Typically, the cost to remodel a small bathroom is around $3,500-9,000 depending on the quality of building and finishing materials, as well as complexity of labor.
Most homes and apartments have at least one tiny bathroom or powder room. This is particularly true in older buildings or houses.
Also, attic bathrooms are usually tiny, and may require a special designer touch to look nice.
While you may not be able to change the physical size of your bathroom, you can certainly transform it into a space that will look and feel modern and spacious.
All you need is a bit of creativity and a few design rules for small spaces.
Here are 8 design tips for renovating a tiny bathroom, along with labor and material prices, to kick start your dream makeover.
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Install a glass shower enclosure
A shower curtain is one element that can drastically diminish the appeal of a small bathroom. It makes the bathroom look dated, while also creating a visual separation between the shower/bathtub space and the rest of the room, making it appear half its real size.
Framed glass doors also look heavy and divisive. The optimal solution is to install frameless glass doors, that will create a seamless, continuous look from wall to wall, visually enlarging the space.
If you do not actually use your bathtub, consider removing it completely, and installing a glass shower enclosure. This will completely transform your space, giving it a luxury spa-like look and feel.
If you DIY the installation and are looking to get a small glass shower enclosure (31 x 31), you can pay as little as $550-650 for it.
A standard size enclosure, with professional installation can run from $1,500 to 3,500. Installing a larger shower with multiple sides and special hardware can range from $3,500-8,000.
Choose space-saving storage
If you want to open up your bathroom space, the first thing to replace is the old, bulky cabinets that leave no breathing room.
Luckily, today there are plenty of stylish cabinets to choose from, that will not only add inches of precious space, but will also offer smarter storage solutions.
To visually add height to the walls, consider installing floor to ceiling cabinets. Floating storage cabinets are another attractive and effective storage solution that saves space.
Another idea is to use under-sink storage and towel bars to free your counter-top of clutter, for a cleaner, more spacious feel.
A good quality single floating bathroom vanity can cost around $400.
A larger cabinet system and floating dual sink vanity cost from $600 to 2,000.
Tower storage cabinets range in price from $100 to 400.
In recent years storage ladders have become very popular. They add a unique designer touch, while offering ample storage. Keep in mind that a storage ladder takes up more space than other types of shelving, so if your bathroom is really tiny, this may not be the best solution for your needs.
If you are into DIY remodeling, and want to create a rustic or country style bathroom, consider using old wooden crates for storage. They can be stacked from the floor or nailed to the walls. You can either paint them using bold colors, or leave the wood exposed. The best part is they will not cost you anything. Many large stores are happy to give them away for free!
Put in large mirrors
Interior designers commonly use mirrors to create an illusion of a larger space. Install a large, frameless mirror along one of the bathroom walls, and kiss the claustrophobic feeling in your bathroom goodbye.
If you have a small powder room, or a bathroom that is used primarily by females, having large mirrors can greatly help in deciding on different outfits, as well doing hair and makeup.
Huge, floor to ceiling mirrors that span the entire wall offer a stunning effect. However smaller mirrors that begin at the height of your vanity and go up to the ceiling work just as well.
In terms of prices, size, design and shape make a big difference.
Large 42″ frameless mirrors can start at around $250. Mirrors that are 60″ and over cost $600 and up. Fancy frames can increase the price to as much as $2,000+.
Go for oversized tile
A sure way to dramatically transform the look of your bathroom is with tile. One design tip for small bathrooms is to go with oversized tile, such as 30×30. These large surfaces and minimal amount of grout lines will make the space appear much larger and airier.
Where should these tiles go?
To achieve the best visual effect, consider doing floor to ceiling tile of the same color (preferably light) throughout the bathroom. Moreover, by keeping the tile the same size and color both on the walls and on the floor, you create an illusion of seamless space, without dividing lines that visually cut up the room.
Another great way to create a sense of space and height is by installing your tile vertically, rather than horizontally.
