Tips for Redesigning a Small Bathroom

contemporary bathroom iron mountain benjamin moore

This bathroom that you see was a typical city bathroom, in that it was long and lean.  In total we used not even 30 square feet of floor tile!  In the original bathroom, when you sat down on the toilet, your knees touched the tub.  There was no storage, and it looked smaller than it needed to be.  This was our first (of many and still counting!) reno, and took our upstairs from looking old and tired to fresh and contemporary.  Below are some tips to consider when renovating a bathroom, small or big.

When we decided to redo the bathroom, there were a few wants.  Firstly, the toilet had to be moved back.  This was a battle initially with my husband, because it could only be moved back 2 inches and he figured it wouldn’t matter.  Doesn’t sound like much I know, but when you sat on this new bowl, your knees were free!  Moving toilet plumbing is the most expensive plumbing to change, as you not only change water lines, but drainage lines as well.  In a bathroom that was 4 feet wide, every single inch counted. In addition, instead of purchasing an elongated toilet bowl, we opted for a rounded (thus shorter) toilet seat.  Double space saver!  We did not move any walls here, instead maximized every inch of the space, and ended up with a bathroom that gave us more space to move around.

Because the space was tight, we wanted to keep the view as unobstructed as possible.  This bathroom was the first thing you saw from the top of the upper stairs, so it had to be beautiful, and appear larger than it really was.  We chose a vanity with open shelving, to create the look of space.  Yes, there is no storage in it, but what you can’t see, on the left when you first walk in, is a floating tall cabinet affixed to the wall.  All the storage you need, and space for all of the kids bath toys!

This was the main bathroom, and thus needed to be fantastic.  We used it, the kids used it, guests used it.  The fixtures and tile selection needed to look good, but also wear well to withstand all of the use.  We opted for a 12×24″ honed Fiorito marble for the floor.  In between, we ran a single strip of the accent tile (that ran around in a thick band in the shower).  Since the floor was so small, the cost difference to buy this marble versus a ceramic or porcelain was not a significant.  It felt incredible underfoot, and because it was honed, it was not slippery after bath time for the babies.

Our contractors tried to convince us to paint the bathroom light.  Spa-like.  Like everyone else.  Though those bathrooms look lovely, it was not the look we were after.  Bold by nature, I opt always for highly contrasting spaces.  My husband suggested that we pull out the dark charcoal from the accent tiles as the wall colour.  Bam!  Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain fit the bill.  Hid all of the dirty fingerprints.  Played beautifully off of the tile.  Perfect!

There were no expansive walls upon which to hang towels in this bathroom.  We opted for a vanity, only 19″ deep, that could house hand towels.  This cut out the need to hang them on the wall, which was not a possibility, and kept the wet, drippy hands contained!  We also hung the bath towels above the toilet on the double bar you see.  Practical and pretty!  On the left, which you cannot see, was a tall, white high-glossed cabinet that was hung from the wall.  We left space underneath it for the kid’s stool, and thus created a neat little space for it.  A place for everything, and everything in it’s place!




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