How to Remodel a Small Bathroom

Next to kitchens, bathrooms often top most homeowners’ renovation wish lists – especially if that bathroom is on the smaller side. After all, your bathroom is one of the most essential spaces in your home. If you find one or more of your essential spaces is somewhat limited in terms of actual spaciousness, fear not – small bathroom remodeling projects are a common and worthy investment in your home. Read on for some of our top tips, whether you hire a contractor or go the DIY route.

Why Should You Remodel a Small Bathroom?

Aside from the obvious reasons – like needing a spot to store your toiletries that isn’t the over-crowded rim of your sink – you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that even a modest bathroom remodel can net significant returns on your investment in terms of resale value, even without your shelling out major capital upfront.

Define Your Terms

Not all remodeling projects are created equally. Before you dive in to your small bathroom remodel, take some time to decide what “remodel” means to you. For some homeowners, remodeling means a full overhaul, and can include everything from new fixtures and flooring to a full-scale layout change (which, in case it doesn’t go without saying, is definitely the time to call in the professionals!). But, if your small bathroom calls for an equally petite refresh, remodeling might mean a weekend spent repainting and installing a new exhaust fan. Before you find yourself mid-remodel and realize you’re not clear on the terms of your project, save yourself the headache (and surprise costs) and do some strategic planning first.


Remember, only you know what you really need and want in your bathroom, whether it’s the primary bathroom for multiple residents or a glorified guest powder room. One way to determine the scope and scale of your small bathroom remodeling project is to include typical and ideal usage in your planning process. If it’s your primary bathroom, you may want to do a larger-scale remodel and splurge a little on amenities that would see heavy usage. If it’s a guest bath, perhaps a fresh coat of paint and new set of shelves will go a long way towards creating the illusion of more space. Consider, too, who’s using it and how? Are there particular needs to be addressed in that usage? For example, bathrooms frequented by small children may find waterproofing measures to be a well-met investment. Similarly, if you think this bathroom may be used by the elderly or those with special needs or disabilities, focusing on a remodel that increases safe mobility (e.g., lower counters, no-slip flooring) may be a better use of your time and energy.

Set a Budget

Of course, setting a budget is priority number one for most of us – after all, your ideal bathroom is one that meets your needs without breaking the bank! When setting your budget, make sure you factor in costs over time, too. For example, the upfront cost of hiring a professional to ensure your exhaust fan is properly vented can save you money in the long-run in terms of more efficient energy usage.

Get an Expert Opinion (yes, even for DIY!)

Even if you decide to remodel a small bathroom in an equally small way, it can be extremely helpful to seek a second opinion from a professional. Most remodeling firms will offer free consultations and can help you refine your project goals and determine which parts of the project might be better served by hiring an external contractor.