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The Perfect Small Bathroom Remodel: Design Ideas to Inspire & Transform

Remodeling bathrooms is a win-win for homeowners. In addition to the pleasure of a freshly revamped space, homeowners are also likely to get a nice return on their investment if they sell their house–as much as 66%, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors. Even a small bathroom remodel can mean big benefits. As always, design matters, especially when remodeling a small space. These small bathroom design ideas are your guide to a successful project.

Start by gathering small bathroom remodel ideas from a variety of sources. This will help you re-think the space and identify colors or treatments you would like to use in your home. Before you concentrate on the details of the decor, think big. What challenges does the project need to solve? What changes to the layout would you like to see?

When planning a small bathroom remodel, thinking about the shower first can be particularly helpful.

Small bathroom shower ideas

The shower takes up a lot of space in a small bathroom and can play a big part in transforming the room’s look. Do not be afraid to entirely re-think the space. Replacing the tub in a narrow galley bathroom with a walk-in shower, for example, can completely change the bathroom’s look–and provide a safer and more functional shower.

Let us look at walk-in shower ideas for small bathrooms.

  • Dramatic shower tile – A walk-in shower in a small bathroom is going to be a focal point. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is the ideal place to go big in terms of tile sizes. Large tiles make real impact in small spaces, making the room seem larger. To maximize this effect, look for tile designs with vertical elements.
  • Frameless glass shower doors and panels – Using frameless glass doors and panels in your shower is a terrific way to highlight beautiful tiles and ensure the bathroom is light and bright.
  • Doorless shower – Another great looking space-saver is a doorless shower. A large panel contains the shower spray, creating an open and airy feel that works particularly well in a smaller bathroom.
  • Under the eaves shower – A sloping roofline can work remarkably well for a walk-in shower if attention is paid to headspace. Placing a bench on the side of the shower with the lowest ceiling creates functional space perfect for storing bath products and providing a seat for safety and convenience.
  • Recessed niches – Consider building recessed niches into your new shower. Incredible space savers, recessed niches provide needed space for soap, shampoo and other necessities.

Once you have decided on the room’s layout and where the shower will be placed, it is time to move on to the rest of the room. To get the most out of limited space, keep these smart bathroom design ideas in mind.

Small bathroom design ideas

Some of the newest trends in bathroom design lend themselves incredibly well to small bathrooms. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, top trends in bathroom design include:

  • Rich colors. While white bathrooms are timeless, some of the freshest design ideas call for shots of color. Green bathrooms are especially popular.
  • Large-format tile. A tiled bathroom is a beautiful thing…until you have to clean all the grout. Larger tiles mean less grout to clean, and as a bonus, look great in small spaces.
  • Slab or solid-surface shower walls. Another trend that is even easier to maintain is the solid-surface or slab treatment in showers.
  • Blending backdrops with counters. Another trend that is spot-on for small spaces is using the same or similar materials for both countertops and backsplashes to create a seamless look.
  • Doorless or even completely open showers. The doorless showers we mentioned earlier are on-trend in bathroom design. Also gaining in popularity are completely open, curbless showers. With a design that flows into the rest of the space, this configuration can be a fantastic choice for smaller bathrooms.
  • Backlit mirrors. Adding a backlit mirror is a super option for small bathrooms, bringing even more light into the room without sacrificing any space.
  • Trick out the shower! Small does not need to mean boring. Explore shower options like hand-held showers, rain showers and body sprays. Combinations of fixed and hand-held showers are extra useful in smaller showers.

Fresh trends aside, when it comes to designing a small bathroom, a variety of other considerations can play a vital role in the room’s ultimate form and function. Especially for bathrooms that will be used daily, it is crucial to think about things like space utilization, storage and lighting in addition to design elements such as color and aesthetic style.

  • Use color strategically. The right color scheme can improve many design challenges. In small bathrooms, color can add important depth, or create a vertical element that draws the eye upward.
  • Recess accessories and cabinets. We already talked about the benefit of recessed niches in the shower. Installing recessed fixtures, such as medicine cabinets or toilet roll holders, is another way to maximize the space in a small bathroom.
  • Opt for larger mirrors. Instead of a small, framed mirror above the sink, consider installing a larger wall mirror to create the illusion of more space.
  • Choose a vanity with some storage. Pedestal sinks look great in a powder room but may not be a desirable choice in a full bath. Choosing a vanity with a cabinet for storage and some functional counter space will make a substantial difference in how the bathroom looks and performs daily.
  • Build generous lighting into your design. In addition to lighting around the sink area, look for other places to bring in more light – behind the mirror, in the shower, and in the ceiling itself. Small bathrooms are great places to use a bathroom exhaust fan with a light.
  • If your bathroom has drapery or a shower curtain, install those at the highest point possible and use extra-long length fabric elements that reach the floor. Doing so will create powerful vertical elements that draw the eye upward, making the ceiling seem higher, adding drama and richness.

Work in a little extra luxury

One advantage of working in a smaller space is the simple fact you can do more with less. A little luxury goes a long way in small bathrooms. Upgrading the tile or using natural stone can deliver a rich, high-end look. You can also treat yourself in smaller ways. A heated bathroom floor will drive away winter chills. And if that is too pricey, a towel warmer can provide similar pleasure for less cost.

Clever design can deliver impressive results in a small bathroom remodeling project, turning a cramped and outdated bathroom into a mini spa that looks great, and everyone can enjoy.