Small Bathroom Remodeling
In the past, small bathroom remodeling was considered a less concerning venture than other home remodeling projects, as a result of the limited features that could be highlighted in such a compact space.
Times have changed. Small bathrooms have become a desirable addition to the functionality of any home. From adding half-baths, to refashioning small full bathrooms for the purpose of maximizing homes with modest square footage, small bathroom remodeling designs are now a hot topic in Atlanta real estate.
Ensotile specializes in bathroom remodeling of all sizes, and we aim to help you develop the best plan for your small bathroom addition or small bathroom remodel that offers the most versatility considering your investment.
- Small Vs. Large
- Three Types of Small Bathrooms
- General Bathroom Codes
- Adding a Powder Room
- Adding a Three Quarter Bath
- Adding a Small Full Bathroom
- Small Bathroom Floor
- Small Bathroom Walls
- Small Bathroom Storage
- Floating Away
Small Vs. Large
The functions of a small bathroom are parallel to a larger bathroom, consisting of the same elements of fixtures and materials.
The major difference between the operations of large versus small bathrooms is fitting. With a luxury master suite bathroom, extra space allows for larger tubs, showers, vanities, closets, and storage. In contrast, the design of a smaller bathroom requires critical thinking skills to create the layouts that meet the functional needs of its purpose, without sending a claustrophobic visitor into a panic attack.
Style and modernization are attainable in a small bathroom, as long as you consider what works to maximize the space, and which features cause an inflation of limited square footage.
Three Types of Small Bathrooms
Small bathroom designs can fit into three categories:
Three Quarter Baths
Half-Baths, or Powder Rooms
Half baths or powder rooms are basically the smallest bathrooms that include a toilet and sink. These rooms are an excellent addition to any busy household. Easy access off of the living room, kitchen, or foyer makes a powder room convenient for guests and on-the-go family members to make a quick stop.
Three Quarter Bath
It includes a sink, toilet, and a shower, but not a tub. This makes a convenient option for an additional, second bathroom, which will be used for older children or adults, or a single bathroom in a one bedroom home. If you choose to sell in the future, families with young children or adults who like to soak in a tub will be turned off by the shower only home front.
Adding this option to a one bedroom home, or a home with an existing alternative full bathroom, allows for the most return on a three quarter bath investment. Custom, walk-in showers are replacing standing wall inserts in the bathrooms of the Atlanta area for their durability and style enhancing features.
A full bathroom can range from a small to large, depending on the square footage. A small full bathroom includes at the very least, a sink, toilet, and bathtub/shower combination, but many also include a separate shower option, as well.
Full bathrooms are functional in every fashion for all ages. Full bathrooms appeal to families with young children, as they require shallow pools of water for bathing, and typically are fearful of shower head streams. Most homes have at least one full bathroom, as they are the most popular and offer the most versatility.
Whether you are adding a new small full bathroom, or your existing small full bathroom seems outdated with useless clutter, there are design methods that will offer maximization of every small bathroom, no matter the size.
General Bathroom Codes
Though there are several ways to fit a new bathroom in your home, or to update an existing bathroom space, some code dimensions are universal across all bathroom styles and functions.
Take a look at this need-to-know list of codes that you should keep in mind when considering your small bathroom ideas.
- Ceilings should be at least 7’ high from finished floors, with at least 6’8” of height above fixtures
- Shower wall surfaces should extend at least 6’ high
- Toilets should allow a clearance of 15” from the center of the fixture to the wall on each side (30” total wall space) and 21” of clear space in the front.
- Sinks should allow 21” of clear space in front of the fixture
- Showers shall be no less than 900 square feet (30” X 30”)
- Showers and bathtubs should allow 24” of clear space in front of the opening
- A light switch must be 60” away from a water source
Adding a Powder Room
Finding a space to add a half-bath is easy with a little innovative thinking. A walk-in closet, an enclosed area under the staircase, a portion of the laundry room, or the end of a hallway are all areas that can be easily converted into a half-bath.
