Top 5 Best Remodel Ideas for Small Bathrooms

Outside of the kitchen, bathrooms might just be the most common room to remodel for homeowners. And for good reason, too. As any person can attest, the bathroom is a critical room in your home (one no one can do without), and one that can be a fantastic return on investment even if you’re not in your forever home. 

For homes with guest bathrooms on the smaller side, you may need to get creative to get the most out of your space! Think vertically for storage, but take care not to overwhelm the eye or create hazardous headroom.

A limited footprint, however, should not limit your design! So, if you’re looking for bathroom remodel ideas, or bathroom ideas tailored to fit that small bathroom, this guide is for you! We’ll break down the best ways to achieve a functional, stylish bathroom remodel in tight quarters and under budget. 

Here are our Top 5 Small Bathroom Remodeling Ideas – 

1 - Bye Bye, Bathtub

Bathtubs are great and functional for everyone from babies to older folks and even family dogs. A long day at the office can be soaked away with nothing more than a tub full of water and a gaggle of bubbles. While a garden tub may be a selling point for families with babies or young children, for those living life outside of this stage a bathroom plumbing fixture as intimate as a bathtub may be better suited for a sprawling master bathroom.

On average, bathtubs occupy 13 square feet of space in your bathroom. In a small bathroom where that space is at a premium, getting rid of that space hog can open up your options. Scrub that tub from your plans and gain an abundance of space in your guest bathroom.

If this is your only bathroom, you may opt to place a corner shower unit in its place. With the obstacle of an oversized tub removed, you can free up this area to rethink your guest bathroom floor plan or even expand your shower space. Which leads us to our next small bathroom remodeling idea!

Replace Your Bathtub with a Shower!

2 - I Can See Clearly Now

As you tackle your small bathroom remodel, pay special attention to the shower. Your shower enclosure, whether a pre-fabricated piece or built and installed on-site, should utilize clean lines and minimize materials that make the shower feel small or claustrophobic, ultimately limiting the bathroom’s overall feeling of size. 

The best way to do this is with material that will allow light through it, avoiding “walling-in” the shower with tile or drywall, and think glass or even open enclosures for the sides and door of the enclosure. These clear solutions will allow light to pass back and forth and give the bathroom a feeling of airy openness. And using clear glass, instead of frosted, will open up the shower and almost make the glass “disappear” giving the shower a feeling of adding square footage to the bathroom. 

You’ll want to regularly clean your glass walls to maximize the benefits of these clean lines and minimalist visual style. Eliminate excess clutter in the shower and you’ll eliminate visual clutter to make your small bathroom feel even bigger. So ditch the 12 bottles of shampoo and conditioner, make sure you’re regularly cleaning the water spots off the glass, and you’ll visually add space to your bathroom design. 

Which you can do by using our next small bathroom remodeling idea!

Clear Lines Add Optimal Optical Space

3 - Get Niche With Design

Larger bathrooms have the luxury of prebuilt cabinets and storage spaces; in a small bathroom, that space is at a premium. Whether it is in that new glass shower, or the rest of the bathroom, you have to get creative with your storage. The more creative you get, the better, not only to make the most of the space but to keep it looking clean and bigger to the eye.  

The key is to look for traditionally unused or underused areas to add storage space. In the shower, rather than expose your cleaning and hygiene products to the world, adding a niche in the shower wall is a great way to add usable clean storage. A shower niche as a functional accent, tiled to coordinate with your shower. 

Connect with your bathroom remodeling partners at The Good Guys! With years of experience building out bathrooms, the team at The Good Guys can help you through the design, selection of materials, and corresponding fixtures, and bring your bathroom vision to life with clever ideas along the way.

In addition to shower niche storage, a “medicine cabinet” is a great way to store your daily-use items and keep them out of view, avoiding clutter along the way. Look for an extra-deep, inset cabinet, if you have space in between the wall, as it can give you more storage options without taking space away from the interior of the room. Beside your medicine cabinet, consider a niche or cut-out ledge for additional storage. Take care when installing these options on an outer wall, you will want to be sure and insulate behind and around the niche or cabinet to ensure you don’t lose heat or freeze your stuff in the winter!

