at all. Or, privacy concerns make admitting natural light a difficult thing to do without going beyond the limits of personal modesty.
In cases such as those, you still have alternatives to open up the bathroom space with lighting and painting. First, the use of natural spectrum lighting, which imitates sunlight, can be effective in creating an illusion of space. In addition, faux windows can be created in which light fixtures are hidden behind frosted glass "panes".
In conjunction with improved lighting, you can repaint your bathroom with a light-colored paint to provide a maximum amount of light reflectivity. Stark white paint is usually sterile, but it may be perfect for a room with classic fixtures and beadboard paneling, for example. Just be sure to match the color to the overall theme, and keep it in a person's observational background for maximum effect.
A time-tested method for expanding the perceived size of a room is by placing mirrors. Mirrors can be placed in different locations around the bathroom, including at the longest ends of the room or in wider spaces. If your bathroom has a small mirror over the sink, consider replacing it with a considerably larger mirror that reflects more light and expands the view of the opposite wall. Be careful not to place too many mirrors, however, as you can create an undesirable "fun house" when multiple mirrors reflect into one another. This can be visually confusing or unpleasant. Instead, placing one good, decently-sized mirror will probably be enough to accomplish the job.
Make use of space in a creative fashion
It is often a complaint of homeowners that they just don't have any storage space. That mindset can lead to homeowners adding a variety of cabinets, free-standing shelves and other clutter-inducing furniture. When homeowners slow down and begin objectively looking at each existing space within the bathroom, they are often surprised at how much room can be created by thinking outside the box. Here are a couple of ways you can creatively incorporate bathroom accessories and storage into already existing areas:
Install recessed storage in walls – there is often empty room that lies behind walls that enclose a shower or bathtub. By installing a recessed area in this space, you can add a few additional square feet of storage. Even if it is just enough for toilet tissue rolls or a few hand towels, this can be useful in reducing your storage demands.
Add shelves at high levels – the junction between walls and the bathroom ceiling is a perfect area for storage. You can install shelving just beneath the ceiling, and it doesn't interfere with the room's spaciousness. Towels, washcloths, and other bathroom necessities can be conveniently kept on these shelves.
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