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Small Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

By: Steve Gee

Small bathrooms present a particular challenge to home remodeling projects.

They also present a great opportunity to go wild.

Small bathrooms are areas where you don't necessarily spend long periods of time, so you can get very whimsical and dramatic in your design ideas.

This article on small bathroom remodeling gives you some ideas on how to get started with your bathroom remodeling project.

So you've got a small bathroom to remodel

Are you dreaming about a sparkling new bathroom but you just don't have enough room in your toilet? Think again because you might yet achieve ceramic perfection.


Get To Know Your Bathroom

First thing to do is to get to know your bathroom

Don't give up before you've started. Begin by making an accurate drawing of your bathroom on square graph paper. Take some time over this because it's important that you capture every detail. It's also a fun exercise to do.

When you are happy with the drawing of your current bathroom you should be very familiar with the size and shape of it. You will also have found all the awkward places that you will need to accomodate. You are now ready to begin designing your new bathroom layout.

You now need to draw just the outline of your bathroom ready to fit your new fixtures into it. Use a new sheet of graph paper square and be as accurate as you were with the fist drawing. On a different sheet of squared paper draw accurate scale outlines of the fixtures you would like to put in it.

Cut out the shapes that you've drawn and try to arrange them on the outline of your bathroom. Because you only have a small bathroom you might need to be creative, especially if you want to get more into your new bathroom than you had in your old one.


Small Bathroom Remodeling Project Study

When I dropped a jar into my bath and cracked it I decided that it would be a good time to redesign the room and add a shower cubicle at the same time. My bathroom is tiny so I wasn't sure that I would be able to realise this dream. I was dreading the job but it all worked out in the end. I got my new shower and the bathroom looks great.

There is a link to the story of how I remodeled my tiny bathroom at the end of this article.

Small Bathroom Problem Solving Ideas

The ideas listed below are intended to start you thinking of different and creative solutions to the problem of remodeling your small bathroom:

  • Put a radiator high on the wall
  • If you have a radiator taking up wall space consider putting it higher up. This could free up space for a sink or toilet.
  • Place the bathtub in the middle of the room - Don't limit your thinking to having the bath along a wall. Placing it in the centre of the room could solve some problems if wall space is a premium. Keep playing with your cut-outs
  • Use your squared paper and cut-outs to test different layouts. It's amazing how many ideas it can give you.
  • Rounded shower cubicle - If you are of small to average build then you probably don't need the space that a square or rectangular shower cubicle provides. Installing a cubicle with a rounded quadrant can save a surprising amount of space in the bathroom and make it look nicer too.
  • Sliding door - Save room space by eliminating the need for the door to open into the bathroom. A door that slides sideways into or flush with the wall can be a solution.
  • Mirrors - Mirrors can only give the impression of space but they are very effective at doing just that.
  • Install storage cupboards - Get all the accessories and cleaning stuff off the floor and into storage cupboards fitted to the walls.

Even the smallest of bathrooms has potential to be improved and in some cases, be turned into your ceramic dream palace. Don't forget to check out my small bathroom remodeling project in the link below.


Thinking Outside The Box

And for some more ideas thinking outside the box

Many articles and websites offer small bathroom remodeling ideas, but few think outside the box. Thinking outside the box is what it takes to truly make some noticeable changes in a smaller bathroom.

The standard suggestions of

  • Using lighter colors, which helps make the space seem larger and brighter.
  • Use shower curtains or clear glass to open up the room.
  • Using mirrors to give the feeling of space.
  • Install a pedestal sink, instead of using vanities or cabinets.
  • Doors that open outward or sliding doors.
  • Putting in a smaller toilet

work well, but often time, they only give the illusion of a larger bath. While these suggestions should be strongly considered, I would like to go further and think a little outside the box.

  1. What you really want is more room, not just the illusion of more space. Small bathrooms are usually in smaller homes, where square footage is in great demand. On the same token, homeowners who would spend $50,000 to create an addition, would simply rather move into a new home where a large bathroom already exist.
  2. Adding More Space - If you have a closet located next to you small bathroom, consider creating a bathroom entrance and closing off the existing doorway. Depending where you fixtures are located, you could possibly install a sliding mirror door, which once again, adds the illusion of more space. In adding an bathroom entrance to your closet you have created more elbow room.
  3. You could raise the ceiling if you live in a single store house (or the bathroom is located upstairs). Climb up into the attic to double check there are no major units to move or a wall is not a load bearing wall. If free and clear, you could create a higher ceiling by removing the original ceiling (sheetrock and wood studs) and raising the ceiling up to the inside of the roof. While you are at it, consider adding a sunlight. Natural lighting increases the feel and look of any room. If you have a window in your bathroom, consider taking out the window and putting in a small bay window. They have some that include a window seat and others, where you can put plants in.
  4. If one of your bathroom walls are located on an outside wall, you could cut out the wall and install a single door or even a small French door. This new door would take you outside. Surround the outside with a small privacy fence, put down stepping stones and plant a garden. When the weather is right, you could even open up the doors to let fresh air in or step into your miniature garden area. Be sure to install an exterior door (weather proof) and make sure the door opens outward.
  5. Buy and install a new shorter tub that will save space. Tub manufacturers still make short tubs that fit in the corner. Normally, these tubs are deeper, so you still will be able to soak away those aching muscles. Some homes are taking out the whirlpool and installing claw foot tubs. These tubs too, come in deeper and shorter styles.
  6. Remove the tub all together if your family never uses the bathtub. Once again, corner showers save space and can be bought in easy to install shower modules. A new wave, are showers without walls or doors. The shower head points down and comes out of the ceiling and a shower head causing a rain shower is used. This reduces the splash out circumference area, which keeps water from splashing onto sinks or toilets. You would need to tile the walls and surrounding areas and make sure that the area is waterproof, but once done, it really increases the space. Since this is a custom shower, you would need to contact a tile company to discuss feasibility and cost.
  7. Widen the bathroom entry door, this way when it is not in use, it will look larger. The doors you could consider, would be a larger entry door, French doors, bi-fold doors and even double bi-fold doors.
  8. Look at the adjoining walls of the bathroom and if possible move the wall a foot or two out. A couple of feet is all it takes to dramatically make increase the size. If you would like, only move the wall the length of the bathroom. This way you would create a large niche that is also becoming popular. Whatever you choose to do, get those creative juices flowing and start thinking outside the box. Remodeling a small bathroom can be a fun and exciting project, that will increase the value of your home.

Next: Bathroom Shower Stalls

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