Bathroom renovations small

Bathroom Renovations Ideas for small Bathrooms

ShowerIn case you missed it, many of you smarties dispensed an overflowing bathtub’s worth of great bathroom remodeling tips during our month-long Water-Wise Bathroom Redo project. Now it’s our turn to give some of these worthy ideas a shout-out. (Comments are organized by topic and edited for length.)

Planning a Bath Makeover

1. Do your planning as if it were an empty room.

  • Are the fixtures placed in the most advantageous places in the room?
  • Can the space be expanded?
  • Visit model homes and open houses to get ideas of what other home owners have done. — William

Buying and Installing Fixtures

2. You can save a lot of money by going to a Habitat for Humanity Restore for fixtures, tiles, and towel racks. — Annalisa

3. Check with some of the big-box stores and see if they’ll take [an old toilet] in trade. Sometimes you can save a few pennies on a new one that way and then they will dispose of [the old one]. [With a small footprint, ] consider some of the shallower vanities, which will give you more floor space, or even a floating vanity, which will help the room look larger. — Christine

4. A trick that might help with shower arm removal/installation: Buy an oil filter wrench at an auto store — the kind that has a handle and a rubber belt that adjusts by slipping through an eye in the handle. You can easily adjust it to fit the pipe and it doesn’t mar the finish. — Mike

5. Sometimes paint and accessories/fixtures make all the difference. Plus the added shower, however small, is hidden up the steps and behind the wall. (See below) Will be great for resale. — Jessica

Slate6. Cheapest, most cost-effective modification:

  • Cut a circle from side of plastic milk jug sized to fit the interior of shower pipe.
  • Cut an X in the center of the circle.
  • Insert the circle into the pipe, reapply teflon tape, and screw shower head back on.
  • Use a 5 gallon bucket to measure amount of water coming out in a minute’s time.

You may need to adjust the cut to get a lower flow. It took me three tries to reach 1.5 gallons per minute. (My husband never guessed it had been done!!) But it’s now 2 gallons/minute less. — EB

7. The bathroom redo pictured below includes:

  • Only one tub in the master bath
  • Roman slate (helps keep baths clean and warm when showering)
  • Floor drains (no more accidents and it’s easy to clean the floors when baths are done)
  • Tankless on-demand water heater (a big penny saver)

We even have the grandkids involved in saving water. They know where to stop filling the tub. We wash in cold water always, and only use the dishwasher when it’s totally full. Proof was when we cut our water bill in half, and the utility bill is never over $175 a month! — Cathy

8. A huge water- and energy-saving item is an on-demand hot water recirculating pump. You can do on-demand with either a sensor or a switch. Either way you’ll save lots of water and energy. You’ll also need to insulate your water pipes. If you open up any walls, that’s the time to insulate. — Daniel

Debating a Shower Curtain vs Shower Door

9. I suggest a bowed shower curtain rod — makes shower feel more spacious without increasing footprint. — Marie

10. I recommend getting rid of the [shower] rod [for] either a shower screen (if washing your children in the tub is necessary) or a frameless shower enclosure.

If these options are too expensive, raise the shower curtain as high to the ceiling as possible. Then, using an existing shower curtain, add a coordinating fabric to the bottom for the extra length to compensate for raising the rod. Trim could be used to hide the seam between the two fabrics. This would seem like a custom shower curtain and the rod would no longer be in the sight line! — Jeff

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