Bathroom Remodeling: Restructure or Rearrange?

By: Tomer Harel

There comes a time when you realize that your bathroom is just way too small. Perhaps it is the moment when you're sitting on the toilet and your knees hit the shower door, or maybe it is when you are trying to apply some deodorant and a small child runs in and accidentally hits you in the back with the door handle. There are a lot of similar scenarios which would define the moment you began to think about a 'project'.

In New York City we have a lot of apartments that are on the small side and inside those apartments there are usually only a few rooms, one being the bathroom. That room down the hall, off to the side, sometimes attached to the laundry - that multi-functional room that always seems so insignificant until someone comes to stay, or moves in.

I embarked on a small bathroom remodeling project 2 years ago. It was a space of no more than 5 x 5 square meters- some would even suggest less. I thought initially that I could keep the 70s tiling on the walls - it wasn't that bad, maybe I could paint over them, cover them up with plasterboard, anything but try to get them off the wall! And maybe I could keep the floor tiles too and I was definitely determined to keep the toilet. The final result was a complete overhaul. I jack hammered tiles off the walls and the floor and ended up with a concrete box - the feeling was fantastic, a blank canvas!

It is easy to get side tracked with small projects by turning them in to really big projects accidentally. One of the best tips of small bathroom remodeling is to maximize the amount of light entering the room, this will always create a sense of having more space. So, do you start knocking walls out or do you just creatively rearrange your space?

The first most dramatic and probably the most inexpensive change will be your choice of color you apply to the walls, floors and ceiling. The general consensus is to go for light and bright colors; this will create a feeling of brightness and airiness to a sometimes damp and dark space.

Lighting is the obvious next contributor to the image of your space. The most energy efficient way of creating a bright and lighter space is to install a sky light; of course if you live on the 2nd floor of a 56 story building this will not be an option for you. Installation of bright energy efficient lighting will, in some cases, be paramount to optimizing functionality of the room.

If your budget is as tiny as your bathroom then small and inexpensive changes can sometimes be the best option. Usually just one or two towel racks will be sufficient; use hooks on the back of your door or, place a bathroom cabinet or open shelving above the toilet. Small spaces also sometimes need a tone of organization, ensure that there are not too many hair care or dental hygiene products on your cabinet, or towels lying on the floor and maybe re think that big fluffy night gown hanging on the back of the door.

Some of the more expensive alternatives you will encounter when undergoing a small bathroom remodeling project will be also the most noticeable. Small spaces suddenly become large spaces when you consider removing a bath tub, hanging a large mirror or installing sinks and toilets on to the walls.

Bathroom projects are so much fun, but can be financially very dangerous! It is really important to set your budget first then determine what you can do within that budget which will satisfy your tastes while maximizing the functionality of the space.

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