After meeting IRC requirements for allotted clear space in front of, and on the sides of the toilet, and in front of the sink, you can choose your design freely. The 21 inches can overlap, but the more space that you have to work with, the better.
A typical half bath is either 3’ X 7’ or 5’-6’ X 5’-6’. As long as you can come up with a figure of 21 to 30 square feet, you should have a big enough space to add your powder room. The ceilings should be at least 7’ tall, but if you choose to put your additional powder room under the staircase where there will be a slant in the ceiling, put the toilet at the lowest ceiling level, down to 6’ 8”. Remember to add a space of 30”- 32” for a standard bathroom door, which could swing out for added convenience of walking into the room, or opt for a sliding door to maximize the space, if your floor plan allows it.
Have you been looking for a way to incorporate a sliding barn door? Here’s your chance!
Powder Room Layout
The two biggest commodities for powder room layout will be the toilet and sink. There are so many ways that you can place them depending on your available space.
If you are renovating an existing half-bath, try to keep the original placement of plumbing hookups in consideration with the new design to save on the expenses for changing the pipes.
To add floor space, consider opting for a floating sink or a floating toilet. However, a corner sink in a small room could make up for an awkward floor plan that calls for a small angled wall. If your room is long and narrow, like the 3’ X 7’ bathroom, the best option is to place the toilet at one end of the room, and the sink at the other, with the entry halfway between.
For a wider room, you could use a customized vanity on one wall to give the room a centerpiece, and place the toilet on another wall. If you typically leave the door open, or you use the room to touch-up your makeup, put the vanity on the opposite wall from the door with a large mirror over the sink. The mirror compliment the centerpiece, make the room seem bigger, and serve as a convenient tool to check your appearance before answering the door or freshening up before leaving your home.
If you have a wide room, but would prefer more floor space for functions like getting dressed in a hurry, consider placing a toilet and small vanity or pedestal sink beside one another on the same wall. This also optimizes the room to hold more furniture, like a shelf or linen cabinet. As long as you are meeting those requirements of 15” from the center of the toilet to the wall on either side, and there is 21” of clear space in front of the toilet and the sink, you can choose the best layout of fixtures that meets your needs and compliments the wall space.
Adding a Three Quarter Bath
Much like a half bath, you are sure to find some underused space around the house to offer for the three quarter bathroom project. Three quarter baths are perfect for guests who come over for outdoor activities, like swimming or fishing, to get freshened up. Therefore placing them around the backdoor or laundry room areas will add to the convenience of location.
Large bedrooms could also offer some space for three quarter baths. Adding a three quarter bath to a finished basement man-cave, a converted studio suite in the attack, or a guest house are all convenient locations.
As with the powder room, there are some considerations for code requirements. For the shower, the standard size is about 32” X 32”. However, you will want to make sure that you have enough room to bend and twist in the small space. Three-quarter bathrooms can run from 6’X 6’, 8’ X 5’, and even as narrow as 3’ X 9’. The minimum space for a three quarter bathroom should be at least 27 square feet, but 36 to 40 square feet is recommend. As long as you are meeting the standard clearance requirements, your three quarter bathroom will add a convenient feature to your home.
Three Quarter Bath Layout
Aside from the convenience of having easy access to a shower in a small three quarter bathroom, the essence of a shower versus a tub can help to open the room up and make it seem bigger. Depending on the space of the room, a variety of options are available for setting up your three quarter bathroom.
In a square three quarter bathroom, like the 6’ X 6’ room, you could place a custom built corner shower with a swinging glass door in the corner, add a glass door, and with enough allotted space to swing the door open without hitting anything, you still have room to dry off.
The toilet and sink should be on opposite walls in a square room. A floating, corner sink could help to open the floor space. With a wider area, like the 8’ X 5’ floor plan, consider going all out on the shower, if room allows for it to stretch along the 5’ length, you could place the toilet and sink on the 8’ wall, depending on where the door opening is.