Decorative floating shelving is another great way to add some decorative storage to a small bathroom. Look for glass options to open up your space or solid material to match the décor of the bathroom. Be wary of putting too much on them, which would defeat the purpose of the shelving!

Towel bars can serve more than just their namesake use. Look to add extras where you can hang towels, robes, decorative linens. Add hooks to utilize storage bins and baskets in conjunction with the bar. Again, the key is to not overpack and over-clutter any storage option in a small bathroom. You don’t want to go too heavy with any of the clutter or storage.  

Which leads us to . . .

Get Smart with Storage in a Small Bathroom

4 - Keep It Light

Given their utilitarian focus and size, hall bathrooms can often feel like closets in homes: small, dark, and overstuffed. Considering the average person spends roughly 420 minutes each week in the bathroom, why spend such a significant portion of your life in something that feels as confining as a closet?

As you tackle your bathroom remodel, remember that light is your friend. Vanity lights for bathrooms, placed above the sink and medicine cabinet, can add design elements to what is essentially task lighting for brushing teeth and washing up. The more light, the better, especially if it is natural light. 

While high-quality light fixtures are a great option, and a defined lighting plan is a must for a small bathroom, natural light is a great weapon in the size battle. The more you can flood that space with natural light, the larger it can feel.

Adding a window in your shower is a great way to allow natural light into one of the darkest spaces in the room. Often the sidewall of a shower is an exterior wall and contains no plumbing, so it’s a perfect spot for a window. Your bathroom remodeling pros at The Good Guys can tackle this and make recommendations on the perfect window for that space, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with them as you undertake your project!

If you already have a window in the bathroom outside of the tub, highlighting the light it brings is paramount to expanding the visual size of the space. Avoid obscuring the window – and the light it brings - with bulky draperies or window coverings. Any drapes or window treatments should be as tall and long as possible – floor to ceiling if you have space. The additional height elongates the room and makes it feel larger. 

If your bathroom is in the interior of the home, and windows aren’t an option, skylights are another great way to bring in natural light and can easily be retrofitted in most homes with access to the roof and attic space.  If the bathroom is too small for a traditional skylight, tubular skylights can bring great natural light into the room with a much smaller footprint.  Don’t hesitate to let that light in to brighten up the small space. 

Natural Light in a Small Bathroom

5 - Color Is Your Friend

Especially in a small space, don’t be afraid of color. This is probably the most controversial tip on this list. Don’t be afraid to go bold with your color in the tight space of your bathroom.  

Bold but light colors will reflect the existing natural and artificial light in the space, making it feel warmer and more open. Light colors also have a calming effect, which can relax the occupant and feel less confining – a valuable commodity in a small space. Design your bathroom around enhancing and matching these warm colors. 

Now, here’s where it gets controversial. Some designers opt to go with DARK colors in small bathrooms. That may seem like a direct contradiction to the aforementioned points about light colors, but it can work especially in bathrooms with no windows or natural light source. Dark colors, even as dark as black, but with a high-gloss finish or sheen level can reflect the artificial light to have an expansive effect in that small space. Be sure you have the right lighting and fixtures, as they’ll be reflected at you every time you turn on the lights. Tread lightly though (no pun intended!), this one can backfire if not done correctly!

Not sure about color selection for your small bathroom? Scared to make the wrong choice? Your remodeling partners at The Good Guys can calm your fears and lead you toward the right choices to maximize the space and appearance of your small bathroom. 

Dark and Bold Small Bathroom

While these 5 Ideas are great for small bathrooms, they aren’t the end-all, be-all of the list. 

Don’t be afraid to add reflective surfaces like mirrors, or even high gloss fixtures. Reflective surfaces bounce light, and optically open up the room to make it feel larger. Even extend the use of tile throughout the bathroom, using subway tile or smaller size tiles (avoid big 12” and 16” tiles), with more grout lines that will break up the wall and add depth to the space.

There are plenty of options for making that small guest bathroom feel bigger during your next bathroom remodel. Don’t be afraid to mix and match them to really expand your space, and your bathroom design options. The Good Guys are here to help.


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