Quick Fixes for Our (Tiny) Bathroom
Have you ever come across an article about decorating and living in a small space and eagerly opened for ideas for your own home? Maybe it’s about making the most of a small kitchen or something titled “Small Space Solutions.” You get comfy and open it up, and perhaps you are disappointed to see that the “small” space pictured is like three times the size of your own kitchen (or bathroom or bedroom, or whatever). That’s what I experience with our main floor bathroom. No, actually, I don’t even experience the disappointment, because I know I’ve never seen a smaller bathroom than this, and there’s no way said article will feature a bathroom smaller than ours. Unless it’s like a public bathroom stall. Seriously.
Our main floor bathroom started out, I am almost certain, as a pantry. Our Chicago bungalow was built in 1918 when most homes had a single bathroom located on the second floor (unless it was a 1.5 story bungalow in which the single bathroom was on the main floor). At some point, plumbing was set up and a toilet was added in this space, but there was not room for a sink. When we first moved in, I considered looking into a tiny sink like this, but I imagine paying for the water hookup for this would not be worth it. So we have continued with the solution a previous owner set up: a sink built in to the toilet tank.
What, you’ve never heard of this? Neither had our house inspector, who shared that he had inspected thousands of homes in his career. When we flush the toilet in this bathroom, the tiny faucet on the tank turns on. Cold water comes through (it doesn’t have access to water from the water heater) and flows into the drain and from there into the tank, which is what then fills the bowl for the next flush. The water turns off after filling the tank.
When someone new is at our house and uses the restroom, we always have to give a little disclaimer about no, you don’t have to turn the water off, yes, it will turn off on its own. I’ve actually considered making a sign with an explanation.
So, like I said, adding a cute tiny sink didn’t make sense, so we left this as is. However, there were aesthetic issues we really wanted to deal with in this bathroom. Like the green speckled tile on the walls. And the white linoleum floor. And the medicine cabinet with dated floral ornamentation.
Our kitchen remodel took care of the floors in the bathroom. We brought the grey porcelain tiles into this bathroom, which is right off the kitchen. When it came to the walls, it just didn’t seem worth the labor of tearing down the ugly tile to add subway tile to such a small bathroom. So I painted the tile.
Did you know there is paint for tile? Maybe you did. I went to the hardware store and asked about it, and I was shown a paint called “Kilz.” The hardware store employee seemed skeptical but when I explained the space and not wanting to invest in the mess of new tile, he got it. I painted a few coats over the green, and man, is this stuff toxic. Especially in a tiny space where the windows don’t open far. I took many breaks to keep from passing out.
For the price and difference it made, the paint was well worth it. I intended to paint the top of the walls (the tile only goes up about 2/3 of the way) pink or something equally feminine and soft, but ended up leaving it white. We removed the boxy medicine cabinet, which even at its small size was using up too much space in this tiny room, and added a flat oval mirror from Home Depot. Below the mirror we added a small glass shelf to house a soap dispenser, and we also replaced a towel hook with a towel ring. Since we lost the medicine cabinet that was holding extra toilet paper, I added a copper wire basket on the floor to hold extra TP and other miscellaneous bathroom items.
Small, quick fixes to make this little bathroom way less sore on the eye. It’s great to have a bathroom on all floors, especially when you can make them a bright, clean space.