I just finished my chronic illness bathroom makeover!
Before my chronic illnesses crept into my life, I never really put much thought into the functionality of my bathroom. After my chronic illness life began, the bathrooms in my home became places I associated with pain.
Everything bathroom activity was associated with or created pain. Activities like doing my hair and make-up, bathing, and using the toilet.
Fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and endometriosis all create painful bowel movements. But it was the lack of bathroom functionality that made it worse!
The bathroom makeover ideas that I am about to share with you are easy to do without emptying your bank account. They are perfect for homeowners and renters. None of my suggestions involve construction or major renovation.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee-drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with caffeine. It’s a win for everyone. I am not a medical professional, and nothing stated in this article should be mistaken for medical advice…
Needs My Chronic Illness Bathroom Makeover Addresses
To make my bathroom a place I no longer dreaded spending time in, I had to first think about how I use the space.
My bathroom is a place where I:
- Use the toilet
- Get dressed
- Do my hair and makeup
Acknowledging The Pain Each Task Created
Then I listed how those tasks either exasperated or triggered chronic pain.
- Bending to pick up items that fell on the floor.
- Additional time and energy were spent cleaning products that spilled off the counter, down the cabinets, and onto the floor.
- Physical and emotional tension from trying to keep products on the counter, off the floor, and out of the sink.
- Bending and getting on my hands and knees to find things in my one and only under-sink cabinet.
- Reaching toilet paper from the holder on the side of the sink cabinet right next to the toilet always triggered painful abdominal muscle spasms.
- Forgetting a towel and stepping out of the shower sopping wet to get one.
- Taking a bath was more painful than showering.
- Getting in and out of the bath/shower was stressful.
Problems That Needed Solving
Having identified how my bathroom was aggravating my chronic illnesses, I listed actions I could take to prevent those issues. To make my bathroom chronic illness friendly, I had to find ways to:
- Keep what I used most within reach
- Limit bending and reaching
- Make accessible
- Create comfort
My Chronic Illness Bathroom Makeover Ideas
The following changes took my bathroom from a place I dreaded spending time in into one I looked forward to using. The changes you need to make may differ.
1. Shelving and Storage
My bathroom was in desperate need of shelving and storage space. An over-the-toilet shelving unit is secured to the wall across from my toilet because of a narrow countertop above my toilet. I chose this type of shelf because I needed the extra floor space for a dog bed and toilet paper holder. The only things you will find under the sink are cleaning supplies.
Makeup and hair products are stored on the mid-level shelf, which requires no bending to move to the vanity area. Items I use less are stored on the upper shelf.
Hanging on the handtowel rack is a three-tier storage pouch that is home to hair clips, ties, and bobby pins.
And to put an end to forgetting a towel, I hung a closet organizer on the shower rod at the end opposite the shower head/faucet. On the shelves are bath towels and washcloths. Bath bombs, other bathing treats, and adhesive drain covers are in the drawers.
2. Skincare And Makeup
Instead of being thrown in a box and stored under the sink, my makeup and skincare products are organized and kept in a travel toiletry bag. My hair products are stored in a large tin picnic utensil holder. The makeup bag hangs on my hand towel rack next to the sink when in use.
Another way this bathroom storage solution decreases stress and pain is because whether I wind up in the hospital or am getting ready for a trip, everything I need is packed and ready to go.
3. Cellphone Safety
A Star Wars coffee mug serves as a cellphone holder. Because it is portable and not wobbly, it can be moved closer to the toilet if I need entertainment while doing my business. Once done, I place the phone back into the mug, slide it away, and don’t have to worry about it falling into the toilet while cleaning and getting up.
The upper side shelf of the shelving unit across from the toilet is a perfect spot to host my cellphone mug while I am taking a bath and want my phone close by.
4. Creating Counter Space
To solve the lack of counter space needed when applying makeup, I purchased an inexpensive serving tray that fits over the sink bowl. The tray adds counter space and keeps my makeup and skincare products from rolling off the counter and spilling onto the floor.
Less time cleaning up messes and not bending results in less pain. When not in use, I store the tray on a wall hook below the main shelf of the shelving unit.
I also purchased a slim organizer that holds my blowdryer brush, large barrel iron, and spiral curl iron. It is easy to reach when needed. And if I ever get to the point of not being able to hold a blow dryer, I will invest in a hairdryer stand that will hold it while in use.
5. The End Of My Toilet Paper Drama
Bowel endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and psoriatic arthritis create a long list of digestive issues. But the worst pain and problem they cause is after elimination. Turning, even just slightly, to reach the toilet paper roll, which is on the right side of my toilet attached to the sink cabinet, creates deep muscle spasms and cramps. They are so deep and painful that I am practically paralyzed, unable to move until it passes.
Purchasing a toilet paper holder stand that can be placed wherever is most comfortable for me has made going number 2 less painful. And because the holder I bought has room for spare rolls, I haven’t been stranded on my throne.
6. Hooked Up!
I have placed Command Hooks all over my bathroom. I use them to hang items that I use daily or weekly in the areas that I use them.
For example, by storing a few hair ties on a hook by the sink, they are right where I need them every night when I put my hair up before bed.
I have placed hooks in the shower to hold loofahs and my bath cushion. I have the worst luck with over-the-door hanging products and don’t want to damage the frame any more than I already have. So I hung hooks next to the shower to hang my bathrobe and clothing for the day.
7. Comfort Is Key!
The first suggestion is something I have been doing for years. My body cannot handle standing doing my hair or makeup. And forget sitting on the toilet lid. A folding chair in the bathroom provides a comfortable place to relax as I take care of after-shower business and do my hair or makeup. I tuck it behind the towel hanging on the bar next to the sink when not in use.
My second suggestion has changed bathing for me in the best way possible. Earlier this year, I purchased an extra-long bath cushion. It turns my tub into a spa-like retreat. And by using a hook in the shower to store it, I have easy access to it when I want to end my shower with a bath.
Speaking of comfort….. a bidet is excellent for when I need a little extra cleaning!
8. Accessibility And Safety
My tub is also my shower. Stepping in and out has always been risky. So to reduce my risk of falling, I purchased a bathtub safety bar. The amount of stress I had about stepping in and out of the tub had decreased immensely. And when the day comes that I begin having issues with sitting on and rising from the toilet, I will not hesitate to purchase a raised seat and safety rails.
Currently, I can shower without my bath chair. But have it stored in the garage where I can easily access it if needed and no one else is home.
9. A Place To Hang My Towel
Until recently, I would throw the towel I planned to use over the shower curtain rod. Doing so would knock hooks off or cause tears in the shower curtain liner hook holes. My husband installed a curtain rod on the wall opposite the showerhead to remedy this issue. If you do not have wall space available, you can also use Command Strip Curtain Rod Hooks with any size rod you prefer on whatever surface is available. Whether you choose to use a rod or a heated towel rack, make sure it is placed somewhere where the towel can be easily accessed.
10. Laundry Solution
I find the best place for a bathroom laundry to reside is in the bathroom itself. It is right there when and where I need it. By having it in my sight every time I use the facilities, I can tell when laundry needs to be done before running out of towels. To make it easier to transport, I purchased a rolling laundry basket.
Identify Your Own Chronic Illness Bathroom Makeover Needs
Which of my chronic illness bathroom makeover ideas could help you?
What other changes come to mind?