However, if the longer wall in the rectangular floor plan is more convenient for the shower, consider a design with part, or all, of the long wall used for the shower, and place the toilet and sink side by side, or across from one another.
For narrower set ups, like the 3’ X 9’, place the shower on the smaller wall, and use the 9’ wall for the toilet and sink. Consider applying a European style wet room where the entire room is water proof; there are no enclosures on the shower, and the drain in the floor close to the showerhead spray.
A corner, custom bench seat adds a functional feature in the wet room shower area by doubling as a shelf for soap and shampoo. Depending on what floor plan you have to work with, there are many creative options for a custom built shower in your three quarter bathroom.
Adding a Small Full Bathroom
A small, full bathroom requires a space big enough to house all of the fixtures and functions of a common bathroom, and most all houses have at least one of these bathrooms. The standard full bathroom is 5’ X 8’, but can go as small as 6’ X 6’, and as big as 10’ X 8’, and still be considered small.
Most full bathrooms consist of a tub/shower combo, but some manage to squeeze in a separate shower. However, there are several modern options for updates from the common old bathtub inserts, and most homeowners are interested in remodeling a small bathroom before adding another small bathroom to the home. Nevertheless, we can always find space for full-function convenience, right?
So here is where you want to look! Any space more than 36 square feet that is able to contain the size tub that you desire, the toilet, and the sink, while still allowing room for a shower head and drying off or getting dressed.
If you have the underused space in any of your home’s bedrooms, or possibly off of the garage or laundry room, and in the same mentioned areas of three quarter bathroom, like a converted attack suite, finished basement man cave, and of course the guest house.
If you are adding a mother-in-law’s quarters, for all purposes intended, she may enjoy a small full bath over the other types of small bathrooms. Again, as long as you are meeting the code requirements, any combination of lengths and widths that equal at least 36 square feet can be transformed into this must have bathroom type.
Small Full Bathroom Layout
Typical layouts for a small, full bathroom consists of a tub/shower combo on the back wall, opposite of the door entrance, with the toilet and sink placed somewhere in between on the same, or opposite, walls in accordance with one another. However, for the most aesthetically enhancing and relaxing entrance, unless you have an amazing claw foot or finely exterior tiled tub; go with the vanity as the feature of walking into the bathroom.
A large dramatic mirror over a vanity will add to the room, making it look bigger, while also making the appearance from the door seem more appealing. In this case, a standard tub and toilet could go opposite of one another to give more floor space.
A full bath may also contain a separate shower. In this case, opt for the corner shower for anything less than 45 square feet. Place the tub next to the small shower, and place the sink and toilet on one of the free walls. As always, if you are using a swinging door as your entrance to your bathroom, place the hinges to swing out, instead of into the room. However, this is another awesome opportunity to use a sliding door for an added feature to your home.
Small Bathroom Floor
One of the absolute best features of a small bathroom is the opportunity to use high quality tile at a lower cost to your budget, since quality flooring is charged by the square footage! Bonus! So, in this bargaining and biggest feature of the small bathroom, there are some considerations for protecting the structure and choosing the best tile for your small bathroom designs. Always consult with your contractor to ensure that you are getting the latest flooring preparation materials before the actual floor installation begins.
Moisture resistant, raw materials are the first concern. The bathroom is the most vulnerable room to water damage and mold in your home, because water is used from every fixture daily, and a disaster leak, or loose grout could warp an unprepared surface. Your flooring should always be as water resistant as possible, with water tight flushness of any furniture or fixtures secured to the floor and walls.
If you are choosing to go with a European wet room, a drain near the spray of your shower head is necessary in the first stages of your flooring project. Following the raw material, the visual elements of the floor will begin.
