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The power of a powder room addition

Never underestimate the power of a powder room to make your home more livable and increase its resale value. Having more and nicer bathrooms consistently scores high in surveys on homeowners’ wish lists. What’s more, extra baths deliver more than just convenience; a National Association of Realtors study found each extra bathroom boosts home sale prices approximately 24 percent.

Finding the right spot. Adding a full bathroom can be problematic. A full bath requires you to give up more living space, or even build an addition on your home. However, powder rooms can be tucked into small spaces like part of a walk-in closet and areas you might not use otherwise, such as under a staircase or in a nook in the garage. A space as small as 20 square feet (5 feet by 4 feet) can make a comfortably sized powder room, but you can even squeeze a half bath into a space as small as 11 square feet. You need enough room to fit a toilet and sink, and accommodate required setbacks. When choosing a location for your powder room, be sure you understand building code requirements for your area.

Smarter plumbing. If you attempt to run water and drainage to your powder room using traditional plumbing methods, you’ll be limited as to where you can put it. Typically, with traditional plumbing you’ll need to locate the powder room somewhere that has easy access to existing water and waste lines. You’ll have to open walls, add new piping and possibly even cut through concrete if you’re adding a bathroom in a basement or in the garage or ground-floor of a slab-foundation home. However, opting for up-flush plumbing opens up a greater range of possible locations for a new powder room, because above-floor macerating plumbing systems allow you to easily add a toilet and sink where no drainage existed before. Above-floor plumbing eliminates the need to open walls or cut through concrete flooring.

Size and space wise planning. Because powder rooms typically occupy small spaces, it’s important to be smart about how you lay out the space and keep in mind the size of the fixtures you put in it. As you plan the space, think of where the toilet and sink will go — side by side or on opposite walls — and be aware of clearance needed for the door to open. Choose a toilet, sink and vanity that fit the space without overwhelming it. For example, a pedestal sink, rather than a cabinet, can make a powder room feel larger. Powder rooms frequently lack windows, so be sure to provide ample lighting. If you really crave a window in a powder room, one option is to install a small one above the door. This preserves privacy but allows additional light to enter the room from the space outside it.

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