For a unique and creative look, install glass tile. Ceramic and porcelain offer a more traditional look, while natural stone tile brings a sense luxury.
One of the hottest trends is to install wood look tile in bathrooms. The look and feel of natural wood can create a very relaxing and comforting atmosphere. However, since real wood and moisture don’t do very well together, tile manufacturers started making gorgeous ceramic and porcelain replicas of popular wood species. Depending on the brand and quality of tile, you can spend $3 – 12 per square foot.
When selecting your tile keep in mind the material’s slip and moisture resistance. Safety is the Number 1 priority in a bathroom, especially if you are remodeling a space that will be used by children or elderly individuals.
Prices for Stone Tile:
Marble (18×18): $6.79-11.99/sq.ft
Granite (18×18): $5.99-20.81/sq.ft
Onyx (12×12): $6.99-16.80/sq.ft
Slate (24×24): $11.96-21.96/sq.ft
Travertine (24×24): $23.96/sq.ft.
Prices for Ceramic Tile:
Prices for Porcelain Tile:
If you are really not into the idea of huge tile all around your bathroom, another possibility is to install one or two bands of smaller size colorful tiles that span the entire bathroom. These bands attract the eye, taking it all around the room, and making it appear visually larger.
The cost for small glass tiles range from as low as $4.95/sq.ft to as high as $22.95/sq.ft depending on the quality of glass and design.
Combine various types of lighting
A single, ceiling mounted light fixture makes the bathroom look dated and offers the least amount of visual interest and functionality. Instead, consider installing recessed lighting, as well as task lighting above the vanity. You can get creative and put in fixtures that make an attractive focal point.
Different types of lighting in one space will create an overall brighter and therefore visually bigger bathroom. Avoid using fluorescent lights. They tend to look depressing and also add an unnatural tone to your real skin color.
On average, bathroom vanity lighting can cost from $150 to 450, depending the design and finish. A bathroom chandelier can cost as little as $100, average $250-500 and go up to $2,000, depending on the number of lights, and style.
Break the rules of traditional design
The beauty and special advantage of remodeling a tiny bathroom is that you can break many design rules and play around with colors and patterns that would look “over the top” in a larger space.
By incorporating eye-popping details, you take the focus away from the square footage of your bathroom, and create a unique room that is all about experience, rather than size. Get creative and incorporate elements of design that speak to your personal aesthetic.
Consider bright splashes of tile, unusual bold color choices, interesting patterns, unique shapes and materials for your vanities, catchy lighting fixtures, etc.
In recent years, using moisture resistant, designer wall paper has become very popular.
There are many colors and patterns to choose from. Don’t be afraid to use large, bold prints and patterns. These look fabulous in small bathrooms, and can really bring out the character of your space. Rustic, farmhouse, as well as contemporary style bathrooms can benefit from an accent wall adorned with beautiful wallpaper.
On average vinyl coated wall paper costs $40-60 per roll, and its recommend for use in a bathroom, as it provides extra resistance to moisture penetration. Premium wallpaper can cost as much as $100-130 per roll, and can only be installed by a professional. Faux leather wallpaper is very expensive, with prices ranging from $200-350 per roll.
Professional wallpaper installation costs $55-80 per double roll of wallpaper. Together will materials, hanging wall paper in an 5×8 bathroom would cost $550 – 900.
Overall, hanging wallpaper is a rather expensive project, especially if you need to hire a contractor for the installation. By comparison, painting a bathroom is significantly cheaper, around $350-500.
Replace bulky fixtures
One of the key elements to successfully redesigning a small bathroom is to evaluate which fixtures take up too much space and replace them with a smaller alternative. Typically, older homes have very large bathroom vanities that are not very functional.
Instead, consider installing a tall pedestal sink, a console or a wall mounted sink that matches the overall style of your bathroom. Today, there are many design options to choose from, ranging from the minimalist and ultra-modern, to traditional, old-world charm sinks.
