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Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Posted by sigh (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 16:58

Since I'm being unwillingly dragged into a gut and redo of our downstairs bath I thought that I'd turn to those far more knowledgeable (and likely with much better taste) for advice.

The downstairs bath is a full bath, 5' x 8'. We're taking out the tub & replacing it with a shower. The demon is that there are 22" between the wall and the toilet and I need to fit a sink in those 22". There's a catch...the heating vent is on the wall immediately to the right of the sink so the sink/vanity/bucket-on-a-stand can't go flush to the wall. I'm ruling out a pedestal sink because we need some sort of storage. The vanity that we have in there now is 18" wide and I couldn't go any wider than that.

Pickings for 18" or less are slim to nonexistent. Ikea's Lillangen sink base is 15 3/4" wide but I hate the sink that is made to go with it. I have the idea of using a square, 16" vessel sink on top of the Lillangen...kind of like making it into a pedestal with storage...but there my thought process sputters and dies. I know that I can't be the only person with a tiny bathroom!

Oh yes, the sink and toilet are on the same wall, right next to each other.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Is there anyway that you could do a wall-mounted vanity so that the heating vent isn't blocked. This way you could still get some storage. That might open up your options on vanities.

This is hard to imagine without a layout or picture, so my suggestion may be pretty far off.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Can you post a layout of your bathroom? We remodeled a very small bath - smaller in fact than yours. I wish I had a photo handy but this bathroom is in our second home. We took out a tub and put in a small glassed in shower and moved the toilet to the shower wall. Even so, on the sink wall, we needed a very small sink over a heater. We used a petite vessel sink (from Signature Hardware I think - it wasn't expensive) over a custom floating (wall-mounted) vanity. The vanity has storage on shelves (no drawers) on either side of the sink. The vanity was actually not that expensive - I found a good finish carpenter and he designed and fit it to our space. I think a wall mounted sink and vanity would be your best bet. I found lots of inspiration photos on line. Hope that helps!


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

How hard would it be to close off the vent so you could add a different type of heater? maybe a toe kick under your vanity?


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Thank you all so much. I never considered a wall mounted vanity...I'll have to start looking at those.

My mentioning the heating vent is more to rule out a corner vanity or a 22" flush to the side wall vanity. As it is now there is 2 1/2" clearance between the side of the vanity and the heating vent. The vanity does not block the heat (actually this becomes the toastiest room in the house since it's so small & has a vent all to itself). The problem is cleaning the area between the vanity and the wall. An extra inch or two of clearance would mean that I could actually get in there with something other than a broom, sideways. Of course a wall mounted vanity would make everything accessible and still give me storage.

I saw this vanity & sink combo and I like the look:
http://vigoindustries.com/product/16inch_aristo_single_bathroom_vanity_vg09010118k#

However, it's close to 600$ for the vanity & sink combo. Cost is an issue. It seems like the smaller the vanity the more expensive they become. The Lillangen measures 15 3/4" wide by 15" deep. I found a square vessel sink with integrated faucet hole that measures 16" deep by 15 3/4" wide. If I put a top on the Lillangen in order to support the vessel I could get a very similar look to the Vigo vanity for about a quarter of the price.

I'll post a layout so that you all can see the dilemma. I really, really appreciate the advice and suggestions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vigo Aristo vanity


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Well, you know, I like ikea and plan to use their godmorgon line myself, but I will say that the lillangen is not very good quality IMHO. Have you seen it in person? They've radically improved their newer offerings, but the older ones are very much what people object to about ikea. You didn't mention in your other thread that you're seriously considering the vigo. I'd watch overstock--vigo shows up there pretty often at much lower prices.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Thanks writersblock, I haven't managed to see the Lillangen in person and I don't want to put poor quality items in the bathroom because that's what we're dealing with now. The crappiest of glue and sawdust construction dissolving in the humidity.

I first saw the Vigo on Overstock and thought that it was ideal, just the look that I wanted (not crazy about the wenge but I can work with that)...but I balked at the nearly 600.00 price. I figured that there had to be a way to do it for less. I know that the Ikea kitchen cabinets were well made. I just assumed that their bathroom cabinets were as well.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Have you looked into moving the heating vent? When I remodeled my powder room, there was a heating vent directly under the vanity that would have been problematic because I wanted to switch from a vanity to a pedestal sink. I re-routed the vent to be on the opposite side of the room. Perhaps you could route the vent to come out under the vanity or elsewhere in the room?


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Olychick suggested moving the vent as well and I meant to adress that. I hadn't considered moving the vent but if we're gutting the room anyway it might not be that big a deal.

Still, the room is small and I'm afraid that putting an even bigger vanity in it (which we could do if we moved the vent but no bigger than 22") would make it look overstuffed. But it is something to think about. Thanks!


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

>I know that the Ikea kitchen cabinets were well made. I just assumed that their bathroom cabinets were as well.

Godmorgon and Hemnes are, but not the older models. There's a big difference in the warranty, too, between those and the rest, IIRC.

