Bathrooms in Small Spaces

Let’s face it, shall we?—the small bathroom is a fact of life in old houses.

A small room, exotic and treated as a jewel.

Gross & Daley

Even if you follow the advice in today’s remodeling magazines, reworking your floor plan or bumping out an addition to house a master suite complete with sauna, you will still be left with a small second bath or half-bath.

These spaces are thrifty, simple, and pleasantly old-fashioned. They may even have original fixtures. And they will be no less period-style if you inject them with some personality and color.


Old-house bathrooms come with space constraints and, as always, limitation breeds creativity. The sloping eave or oversize window may be a blessing, not a curse, if it leads to a unique space. The most delightful bathrooms are often found in houses built during the mid-Victorian period or earlier—because their bathrooms, however historic they may now seem, were installed long after the rest of the house was built. Such bathrooms can be downright quirky.

Learn how to design a small bathroom.


Tags: OHI Summer 1997 Old-House Interiors Patricia Poore Steve Gross & Susan Daley

By Patricia Poore

Patricia Poore is Editor-in-chief of Old-House Journal and Arts & Crafts Homes, as well as editorial director at Active Interest Media’s Home Group, overseeing New Old House, Traditional Building, and special-interest publications. 

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