A translucent shower curtain lets in light and makes the room appear a few feet larger.
Itsy bitsy bath got you down? Does the mere thought of a houseguest peeking in your medicine cabinet keep you up at night? If so, your should-be sanctuary needs serious help. The first step is to stop treating the cramped quarters like a catchall for miscellaneous junk and give it the same respect you would your living room or kitchen. (Hey, unless you live alone, it's your one true source of privacy in the house.) Once you realize you can't judge a bath by its square footage, you'll start making the most of your space-from taking stock of what you have, to employing a few trompe l'oeil tricks. Follow these five steps, and we'll help you forget that the maximum capacity of your bath is still just one.
So you wanna... Face your clutter head on
Simplify your stuff for a sense of openness.
- Grab the biggest trash bag you can find and head to the bath. Open up the medicine cabinet and start tossing. Reserve it for daily essentials like pills, shavers, and floss.
- Move cleaning supplies to the room where you're most likely to use them. (What's a can of shoe polish doing under your bathroom sink anyway?) That goes for items you'll need while the facility is occupied, like a first-aid kit.
- Keep under-the-sink toiletries in coordinating storage boxes. Make sure they have tops, so you can stack them easily. Label the outside with the contents or a name.
- Limit your visible accessories. If you pile up all of your clean towels, reduce the stack; replenish as needed.
- Keep floors and surfaces tidy. When you see more floor, a small space seems larger. Anything protruding too far from the wall can make the room seem to shrink.
Hang chrome hooks on the wall for towels, a back brush, or a cozy bathrobe.
So you wanna... Use neglected spaces
Take advantage of wasted walls and corners.
- Take your magazine rack to new heights by hanging it on the wall. Make sure you can reach it from the loo.
- Use a window ledge to display a plant or a colorful floral arrangement to distract the eye from the room itself.
- Buy a shelving unit that fits over the toilet tank. Try the InterMetro étagère from the Container Store-three sturdy shelves provide 1,000 square inches of storage.
- Hang a rack on the back of the door. Guests will never see it from the hallway, and you'll appreciate the conve-
nience. The easy-to-install Hinge-It towel and clothes rack from Bed Bath & Beyond has four 16-inch arms providing at least five more feet of storage space.
So you wanna... Find storage
Be creative-your options are endless.
- Think vertical. Invest in a narrow, floor-to-ceiling storage unit for behind the door. Frosted-glass cabinet doors hide unattractive contents and let in light.
- Pick petite furniture that really does double duty, like a bench that opens for storage and provides a surface for sitting and stacking towels.
- Hide what you don't want to flaunt in sleek, slim canisters. Hold Everything's Baxter Collection conceals a toilet plunger, bowl brush, and four rolls of paper.
So you wanna... Brighten up the place
Use light to make a space look dramatically bigger.
- A light color scheme gives the illusion of more room. Try neutrals and pastels, and keep patterns to a minimum.
- Place wall sconces on either side of a mirror, or install a row of halogen bulbs above a wide vanity as task lighting.
- Ricochet light with a chrome faucet, mirrored cabinets, and other reflective surfaces, such as a polished marble vanity.
- Find a huge mirror, and hang it or lean it against a wall. Try two mirrors side by side or a wide horizontal model.
In the linen closet, store extra vanity items in baskets with tall sides to hide contents.
So you wanna... Keep bath fixtures to scale
Downsize slightly for an astounding difference.
- Replace your standard toilet with a wall-mounted one that frees up floor space. Opt for a rounded rather than elongated bowl, which extends out a few extra inches.
- Switch to a new pedestal, wall-hung, or corner sink. American Standard's Corner Minette wall-mounted sink or Ellisse Petite pedestal sink are good options. Then consider a narrow, 18-inch-wide vanity to replace your 24-inch version.
- Opt for a modest bathtub. Try a 4-foot-long tub or the ProFlex 5454 corner bath from Kohler to save space.
We're not saying you should run out and buy up all of the travel-size toiletries from the 99-cent bulk bins at the drug store. But just give one of these mini models a try:
- Petite and surprisingly powerful, Brookstone's dual-voltage 800-watt hair dryer, $20, folds in half.
- Replace loose items under your sink with the all-in-one Traveler's personal care kit, $80 from the Sharper Image. It includes everything from tweezers to a lint brush.
- It won't make you lose weight, but you'll get a wee bit of exercise by sliding the mini Thinner chrome and glass scale, $50 from , under low furniture.