By ED DEL GRANDE — Q: Ed, we have a large closet under our stairs that we want to turn into a powder room. Even though it is a big for a closet, we know the space will be tight for a toilet and sink. We'll need to add a little storage area as well, so any space-saving advice will be welcome. What can you recommend to make this small bathroom a little more comfortable? -- Jack, California
A: My first bit of advice is to check with your local building inspector before you start. Issues like permits, ventilation, electrical and plumbing connections may need to be addressed up front. Now, back to your question. Here are my three quick recommendations for small bathroom installations:
1. Choose a space-saving toilet. Round-front toilets are a little smaller than standard toilets, and that extra space can allow the door to be opened into the bathroom. A wall-hung residential toilet with a recessed water tank can save even more space.
2. Consider wall-hung sinks. Floor area is the key in making a tight bathroom easier to move around in. Small wall-hung bathroom sinks are the way to go. You can even have your plumber hang the sink a little higher so you don't have to bend over as much.
3. Choose a light color, such as white or slightly off-white, for fixtures. The more light you get bouncing off your small bathroom surfaces, the more comfortable the space can feel.
Bottom line: Adding a lot of light to a small bathroom is a very bright idea!
(Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org. Always consult local contractors and codes.)