The bathroom might be the smallest room in your home, but when it comes to remodeling, the related decisions can feel overwhelmingly big. From floor to ceiling, toilet to tub, and everything in between, bathroom design choices are endless. Re-Bath’s Design Consultants have years of experience guiding homeowners through every decision, from selecting fixtures and finishes to choosing tile colors and designs. Along the way, they’ve picked up some clever design tricks. Here are our top eight insider pro tips to help you make smart remodeling decisions.
Pro Tip #1 Work with what you’ve got
Dramatic layout changes can lead to dramatic budget increases. If you’re working within a strict budget – and most homeowners are – it’s best to keep the original layout of your bathroom. You’ll be surprised how different a bathroom can look with new materials and fixtures! If you’re wishing for more space in a smaller bathroom, consider swapping out your existing vanity for a floating variety, or chose one that’s smaller overall if you don’t need every square inch of storage. Leaving a little negative space will help to make your bathroom feel larger. Bathroom doors can also eat up space. Make sure yours swings out rather than in, or better yet, consider installing a pocket door to save more space.
Pro Tip #2 Make fixtures a focal point
Vintage-style fixtures are all the rage, but original fixtures in your 1960s-era bathroom don’t count! Hard water, mold and mildew can build up in older elements, causing expensive trouble down the road. That said, old is the new… well, new, so if you’re inclined, look for fixtures that call to mind a simpler era. A vintage soapstone sink or glass doorknob can be a stunning focal point in a modern bathroom. If you don’t love the vintage vibe, there are plenty of other options from the traditional to the sleek and modern. Mixing old and new is a designer’s best-kept secret. Just be sure the finishes are complementary.
Pro Tip #3 Don’t be afraid to go bold
The idea that small spaces must be light or neutral is so last year (unless you’re preparing to sell your home. In that case, follow this advice). You use your every single day. Why not get enjoyment from it? Wallpaper has made a return to the spotlight with whimsical, gorgeous designs that can give your bathroom that ‘wow’ factor and help make it uniquely your own. Wallpaper the entire room or choose an accent wall for a bold, colorful design. If your tile covers much of the walls, look up! A dark paint color or jewel-toned fabric on the ceiling can add interest and dimension to your space.
Pro Tip #4 Reconsider the tub
Nothing against professional soakers, but if your square-foot-hogging tub spends more time collecting laundry than it does holding water, consider removing it—particularly in the master bathroom. A tub that only gets used a few times a year (if at all) isn’t worth the space it takes up. Instead, use that square footage for a stunning, walk-in shower with a seamless bench seat and shelf. You’ll get much more use out of it and won’t have to work so hard to keep it clean!
Pro Tip #5 Embrace natural light
Sunlight is a natural mood lifter (who couldn’t use a little extra get-up-and-go on a Monday morning?) and can have an impact on the way colors look at different times of day. So, if your bathroom is equipped with a window, take advantage of it! Remove blinds, shades, or curtains that block sunlight from getting into the space. If privacy is a concern, choose sheer fabrics that allow light to pass through. Use clear glass in your shower and position mirrors so that natural light can bounce off and warm up the room. If your bathroom has no window to the outdoors, you can install lighting that mimics natural sunlight to create these same effects.
Pro Tip #6 Don’t overlook lighting
With all the choices you face when remodeling your bathroom, there are some that are just more exciting than others. Lighting isn’t typically one of them. Selecting an overhead light and the proper bulbs feels like something better suited to your contractor. Is there a light switch? Check. Does it work? Check. But before you flip the switch, as it were, consider how impactful lighting can be on your overall design. Accent lighting adds depth, ambient lighting illuminates, and task lighting in the right spot improves the functionality of your space.
[Read Bathroom Lighting 101.]
Pro Tip #7 Splurge (just a little)
Bathrooms are a functional space which makes them the last room homeowners think about remodeling. If it works, it works, right? But bathrooms also take the most abuse from constant use. When it’s finally time to remodel, homeowners tend to think function over form, selecting products and fixtures that get the job done, but don’t necessarily bring a lot of excitement. At Re-Bath, we believe everyone deserves a bathroom they love. That doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune or incorporate over-the-top design elements. But wouldn’t it be nice if the space you use every day offered a little something extra, like a towel warmer, smart shower head, high-end faucet, or heated floors? Have fun coming up with ideas and then scale back and select one element that will make you smile.
Pro Tip #8 You do you
What works for one homeowner doesn’t always work for another. Our designers start every consultation by getting to know their clients’ needs and wants. Families with young children might want to consider safety features that families with teens don’t need. And young couples without children might not be as interested in the safety features empty nesters are considering that will allow them to remain independent in their homes. Look for options that fit your lifestyle and can be seamlessly integrated into your bathroom’s design.