Making the most of a small space
By BETH MCKAYPlumbing
Manufacturers step up with products that work in pint-sized loos.
According to an October 2015 report from Urbanation, a company that tracks Toronto’s high rise condo market, the average condo size in Toronto has dropped to 743 ft² – that is 24 ft² less than the reports from 2014.
So, what does this decreased size, in an already compact living space, mean for typically the smallest room in a home? The bathroom must also take a hit in the drive to reduce square footage. Aside from painting the walls light colours, and choosing minimalistic designs, there are ways to seemingly increase space by selecting appropriate fixtures.
Aude Simard, shower doors and kits product marketing manager for MAAX Bath, says it is important to make sure to utilize the corners of the room to their full potential, otherwise corners can become wasted space. “A corner tub can create space in a small room, it gets rid of the need to have room on two of the sides of the tub,” says Simard.
She further explained that MAAX asked designers who specialize in condos in Toronto and Vancouver, about the best ways to approach the layout for small bathrooms. The designers were presented with full size tubs and showers, as well as half size fixtures that fit more readily in small spaces. “What we have seen from these designers, is they would rather jeopardize either the tub or the shower in order to get one of the components in full size, rather than have two half size appliances,” Simard says.
“With some people living in 500 square feet, a tub is simply a space luxury that can’t be afforded,” says Lisa Canning, interior designer and TV personality for HGTV’s Marriage Under Construction. She explained that walk in showers save space in tight places and are a great focal point for a small bathroom. Canning also suggests that, when possible, contractors should add a small niche in showers to provide extra storage for frequently-used products.
Storage is key in a tiny bathroom and a vanity is one way to keep clutter it to a minimum. “A compact, floating vanity will instantly create a modern aesthetic,” says Canning. Alternatively, a report from Kohler suggests using a wall mounted or pedestal sink. Though these styles do not offer a lot of storage space, their small size leaves room for a console table. According to the report from Kohler, console tables expand the perception of space because of their slender leg design.
The faucet in a tiny bathroom is the jewellery piece, “so it is important to choose it properly in terms of size and height,” says Kathleen Saint-Yves, marketing manager at Riobel. She suggests a single hole or wall-mounted faucet as they complement small rooms.
Upgrading a toilet to a compact model will create a sleek aesthetic for the room. “I’m a fan of a one piece toilet. In a small bathroom, I try to eliminate as much visual clutter as possible – so the simple form of a one piece toilet is so appealing to me,” says Canning. Some companies also offer tankless and wall mounted varieties that leave the wall behind the toilet exposed. Canning says this space is great for additional storage, like a closed wall cabinet to hide clutter.