This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in August 2014.
For every spacious, open, bright spa-like bathroom out there, there are many more small, dark and cramped bathrooms that families are trying to figure out how to make work. From vanity storage to lighting options, those households need to get very creative in order to succeed in making their small space full of utility. I’m no stranger to trying to make the most of a small bathroom, and hopefully these creative solutions and product recommendations will serve as a great starting point for you.
1. Shown in the photo above, I installed a vanity for storage on a wall where I once had simply hung a framed piece of art. Making better use of this space allowed us to store everything from medicines to shower-related products in a concealed way.
2. A small wall-mount mirrored vanity goes a long way too (and I can’t help but love the pretty blue color of the IKEA GUNNERN). If you’re limited on space and can’t easily hang anything that protrudes into the room, I recommend a medicine cabinet that fits recessed between the wall studs and sits almost flush to the wall (we have one in our house, and it’s really nice to have something not so clunky in our small bathroom).
3. Get creative with storage and think outside the box. Think of options like clear glass shelving, barrel shelves, and narrow, wrap-around ledges to hold both decor and necessities.
4. Built in shelves in the small nook over the toilet to add space for baskets of toilet paper, a place to leave tissues, and other personal products.
5. Lighting over the sink is important for brightening a dark space. Add large mirrors like I did here to reflect and maximize what light you do have.
6. When you find the perfect sink vanity for your small space, invest in it. Even some of the smallest wall-mount products I’ve seen still offer a fair amount of hidden storage for things like towels and cleaning products.
7. Unless you never have more than one person showering in your small bathroom, towel-drying space can quickly become an issue. I’ve never owned one of these fold-out drying systems, but this teak design seems like the perfect candidate.
8. Store your curling iron, blow dryer, and other small commonly used appliances behind the false front on your sink vanity. It’s something easy to attempt at home yourself with a few tools and a tip out tray hinge, but if you need assistance, this insert product gets good reviews.
9. Consider yourself lucky if you’re considering tiling part of your bathroom for a change of design — you won’t need to buy a lot to change the look of your space. This video on small space decorating from HGTV shares some inspiring ideas.
10. Leave the hampers out of the bathroom to conserve on floor space; keeping baskets in individual bedroom closets has helped us keep the bathroom free of laundry clutter.