EDIT Although you don't like them, the sinks are better than the cabinets for the lillangen line. I know a lot of people who've used the sinks with better quality cabs. You know, you might look at ikeahacker. There are a lot of vanity DIYs there, and you might get an idea for something you could use. If you're not set on using the ikea sinks, you have a lot more options for what you can use. A nightstand or something like that, for example. You can use almost anything for a vessel sink base.

This post was edited by writersblock on Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 11:19


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Ugh, I just hate the sink that fits in the 15" Lillangen. The one for the larger (ie too big) size is perfect, just the style that I'm looking for. And the Godmorgon cabinets are perfect, stylewise, just too wide. One of the kitchen cabinet bases is a good width but too deep.

I've been spending some time checking out Ikeahackers, which is such an awesome site. I just don't have the energy for that degree of creativity. But maybe I'll get some ideas. If I do do a vessel sink I'm not married to a purpose built vanity. I just need to find....something that's less than 18" wide.

I sound like Goldilocks...this one's too big...this one's too small....

But I appreciate the advice.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

People over at Ikeafans.com are always cutting down cabinets. I've seen many threads where people cut down the depth of kitchen cabinets, and I imagine there are those who cut the width on the Godmorgan. I haven't tried it, but you never know...

If you found a regular vanity cabinet that sits on the floor, maybe you could open up the toe-kick area to create a chanel for the vent air to run through. We have a vent right under a kitchen cabinet, and the previous owners just left the front toe kick of that cabinet open. You could even run a small tubular vent thing if you wanted to direct the air. But I don't know if your vent is at floor level or higher, so YMMV.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Toe kick vents are very popular and shouldn't be hard to do, assuming you're removing the drywall. It's possible there could be plumbing in that wall, unless it's an outside wall.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Why don't you get an 18" kitchen cabinet from Ikea, attach a false front on top for the sink, and a use a regular door? The false front and door could either be Ikea or custom. You could get a matching side panel as well to make it look more finished. Your counter and sink could then be whatever you want.

I used Ikea kitchen cabinets for one of my bathrooms.

Bath Thread with pics of Ikea base cabinets as vanity

Here is a link that might be useful: AKURUM Base cab


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

The kitchen base cabinets are either 12 or 24" deep. That's either too shallow or a lot of extra inches vs the 15 for lillangen, and in a small bath it makes a difference.

If you're good at DIY you could always cut down the depth.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

kmcg- I'm hoping/planning to leave the toekick area open so that the heat can flow (and so that I can reach to clean).

I don't believe that there's any plumbing in that wall but you never know with this house. Since it's going to have to be gutted to the studs all will be revealed.

I need to go back and measure how deep the existing vanity is, along with how much space I have between the back wall and the door frame. I love the kitchen cabinet idea, however writersblock summed it up perfectly, I'm afraid that 24" is much too deep for that room.

Your bathrooms look great annkathryn but it looks like you had a lot more space to work with.

I'm not overly handy with saws and power tools. I can copy what's already been done, replace a rotted door jamb by using the original as a template for example but I'm afraid that serious reqorkings are beyond my skills. I can totally rock paint, plaster and putty. I'm wondering how involved it would be to cut down a Hemnes sink base (make it narrower) and use door and drawer fronts from the kitchen cabinets? Maybe a trip to Ikea to check out the damages area & see if I can scavenge something?

Ugh, I also need to go back and measure the exact dimensions and locations of that heating vent.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Good point about the cabinet depth. The 24" deep cabinets can be cut down to 22 or 20 inches with no problem.

Also you might want to consider a wall-hung toilet. Regardless, you'll need to make sure your toilet clearance meets current code.

I have a 6 x 8 foot bath so was able to get in a 30" vanity. I used a wall-hung toilet there.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

>I'm wondering how involved it would be to cut down a Hemnes sink base (make it narrower) and use door and drawer fronts from the kitchen cabinets?

The problem is the drawers. You'd have to cut those down, too.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

I don't believe you could use anything from the kitchen line with hemnes without a huge amount of rejiggering. The quality is similar to the kitchens, the sizes are not. Neither is the drawer construction. The kitchens use Blum tandembox drawers. I think hemnes uses a wooden drawer like the godmorgon series, but I'm not sure. I know it's not a tandembox, though. This would be a much bigger project than cuttting down a kitchen cabinet base.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

I want as little rejiggering as possible. You're right it looks like the Hemnes cabinets are all inclusive, not pick the base from column A and the drawers or door from column B.

I need to sketch these things out...maybe share my "vision" for what I want the sink & vanity to look like?

Annkathryn, I envy you that extra 1'!


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Yes, a sketch and a floor plan would help a lot. Even an inspiration photo would be some help.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

What about this vanity with sink, 263.00 on Overstock

Here is a link that might be useful: bathroom vanity


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Perhaps mentioned already, but consider cutting a hole in the side of the vanity and running a duct inside the vanity down through the base of the cabinet (90 degree bend, straight down the inside of the cabinet into the opening under the vanity).

