11 Tips for Remodeling a Small Bathroom

Do you feel stuck with a small bathroom and think you can’t remodel it?

We have some good news.

There are many ways to remodel a small bathroom and make it look larger and feel functional. The key is choosing the right fixtures, maximizing your space, and choosing colors that make the room feel larger rather than suffocating.


Challenges with Small Bathroom Remodeling

When remodeling a small bathroom, you have certain limitations. You may not be able to create the designer bathrooms you see on Houzz, but when you understand your limitations, you can make the best use of your space.

So what challenges do homeowners with small bathrooms face? Here are some common issues:


1. A small area to work with

When remodeling a bathroom, you may want to add certain features. However, when you have limited space, you can’t have everything. It may even feel like you can’t have anything you want!

It becomes even more difficult if your bathroom has an odd shape. Finding space for the sink, toilet, and shower can feel impossible. You must also consider the flow of traffic in the bathroom, even if it’s only for one person.

You’ll likely have requirements the bathroom must meet, such as door clearance to open and close the door and adequate space between the vanity and any large structures, such as the shower or toilet.


2. No storage space

Small bathrooms typically struggle with storage space. There’s usually no room for a closet, and even a vanity with cabinets is pushing it. You might want to consider built-in shelves, a vanity with under-sink storage to save space, or maximize space usage with other structures, so you have room for more storage options.


3. Limited shower space

If you’re remodeling a full-size bathroom, you may not have enough room for a separate shower and tub. However, all homes should have at least one tub for resale value, so a combined shower and tub may be the best option if it’s the only full bathroom in the house.


4. Lack of natural light and ventilation

If the bathroom doesn’t have a window, it lacks natural light and ventilation. This could pose a problem with mold growth, especially if the bathroom doesn’t have a solid ventilation system.

Instead of focusing on the bathroom’s design, it’s important to put a large portion of your budget on the ventilation system to ensure the bathroom is safe. In addition, to fight the lack of natural light, you can strategically install lighting to make grooming easier.


Determine the Bathroom’s Use

When dealing with a small bathroom, you must consider the bathroom’s use before creating remodeling plans.

First, decide between a full or half bath. Full bathrooms get more use in comparison to a half bath because they include a shower and/or tub. Full bathrooms also have more considerations because you must worry about water spillage, which can affect the walls and floors.

After determining if you’re remodeling a full or half bath, consider the use it will get. For example, are you remodeling a primary or guest bathroom?


Primary Bathroom

The primary bathroom is the one that gets the most use in the home. It’s usually in the master bedroom, but it can be any bathroom in the home. This is the one you’ll want to give the most attention to. Consider using more durable products in this room to last longer.


Guest Bathroom

If you have bathrooms in your home that won’t get as much use because you don’t have kids, or it’s an ‘extra’ bathroom, you can cut more corners when remodeling it. Without as much use, you don’t have to worry about durability as much and may be able to save some money remodeling it.

Additionally, guest bathrooms usually don’t need as much storage space, so you can save money on vanities and other storage options.


Tips to Remodel a Small Bathroom

Once you’ve determined the use for your small bathroom and have an idea of what you want, follow these tips to make remodeling a small bathroom easier:


1. Keep the Space Light

No matter what the color of the year is or what trends are trending on Pinterest, small bathrooms always need light colors. Stick to a single-color family and keep it light and neutral. Match the floors and walls to make the room look larger.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck with white walls. Instead, consider light blues, grays, creams, and even yellows.

However, one exception is the ceiling. Keep it white ; otherwise, you risk making the room feel much smaller.

We have some good news, though. You can add splashes of color throughout the bathroom to accent your favorite shades. In addition, rugs, towels, and accessories on the countertops can give the room the personality you want without making it feel smaller.


2. Use Large Patterns

Go for large patterns if you want patterns on the walls, shower tiles, or floor. Consider big squares or stripes to give the illusion of a larger room. Avoid smaller patterns that might make the room feel more chaotic and closed in.


3. Make the Room Feel Taller

Crowding a bathroom too much can make it feel short and suffocating. To elongate your bathroom, remove any crown molding. If you insist on having a border between the ceiling and walls, make it as narrow as possible.

Also, eliminate any hanging or pendant lights and replace them with recessed lighting. This makes the most use of your space without sacrificing light.


4. Choose your Vanity Wisely

In small spaces, there’s less room to move around, so vanities with sharp corners can create issues as people move about the space. To avoid any issues, choose vanities with rounded corners. Not only will they make it easier to move around the room, but they take up a few inches of less space, giving you more room to freely move.


5. Use Reflective Fixtures

To make the space look larger than it is, let light reflect around the bathroom as much as possible. The mirror is an obvious choice here, but there are other ways to make light bounce around the room.

Looking at the mirror, consider one that takes up the entire wall with a little space around it. This maximizes the reflectivity in the bathroom, making it look larger.

Don’t worry if you don’t have room for a large mirror, there are other ways to reflect light, such as choosing high-gloss toilets, tubs, and sinks.


6. Consider Storage Alternatives

With limited space in the bathroom, you might feel short on storage. Instead of taking up more space, look around the bathroom and get creative.

Consider going vertical with taller shelves versus shorter and wider options. You can use the space to hide necessities or decorate the bathroom. Also, consider built-in shelves and shelves with hooks, so you have room to store items, plus hang towels or robes.


7. Consider Pedestal Sinks

Consider a pedestal sink if you’re remodeling a bathroom that doesn’t need a large vanity. These types of sinks used to be reserved for only half baths, but there are many gorgeous options for full baths too.

This option works great in bathrooms with other storage options, allowing you to save space with a smaller sink.


8. Consider Pocket Doors

If you’re remodeling a bathroom in the master bedroom, consider pocket doors. Although this will require more work because you must reframe the wall to make room for the door to retract into the wall, it can save a lot of space when you don’t need room for the door to swing open and closed.


9. Consider a Sliding Shower Door

If you have limited space for swinging doors, consider a shower door that slides rather than swings open and closed. Otherwise, you could consider a shower with a shower curtain instead of a door. When you have swinging doors, you must allow plenty of space for the door to be open, which can take up valuable space for other fixtures.


10. Use the Door for Storage

Use every bit of space in the bathroom for storage, including the door. For example, hanging a couple of hooks on the back of the door provides room for towels or robes. Then, you can use wall space for other structures, such as shelving, instead of towel bars.


11. Upgrade the Shower Head

If you want to make a small shower feel luxurious, upgrade the shower head. It won’t take up any more room in the bathroom, but it will make your shower feel luxurious. The good news is this is a great DIY project, saving you a bit of money.



What should I consider when choosing fixtures for a small bathroom?

When choosing fixtures for a small bathroom, consider their size, function, and style. Choose compact, functional fixtures that fit with your design aesthetic.

What are some storage options for a small bathroom?

Consider using wall-mounted shelves, over-the-toilet storage, or built-in storage to maximize space in a small bathroom. These creative solutions can maximize the available space while providing ample room for organizing bath necessities.

Should I hire a professional contractor to remodel my bathroom?

Yes, hiring a professional contractor can help ensure that your small bathroom remodel is done correctly, efficiently, and up to code.


Final Thoughts

Remodeling a small bathroom doesn’t have to be a challenge. Today there are many ways to make your small bathroom feel big and even luxurious.

Whether you’re remodeling a half or full bath, the key is in the chosen color, style, and fixtures. When you choose the right options for your space, your small bathroom can feel large, functional, and serve as a place to escape after a long day.