How To Remodel A Small Bathroom

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How To Remodel A Small Bathroom

Is your small bathroom cramped and cluttered? Are you ready to give it a makeover but don’t know where to start? Relax—we’re here to help.

A small bathroom remodel can be both challenging and rewarding. On one hand, you have less space to work with so there are definite design constraints. On the other hand, a small room is relatively quick and inexpensive to remodel compared to a large bathroom. So whether you’re looking to replace your old vanity or add some new storage space, we’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to remodel a small bathroom.

Make A Plan

The first step in how to remodel a small bathroom is identifying the type of bathroom you have.

Type Of Small Bathroom

The type of small bathroom you are remodeling will have an impact on the cost of materials and labor. Bathrooms are typically categorized by function, no matter what size they are. Here are the 4 main types of bathrooms:

  • Half bath or powder room: A half bath is a small room and typically only has a sink and toilet.
  • Guest bathroom: This full bathroom usually has a tub and/or shower but is not the primary bathroom for the homeowner. Many homeowners choose to remodel these bathrooms with less expensive fixtures and materials.
  • Full bathroom: As the name suggests, this bathroom has a full range of amenities: shower/tub, sink, vanity, and toilet. However, it is not the primary bathroom for the homeowner.
  • Primary/Master bathroom: This is a full bathroom and is also the main bathroom used by the homeowner.

Scope Of The Project

Now that you’ve identified the type of bathroom you are remodeling, it’s time to decide on the scope of your project. Are you planning a complete gut job with all new fixtures, or do you just want to update your existing space with new finishes and fixtures? Knowing the answer to this question will help you create a budget and timeline for your project.

Floor Plan

Create a floor plan that makes the best possible use of the space. This involves deciding on the layout of fixtures like the pedestal sink, toilet, and shower, as well as where to put storage cabinets and shelves. If you’re working with a professional designer or contractor, they’ll likely do this step for you. But even if you’re planning your small bathroom remodel on your own, it’s still a good idea to map out the space before making any big decisions.

Style

Once you have a floor plan in place, it’s time to start thinking about style. What kind of overall look are you going for? Do you want something classic and elegant? Or are you aiming for a more modern aesthetic? When it comes to a small bathroom remodel, there’s no need to feel limited by design choices—even if your budget is tight. With some creative small bathroom ideas and clever strategies, you can achieve any style you desire.

How Much Does It Cost To Remodel A Small Bathroom?

A smaller tiled bathroom with shower

The costs to remodel a small bathroom–which can include a new vanity, light fixtures, tiling, drywall, and reframing–can run anywhere from $27,000 to $114,000, according to national averages compiled in the 2022 Cost vs Value report. Of course, when it comes to how to remodel a small bathroom, costs can vary widely. Costs mostly depend on the scope of the project and the quality of materials.

Here at Fabling Built, our base small bathroom remodel starts at $29,000. This level of remodeling includes a vanity or pedestal sink installation, a new tub or shower, and Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring. We will also repaint your ceiling, walls, and trim.

We price our base remodel on a 10-foot by 6-foot square foot floor plan, whereas many other contractors base their starting estimates on a 5-foot by 7-foot floor plan or an even smaller 3-foot by 5-foot size.

Since so much of the remodeling cost is based on materials, we provide a breakdown of the average cost for various bathroom components:

  • The average cost range for a tub or new shower stall is $375 and up
  • Tiling for tub or shower is $420 and up
  • A shower/tub faucet is $150 and up
  • Vanity is $325 and up (this price can vary widely based on selection)
  • The double vanity is $900 and up
  • The vanity faucet is $160 and up
  • Vanity light fixtures/mirror is $400 and up
  • Flooring is $300 and up
  • The toilet is $175 and up
  • Bathroom accessories (toilet paper holder, towel bar, etc.) is $100 and up

Other Considerations: Materials And Labor

Materials: The type of materials you choose will have a big impact on the overall cost of your bathroom renovation. Luxury materials like marble or quartz will obviously be more expensive than basic floor tile or laminate. 

