How to turn a closet into a half bath

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It can be incredibly frustrating for homeowners to feel like they don’t have enough space in their house. One of the ways this is most apparent is when there are multiple people who have to wait to use one bathroom in the home.

Houses that once had a perfect amount of space can start to feel cramped as children grow older, visitors come to stay or elderly relatives move in. Lines outside of the washroom can create havoc in the mornings. It may make logistical sense to add a new bathroom in the house, but creating an addition on a home to add a full bath can be a complex and costly project. Many home renovators may instead choose to take advantage of space they already have by converting a closet into a half bath.

Before beginning any construction on a new bathroom, remodelers need to check their local ordinances to be sure they are keeping everything in the room up to code and proper permits are filed.

“A small bathroom can be created in almost any space.”

Finding a location to add a bathroom
Finding the space to add a washroom is easier than many home owners may think. With the right fixtures, even a small bathroom can be created in almost any space. The first thing that homeowners need to do is evaluate what kind of bathroom they want to create and then look for locations in the home that could sustain it.

If parents want to have a little more space to themselves to get ready in the morning as the kids get older, turning one of the bedroom closets into a private bathroom could be a perfect solution.

When a family takes in senior relatives, it’s important for them to address concerns about mobility. For seniors who aren’t able to get around as easily as they used to, turning a ground floor hall closet into a half bath can provide easier access to facilities that don’t require them to climb stairs.

If the closets in the home don’t seem big enough to hold small bathroom fixtures, homeowners can try to combine them. If closets in adjoining rooms are set against each other, knocking out a wall could connect them into one larger room. That would give remodelers more room to create a new bathroom in their home.

According to This Old House, in order for a small closet to turn into a half bath it needs to be a minimum of 3 feet wide and 6 feet long to accommodate the most basic bathroom installations. To help save space if the room is small, make sure to either add a sliding door, or ensure that a hinged door opens out of the room instead of swinging in.

“Fixtures should be added near existing water and sewage lines.”

Adding fixtures to the new bathroom
Once the renovators have found the right location to add their new bathroom, the next step is to create a design plan. For a simple bathroom, it needs to have at least a sink, lighting and a toilet. Good elements to also include, however, include mirrors and cabinets.

Whenever possible, plumbing fixtures should be added near existing water and sewage lines. Setting these fixtures against a wall with plumbing access will save homeowners money on costly relocation of the pipes.

It’s also important or homeowners to check the structure of the floor. In order to hold the weight of the new fixtures, the floor may need to be reinforced. Adding more joists can help ensure that the flooring holds up well.

Making the most out of a small space
If it’s possible to add a window to the bathroom, it would be a great way to add ventilation and natural lighting to the room. If the room is too far into the home, however, a fan vent can help keep air circulating and prevent any stuffiness in the room. In some locations, vents are necessary in bathrooms to keep them up to codes. Electrical outlets will require ground-fault circuit interrupters to help reduce the risks of electrocution, because of the power sources proximity to running water in a bathroom.

When adding a half bath to a small space, location is critical to making the room usable. Fixtures need to be spaced in the room so that they are accessible. There needs to be enough room for people to stand in front of the sink, for example. Use the corners as much as possible to keep some floor space free and make it easier to move around in the room.

Storage in the bathroom is always a nice touch, but not at the expense of mobility. If a large vanity with storage shelves and drawers takes up too much room, a simple medicine cabinet should suffice instead. A small rack for extra soap, toilet paper and hand towels can ensure that no one is ever left in the room without a needed supply without taking up too much space.

Homeowners should express their own style while still focusing on the function of the room.
Homeowners should express their own style while still focusing on the function of the room.

Value and function
Above all, remodelers need to make sure that an additional bathroom meets the goals of the home. For personal use, renovators need to list the functions they want their new bathroom to have, and make sure that the room is built to meet those needs. If too many family members are fighting over outlets and mirrors to blow dry and style hair in the morning, large wall mirrors and carefully placed outlets will be a must.

Adding a half bath before putting a house on the market can also help increase the home’s value. According to HGTV, a bathroom remodel usually leads to at least a 100 percent return on investment. Homes with at least two bathrooms are more appealing to home buyers, so finding the space to add an extra water closet can help make them home sell faster and bring in more money for the owners.

Style is important in a bathroom, especially since a ground floor half bath is the most likely to be used by guests. If building a room for a family’s own use, remodelers should choose style elements that represent themselves and their own taste. If adding a room for a resale, however, simple, neutral styles will be more appealing to buyers.

Function should always beat style for a utility room. If there isn’t enough room in the budget for all of a homeowners ideal materials, it’s better to spend on high quality fixtures than fancier decorations or designs.