Building Better Bathrooms

Is there a traffic jam in your bathroom? Do you find yourself bumping into your family or the walls while brushing your teeth? If so, it may be time to make your bathroom more functional by rethinking how you use the space.

According to Better Homes and Gardens magazine’s Web site, a standard size bathroom is 35-to-80 square feet. A typical master bath is 100 square feet or more. While it may be small compared to other rooms in the house, this standard space can really open up when you combine your personal preferences and style with how you want to use the bathroom.

Assessing Your Bathroom’s Space

When homeowners create a new room plan, they should start out with the big-picture question: “In a perfect world, what would your bathroom feel like?” In the past, answers have been “like the outside brought indoors” or “like a cottage on the lake.”

Hidden in both of those answers was a key to a successful room plan — the concept of space. You can use the same square footage to create an open, shared space or a private, cozy space. The difference is how traffic patterns and designs can work together to result in a completely different feel.

When you’re reassessing your bathroom’s space, ask yourself the following questions to pinpoint a design that is the most functional for you.

• How many people will use this bathroom? Will they use it at the same time?

• Rethink the essentials. Do you need double sinks or a bidet in the guest bath?

• Take out fixtures that do not meet your functionality. If you are adding fixtures, look for adjoining space to add to your bathroom. Closets and fifth bedrooms are great options for more space.

Another great idea to thin out traffic in the bathroom is to add a sink to another room. This not only saves space in the bathroom, but it also allows for more privacy by splitting the areas into two rooms. A single-mount faucet is a simple, sleek option that can blend with updated traditional and contemporary styles.

• How much privacy do you need? Should the toilet be placed in a separate room? Popular in the ’80s and ’90s, separate water closets have become a standard in new home design. Many bathroom designs tuck the toilet into a corner or separate space, out of sight from the bathroom’s entrance.

If space is still an issue, a half wall or glassed partition can give the feel of more privacy without gobbling up square footage.

• What is your bathing routine? Do you need a shower or a tub or both? If there are multiple bathrooms in your home, there may be the opportunity to simplify function in one or more to open up space.

• How does this bathroom work in the overall house plan? Do you need to move entrances or change doors? Simply changing a hinged door to a sliding pocket door can convert a tight space into plenty of room.

In addition to asking yourself these questions, you can assess your bathroom through the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s online questionnaire at www.nkba.com. In particular, the last survey section about room orientation is another tool to help you rethink your bathroom space and function.

— Courtesy of ARA Content

More from Around New York