Labor: One of the biggest expenses in any bathroom remodel is labor. According to HomeGuide, if you hire a professional contractor, you can expect to pay between $40 and $100 per hour for skilled labor. Keep in mind that the type of specialist you hire will impact how much you pay. For example, a plumber will typically cost more per hour than a painter.

Contractor vs DIY: Pros And Cons

A man remodeling a bathroom

Before you start tearing down walls, it’s important to decide whether you’re going to tackle the project yourself or hire a professional contractor. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

If you’re on a tight budget, doing it yourself might be the way to go. But keep in mind that errors will be more costly in the long run if you make them yourself. Hiring a contractor may cost more upfront, but it will save you money in the long run and reduce your stress levels during the project. 

Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of hiring a contractor vs doing it yourself when it comes to how to remodel a small bathroom.

Contractor

Pros:

  • Better knowledge and experience
  • Professional labor quality
  • Handles permits for you
  • Quicker
  • Comes with a workmanship warranty
  • A general contractor can handle all aspects of the remodeling project from demolition to disposal (and no need to hire various specialists for different aspects of the remodel)

Cons:

  • Costs more than doing it yourself
  • Workers need access to your home
  • You must adapt to their work schedule

DIY

Pros:

  • Can cost less
  • Work on your own schedule
  • No workers in your house (assuming you can handle all aspects of the remodel yourself)
  • Warranty on materials

Cons:

  • No warranty on labor
  • Must spend time working on remodeling rather than spending time with family or relaxing
  • DIY work is usually not as high-quality as professional
  • Get permits yourself
  • Work may not be up to code (especially plumbing and electrical work)

What To Expect When You Remodel A Small Bathroom

A smaller upscale bathroom

Every remodeling project is unique, but here is a general outline of the steps that must be taken when it comes to how to remodel a small bathroom.

  • Design phase (for higher-tier contractors)
  • Removing all of your personal belongings
  • Demolition
  • Potential repairs for damages from behind walls, vanities, etc
  • Framing
  • Plumbing
  • Wiring
  • Drywalling
  • Tiling
  • Flooring
  • Cabinetry
  • Finishing touches
  • Clean Up

Expect The Unexpected

Even the best-laid plans can go awry during a remodeling project. Be prepared for things like delays, damaged materials, and cost overruns by adding a buffer to your budget and timeline. This will help reduce stress levels and allow you to roll with the punches if things don’t go according to plan.

Tips For How To Remodel A Small Bathroom

Small bathroom with two cabinets

Remodeling a small bathroom can be a big project! These tips will help you get the most mileage out of your small bathroom remodel project:

  • Don’t skimp on materials: When it comes to things like plumbing and electrical work, it’s important to use high-quality materials even if they have higher costs. Cheaper materials are more likely to fail, which could cause serious damage to your home. 
  • Work with what you have: If you have a tiny bathroom, chances are there isn’t much you can do to expand it. Instead of trying (and failing) to force square pegs into round holes, work with what you have and find ways to maximize your space efficiently. For example, a pocket door can save space around your bathroom’s entry.
  • Get creative with storage: If storage is one of your main concerns, get creative with your solutions. Install shelves above your toilet or medicine cabinet or install hooks on the back of your door for towels and robes.
  • Let in some light: Bathrooms are often poorly lit, so take advantage of any opportunity to let in natural light or install additional lighting fixtures. Not only will this make your small bathroom remodel feel larger and more welcoming, but it will also help reduce your energy bills over time. 
  • Trick the eyes with a big mirror: When it comes to how to remodel a small bathroom, mirrors can help make your bathroom seem more spacious. Not only do they reflect light to brighten the small space, but they also make a small room feel larger.

Fabling Built Can Bring Your Small Bathroom Remodel Vision To Life

Looking to take the first steps on how to remodel a small bathroom? The professionals at Fabling Built can help! Check our website for information about our bathroom remodeling services, or fill out our contact form today!