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Small Bathroom Ideas and Remodel Checklist

Small Bathroom Ideas

One of the major changes in home construction over the years has been the size of bathrooms.  New homes have much larger bathrooms that feature enclosed showers (versus bathtubs) and often include built-in bathroom cabinets for increased storage. Approximately 70% of homes in Connecticut were built in the 1950s or earlier, before bathroom trends had changed. Our Small Bathroom Remodel Checklist has some hard-earned tips to make the most of your space and turn your small bathroom into a Dream Bathroom.

Use Space-Saving Doors:

Doors that swing on hinges can take up a lot of space. For a quick fix, make sure your bathroom doors swing out. To further increase floor space, swap your standard door for a sliding pocket door that is enclosed within the wall.

Modernize Your Shower:

Traditional bathrooms featured tubs, but most people these days perfer showers. Many people have added a shower faucet over their tub to create a makeshift shower, but we have some bathroom shower ideas that are a bit more modern. Tubs take up a lot of room: if you never use it, get rid of it. The neo-angle space-saving shower pan from Luxury Bath is one of our favorite small bathroom ideas. If you want to keep your bath, freshen it up and ditch the shower curtains.

Shower curtains can add a nice splash of color to your bathroom, but they block the view of the space behind them, making the room appear smaller (Shower curtains are also prone to hazardous and unsightly mold.) Glass doors make the space seem larger and more open. We recommend LuxSeal Glass from Luxury bath because it resists mineral deposits and stays clean. We can install a new tub or shower from Luxury Bath in 1-2 days. We can also apply new walls that coordinate with your shower. It’s hard to believe that a one day bathroom remodel is possible, but it is. See our infographic to learn more about the possibilities and start designing. (image via

Coordinate Flooring:

Using the same flooring material for the shower and the rest of the bathroom floor has the effect of visually lengthening the room. If this is not a practical option, you can at least use the same color.

Increase Storage Space:

Bathroom Wall Cabinets and Shelves: Storage is essential, but deep bathroom cabinets can make a small space look cramped, and they take up a lot of floor space.  Tall, narrow shelves don’t take up much visual space or floor space, and the vertical length brings your eyes upward, making the room appear taller.

Bathroom wall cabinets with glass doors or a combination of open shelves and drawers provide storage without obstructing visual space. Too messy for open shelves? Don’t rule it out quite yet: Putting baskets on shelves makes things look neat, and forces you to organize instead of throwing things under the sink and closing the door. Compartmentalized baskets help organize, too.

Recessed shelves or mirrored medicine cabinets provide storage without taking up any space. In fact, mirrors actually make bathrooms look bigger. (image via

Add Mirrors:

Mirrors can create many optical illusions, like doubling the size of your bathroom. For a rectangular bathroom, line one of the long walls with a large mirror and you will create the illusion of doubling the width (If you mirror one of the short walls it will make the room look even longer and narrower.) Mirroring two opposite walls gives the illusion of infinite space.

Increase Natural Light:

Adding a skylight is a great way to make your small bathroom seem more open and airy, and the natural light is an added bonus. Choosing the right window treatments is also important in terms of controlling natural light, privacy, and increasing the perceived size of your bathroom. Bulky curtains are not a good option for small bathrooms. We recommend blinds because they provide maximum light control, don’t look bulky, and provide total privacy without blocking natural light.

Choose Colors that Will Make the Space Seem Larger:

Bathroom Paint Ideas: Colors that reflect light make rooms appear larger. By that metric, white is the best choice, but if you want a bit of color, pastels, neutrals, and cool colors have the same effect. You could also accent a white bathroom with vertical stripes, or colored tiles where the walls meet the ceiling.

Color Coordination: If you use the same color throughout the entire bathroom, the space will seem larger. Paint cabinets, window frames, and trim the same color as the walls and choose a countertop that is a close match.

Replace the Countertop on Bathroom Vanities

Countertop Color and Material: Again, choosing something light and bright that coordinates with the rest of your bathroom will make the room appear larger. We recommend soapstone for bathroom vanities. Soapstone comes in a variety of colors (grey, blue-gray, green, black.)  Soapstone can be very light or very dark depending on its mineral content. For small bathrooms, we recommend a light grey, either plain or with some light blue undertones.

Soapstone is a top choice for bathroom vanities because unlike marble, travertine, or granite, it is not negatively affected by water. (Just make sure you get the high quality, architectural grade.) Because soapstone is nonporous, it resists stains. Soapstone also retains and radiates heat. For that reason, it was actually one of the most common materials for fireplaces and wood stoves in the 19 century. The Countertop Investigator by Anthony Greer is one of the best resources for comparing the cost and practicality of different countertop materials.

Our bathroom Planning guide can turn a bathroom of any size into your dream bathroom.

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