Until a few decades ago, all bathrooms were small—most were no larger than 5 feet by 8 feet, providing just enough room for a tub/shower combination, vanity, and toilet. You might think that the smaller the bathroom, the more challenging the remodeling, because how can you create openness and space without tearing out any existing walls? Luckily, homeowners who plan to work with what they’ve got may find that smart choices in colors, fixtures, and amenities can make a small bathroom look and feel larger than its actual square footage. We asked Joe Maykut, a product manager for Sears Home Services, to share with us the design tactics that work best for homeowners stuck with small bathrooms—and boy, did he deliver. If you’re itching to remodel your bathroom, the following eight tips will help you make the most of your small space.
It’s important to look beyond the space of the bathroom. Think about the entire look of your house. What kind of layout would best match the design? Does your preferred bathroom layout blend well with the rest of your home? Keep in mind that not everything has to be matched perfectly for it to blend well with your home. Not every door handle has to be bronze, for example. But if you choose a contrasting design, such as silver with bronze, it can be too distracting. If your bathroom is a part of your master bedroom, it is critical to blend the design. Don’t choose a stark bright color to distract from the theme of the main room. Instead, make it an extension of the room that flows well without taking away from the grandeur of the bedroom. A common adage is “add, not change.”There is also a matter of “functional zoning.” This is a good way for you to plan your bathroom layout around the idea of what’s functional. Instead of remodeling from a design perspective, instead think of things from a use perspective. Planning an effective space has everything to do with your lifestyle and how you best use the space. Make sure you incorporate this in your bathroom remodeling.
For those who are thinking of putting their home up for sale five years from now, then it’s important to ensure that the value of your property would increase over time, consider having your home renovated for that purpose. On the other hand, if you’re planning to live in your home for a couple of years, it’s very important to ensure that the design of your bathroom is something you would really love and fit with your style and preferences.

From wall paint to furnishings, it’s best to avoid dark colors and contrasting hues in a small space. “Stay with light colors—a monochromatic color scheme is best—so you don’t feel like you’re in a cave,” Maykut advises. Soft gray walls, for example, are very popular right now. If you’d prefer a bit more color, consider other trendy options, such as icy blue, seafoam green, warm white, and butter yellow. All of these colors work well, paired with white trim and cabinetry, for opening up a tiny bathroom. You’re sure to find some appealing options in light-colored cabinetry among the selection of more than eight colors that Sears Home Services offers.
Busting the budget is everyone's biggest fear when it comes to renovation. And with good reason. Even if you follow the essential advice we've been doling out for years—build in a 20 percent cushion to cover the nasty surprises, get contractor references and check them, banish the words "while you're at it" from your vocabulary—it's hard not to end up shelling out more than you want to, even if you want to pen a check for a million bucks.
High-gloss or semi-gloss paint is ideal for any spots that might get splattered, sprayed, or spilled on, like above (or in lieu of) your backsplash, behind your trash can, or everywhere if you love bringing spaghetti sauce to a rolling boil. Glossier finishes also protect your walls from water and grease, which will "bubble up and not absorb into the paint" upon contact, says Specker. "Wipe it off, and you won't have any leftover stains."
Before you even call a remodeling company for your bathroom remodel, you should first talk with everyone who will be using the space. Try to have a discussion about the fixtures and finishes you are supposed to use and how much of a budget you’re willing to shell out. As you plan for your budget, it’s important to have a little extra, because you never know if there will be some unexpected problems that will increase the cost later on.
If you have limited budget and need to keep the same footprint. Don’t worry, you can still give the impression that the space is a little bigger through the use of some tricks specifically made for that purpose. For instance, pedestal sinks are best known for making the room look more spacious, then clear glass shower doors are more preferable than the shower curtains on tubs as this would block the light and make it seem more enclosed. Likewise, you can also consider using a big mirror as an alternative to a small medicine cabinet mirror. Doing something like this could visually double the space around your vanity area.
Unless you've got loads of time (and expertise) to spend on your project, the best way to add sweat equity is up front, by handling your own demolition, or at the back end, by doing some of the finish work yourself. "If you want to save money, dig in and start helping out," says Tom Silva. "You can insulate, you can paint, you can sand." Or better still, he says, help with cleanup every day. "Instead of paying someone to pick up sawdust off the floor, put your money into the time it takes to trim the window properly," he advises.
Busting the budget is everyone's biggest fear when it comes to renovation. And with good reason. Even if you follow the essential advice we've been doling out for years—build in a 20 percent cushion to cover the nasty surprises, get contractor references and check them, banish the words "while you're at it" from your vocabulary—it's hard not to end up shelling out more than you want to, even if you want to pen a check for a million bucks.

