Secondary bathrooms, such as the powder room and upstairs hall bath, are used by some of the most important people in your life — your kids, your guests, your mother, you.
In fact, it's guaranteed that everyone will spend some time in one of these bathrooms every single day. Making the most of these spaces, however, gets complicated with spatial and budget constraints.
Creative planning and a clever footprint can help your bath accommodate the family, guests — and maybe even the family dog.
1. Don't Hide Your Timbers
Remember that in timber homes, shower stalls and large mirrors over the vanity often will cover up some of the beautiful framing. "Be sure to place fixtures in locations where framing and braces can show to their best advantage," says Jonathan S. Vincent, AIA, director of design for Timberpeg. One way to do this is by situating two furniture-style vanities back-to-back in the center of a bath space. A two-sided mirror between them allows people to groom themselves in relative privacy.
2. Split Up Space
If you have kids or multiple guests staying at your home at once, they'll probably feel uncomfortable sharing a bath. The answer? Split the room into different compartments to establish a sense of privacy. A popular layout prominently places a double vanity or two sinks and a large soaking tub in the center of the floorplan. "Plan for two water closets and two shower compartments so that several people can use the bath at the same time," suggests Diane Foreman, a kitchen and bath designer with The Showplace Inc. in Redmond, Washington.
Storage has always been a necessary bathroom ingredient, and as we spend more time in there, it's become more important than ever. Medicine cabinets are bigger and deeper, and dresser-style vanities often include specialized storage for bath-related items. Drawer inserts intended to hold items in the kitchen are finding new life as a way to organize soaps and lotions in the bath. Large furniture-style chests are great for storing towels, bottles and grooming appliances. No matter what square footage and space constraints you're working with, hiring an experienced bath designer can help you make the most of your general-purpose bathrooms. Visit the National Kitchen and Bath Association's web site (www.nkba.org) to find a certified bath designer in your area.
4. Eliminate Swinging Doors
Standard doors that swing open into a room are huge space hogs. So in bathrooms with limited square footage, install pocket doors that tuck into the wall.
5. Supe Up the Shower
For people with hectic schedules, a soak in the tub is a once-in-a-while luxury, so the shower is key. Customize the experience so there's enough room for two. Install multiple showerheads, body sprays, steam nozzles and hand showers to create a spa-like environment. Kohler's Water Tile line features 22 spray nozzles that provide stimulating hydrotherapy. The sprayer is fully adjustable and can be installed on a wall, at an angle or even in the ceiling for a waterfall effect.
6. Create More Room
Once a simple 5-by-8-foot rectangle, general-use baths are now turning into suites of rooms with each space designated for a specific purpose, whether it's using the commode, showering or brushing teeth. Increasing the size of the bathroom helps accommodate more people and allows you to create a more functional floorplan in the alloted space. Consider "stealing" square footage from an adjacent bedroom closet or hall to create more room in modestly sized homes.
Baths for the Masses
They're the rooms in your home that everybody uses, so do some primary planning for your secondary baths with these expert tips.