Renovating small bathrooms: the dos and don'ts - Lifestyle AU
Renovating small bathrooms: the dos and don'ts

Renovating small bathrooms: the dos and don'ts

It's important to utilise all the available space when renovating small bathrooms. From lighting choices to floor tiles, your small bathroom can find the balance between functionality and style when you make the right decisions before construction begins.

Words by Yohei Guy

Renovating a small bathroom is a big undertaking, despite the limited space you might be working with. The smaller space, in a way, amplifies the choices you make, both good and bad because they impact a larger portion of your overall bathroom design. Doing your research in advance will help you avoid common mistakes and following strong design ideas will increase your chances of a successful bathroom remodel.

The delightful bathroom at the Lindfield Residence - Photography: Prue Roscoe

The “dos” of small bathroom renovation

There are plenty of tips for how to design large bathrooms but redesigning small bathrooms requires a different approach altogether. Your main goal will most likely be to maximise the small spaces to their fullest extent and these ideas will help you do exactly that.

Incorporate natural lighting

Lighting is an essential part of any bathroom and incorporating natural light will make your bathroom seem brighter and therefore bigger. It will also reduce energy costs with less lighting required for daytime use. Natural light is also proven to have positive impacts on your mood too which is a worthwhile reason in itself.

However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have large windows and skylights in their bathroom to bring in that source of vitamin D.

If this is the case for you, you can still curate the ambient lighting in your space. Selecting the right light fixtures and using bulbs that have a colour temperature close to natural light (around 5,000K) will help generate a similar atmosphere for the bathroom.

Design with larger tiles

A way to make your floor space seem bigger is to use the right tiles. Using larger than average tiles on the floor and walls tricks the eye into seeing more. When floor tiles have less grouting and lines to separate them, a small bathroom can appear larger. The ceilings can even appear higher if you install tiles along the wall, all the way to the top.

A clean transition on broad tiles creates a seamless look by blending the colours of the walls and tiles, which will also make a small space feel larger.

Large tiles used in this Japanese Inspired Bathroom by Allproof

Take advantage of mirrors

Mirrors are an essential piece in a bathroom. Not only are they great for getting ready in the morning, but they can help create the illusion of space too. Wall mounting mirrors also free up space on the floor compared to freestanding mirrors. You can choose any size of mirror you'd like, be it the classic oval or a piece that goes from the floor to the ceiling.

The style of the mirror is up to you, but remember to place it where you need it to be. A mirror can open up a space and add a great deal of style to your bathroom, so be sure to utilise this design feature for both practical and aesthetic purposes.

Install sliding doors

When renovating a tiny bathroom, sliding doors are a life-saver. A glass shower with sliding doors instantly frees up the room and creates a seamless transition between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. You won't have to deal with an unwieldy shower curtain as your shower door will slide back for easy access without the risk of hitting other objects in the room or blocking any space.

Sliding doors also improve your bathroom's appearance and make the space feel more elegant.

Saving space with sliding doors

The “don'ts” of small bathroom renovation

Just as there are plenty of things to consider when renovating small bathrooms, there are precautions you'll want to take too, especially with such an important room in the house. These are things you definitely don’t want to do when it comes to small bathroom renovation.

Never neglect ventilation

A small bathroom is very prone to becoming a humid environment. It's important to have proper ventilation, not just for the safety of your bathroom, but for your health too. Without proper ventilation, mould and mildew can grow and cause your health to deteriorate over time.

Select a quality exhaust fan for your bathroom to reduce the risk of unpleasant odours, mould and mildew building within your home.

The HB1040 Round Grill Cover for Bathroom Extract Fans from Halliday + Baillie

Don't forget to compare estimates

It may appear easier to go with the cheapest bid, but make sure to compare estimates looking specifically at the breakdowns, from several contractors. Price variations may result from one contractor leaving out a specific service you need which may then come as a surprise later down the track.

Don't worry about how long it will take to find the right contractor as it can make or break a project. In the long run, it's better to pay more upfront when renovating a small bathroom than it is to pay for a second redo later.

Don't wait to choose your options

When choosing a specific showerhead, like one with a rain effect or a dimmer for the lights, convey your preferences early on if you're working with a contractor. You may not want to add additional costs to your already growing tab for home improvements, but it's better to have these features worked into the budget ahead of time.

Certain choices, like wall hung toilets, require different designs for plumbing and electrical work to comply with safety regulations for your home. Making the plumber and builders aware of the lighting and water controls you want ahead of time will help avoid additional and unexpected costs later down the track.

The small but stylish Clareville Bathroom

Renovating small bathrooms the right way

As you can see there is much to consider when renovating small bathrooms. By following these simple tips you’ll be able to maximise your available space in the best possible way to create a functional and stylish modern bathroom.

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