Small Bathroom Remodeling Ideas and Tips

The humble bathroom is probably the most heavily used room in the house, but also can be the most neglected when it comes to redecorating or upgrading. When you have a smaller than average bathroom in your home and you come to the conclusion that it is in desperate need of some remodeling or even a complete refit, you’ll probably need to get some basic ideas from somewhere.

It always pays to have some ideas in front of you before you get started just to make sure you don’t get over-complicated and end up with a cluttered bathroom and virtually unusable facility. Well, just to help you in that area, we have put together some easy to follow ideas that can help you to design and plan a really great small bathroom that will feel much bigger than its actual physical size.

There are two possibilities that are open to you when you decide to make the all-important plans for your small bathroom upgrade. You can either do it yourself if you are sufficiently handy in that area, or you can get a team of professionals in to do the job for you. That decision will primarily be based on the size of your budget, but will also be influenced by your own ability to do that kind of work to a sufficiently high standard. If you don’t know one end of a wrench from another, then you are probably best off calling in the professionals.

Bathroom Remodelers

These are the professional bathroom fitters and refurbishment specialists who can remodel your small bathroom from the planning stage at the start to the finished article. You can most likely get in touch with the right people by visiting a local bathroom store or from a recommendation from a friend, neighbor or family member who may have gotten great service from a particular firm of remodelers.

However you approach this option, make sure you get a reputable company to do the work and get several quotations from different companies so you can sit down and compare them to get the best job done for the most reasonable price. Notice I didn’t say the cheapest, because often, cheap can turn expensive when you inadvertently get a team of cowboys doing a second rate job that you then have to pay someone else to put right! So if you have a firm recommendation from someone you trust who can show you the work done by the company they are recommending, then it can be more cost effective to pay more to get that company to do your small bathroom remodeling job.

Do It Yourself

Of course, if you are fairly well skilled in fitting and remodeling bathrooms and you have the time to work on your own home, then it will save you a lot of money to do it yourself. You can shop around for well priced but still good quality furniture and fittings and save on the labor costs by being your own professional.

You should always set out a floor plan and also several elevations to make sure everything you intend to put in there will not only fit, but fit well enough to give the impression of space. After all, you want to end up with a fully functioning bathroom that feels like a bigger room than it really is.

Planning a Remodeled Small Bathroom

So on to the ideas for remodeling your own bathroom or those to pass on to the team of professionals if you are going that route. You need to start with a good plan. So a big pad and a pencil are your initial tools to get working with. Try out lots of different ideas and sketch down as many different ways of room layout you can think of. Get ideas from family members and friends too, because it is from this kind of brainstorming session that really innovative ideas spring forth.

Once you have your rough sketch and have chosen the layout you like the best, it is time to redraw it accurately with all measurements carefully included taken from the actual room itself. When measuring up a room, it is a good idea to take a measurement from one wall to its opposite, and note it down. Then go to the opposite wall and take the measurement again in the other direction. If the two measurements match, you have done it accurately. If not, go back and do it again because any mistakes made at this stage can be costly to put right later.

Use graph paper to draw up a set plan and use the measurements of the items of furniture and fitting such as shower, vanity unit, toilet etc to place each item exactly where it will go on the graph. That way you can see clearly if things are too close or there is not enough room for easy access to things like shower doors that open outwards, or high level cupboards that you could end up bumping your head on!

A good trick here is to get several sheets of tracing paper and draw a scale drawing of each item of furniture or fitting and overlay them on the main graph to see how they fit. That way you can move things around without having to keep erasing lines on the main graph. At the high end, if you are computer literate and have access to some good design software, you could also use that.

Small Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Here are the ideas…

  • Layout: Look at the present layout then experiment with new ideas. Use the cut out shapes of units that you have accurately measured and see where they all fit in the best to make the most efficient use of the available space. You may find that simply by moving existing units around like this can reveal a whole load of extra space you never knew you had!
  • Toilet – This is usually the first item to be placed as its placement often depends on the situation of the waste pipe, which is often difficult to move. Sometimes there is no way to move the waste pipe, meaning the toilet has to go in one place and one place only. So site this item first and everything else can be planned around it.
  • Shower – In small bathrooms, it is often a much better use of space to include a shower instead of the traditional bath tub. Its situation is also dictated by the position of hot and cold water inlets and waste pipes, although these are much easier to move around than that of the toilet.
  • Bathtub – If you really must have a bathtub in a small bathroom, you can get three quarter size tubs that take up less space, or even corner tubs that fit diagonally in a corner. They still take up a fair amount of space so if you can make do with a shower instead, that is a better choice.
  • Vanity Unit – This is often a small unit but can be incorporated into a relatively narrow shelf that can double as storage units with cupboard space underneath. The sink itself needs water inlets and waste outlet, so these items need to be planned into the sink’s positioning.
  • Mirrors – Use mirrors to give the impression of space. If you have free standing mirrors taking up space in your bathroom, replace them with wall mirrors that not only use less space, but when placed properly can actually make the bathroom look larger than it really use, creating the feeling of more space. If you like to use a magnifying mirror, you can get them mounted on extending brackets to save even more space. A large mirror behind the vanity unit is a great idea as are additional mirrors placed strategically around the walls or on the doors of storage units.
  • Decoration and Lighting – The color of walls, wall and floor tiles as well as that of the doors of storage units is an important aspect of enhancing the size of the room. Light, neutral colors create more of a feeling of space especially when combined with mirrors and good lighting. Lights need to be bright in a bathroom so you can see what you are doing, but they don’t have to be overpowering. A selector that allows you to switch on and off alternate lights or those placed high on walls or inside a shower unit can change the apparent size of a room and the bathroom is no different. You can read more about decorating your bathroom here.
  • Towel Racks – You need to have towel racks mounted where they will be out of the way bit still easily accessible for the bathroom user. Use slim racks that don’t protrude as far in to the room as regular racks. A double towel rack above a radiator makes use of that otherwise unused space. Extending towel racks can be folded away when not in use. If you mount them higher than us generally done, you create even more space.
  • Radiators – There is nothing worse than a cold bathroom, so fitting a radiator as part of the home’s central heating system or a standalone electric oil filled wall mounted radiator is a great idea. Placement is pretty crucial as it needs to be unobstructed to allow maximum air flow around it so it can heat the room, while not being in the way and preferably as out of the way as possible. One great idea is to double up the towel racks and radiator by fitting a heated towel rack. These can be bought to be fitted in place of a regular radiator and so can be used as part of the home’s central heating system too.
  • Cupboard Space – You need storage space in a bathroom for all those little knickknacks as well as spare towels, toilet rolls, soap etc and this can be where some ingenuity plays its part. Using the space beneath a vanity unit as well as fitting slim units in unused corners or above the toilet and high overhead storage cupboards all use little space and provide maximum storage for minimum intrusion into the room.

Hopefully this will have given you some great ideas that you can take forward when planning your own small bathroom remodeling project. The last word here is whatever you plan on doing, in a similar way to planning and setting out some small kitchen remodeling ideas, make sure you stay within your bathroom makeover budget, because there is nothing worse than having a half completed bathroom that cannot be taken any further because of lack of funds.

In any case, part of the fun is in creating your own space so that it is not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional while making maximum use of all available space and feeling bigger than it physically is. Of course, the final decisions must be yours to make and the more creative you can get with this, the more unique and interesting a bathroom will result.

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