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Size Constraints

We often feel that a small space won't function properly, but that isn't always the case. You can have a stunning bathroom that functions, no matter the size! Don't believe me? I'll show you how this works with bathrooms.


Small bathrooms can be functional too. While there are definite challenges to working with small bathrooms, there is still a lot that can be done to make them both functional and spectacular.

One way to make a small bathroom more functional is through careful use of light. This powder room is tiny. In fact, the door had to be removed so we could get this photograph. So, why doesn't it feel claustrophobic? Because every detail was used to make the most of the light. The wallpaper is metallic, the sconces have crystals that help reflect more light, and a small skylight makes everything so much brighter.

Light wasn't the problem for this downtown bungalow. The real issue was fitting everything in such a small space, although that was part of the home's charm. Instead of wishing for a larger space, we made it happen. By stealing a little room from the closet on the other side of the wall, we could shift the toilet back. While that meant the homeowner could no longer brush his teeth and use the toilet at the same time, it made the room much more functional. We also added what storage we could where it wouldn't cause problems. By shifting the cabinets in the corner with the toilet, we could put in a beautiful pedestal sink that was not only fitting for the era of the house but also practical. If we'd used a standard box cabinet for the sink, moving around in that bathroom would have been impossible.


What types of issues show up here? More than you'd think. It probably seems silly to talk about functionality with a medium-sized space, but there are a lot of things to consider...

A lot of times, people overstuff a room because they feel like more is more. In the bathroom below, we actually needed to get rid of some storage to make it functional. The L-shaped vanity made it nearly impossible to get into the shower, and the original tub was terrifyingly short as well as hemmed in by a pony wall. By getting rid of the excess, we were able to open the space enough for a barrier-free shower and a soaker tub.

The challenge for the bathroom below was its unusual shape. It wraps around a corner, making a lot of the usable space, quite frankly, disappear. Added to that, the cabinets weren't working well at all. They were outdated and caused more storage problems than they solved. We installed all new cabinets, a new linen cupboard, and a curbless shower, making the space functional for the aging couple.


But how can a large space cause issues? We always need more room! For some large bathrooms, the size itself is the problem. Not all products are made for a large bathroom, and it can leave you feeling like there is too much space. On the other hand, it could be quite large, but the builder crowded it with too many things so that it would appeal to the most buyers. Let's take a look at what happens in both of these cases.

The bathroom pictured below was massive, and the homeowners wanted to spruce it up. They needed new counters and new floors but didn't want to change out the cabinets. They also needed to deal with the shower. Because the builder had included a corner tub, the shower was tiny and difficult to deal with. By removing the tub, we were able to expand the shower and leave space for a seating area in the corner. Despite what you might think, that extra room to move around made it feel spacious instead of empty.

Remove what you don't use. The bathroom below was actually medium-sized when we started, but it was a cramped medium. Like the remodel above, we freed up a lot of space by removing the tub. In fact, we had so much room that we were able to shift the shower into a barrier-free option. The cabinets were replaced, and the water closet got bi-fold doors to increase the ease of use. This room was changed from okay into something that the couple could safely age into.

Like many large bathrooms, these both ended up with a lot of empty space in the middle. We used that best by leaving it alone. Sometimes you just need to enjoy not crashing into your partner when you get ready in the morning.


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