Ways to Reclaim Space in a Tiny Bathroom

Bathroom by Logan Ripley

Let's be honest, a tight bathroom can be annoying. You're constantly bumping into things and perhaps there are some things like blow-drying your hair that are just easier to do in another room altogether. Until you have your dream bathroom, there are some things you can do to make your bathroom more bearable.

1. Avoid Swinging Doors

If you can, find a vanity with overlapping, sliding doors that take up a bit less real estate. You can also do an open vanity with baskets underneath or a console sink with metal bars that double as towel bars.

If you have a tub/shower combination or stand up shower consider a single stationary shower panel on the showerhead side. This will eliminate the need for space dedicated to a door swing. Another option is to have bypass sliding shower doors instead of a swinging shower door.

Recently, I just completed a bathroom renovation where we used the original 50s swinging door as a pocket door (with the appropriate hardware) and adjusted the width of the interior partition to accommodate.

2. Get a More Shallow Vanity

A typical vanity depth (countertop included) is 24", however I have seen them as shallow as 19 1/4." Also, a vessel sink usually allows you to have a smaller vanity, under-mount sinks require a lip to actually attach it to the underside of the countertop. When you have a tight space, it's a game of inches. One thing to keep in mind—be realistic. If you currently use every inch of your vanity, you probably don't want to make it smaller.

3. Upgrade the Radiator

If you've got an old house you know what I'm talking about. Radiators give off good heat, but they can take up a lot of space. There are more modern radiators with profiles as shallow as 2".

4. Be Strategic with Your Towel Bars

As I said in #2, you can find console sinks with metals bars that double as towel bars. Another option is using your shower enclosure for towel bars—if you are getting a new shower enclosure and plan ahead, the stationary panel can have holes pre-drilled for your towel bars. If you just don't have the wall space for a towel bar try hooks like we did on this Fishtown, Philadelphia project!

5. Install a Medicine Cabinet

There are a lot of beautiful mirrors out there, but sometimes you need to get practical and get every bit of space that you can. I feel that recessed mirrors look best, but if you’re not willing to cut through some drywall (of possibly adjust for studs) there are plenty of wall-mounted medicine cabinet options.

6. Install wall-mounted shelving + accessories

Glass shelves are a great, minimal way of adding a bit more storage to a bathroom. There are also individual wall-mounted toothbrush/cup and soap holders on the market. These can be installed above the vanity, but below the mirror. Sometimes depending on the layout of the space, you can also install this on the wall perpendicular to the vanity wall.

However, I don't recommend installed shelving above toilets...you'd be surprised how often dropping things in the toilet becomes an issue!

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