Home Repair: Create Bathroom Space Without Tearing Down Walls

Some rehabilitators don’t mind tearing a house apart to fit a desirable area. For example, many older houses in Los Angeles are torn down to the ground with only a few walls remaining. However, most rehabilitators like to update a home with new accessories and features without breaking the house. Also, many houses just won’t make a profit with too much rebuilding. One way to update an old house is to make bathrooms feel larger.

Bathrooms have steadily increased in size over the past thirty years, and the average bathroom today is twice the size of bathrooms in the 1970s. However, bathrooms can be difficult to expand in existing homes without knocking down walls. There are a few ways you can create a more spacious look and feel without using hammers.

For example, you can save some space by installing a smaller bathtub, as bathtubs are traditionally the largest accessory in the bathroom. Shorter five foot modern tubs take up less floor space than older, longer tubs. New tubs are often not as tall and make the ceiling appear higher. A new bathtub makes a good impression on home buyers, especially if your bathroom has a cast iron bathtub full of chips and stains.

While it won’t technically save space, you can also help create an illusion of spaciousness by covering the side wall of the tub with a simple, no-frills shower curtain. Large patterns on shower curtains tend to overwhelm a smaller bathroom and make it feel less spacious. Stick with a sheer curtain or match the wall color to further enhance the feeling of openness.

You can also gain some floor space by replacing the sink cabinet with a pedestal style. You will lose some cabinet space, but you can usually more than make up for that loss by hanging a cabinet above the toilet. You can also save space by adding a sink that mounts directly to the wall. If you like having your sink in a cabinet, consider placing it in a smaller cabinet. There are dozens to choose from, in whatever color and style you want, at your local home improvement center.

If it is useful, you can opt for an antique cabinet or chest of drawers instead of the usual bathroom cabinet. Look for small chests at thrift stores and paint in your target buyer’s preferred colors. You may need to reconfigure the top drawers for plumbing. Cover with a solid surface countertop; the small piece won’t cost much compared to the dramatic impact it provides. You can end up with a container sink that sits on the counter for a great updated look.

The toilet can also be replaced with a smaller, more efficient style. Newer toilets generally have a smaller footprint and are not as tall as older toilets, allowing you to get an even larger cabinet to hang over the toilet.

The easiest way to add the illusion of space is with a new mirror, especially if you have a small old medicine cabinet over the sink, the kind with a stainless steel frame. These outdated medicine cabinets really date back to a home. Replace it with a mirror that spans the wall to the ceiling. Or find an oversized framed mirror and paint the frame to match your d├ęcor.

When organizing your bathroom, use towels to add softness to the hard space. Don’t use a lot of small pictures on the walls; they create a messy look and make the space feel smaller.

You don’t need to bring a demolition kit to create the look of a larger bathroom. It just takes some imagination and a few relatively simple upgrades, at a significantly lower price than tearing down walls!

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