You have a pot to piss in, but that's about it. Here's how to work around-or embrace-a cramped commode.
GET VERTICAL WITH STRIPES
Boring beige or white paint doesn’t necessarily make a small WC seem bigger. Take TOC Features editor Laura Baginski's bathroom: She painted the walls with thin, vertical stripes of celery and complementary pale green to draw the eye up, which makes the room feel airier. “The bathroom is one place where you can take a risk with flashy paint or crazy wallpaper,” Baginski says. “Because there isn’t much wall space to cover, even the boldest prints don’t feel overwhelming—not to mention it takes less paint or wallpaper to cover it than, say, a bedroom, which is a money saver.”
TRY THIS AT HOME
Go with two shades of the same color for a more subtle look (Baginski used Benjamin Moore’s Agave and Grasshopper), and keep the stripes about two inches thick to make the effect more sophisticated, less circus. Go to YouTube for tips on painting stripes.
If you need more storage, opt for an open shelving unit rather than one with doors to avoid a blocky look. West Elm no longer carries the shelving Baginski bought, but its S wall shelf ($119, below) is similar.
Keep your beauty accoutrements looking neat by storing them in boxes: Baginski puts her lipstick, mascara and other items in sleek white resin boxes she bought at CB2 ($5.50–$7.50). —Liz Plosser
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Many Chicago apartments are cursed with tiny bathrooms. But how many are so small that the door hits the tub when you walk in? The 38-square-foot bathroom in Lindsay Beller’s Ravenswood condo is just that small, but she made it much more livable with some smart fixes. First, she reversed the hinges so the door swings out into the hallway, rather than into the bathroom. But the windowless room still “felt like a small dungeon, which is why I opened up the window at the end of the tub,” she explains. “When I say opened, I mean this window, which faces an open air shaft in my building, had been drywalled over during the condo conversion in the early 1990s.… My contractor broke through the wall and there it was.” Lastly, Beller replaced the sink with a pedestal version, which eliminated some storage, so she added a cabinet above the toilet.
TRY THIS AT HOME
Because they lack boxy under-sink cabinets, curvy pedestal sinks, like the Pegasus Brielle version from Home Depot ($99, left), fit well in tight spaces. Regain the storage you’ve eliminated with a wall-mounted cabinet, such as the Chesterfield cabinet from Target ($80).
If you own your place and your bathroom wall faces the outside, consider hiring a contractor to create a window. “The window makes the shower feel a lot bigger and also lets in fresh air and natural light,” Beller says.
You’d think reversing the way your door swings would be easy, but it takes some skill to make sure the hinges are recessed properly and the lockset is installed right. If your DIY skills are scant, hire a contractor as Beller did. —Laura Baginski