Bathroom envy may develop when watching home improvement TV shows or flipping through house decor magazines showcasing beautiful bathrooms. Even bathrooms proclaimed as small can seem large to those of us living in a house with a very small bathroom. The bathroom in my pre-World World II house is so small that the toilet and sink and even doorway are sub-standard in size. When you cannot remodel to create a larger bathroom, try some of these decorating tips to make your bathroom seem bigger.
Sink. A bathroom vanity can encroach on limited floor space in a small bathroom. If a vanity is preferred, choose a shallow depth model. A pedestal sink is a better choice, providing open floor space on each side of the typically large base of the sink. The best choice of sink for a very small bathroom is a sink hung from the wall or supported by narrow legs. The exposed floor and wall by the sink gives the appearance of more floor space.
Shower. A view of a few more feet into the shower or tub provides additional depth to a small bathroom so what you use to cover the shower opening is important. If glass shower doors are preferred, go with clean glass. For a more economical approach that also adds color to the bathroom, use a shower curtain and leave the curtain at least halfway open after showering. The color of shower curtain can complement the floor or paint color, present a vivid splash of color or design, or the shower curtain could be transparent to let light into the shower.
Walls. Keep wall color light. Small print wallpaper is an option. Paint color options include white or light shades of blue, yellow, pink, beige or green. Continue the shower tile on the walls around the room or use wainscoting on all non-shower walls, like shown here. Tile or wainscoting running about 48 inches up from the floor helps to draw the eye upward, creating an illusion of room height.
Flooring. Many options are available for bathroom flooring. For a very small bathroom, one option is to choose all one color, like white or tan tile, or gray slate. To make an eye-catching statement, try multi-color glass tile. In keeping with older home decor, choose black and white tile flooring.
Lighting. Lots of lighting is critical in a small bathroom. If your bathroom is a mid-century design whose only source of light is over the sink, you can appreciate how minimal lighting contributes to a gloomy bathroom. Increase lighting with the addition of recessed lighting, twin lights on each side of the mirror, or replace wall lights with multiple ceiling-hung pendant lights. If attic space is above the bathroom, natural light can be added by installing tubular sky lights or a regular skylight.
Storage. Place a shallow basket under the sink to store bath towels. Shallow wall cabinets that are about 8 inches deep can provide storage for small items such as toothpaste and tooth brushes, comb or hairbrush, toilet tissue, or personal care items. Take advantage of the space between the wall support beams to create open storage niches in the wall.
Accessories. Keep accessories to a minimum. A mirror can offer a feeling of openness, but shy away from using a large mirror that covers most of one wall. Instead, place the mirror over the sink and use walls for storage cabinets, towel bars or robe hooks. Available wall space may be covered with small pictures. Place a scented candle or a small dish of potpourri on the toilet tank or at the side of the sink.
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