Renovating your Bathroom: Living Large in a Small Space

Take a moment to daydream. Imagine how marvelous it would feel to have the tensions of the long workday melt away, while you soak your aching bones in a gorgeous new bathtub, or unwind under steaming hot jets of pulsating water in your new shower. Can you hear the classical music or cool jazz playing in the background, as you gaze upon the rich colors and soothing textures of classic marble walls and tile floors?

Sound like a fantasy, and truly, a totally renovated bathroom might be nothing more than a daydream – for now. But with diligent planning and research, coupled with a suitable budget, it can become a reality.

Bathroom Renovation: Small Room, Big Cost?

It is ironic that what is usually the smallest room in the house requires the greatest number of skilled professionals to remodel. Additionally, the materials, fixtures and accessories involved also are on the high end of the cost scale. In that sense, the cost per square foot to upgrade a bathroom may be higher than any other room in the house, because unless you yourself are a contractor, or a handyman extraordinaire, you can expect to be hiring a host of professional help, including a plumber, an electrician, a tile installer, a wallpaper hanger or painter, and a cabinet installer.
If your concept of a bathroom is as a strictly utilitarian space, necessary for daily hygiene and nothing else, perhaps you can get by with just a superficial remodeling project, involving nothing more than replacing worn-out or broken fixtures and brushing a fresh coat of paint on the walls. But if you really want to enhance your lifestyle, and provide comfort and relaxation to yourself, your spouse and your family, remodeling the bathroom is a wonderful way to express your creativity and indulge your most exotic decorating fantasies.

Since the room is so small compared to other spaces in your house, expensive materials can often be chosen without the fear of busting your budget – and since the room is so private, you need only worry about pleasing yourself with your choices of materials, styles, color palettes and patterns.

Focus on the Fixtures

Bathroom renovations are often done with the tub as the focal point of the room. There are so amny choices: it can be a large whirlpool tub designed to soothe away muscle pains and strains with well-placed jets of water, or it can be a small and delicate, turn-of-the-last-century, claw-footed antique to complement your décor.
You can also expect to be confronted with a dazzling array of sinks – some are undermounted, others self-rimming, and there is a new movement towards the old-fashioned “wash basin” style, finished inside and out, sitting above the countertop. And don’t forget pedestal and wall-mounted sinks. Be prepared to be overwhelmed with huge selections in every color, texture, style and material imaginable.

The same holds true with faucets, which have been honed in design over the years to the point that they are now almost considered art forms. Faucets are just another example of how, in every aspect of your bathroom redesign, the ways and methods by which you can express yourself are stunning and seemingly endless.

Toilet bowls can be simple and functional – but are you remodeling you bath only to be “simple and functional?” No, you are renovating your bathroom to express your creativity, to bring comfort to your life and to enhance the décor (and value) of your home. So once again you are faced with a myriad of choices: One piece or two? Gravity flush or power flush? Plain white or color? The list seems endless.

Remodeling the Bathroom: Walls and All

What about wall coverings? Ceramic tile? Marble? Wallpaper? Paint? Often, we can get ideas and design assistance at the store where we are purchasing our tile or fixtures. Many ceramic tile importers and home supply outlets have bathroom groupings displayed showcasing the latest materials and styles, allowing us to purchase a professionally designed “custom” bathroom right off the shelf! Of course, we can also use a design professional to insure that we stay on track and on budget.