Not all spaces are created equally, unfortunately. Most of the time, the bathroom is one of those places that's, well, a little more cramped than we'd like it to be. No matter how much square footage you have.
If you're working with a tiny bathroom in your home but yearning for a luxury retreat, HGTV's Chip Wade — of Curb Appeal: The Block, Elbow Room, and more — has a few ideas. As a designer, engineer, and craftsman, he has become an expert in finding creative ways to make the most of all spaces, big and small. Recently, he teamed up with bath and kitchen company, KOHLER, making him even better versed in reimagining your space.
1. Get everything up off the floor.
According to Chip, lifting as much as you can off the floor allows for the room to feel bigger than it really is. Since floor space is limited (and stubbing your toes on everything is far from ideal), optimizing your space with wall-hanging toilets, vanities, and shelves allows for light to transfer more throughout the room, making it brighter and feel much more spacious.
*Note: Floating sinks don't have to (and shouldn't) compromise your counter space!
2. Leave the space between your waist and the top of your head open.
In addition to leaving the floor open, creating the "perception of space" between your waist and the top of your head also makes a bathroom appear much larger.
3. Limit your use of highly saturated colors.
Instead, opt for brighter colors and more reflective materials, like glass. Chip even suggests saying bye-bye to glass if it's not absolutely necessary and making the whole bathroom a shower — with the tub and toilet in it.
"Any time you have something that is in the way that you just can’t quite fit, or you have two different dissimilar functions very close to one another, often times the solution is to just combine them together, don’t keep them separate," Chip said, adding, "Just go completely all in or all out."
4. Incorporate a vanity mirror with integrated lighting.
Lighting can certainly change the mood. Since much of your time in the bathroom is spent near the mirror, making sure the lighting is bright and makes you feel awake is crucial, he says. Plus, the mirror will reflect the light, making the whole space seem a bit more open.
5. Make sure there's plenty of natural lighting as well.
"Having as much light as possible is key," he says. But while many people associate natural light with windows and, therefore, lack of privacy, Chip emphasizes there are many workarounds. One of his go-tos? Transoms over the vanity or cabinets, so they're high and wide to flood light down.
While that may not seem like a surprise, he also does extreme floor-to-ceiling windows behind his floating vanities and mirrors, so the sunlight streams right on you as you brush your teeth in the morning. If the very thought leaves you feeling exposed, know that the windows don't have to be bare. Fog them out or use one-sided film so your bathroom time isn't on display for your neighbors to see.
6. Place outlets strategically.
Part of feeling like you're living in luxury means your rooms are customized to whoever is using them. One suggestion Chip made is ensuring your outlets are placed exactly where you'll use them.
He takes this a step further with the suggestion of having outlets inside your cabinets and vanity, so your curling iron, blowdryer, or other appliances can be easily used and put right back to keep your "spa bathroom" tidy.
7. Add a separate toilet room.
If you have the space and are up for a little extra reno, Chip suggests adding a separate toilet room, which will drastically increase the resale value of your home and make it easier for multiple people to use a bathroom at once — with privacy.
8. Remove the tub if you don't use it.
"I'm all for free-standing tubs, but having to have one just as a decor element is a very expensive decor element if you're not using it. If you don't use a bath once a week, I recommend not having a free-standing tub. ... It demands respect."
9. Opt for a mega shower.
Having the space for a soaking tub isn't necessary, particularly when your shower is the place to be (and likely what you use most often). Adding the spa-like amenities to your shower, however, is where the investment's at. Chip particularly loves an unbeatable showerhead, like the Real Rain Overhead Shower Panel by KOHLER.
Additionally, building in a steam generator, adding temperature therapy, and playing music in the shower can make the experience even more relaxing than a spa. Bonus: It all takes up zero extra space!
10. Add seating to the shower.
Whether it's a gorgeous marble seating or an inexpensive option from Amazon, adding a shower seat really changes the experience. Especially if you add in fancy rainfall shower head(s) and/or steam machines, you'll want to make the most of that relaxation.
11. Incorporate an intelligent toilet seat.
While buying an intelligent toilet is always an option, you can also very simply add an intelligent seat that heats, cleanses, and deodorizes the bathroom.
12. Consider adding heated floors.
Yes, having a timer on your heated toilet seat and floors so you wake up in the morning with warm feet and toosh is, well ... a luxury. "A heated seat, if you’ve never experienced it on a toilet," Chip starts, "there’s some magic to it. … I’m telling you, it’ll change your day." Heated floors are another way to make your mornings a little more enjoyable. He says it's as game-changing as having a cup of coffee in the morning, a little mood-booster to get you pumped for the day ahead.
13. Invest in tankless water heating.
"Imagine never running out of hot water?" Chip asks. Though it's approximately 2 to 2.5 times the cost of a standard hot water tank, a tankless water heater essentially does just that. Endless. Plus, he says, they're less likely to leak, way more efficient, and will save you money in the long run.
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