In case of a flood in the bathroom, you want to choose a material that performs best with heavy water exposure. Wood floors in bathrooms are just about as wild as a bathtub on the lawn. They both could serve a functional purpose, but just as a tub on the lawn is misplaced, so are wood floors in a bathroom.
Wood floors stain from excess exposure for water, and they have the tendency to warp, causing an uneven floor, which allows water to become trapped under the wood, and eventually leads to mold and more water damage.Go with tile, grout, and sealant for your bathroom floor, regardless of the size.
For smaller bathrooms, smaller tiles help to give the room the perception of a larger space, and the abundance of grout acts as a traction feature. When choosing tile, make sure that your color choices of the bathroom flow with the flooring tiles. If you choose a dark feature for tile, and a light feature for everything else, you have ultimately created a boxy, busy, space. Light, neutral tones will make the room appear larger. Dark tiles can work for a small bathroom to create a dramatic look. In any case, choose colors that are similar for floors, walls, and ceilings, because too many changing features will make the bathroom seem even smaller.
After choosing your tile, allow at least 6” of boarder going up the wall around the bottom of the room. If there is a flood in the bathroom, this will keep the overflow from damaging the walls, or seeping into the wood. Awesome picks for small bathroom remodels include mosaic marble, small porcelain or ceramic, and elongated glass. If you are choosing a tile that is commonly cold to the touch, consider a heated floor for added comfort. Heating constructs are added under the tile, and warm the tiles just enough for your feet to remain cozy after your morning shower.
Play around with various tiles to see which design is most appropriate for your project, and choose the best color that will allow you to later add vibrant pops with towels and accents.
Small Bathroom Walls
Just as the floor calls for waterproof materials, your walls should rely on the same guidelines. Water resistant plywood and sheetrock will prevent the problems associated with rotting structures if water were to ever seep into the wall areas. A water resistant paint in satin or gloss finish will add protection. However, try to resist from using flat paint in the bathroom since it is hard to wash, and the high encounter with water may cause stains that are difficult to hide.
One of the best ideas and highly desired features for small bathroom walls is complete tiling. Having similar and complimenting tiles on the floor and walls in a small bathroom keep the appearance of flowing, and adds to the goal of making the room look bigger.
Small bathroom remodeling in the Atlanta area is undertaking a transformation that considers the best materials for today, and for future generations. Full tile in the bathroom is on high demand. Ceramic or porcelain tiles, natural stone, glass, marble, granite, travertine, cement-bodied, Saltillo, slate, and quarry tiles offer endless options for designing the best look for your bathroom, while also protecting from water damage.
Taking the place of old wall paper and boarder, you can use a variety of complementing tiles in your bathroom to increase a visual art piece. Consider mosaic glass or marble tiles to boarder along the top of your walls, or to outline one of your favorite features, like your custom shower bench.
Wainscoting is another popular option for those who are not thrilled with the idea of full on floor to ceiling tile. Subway tile offers variety and safety for creating a waterproof space that also appeals to the eye. Consider using elongated subway tile for wainscoting around your bathroom, and choose a mosaic or glass boarder to elongate the linear appearance of your bathroom.
In bathrooms with open showers, subway tile looks excellent when paired with a wainscoting flow that reaches the ceiling in your shower area. As long as your wainscoting feature is above your vanity or sink fixtures, the appearance will be superb in your small bathroom makeover.
Small floor tiles, like hexagon mosaics, look spectacular with subway floor tiles. Wainscoting typically runs 42 to 54 inches from the floor up the wall, and is a feature that has endless appeal for historical and modern homes.
Natural lighting is the best way to enhance the visual perception of a larger bathroom in a small space. If room allows, add a glossed window to your bathroom. You catch the natural light, while also keeping privacy in the room. Another option is adding a skylight. If your space does not allow for a window, consider adding plenty of electrical light fixtures.
