All bathroom fixtures will become worn out with time and frequent use. The flooring, cabinetry and wall finishing also have a limited lifespan. But when it comes to small bathroom remodeling projects it helps to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve. That way you can make the most of this compact space and look forward to a bathroom that balances function with beauty and style.
Tip 1 — Keep the Plumbing As Is
Plumbing is expensive to change, even in a small bathroom space. It's best for the budget and the design to leave the plumbing as is, unless there are major advantages to moving it. That means your tub, shower, sink and toilet should remain in the same location. Change out the fixtures themselves and redesign the surrounding elements, but for the best value and the smoothest project keep all major plumbing in place.
Tip 2 — Think About Flow
You don't really need a lot of room in the bathroom. Unlike the living room or kitchen, it isn't a place to gather with the family or relax with a cup of coffee. But you do need to concentrate on a bathroom design that will promote flow.
Keep the open areas clutter free by providing plenty of built in storage — wall mounted cabinets and over the toilet shelving are excellent ways to maximize storage in a small bathroom space. If the entrance is tight or awkward, consider flipping the door around or installing a pocket door to maintain the best flow in and out of this room.
Tip 3 — Use Lighting To Create Space
Lighting will help your small bathroom remodeling project to open up the space significantly. You can make even tiny spaces appear larger and more spacious by using good quality lighting that is properly scaled and installed.
Flush mount fixtures work well, as do low profile wall mounts or ceiling fixtures. The general idea is to be sure the lighting is subtle, yet covers the area well resulting in little shadow and avoiding glare.
Tip 4 — Keep Your Budget In Line With the Space
Budget is one of the key elements of a bathroom remodeling project. When you're looking at a smaller bathroom the renovation budget needs to be on the smaller side. Be sure that you are not over-investing in an area that will most likely serve as a secondary or guest bathroom. That doesn't mean you need to skimp, but keep the budget in balance with the value of your home and the space affected.
Tip 5 — Shop Till You Drop
No matter what size your bathroom renovation project is, it pays to shop for the fixtures and materials. Once you have your budget pinned down, figure out how much is allocated towards new fixtures. Keep your browsing within that range. The lines and designs available in one location may be priced vastly different from those in another store.
Home shows and discount warehouses are excellent places to get a good deal, but be sure that all of your rights as a consumer are protected before making the purchase.
Tip 6 — Keep the Colors Light
Just as you should use lighting to create the illusion of space, be sure to choose light colors for the wall and fixtures as well. White, beige, tan and even grey will work well, but you can opt for a pastel if these neutral choices seem too bland. Stick with light trim, as opposed to natural wood colors, and always install fixtures that blend in well with the wall, as opposed to standing out and breaking up your line of vision.
Tip 7 — Tiling Does Double Duty
Tiles work very well in a small bathroom — on the wall or on the floor. This material provides another level of brightness, thanks to a glossy finish, and will work well to protect the walls and floorboards from damage due to moisture. Tiling is fairly inexpensive, but the price will depend on the type and size of tile chosen. Natural stone may require more maintenance (sealing, for instance), but it will also create an unmatched level of warmth in the room.
Tip 8 — Think Glass Instead of Shower Curtain
If there is a shower stall or tub/shower combo in your small bathroom remodeling plans, you should consider a sliding glass screen in place of the traditional shower curtain. Glass provides the protection required without blocking any of the light. It will also help to visually extend the space and the right type of glass, etched or tinted for example, can provide privacy.
Tip 9 — Curves Work Well
Be sure to incorporate more curves than linear lines in your small bathroom space. Whether that is around the tub or shower stall or within the vanity design, curvy lines help to maintain visual flow and will make a cramped space more comfortable.
If you do opt for a shower curtain on a tub/shower combo, install a curved curtain rod. This will allow more elbow room inside the shower without taking up any additional floor space.
Tip 10 — Include an Exhaust System
No matter how small your bathroom space is, be sure to have an exhaust system installed. This is especially important if there are no windows in the area, since the exhaust fan will remove the moisture in the air and reduce the risk of mold and mildew. The exhaust fan should be sized properly according to your local building code and should be installed by a trained professional. These systems involve electrical and mechanical work — although it may look simple, a faulty exhaust fan could result in serious damage to your home.
Even the most cramped spaces deserve to be designed and built with style and beauty. Your small bathroom remodeling project will go much smoother and be more successful when you keep in mind these ten tips. From design ideas to décor, lighting and exhaust systems — all of the factors will come together to make your small space hugely comfortable.