An opening on the vanity toe kick plate either facing the front to keep your toes warm when using the sink or facing the left side (facing the toilet) to warm that area up will work.

I have a kitchen cabinet sitting right over a floor vent. We put an opening in the toe kick and it works like a charm. The cavity under the cabinet is more or less sealed so all the air has to escape out the opening we provided (which has a wood vent on it painted to match the cabinets).


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Thank you all so much. Here's the plan for the downstairs bath as it is right now. Each square = 2" so the bath looks quite spacious, doesn't it? My placement for the toilet is off as there's actually only 4" between the edge of the sink and the top of the toilet tank.

The tub is coming out & being replaced by a shower. Room dimensions are roughly 5' x 8' (old house, nothing is plumb or square)

Nosoccermom- while I'm not in love with the look of the vanity you linked to I can certainly learn to appreciate it if I can't make my "vision" work for a reasonable price. Thanks so much, I don't know how I missed that one!

Torontotim- we have a vent in the toe kick in the kitchen (under the sink) and it is delightful. The counter above that vent is one of the areas I use when I'm leaving dough to rise during the winter. I hadn't thought of re-routing the one in the bathroom and it's such an obvious, smart suggestion.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Could something like this work? Not sure how much room for rerunning the duct to the floor is needed...but...here you go.

I used the Kohler Wellworth toilet for size..

Can you get a custom vanity made?

Also everything is to scale based on a 60" x 96" bathroom. One other thing, find out what the code is for the toilet clearance, i'm assuming it's 15" from center? If not then maybe you can find/have built a slightly larger vanity.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Could something like this work? Not sure how much room for rerunning the duct to the floor is needed...but...here you go.

I used the Kohler Wellworth toilet for size..

Can you get a custom vanity made?

Also everything is to scale based on a 60" x 96" bathroom. One other thing, find out what the code is for the toilet clearance, i'm assuming it's 15" from center? If not then maybe you can find/have built a slightly larger vanity.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

here's one with a smaller vanity and more room for the ductwork.

AND, if you go with a custom vanity maybe you can have little cubbies made for towels or toiletries in the top portion of the filler area.

This post was edited by kali2024 on Tue, Dec 11, 12 at 11:06


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

OK one last one...So the previous ideas were that you weren't going to move the vent just add ductwork to force the air to come out of the toe kick..

This idea is if you relocated the vent to the floor, then you'd be able to get a 30" vanity...I went a little nuts on this as I love to play around with layouts..not my pictures.

This post was edited by kali2024 on Tue, Dec 11, 12 at 11:24


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

wait a minute... I just reread your post... 22" between toilet and wall? on a 5x8 bathroom? Something seems off.. what is the length of your bathroom? The above calculations are based on an 8' long bathroom. Can you attach a pic? Is the toilet really far away from the tub? Seems like you should have more than 22" between toilet and wall.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Kali2024...you are awesome! I screwed up my measurements regarding the toilet and will have to re-measure when I get home tonight. The left edge of the toilet tank is pretty much right next to the edge of the tub liner. I'll take a picture tonight, too. I hope everybody needs a laugh.

I don't know why I was so resistant to running the vanity right up to the corner...maybe the result of 19 years of hating how the vent was blocked and hom impossible it was to clean between the wall & the vanity? I needed you guys to point out the obvious (redirect it, dopey, you're gutting the room back to the studs anyway). I really think that it shouldn't be too involved to just have the heat come out of the toe kick area. I'm not a fan of floor vents as there's always the risk that things can roll down into them. Plus at our house they will usually end up covered by a cat.


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

HAHAH! I didn't mean have them in the floor facing up... I meant to have them running on the floor vertically. I think you should be able to do something like this under the vanity and add a decorative face to the toe kick to somewhat conceal it..


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RE: Suggestions for a tiny bathroom?

Kali- very clever! You don't even notice the vent unless you're crawling on the ground.

Speaking of...the bathroom is so small that I can't get a head on picture of the sink & toilet area. I'll sketch a mock up of how it is, using graph paper. Correctly this time, because...

I made a major, major error in the floor plan that I posted. I have a total of 46" of wall space from the corner to the edge of the tub. 46" for toilet and vanity, not the spacious 62" that I have in my sketch. I was basing my bathroom measurements on the upstairs bath...which was based on the downstairs bath but only in theory. In reality my downstairs bathroom is more like 6 1/2' deep, not 8'. Glorious.

BTW- boy do I like the shower pic that you posted, Kali. Exactly what I have in mind. Marble (or marble-esque) shower walls, marble floor & saddle, white fixtures and dark grey walls. Will dark grey make the room look smaller? Is it even possible to make the room look any smaller? Do I even care at this point?

The good news is that my better half and I have had a chance to discuss things and he's talked me down from the ledge. As long as we don't use the tub (he has "silenced" the leak) the downstairs bath reno doesn't have to be done immediately. I can have a few months to research, shop sales, use coupons, hunt for prices, etc.


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