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Small Spaces: Small-Bathroom Tips

Christine Brun on

Even the smallest bathroom remodel is costly. Because the cash investment in a proper remodel is substantial, you want to get it right the first time. Most professionals will advise you to complete things in a manner that will endure constant use. Otherwise, you may be regretful in 10 years' time.

Fortunately, several favorite design trends for bathrooms are amazing space savers! Let's review a few guidelines. First, using a large-tile format for the floors in even tiny rooms is popular. It's rather counter intuitive in that you might have assumed that if your floor is only 6 feet by 6 feet that a 12 inch by 12 inch tile would be best, but that is not the case. If you jump to larger-dimension tiles, such as a 16 inch by 16 inch or 24 inch by 24 inch, you will achieve a much more fluid look. The larger tile becomes an expansive design piece.

Next, frameless glass shower enclosures are undoubtedly the slimmest option for water enclosure. In order to be stable, the glass used must generally be thicker than glass used in a frame. Because it is thicker, it is also more expensive -- at a range of $700 to $1,200 per panel. The weight of thick glass also holds it in place: A shower door panel can weigh 80 to 100 pounds, depending on thickness. In the pictured installation, the water barrier at the bottom of the panel is another issue, and the panel appears to be sealed with silicone. Know that over time this compound can become brittle and require replacement. Fortunately, this particular installation is in a wet room, designed so that little damage can occur from splashed water.

Another space-saving idea is a very slim or tankless toilet. Eliminating the back tank altogether could mean as much as 8 1/2 inch or so of additional space in your bathroom. As the name suggests, a tankless toilet is any toilet that does not rely on a tank of water to clear its bowl. Instead, these toilets are supplied water from a separate line at a high enough pressure that a single flush can carry human waste through the drainage system. In situations where water pressure is low, toilets can be helped along with pumps or other technologies that power the flush.

Of course the other staple of any bathroom is a sink. Often the space-starved powder room is the place where the smallest sinks are needed. Corner sinks, pedestals or wall-hung are ideal. Here we see a very narrow choice. Kohler offers the Veer, which is only 18 1/4 inch deep and is 21 inch wide with room to put toiletries. This is perfect for small spaces and offers a sharp contemporary design. The Ravenna wall-mount sink with integrated chrome towel bar by American Standard is 24 1/4 inches wide and 20 inches deep, making it another good option for the tiny bathroom. For a basic under-mount sink, consider the American Standard Edgemere style that has a bowl 18 1/2 inches wide by 16 1/8 inches deep.

For a sleek spatial appearance in small bathrooms, avoid bulky window treatments. Notice, too, in the bathroom pictured how the accent wall tile is highly reflective, creating a mirror-like surface. Light is reflected on the multiple slim tile units that shimmer as mosaics might. The overall simplicity and well-chosen individual elements help to create a clean and seamless little bathroom.

Photo Credit: Original Style Tileworks


Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at




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