You’re right that there should definitely be some kind of ventilation in a bathroom to prevent moisture build-up. My husband and I are remodeling our bathroom and removing the window that is attached to one wall (it’s just so awkward having one there) and installing a vent to replace it is definitely something we’ll want to look into. I’m not sure if we already have an inlet valve, but our toilet can be rather noisy, so we’ll have to talk to the contractor about that, as well.

By sticking to the lightest shades within a single color family for paint and furniture, you’ll avoid the strong contrasting hues that can make a small room seem even smaller. Matching your choice of floor tile to the wall color can also be a good idea—this will make the corners of the room disappear, creating a feeling of more space. Avoid putting any color on the ceiling, though; a basic white is the best choice here.
Before you even call a remodeling company for your bathroom remodel, you should first talk with everyone who will be using the space. Try to have a discussion about the fixtures and finishes you are supposed to use and how much of a budget you’re willing to shell out. As you plan for your budget, it’s important to have a little extra, because you never know if there will be some unexpected problems that will increase the cost later on.
Keeping the walls and trim light doesn’t mean you have to settle for an absence of all color or personality, though. Maykut recommends injecting color into the bathroom through the accessories you choose. Bold red towels and a soap dispenser in a matching shade will energize a small bathroom without overwhelming it. Add texture and color to the floor with a patterned rug. Should you tire of the look of your bathroom down the road, this color strategy makes updating easy: All you have to do is switch out your textiles and accessories to create a whole new look and feel.
Make what's old new again by invigorating antique pieces with colorful fabric from the 21st century. Take, for example, the two 18th-century French bergère chairs here, upholstered in a hot pink Maharam fabric. "Maharam is a very modern, contemporary fabric company, with velvets that are really bright in color," says Bikoff. "That color was such a pop of freshness and youthfulness on these old chairs."
It is a lot easier for people to express what they do not like. By putting dislikes into the equation, we can eliminate some things and narrow in on others. For example, a bold large-scale print might remind you of something in your childhood that you do not want to see in your own space. Or a wingback chair might bring back memories of being sent to time-outs for pulling your sister’s hair. Likewise, a certain color might evoke feelings of a past design trend that you aren’t eager to repeat. These memories and reactions are very personal and individual, but also define our tastes.
Before you begin a remodeling job, invite the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to remove materials and fixtures for later resale. "About 85 percent of a house is reusable," says B.J. Perkins, Habitat's ReUse program manager, in Austin, Texas. "We can do a total takedown, or do a cherry-pick job and take the cabinets, the tub, the sink, and so on." You save space in the landfill, collect a charitable tax credit for the donation, and help a good cause. Visit Habitat to find an affiliate near you.
I really appreciate your awesome 7 must-know bathroom remodeling tips! At the moment, I am helping my sister in renovating their bathroom. I am gathering more ideas on how could I help her and I definitely agree that considering the use of a heated floor, maximizing the space and choosing an appropriate, yet durable flooring will make it done perfectly!
It's exactly what Jenny Cipoletti, founder of fashion, beauty and travel blog Margo & Me, did in her decidedly Parisian office (which is actually in West Hollywood). "Just like when you walk into a cafe in Paris, and you see all the details and the golds, silvers and light blush tones, all of these elements in this space really sing to me," says Cipoletti. This lets you travel to your favorite destination without stepping outside.
How do you want a space to feel? Here’s a trick to help you hone in on your style: take a look at your closet. Do you prefer tailored pieces or do you prefer looser and more comfortable items? Do you gravitate toward certain colors or patterns? Another way to help you determine your style is to think of key words that define how you want a space to feel. Traditional, formal, elegant? Playful, humorous, inviting? Monochromatic, streamlined, modern?
Any good contractor will have no problem providing references, and copies of liability insurance before a job begins. Don’t rely solely on client testimonials, search out actual customers that can give you a firsthand account and answer any questions you may have. For any project, ask to see before and after images of a contractor’s prior work, and most importantly—trust your gut and know which questions to ask.
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