The following is an excerpt from "Same Place, More Space: 50 Projects to Maximize Every Room in Your House" by Karl Champley (Chronicle Books, 2011). The excerpt is from Chapter 5: Bathrooms.
This nifty wall-mounted drying rack could work just as easily in a laundry room (for drying delicates) or a kitchen (to dry dish towels or even herbs)—and probably in a lot of other places (craft room, garage, potting shed). It’s especially useful in the bathroom, as a handy place to dry hand washables (most often cleaned in the sink) and washcloths, and as a place to hang shirts, pants, and dresses to de-wrinkle while you shower. When not in use, the rack lays almost flush with the wall, taking up very little space. If you install the D-ring hangers into wall studs, you can use the knobs on the bottom of the rack for bath towels and robes—making it even more functional.
Fold-Away Drying Rack
Drill/driver with 3/8-inch drill bit
One 2x2 piece of ½-inch birch plywood
1x2 poplar board, cut to 8-foot length
Two 3/8-inch dowel rods, 48 inches long
1 Sash lock
Two 1½-inch narrow loose pin hinges
Two D-ring hangers
1 lid stay or chain with small screw eyes
1 box Framing nails
Four 2-inch hooks to match your bathroom décor (glass or porcelain work well)
Wood putty or wood filler
Sandpaper, 120- and 220-grit
1 can each semi-gloss spray primer and paint
1. Measure and mark the 1x2 poplar board to create frame pieces. With a handsaw, cut two 2-foot-long pieces (for the top and bottom of the rack frame), and two 20-inch-long pieces (for the sidepieces of the frame).
Tip: before you cut your boards to size, use a square to make a 90-degree line to ensure your cuts are always the same
2. Measure the internal width between the two sidepieces of the frame. Cut the dowel rods into four pieces that are 1 inch longer than that measurement.
3. Fit the drill with the 3/8-inch drill bit and make ½-inch deep holes in the inside of the sidepieces to accommodate the four dowel rods. To make sure that the holes on one side line up exactly with the other side, measure 3 inches down from the top, and 3 inches between each hole.
4. Apply wood glue to each drill hole and use a mallet to secure dowel rods in the holes.
5. Assemble the frame by gluing and nailing the pieces together using butt joints. Drill pilot holes first when nailing.
6. Attach the pin hinges to the bottom of the rack; place them 1½ inches in from either side with a screwdriver. Next, attach the other side of the hinge to the 1x2 piece of birch plywood: line up the top of the frame with the top of the board and screw the hinge plate to the bottom part of the board. (The frame should reach to about 3 inches above the bottom of the board.)
7. Fill nail holes with paintable wood filler or wood putty. Once it’s dry, lightly sand the entire frame and board. Wipe with a damp paper towel or tack cloth.
8. Prime the drying rack and then paint it with your color of choice. For easy application, especially on dowels, use a can of semi-gloss spray primer and paint for a smooth finish.
9. Once the paint is dry, attach the sash lock to the top of the drying rack. Drill pilot holes first, so you don’t split the wood when you drive in the screws.
10. Drill holes to attach four hooks across the bottom of the plywood, below the folded down rack.
11. Next, attach a hinged bracket, or a chain with screw eyes, to keep your drying rack at your desired angle when open. Attach a minimum of two D-ring hangers to the back of the 2x2 plywood and hang on your bathroom wall. If your bathroom is drywalled, fasten your screw into studs. If it’s tiled, use wall anchors and be careful of plumbing pipes!
Design Tricks for Creating a Sense of Space and Serenity
• Replace a miniscule mirror with a larger one—for more depth and light. Caution: never hang one mirror facing another (unless you want a Las Vegas vibe).
• Replace dark-colored bathroom tile with lighter-colored tiles. If that’s not possible, tone down darker tiles by painting walls with a lighter version of the tile color. Monochromatic schemes seem larger.
• Keep decoration to a minimum: instead of bold colors and big, bright patterns, add interest through texture such as wicker, waffle weave towels, and fluffy cotton bath mats.
• Allow as much natural light into the room as possible. Install blinds that can be opened when the bathroom is not in use. Spray-on window frosting lets light in while maintaining privacy. A sun tube installed in the ceiling is less expensive and easier to install than a skylight.
• Replace a swinging door with a pocket door
• Replace a vanity with a floating, wall-mounted unit to create more visual space.
• If replacing a shower, think about installing a corner shower unit with a curved front. They take up much less floor space while still providing plenty of room.
• Tile the floor and wall with the same product to stretch its boundaries.