Functional small bathroom ideas

I have a weeny bathroom. It has pink plastic walls, a ceiling that lifts up if you push too hard when cleaning, a toilet that I think is older than I am, and a bathtub that makes loud cracking noises when you shift your weight because the bottom keeps popping off the glue on the floor. It doesn’t even have proper ventilation!

It’s not pretty, and my mom has a disability which means it isn’t easy for her to climb in and out of the bathtub. And with three people using it, it can get pretty messy pretty quickly. In my situation (being both low-income and in a rental), it can be hard to come up with ideas to improve a bathroom. However, planning a renovation is always fun, even if you don’t get to actually pull it off!

Here are my choices for what I could do to my bathroom:

Step 1: Get rid of the terrible walls!

The first thing I would do is cover up the walls, and paint them a beautiful light color like this blue. I also love the light fixtures – all we have is a bare bulb sticking out of a junction box on the wall above our mirror. I am constantly terrified it will burn our house down. Sherwin-Williams recommends ‘Calico’ for this color, but I think I would go with Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore.

Step 2: Rip up the peeling linoleum and replace with tiles.

Plank sized tiles would help make the bathroom feel a lot bigger than it is, and would transition nicely through to our laundry room. My major concern would be whether tiles are appropriate for someone with a disability, and whether there is coatings that I could apply to make it safer.

Step 3: Remove the bath and put in a shower!

I love this style of shower! Because of the way our bathroom is laid out, the shower itself would have to be narrower. The room ends where the smallest section of the shower is, and we have a sliding door, so having it angled like that would bring so much more space into the room. A big bench is also a necessity for us – with three people, space for shampoo products is in high demand. The final thing I’d consider is having a linear drain against the wall rather than one in the middle, so that wibbly feet can stay steady.

Step 4: Install these pretty tiles and this showerhead!

Have I mentioned how much I love gray? The color of these tiles would go really beautifully with the blue paint, and subway tiles are definitely my favorite. I also adore overhead flat shower heads. Our current one is a sad old plastic one that sticks out of the wall, and is so low down that even I (at 5’1) have to lean back awkwardly in order to wash my hair. If I could set up my shower like this, against the wall with the window, I would be a happy chappy. Unfortunately, the bathroom window is how our cats get in and out of the house at night, so maybe having my shower here wouldn’t be practical.

Step 5: Replace the sliding door!

It’s even in the right shade of blue! Our current sliding door is a big slab of wood on a very old runner. It has rusty bits, the poor quality paint is cracking, and it appears to have just been slapped on as an after-thought. The good thing about it is that I can hang towel rails on it! We have one at the moment, but I’d like to switch it up and put one higher up and one lower down, so that all three of us aren’t trying to squidge six towels onto one little rail.

Step 6: Get better storage for the vanity!

This door organiser is actually a spice rack. It would be so handy for our bathroom, as our rather minimal counter space is cluttered with face wash, heat protecter, moisturizer, cotton buds – you name it, we probably just throw it on the counter. Our vanity has two fairly deep shelves, so storing daily use items on it is rather impractical. But with this door organiser, we could just quickly open the door and grab what we need without having to rummage around.

Step 7: Individual storage baskets inside the vanity!

Speaking of vanity storage, how cute are these Kobu baskets from The Holding Company? I’d get four of them – one for each of us, and then one for general items (like soap refills, guest supplies etc). Pulling out a basket is so much easier than trying to reach my little arms into the back of the cupboard. I usually have to kneel on the ground, and stuff is always falling over and getting mixed with everyone elses stuff. Baskets are not only practical, but they’re also quite attractive and making tidying up quick and easy.

Step 8: Install a half-wall to conceal the toilet from the view of the door!

It doesn’t need to be anything massive, but toilet-shielding walls are definitely a benefit in my book. It not only hides your toilet away from passers-by, but it also means that you have something to hide behind if someone accidentally opens the door while you’re on the loo! These clever critters have put a hand-towel loop on theirs – we usually have our hand towel on the normal towel rail, so having that tiny bit of extra space would be helpful.

Step 9: Add some shelving to the space above the toilet!

When I discovered this bathroom, I punched the air with victory. Finally, someone else had (almost) the same bathroom layout as I did! My toilet happens to be on the wall under the shelves, and our window is a little more out from the wall. I also love the vanity (shown in more detail here), the lighting, and the tapware! It’s so pretty and sophisticated, but also simple and functional.


Step 1o: And finally, replacing the toilet unit!

This back-to-wall round unit by Villeroy and Boch is the actual one that I want in my bathroom. It’s fairly compact compared to my ancient disintegrating unit. When I was measuring it out, I was so confused at the size, but the seat is actually still the same. It’s only the sad plastic tank that would be vamooshed, and it definitely needs to be! Maybe I can talk my landlord into replacing it?

I don’t know why I enjoy envisioning new bathrooms (or other rooms) so much. I hope that if you have ugly small bathroom woes, you gained some inspiration and remembered that just because your bathroom makes you sad, doesn’t mean that you can’t make improvements!

Love, Vanessa.

What issues do you have with your bathroom? For a sneak peak into what my bathroom looks like, albeit in small lighting, head here. Feel free to leave your comments on the Houzz thread as well!


4 thoughts on “Functional small bathroom ideas

    • I’m glad you liked it! My family doesn’t take baths, but an oasis does sound nice. Anything but salmon pink plastic walls!


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