If money were no object, we'd each have our own private bathroom. But that's not likely for most people. Although I have occasionally designed separate "his and hers" baths, almost always the bathroom is shared by both halves of a couple. It's a tough job when you have to accommodate the daily personal-hygiene routines of two people in a very limited space. Here are some ways to plan a double-use bath that works.

Dealing with a Tight Squeeze
Even if your space is tiny, there are design techniques you can use to make just about any bathroom feel larger.

Mirrors Help Expand Space:Beyond just amplifying light, full wall-to-wall and wainscot-to-ceiling mirroring visually doubles space, making tight quarters seem less so.

Vaulted Ceilings Lift Spirits:If you can, raise your ceiling to the rafters — more vertical space can make a tight plan feel open.

A View Breaks the Box: Consider putting a window over the toilet or between double sinks.

Let There Be Light (And Air!)
In a space that has the potential to feel crowded, it's important to create a sense of openness. There are two basic tools for making a function-packed bathroom pleasant to use.

Lighting: The more natural light, the better. The best light for a bath comes from above — skylights or transom/clerestory windows. Above-eye-level openings have a couple of advantages. They provide privacy while they maximize the effect of light by bouncing it off the ceiling. Wall-to-wall mirrors are another way to enhance the impact of natural light.

When windows or skylights are not an option, artificial light must suffice. But overhead lighting produces really unflattering shadows. The best artificial light for grooming at a mirror is in front of you, so wall sconces are key.

Ventilation: Bathrooms are subjected to the most radical microclimate changes of any room in the house. Hot showers increase temperature and humidity to tropical levels, and because the space is shut tight for privacy, steam and odors have no easy way of escaping. In a bath used by two people, adequate ventilation is a must. Operable windows or skylights help clear the air when the weather is fair, but they need an assist from technology. Consider two exhaust fans — one in the toilet area, the other near the shower.

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