Track lighting in the shower or over the tub with a dimming option can add a relaxing feature, while keeping a well-lit area in the room. Vanity lights over a large mirror helps to reflect light, creating the appearance of a larger space. Where space allows, use bigger and more dramatic mirrors to enlarge your space. If you are using a double vanity, add one large mirror above the area to further enhance your space, as the double mirror approach created a break in the wall, making the room seem smaller.
Small Bathroom Storage
Small bathrooms should not be confused with storage spaces. However, you will need some areas to store some of the bathroom necessities to keep the flow of functionality. Shower niches open the opportunity to store shampoo, soap, and more. Add glass mosaic to the interior of the niche, and you have a visual piece that houses function and eye appeal.
Another option is a corner bench in the shower that doubles as a seat and a shelf to store items. Wall niches in the bathroom offer space for storing other bathroom necessities, and can be created with the same visually enhancing principles.
Consider a wall niche above the toilet to make the most of your space. A big storage closet in a small bathroom takes up too much space, and causes the bathroom to appear cluttered. Opt for a modern, built in medicine cabinet that helps to create functional storage in your mirror.
If your space is big enough for a custom vanity furniture piece, double its feature to hide items inside of the piece with drawers or cabinets. For super small bathrooms that call for floating sinks, consider using baskets underneath to catch necessary items for your bathroom.
Speaking of floating, keeping as many fixtures and furniture off the floor in a small bathroom can add to the visual appearance of the room.
In European style wet rooms, having both the toilet and the sink off of the wall can add to the shower room effect. When considering floating toilets and sinks, the major consideration is the necessity of proper wall constructs to hold the fixtures. Your contractor can advise you on the best materials to ensure the proper strength necessary to hold the floating fixtures.
Custom built walk in showers are one of the most popular trends across the country. When adding a custom built shower to a small bathroom, the functionality and options are endless.
If you desire a door to separate the shower from the rest of the room, go with a clear door. The textured glass from the past is known to box the shower in and make the room appear smaller. A clear door allows you to see the opening of the shower to make your room seem larger. Another option is to go door less.
If space allows for the feature, consider a half wall and half glass window to create an open stall, curb less feature to your shower.
When designing a European style wet room, the entire space of your bathroom is dedicated to the shower, and nothing is separated by extra walls or trim.
Custom built showers offer the ability to add seating in a small bathroom. Corner, floating, and double seating in your shower area create a luxurious feel with a functional approach with an endless avenue of design options.
For the walls of any tiled shower design, keep the flow all the way to the top of the ceiling. If you desire a boarder, carve it out in mosaic tile. A strip of painted wall at the top of the shower has no functional or visual benefit, so keeping the tile up to the ceiling is the best option for custom built showers in small bathrooms.
It is safe to say that the standard insert bathtub and shower insert is outdated. When designing a plan for your small bathroom remodel, and you desire both a shower and a tub in the same area, go with a more unique approach.
Cladding and tiles offer the same waterproof barrier, while also adding value and visual appeal to your small bathroom. Marble cladding on the outside of your tub and on the wall behind your tub will serve the purpose, and make the space more attractive. Also, you have the same options of designing a beautiful custom built shower above the tub, while also keeping the beloved features of your bathtub in a watertight space.
For free-standing tubs, the same concept applies for combing the shower area. Waterproof walls with tile and cladding keeps damage at bay, while giving you the full function approach for your bathroom.
Small Bathroom Remodeling Ideas in Atlanta
There are several options for creating the most functional approach to a visually stimulating area in your small bathroom. Depending on the aesthetics of your home and community, we can combine personal style that flows with the value of the home, and creates an investment opportunity for the owner.
Small bathrooms are abundant in the Atlanta regional areas, and we have the perfect plans for creating the best space to meet your needs, and to maximize your bathroom space, no matter the limitations of square footage.
Our experience and skills prove beneficial as we help our clients to consider the best options for each small bathroom remodel.
Ready for more information on how Ensotile can help you create your small bathroom remodel?
Call to schedule your free consultation today!