Small Bathroom Ideas: How to make your long/narrow water closet space fun and interesting.

Many Victorian homes had a narrow toilet/water closet space for visitors to use.   For those facing a remodel of this space the question was….how to make it seem less like a tunnel???

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Many city/remodel codes require varied measurements for space between toilet fixture, so relocation of these items is very difficult.  The answer then lies in making what you have renewed and exciting.

In the Victorian/Edwardian era of design architects designed rooms with at least one window of ventilation because these homes were not outfitted with central air nor electricity.  Cross flow ventilation was the only system creating breeze and airflow in the home.

Our special photograph demonstrating one creative idea for a “tunnel water closet”.  It might be called…” Have Fun” … showing framed friends/family photographs on the walls.   But look further and you will see under the photographs a wallcovering. Another design idea is a bead board paneling the height of the wall under the window around the entire space creating a separated area for photos/artwork.   

Most of us think a sink must protrude into the space but look….an elongated sink made for two is unobtrusive.  And next to the sink is a heated towel holder. Many of the old homes have moisture and towels don’t dry properly…thus heated towel holders work well.

Let’s try some creative ideas….

  • This space would most likely (in the old world) be used not only for comfort but also to make certain grooming was up to date. And so, a larger mirror perhaps with side sconces (electrical in our day, candle in Victorian times) to make certain grooming was perfect.
  • Although we can’t see it a ceiling fixture was probably the only source of lighting and it can be a real stunner….not only for lighting but for artistic style.
  • Plants in the window well are a welcomed addition and perhaps adding more to this area and maybe adding glass shelves over the water closet for a more environmental feel. Don’t forget plants can be a wonderful addition to the floor by the w/c (Water Closet) and the window well as well as glass shelves above the w/c
  • Color !!!! why not choose wild wall covering for the upper part of the room and a corresponding color for the bottom wainscoting…. go ahead, be wild.
  • Photos deserve a special area…. how about to the right/left of each sconce.  Each group is tightly formed creating a feeling of a subject.
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Room Dividers

Photo: Traditional Home

The use of screens as room dividers are a wonderful, creative and aesthetic way of dividing a space into smaller useable areas or covering unwanted/unattractive architectural elements in a home or apartment unit. Many think using screens or a type of divider in a small space will make the area feel claustrophobic, however, in reality, the space seems warmer and more cohesive.

It is always difficult to review a magazine photograph and make evaluations based only on that one photograph, however, since that is what we must work with we will begin there. Let’s evaluate as many elements of the photograph as we can.

It seems as if this is an architecturally standard style of condominium in any of our large cities.  At the ceiling area behind the screen, you will see a column which is part of the building itself. It seems this and perhaps other unattractive building elements want to be hidden by the owner. A screen is the perfect solution.

The fabric on the screen divider is a stripe and when cut and sewn creates a pattern resembling a diamond look.  

Based on the design of the fireplace area, the space, is transitional/traditional.  The paint color on the mantle and legs might have been a warmer beige as found in the background of the screen fabric.  The fireplace tile surround might have been more interesting with a small ethnic strip of tile inserted.

It seems this room is used as a game room with the room’s colors chosen from the felt on the pool table.  But what if the space was used as a gathering area for friends?

The textural/ethnic chairs are a perfect addition to the space.  And why not chose a smaller/more ethnic coffee …one not quite so imposing/large to house drinks, and small mementos of travels or memories.   

The floor lamp and small terra cotta ceramic table by the larger chair are wonderful additions and utilize the concept of layering.  

Wallcovering is becoming very popular and these walls use a textured terra cotta selection on the walls again adding depth and texture.  

Perhaps we would change out the mirror above the mantle for a more ethnic/textural design.  This could be a piece of sentimental value taking a prominent place above the mantle.

Rather than false flames in the firebox area, how about just a wonderful gathering of firewood placed in the firebox.  This adds reality and texture.

On the left side, if you look closely, is another fabric pattern.   This is lovely and could be brought more vividly into the main space.   

Remember, love is in the details and create your space based upon your vision and dreams…not those of others.   We send love.

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Wall Treatments – Fabric

Photo Credit: HouseBeautiful

Although paint is a favorite and quick remedy for a room wall change, think about fabric to create a warm and inviting place to rest or read a book.

This cozy nook is created with fabric covered walls and matching daybed fabric. The lamp shade and the small wall nook are also covered in the fabric. Creating a wall and upholstered pieces with a self-fabric, (same fabric) is a splendid way to show warmth in this small space.

  • Often smaller “forgotten” spaces have irregular wall dimensions.
  • Here the white built-in cabinetry fits perfectly into the small “L” corner giving useful book and miscellaneous storage space.
  • The client has provided small stools and ottomans for additional seating and for use as a small coffee table
  • To balance the white built-ins the designer has provided a white framed picture wall.
  • The eclectic and various colors of pillows on the daybed area create warmth, interest, and color but don’t detract from the other design elements of the room.

Go ahead, be creative. Take a small space and let your imagination run wild. Upholster the walls, add wall art and lighting. You are on your way to a rest/guest area called heaven!!!!

Remember when you are creating your space love is in the details.

Should you have questions or comments please e-mail me at

Paula Albinson

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