You can expect to pay the following prices for a pedestal sink:
modern glass: $180-400
stainless steel: typically over $1,000
high end: $1,000+
Wall mounted sink:
budget: as little as $80
designer: such as Kohler and Duravit, starting at $550-600+.
Color can really break or make your bathroom. You can play it safe, and use neutral earth or ocean-inspired tones typical in larger bathrooms.
However, your bathroom will not gain much from this. On the other hand, you can transform the space by using brighter and bolder colors, such as deep hues of red or orange.
Surprisingly, dark colors such as charcoal and black can also be an innovative choice, especially if you are going for a contemporary look.
Since the space is small, don’t be afraid to experiment with a color you really like, it will be quick and inexpensive to repaint, if it fails to meet your expectations.
The cost to professionally paint a small bathroom will range from $250 to 500, depending on the amount of labor and type of paint you want to use. High end paint, such as Farrow and Ball can cost as much as $90-110 per gallon. However, it offers very rich hues and will last significantly longer than your average quality Home Depot paint.
For a small space, using expensive, better quality paint may be a smart investment, especially if you can save on the cost of labor by doing it yourself.
White never goes out of style
The best way to add a sense of light and airiness to your bathroom, is to use white color on your walls and flooring.
This simple idea works wonders in particularly small bathrooms that seem to have no breathing room to give.
Best of all, an all white bathroom will never go out of style. It has a classic appeal that most people naturally gravitate to.
If you are planning to sell you home and want to update a small bathroom, going for the white or off white design is a sure way to attract positive attention from prospective buyers.
Another great benefit is that most white color materials (paint and tile) can be significantly cheaper than their brighter counter parts. So not only will your bathroom look refreshing, you can also save a few hundred dollars along the way.
If an all white bathroom does not suit your tastes, you can add some color through accessories, pictures, plants, vanity, towels, etc. For example, we love the gold color fixtures featured in the bathroom above.
In fact, in recent years, gold, rose gold, champagne bronze bathroom fixtures have replaced the tried and true look of stainless steel and chrome.
Accent shower wall
If you want to keep your renovation budget and efforts to a minimum, and still make a big visual impact, consider adding an accent wall in your shower. In a tiny space, a bold color tile accent wall will instantly become the focal design element. It will take attention away from all other imperfections of your bathroom.
Depending on the tile materials you want to use, a professional tile installer will charge $550-1,300 to put up the accent wall.
This can be a great opportunity to experiment with a new look for your bathroom without making any huge changes. Consider arabesque style tile shapes, bright encoustic patterns, colorful glass designs.
Alternatively, you can go for a more natural look of stone and install marble or granite tile, which will create a very upscale feel.
Try the glass look
Glass has made its way into our bathrooms in the most unexpected ways. However, its a welcome innovation particularly for small spaces, because it creates a sense of openness that other materials cannot compete with.
From glass door shower enclosure, glass wall and floor tiles to glass top surface counters, vanities, faucets, shelves and sinks, you can incorporate this versatile material into your bathroom design as much or as little as you want.
The look of polished glass is ideal for a contemporary style bathroom. However, it can also work well with a more traditional aesthetic.
Here is what you can expect to pay for the most popular bathroom fixtures and materials made of glass:
Glass shower door: framed doors start as $450-600. Frameless glass doors cost $1,000-4,000
Mosaic glass tile: average $4-8 each, premium $10-30 each
Glass subway tile: average $3-6 each. premium $8-15 each. Home Depot offers a decent selection of budget friendly glass tile that actually looks nice.
Tempered glass countertop: average price is $75-110 per square foot installed. Alternatively you can purchase a bathroom vanity with a tempered glass countertop. These can range in price form $600 to 900
Glass Sink: this item can be as cheap as $60-100 or as expensive as $900-1,300
Faucet: simple glass design faucets cost around $120-250. However, there are also custom made, blown art glass faucets, from brands like Tapologie, that are $1,900-2,500
Floating glass shelves: this is one of the least expensive bathroom fixtures that can cost as low as $15-20 at Home Depot. Average price for each shelf is around $45-99
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