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Six Tricky Ways To Save Space In A Small Bathroom

I think there’s a tendency to want to conquer small or oddly shaped bathrooms – to bend them to your will and just make them work. The problem is, without a sledgehammer and a big investment, a small bathroom is never going to be big, and a weird shaped one is never going to be nice and square. So instead of fighting it, work with the weirdness. We’ve got six smart ways to save space while maintaining a comfortable, luxury feel even in the smallest bathroom.

Downsize The Tub

55 Inch Cast Iron Roll Top Tub With Polished Brass Feet From Barclay
55 Inch Cast Iron Roll Top Tub With Polished Brass Feet From Barclay

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Unless you’re really tall, choosing a good soaking tub is less about the length of the tub and more about the depth. Because most people don’t stretch out to their full length in the tub, a standard 60″ tub can more than suffice, even if your small bathroom happens to be your master suite. In fact, instead of caving to the pressure to get a huge, luxury tub, consider sizing down – some gorgeous clawfoot tubs come in the 55″-58″ range, but have sleek, sloped backs and deep walls that make for comfortable soaking even with the reduced length. Just make sure to wall mount the filler, so you won’t loose that extra space with floor mounted hardware. Bonus? A slightly smaller tub might not require a larger water heater (or a half hour to fill up) the way some large luxury tubs do.

..Or Get Rid Of It Entirely?

Neo Angle 36 x 36 Frameless Shower Enclosure From Vigo Industries
Neo Angle 36 x 36 Frameless Shower Enclosure From Vigo Industries

Shop Vigo Glass Shower Enclosures:

Easily the most drastic solution on this list is one that also goes somewhat against convention: getting rid of the bathtub entirely. While it’s still taboo not to have any bathtubs in your home, the trend towards huge luxury tubs is actually on the wane in favor of luxury showers. In a small bathroom, this is doubly good, because you can easily build a very nice shower enclosure in much less space than a bathtub (or a shower/tub combo) would take up alone. Glass shower doors – especially frameless ones – can make a small bathroom look much more open. If you’re feeling daring, an open shower with no door or walls at all can dramatically open up a small bathroom – you just have to be careful to make sure the surrounding area is adequately waterproofed.

Niche It

These Custom Recessed Cabinets Extend The Medicine Cabinet Behind The Toilet With Sliding Mirrors To Keep Stuff Hidden And Make The Bathroom Look Larger (By Lauren Rubin Architecture)
These Custom Recessed Cabinets Extend The Medicine Cabinet Behind The Toilet With Sliding Mirrors To Keep Stuff Hidden And Make The Bathroom Look Larger (By Lauren Rubin Architecture)

Shop Bathroom Vanity Sets by Virtu:

One of my very favorite ways to extend the available space in a small bathroom is to use the walls – and I’m not just talking shelves. Recessing shelves and niches into the empty space inside your walls adds square footage (okay, maybe square foot) to your bathroom without requiring an actual remodel. On the wall behind the toilet, this can provide a full wall of shelved storage without interfering with head space the way some over-tank storage can, and in a shower it can provide seamless storage for shampoo, soap, and so on, no shower caddy or other clunky solutions needed.

Wall Mount It

Starck One PIece Wall Mounted Toile From Duravit
Starck One Piece Wall Mounted Toilet From Duravit

Shop Wall mount Toilets by Vitra:

Speaking of using your walls, another great way to open up your floor space is to opt for a wall mounted toilet. Rather than being fixed to the floor like a standard toilet, these are hung from the wall with the actual tank recessed into the wall and covered with drywall or tile. This significantly reduces the footprint of the toilet, giving you a lot more room to work with, as well as a sleek, seamless modern style. That said, this relatively recent innovation should only be undertaken as part of a larger renovation, since you’ll have to tear out a wall (and possibly rearrange your plumbing) during installation.

Choose Wisely

Venice Wood Vanity Cabinet From RonBow
Venice Wood Vanity Cabinet From RonBow

Shop Small Bathroom Vanities:

There are no hard and fast rules to choosing a bathroom vanity for a small bathroom, and no definitive best type of vanity out there. The “best” one will depend on a lot of factors – the size and style of your bathroom, the layout of your bathroom, how many people use it, and even what kind (and quantity) of toiletries those people use.  So one of the best ways to save space in a small bathroom is simply to forget style and think about functionality, at least when it comes to bathroom vanities. Narrow traditional bathroom vanities (especially ones equipped with drawers and hidden shelves) offer the greatest amount of hidden storage. Wall mounted styles offer a little less storage but are often more accessible and take up less physical space, while pedestal sinks are visually the smallest and can make a small bathroom seem more open, but also offer no storage at all.

Work With Your Bathroom

This Bathroom Combines Compact Fixtures With Multiple Recessed Storage Cabinets To Make The Most Of This Small Bathroom (by Yanic Simard of Toronto Interior Design Group, photo by Brandon Barre)
This Bathroom Combines Compact Fixtures With Multiple Recessed Storage Cabinets To Make The Most Of This Small Bathroom (by Yanic Simard of Toronto Interior Design Group, photo by Brandon Barre)

Done right, a small or odd-shaped bathroom can be both functional and beautiful – you just have to make the most of those strange spaces.  Custom built cabinetry is a little more expensive, but done right, it can make a small bathroom work for you – rather than the other way around. Whether it means building a storage cabinet into that awkward corner, making a display shelf out of a wall bisected by a gabled roof, or just making the most of recessed spaces, try to think of the oddness of your bathroom as a feature to show off rather than hide – it’ll not only help you make the most of your storage space, but also create a bathroom you’ll really enjoy, too.

What are some of your favorite ways to save space in a small bathroom?