The toilet. It’s a necessary fixture in every bathroom, it’s functional, it’s utilitarian, and it’s often large and in your face as soon as you enter the bathroom. But it doesn’t have to be…not anymore. The fact is, the plumbing and inner workings that a toilet requires takes up a certain amount of space, but manufacturers have come up with ingenious ways of minimising that amount of space without sacrificing comfort or functionality. In the process, they’ve created toilets that look different from their predecessors and they’ve given designers an ever-widening array of options and allowed them to create comfort and style in smaller and smaller spaces. Let’s take a look at some of the solutions for space-saving toilets.
The first thing to do, in minimising the amount of space that a toilet requires, is to simply compress the dimensions of a traditional toilet. Creative manufacturers have had much success in creating toilets that fit all the elements of a regular commode into smaller and smaller packages. One place they frequently look is the tank. That big, boxy square on the back of many toilets does not necessarily need to be big, boxy or square. It can be rounded around the back of the toilet, thin and more vertical or a combination of both.
Another great solution for that big, bulky tank is to, literally, stick it in the corner. Designers often struggle with how to best utilise corner spaces in bathrooms and the corner toilet provides a great solution that both minimizes the amount of space that a tank takes up and makes great use of an otherwise under-utilised corner.
If you still need to save some space in your bathroom layout, how about stashing the tank inside the wall? Wall mounted toilets are tremendous space savers and, as opposed to floor-mounted models, you can mount them at a height that is comfortable for you. While they utilise a similar gravity-fed system as traditional toilets, installation is slightly more complicated. The tank needs to be mounted on a frame inside the wall and requires a different type of sewer line than traditional toilets.
To take it step further, you even have the option of eliminating the tank altogether. Rather than using gravity, like toilets with tanks do, these models rely on an electric pump to initiate the flushing process. With the pump typically concealed inside the wall and a wall-mounted button to operate it, tankless toilets look very little like their traditional counterparts and fit particularly well in modern bathrooms. They are not without their downsides, however. They are far more expensive to purchase, and installation requires electricity to be run to the pump in the wall. Repair and maintenance can also be more complicated than a standard toilet, and given their reliance on electricity, won’t function when the power is out.
Round Toilet Bowls
The tank is not the only part of a toilet that can be minimised. Round-shaped toilets take up less space – front-to-back – than the standard toilet, which has more of an oval or elongated shape. Round toilets may be less comfortable than elongated ones, however, for a powder room or other bathroom that is not going to see a large amount of consistent use, they offer an opportunity to save valuable space.
This alternative not only eliminates the tank, it eliminates much of the plumbing required as well. Instead of holding water in a tank, macerating toilets use water from a regular water line for flushing. They also do not require a sewer drain because waste is shredded by an electric motor and liquidated before being pumped out through discharge pipes. While they do require electricity like tankless toilets, the plumbing required is relatively simple. Additionally, macerating toilets can be installed virtually anywhere in the home. They do not require plumbing in the floor, making them ideal for rooms with concrete floors. Downsides include the reliance on electricity and a higher maintenance requirement than most toilets.
Whether you are renovating an existing bathroom or adding a half or full bath where one did not previously exist, do not assume that you need to incorporate a large, traditional toilet into your layout. The options for space saving toilets are many. Taking the time to find the toilet that fits not only your space, but your style, will result in a more comfortable, spacious bathroom that you will enjoy for years and years.
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