The smallest rooms in a home often require the most attention to detail and the bathroom is no exception. As the epicenter of the morning hustle and bustle, a well-organized and functional space can help make your home (and life!) a bit slower.The general guidelines suggest that a Slow Home have an appropriate number of well organized and modestly sized bathrooms. Delving a bit deeper, here are some additional strategies to try, whether you're starting from scratch or making the most of what you have.
1. Keep it small: Unless you have many people sharing a single bathroom, there's really no reason to make a bathroom bigger than the standard 5'x8'. Controlling the size of the room limits the amount of energy and materials used and saves time on cleaning.
2. Reconsider what you really need: A walk-in shower and soaking tub? Most people find that they actually only use one or the other on a regular basis. If you can't choose, install a shower/tub combo with a tub deep enough to relax in.
Two sinks or one? If you share your bathroom, consider installing one sink but don't center it on the vanity. This provides usable counter space next to the sink, allowing two people to get ready at the same time.
3. Invest in quality fixtures and materials: Instead of spending money on square footage, purchase durable fixtures and materials that will stand up to the daily use. Opt for plumbing fixtures that are water efficient and well-made.
4. Get creative about storage: Many bathrooms (especially in older homes or apartments) don't have adequate storage. While there are all sorts of over-the-toilet and shower caddies out there, look for options that reduce eye-level visual clutter. Consider shallow wall ledges, low benches with baskets below, or behind-the-door storage.
5. Rework bad storage: Many bathrooms include the ubiquitous vanity with a single cabinet under the sink. While the storage space is great, it's easy for things to get lost in the depths of the cabinet. Reorganize the space by installing pull-out drawers, shelves or a combination of the two. If you can see it, you'll be able to better keep tabs of what you have and avoid buying unnecessary products or supplies.
6. Don't underestimate the medicine cabinet: Medicine cabinets may seem like a product of the past, but they certainly have a place in the modern bathroom. Shallow in depth, they provide space for daily use items that are clearly visible and within easy reach. Products with a mirrored door serve double-duty and save space. And don't let aesthetics scare you off, several companies (like Robern) are making clean, modern versions.
7. Be smart about outlets: If possible, reduce counter clutter by locating outlets used for charging small appliances (like an electric toothbrush or razor) in a discreet location like inside a cabinet or shelf. (Just be sure to use a GFI or other wet location rated outlet if you're anywhere close to water.)
8. Use natural light to your advantage: Because a bathroom is most heavily used during morning hours, take advantage of natural light by installing windows, skylights or solar tubes (if you don't have access to an exterior wall). Not only does this save energy but it's a more calming way to start your day!