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You fantasize about a bathroom big enough for hot yoga after a steamy shower — a space that can be your personal refuge from the hurly-burly of your house (your life!).
Instead, you’ve got a bath cluttered with all your toiletries right out there in plain view for all your guests to judge, umm, see. It’s like a metaphor for your life; so cramped, you dread trying to blow out your hair tomorrow.
You need space. Here’s how to gain some in your packed bath (collected from the pros who do it for a living).
Being savvy about the type of shelf you choose (think picture ledge instead of bookshelf) and where you hang it (like in that dead wall space between your sink and mirror) can make all the difference in a teeny bathroom (now you’ve got a toothbrushing station — and more sink space!).
Or go big. And UP. A wide shelf above your bathroom door is instant storage for your vacation beach towels.
Feeling cramped often leads to daydreams of taking a mallet to those close-together walls, “Fixer Upper”-style. So do it, really. You’d be amazed how much storage space hides behind bathroom walls between studs that stand 16 inches apart.
Knock out some drywall (just be sure to check for electrical and plumbing lines first!), then throw in some shelves between the studs. Keep it open if you’re storing towels or nice-looking bottles of lotion there, or add a door for a little more discretion.
Just because your pedestal sink came with the same amount of storage as your yoga pants doesn’t mean there’s no potential there.
You can buy (or build, if you’ve got the DIY bug) cabinets that wrap around the base and, literally, create storage out of thin air. There are lots of options, like Hammacher Schlemmer’s fancy pedestal cabinet that’s priced at $130 and comes with two shelves, tilt-out drawer, and even a magazine rack. Another DIY solution: Dress your pedestal with a skirt that hides whatever you stuff behind it. It can even be a no-needle, no-sew project. Just use heavy, double-sided tape to attach and hem it.
Unless you’re raising sea creatures in your toilet tank (just kidding! Don’t do that!), your large, porcelain cube is eating up valuable space. Consider a wall-hung toilet (starting at $400). It’s minimalist-chic, and frees up floor space because the whole thing sits closer to the wall.
Since the tank and plumbing hide behind the wall, be sure to leave an access panel to save yourself grief down the road.
Tip: A towel bar, or even some light shelving, can be mounted on the access panel for added storage where your toilet tank used to be.
Itty-bitty bathrooms are perfect for simple, single-handle faucets that save space on your sink surround. Sure, it’s just a few square inches you’ll save, but that’s valuable bathroom real estate when you’re in the middle of trying that new updo, brushing your teeth, and doing some self-maintenance.
These hangables give even ugly bottles and brushes some style, as well as a home. Most baskets are light enough to mount to the wall using a 75-pound picture hook hammered into a stud (we love those studs!). Or, install an extra towel bar — or the infamous Ikea storage rails — and attach baskets and buckets via S-hooks.
If your dark, dank bathroom has no window, and it’s on an exterior wall, add one! It’ll reboot your mornings like nothing else. It’s not the cheapest option (about $2,100 installed). But it’s sooooo worth it to get those sunny rays.
Because your bathroom will just feel bigger. And it’ll let fresh air in, which puts the brakes on mold and mildew. Pick a vinyl window, which won’t rot like wood will (plus vinyl is usually cheaper).
If your shower surround is minimalist in all the wrong ways, you know the misery of stashing bottles and razors and soap in tiny, wet, slippery corners. But no law says a shower can only have one rod. If you hang a second tension rod inside the shower and add some S-hooks, you can turn your shower into a hanging storage jungle with buckets and caddies.
Tip: You can also buy a double shower rod to do the same thing — or, put the shower curtain on the inside rod and use the outside one to hang towels.
For something super easy, super quick that’ll give you some instant relief in your cramped bathroom, try suction hooks, which you can hack with elastic hair ties and mount to shower walls. Slip razors, shampoo, conditioner through the ties, which will corral the usual shower mess.
Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning, Pulitzer-Prize nominated writer who contributes to real estate and home improvement sites. In her spare time (yeah, right), she gardens, manages three dogs, and plots to her her 21-year-old out of her basement. .
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