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Small Bathroom Remodeling

by Jeanette Fisher

artist Christina Johnson remodeling small bathroom with faux paintOne of the biggest problems an older home has is a small bathroom. Bathrooms have been steadily increasing in size over the past thirty years, and today's average bathroom is twice as large as bathrooms of the 1970s. However, bathrooms can be difficult to expand in existing houses without knocking down walls.

Some real estate investors don't mind tearing up a house to make the property as desirable as a new home. For instance, many older homes in Los Angeles get torn down to the foundation with just a few walls left. However, most rehabbers like to update a home with new fixtures and features without tearing into the walls. Plus, many fixers just won't make money with too much remodeling.

The solution? Make bathrooms feel larger.

In our flip, faux artist and interior designer Christina Johnson used paint and glazes donated by FauxMasters (specialists in faux art classes) and Sherwin Williams to create visual space. Layering paint and glazes adds depth to a space because the background appears to recede.


Christina used joint compound and decorative paints to make the backsplash look like glass tiles.

Six Ways to Create a More Spacious Look and Feel in Bathrooms, Without Sledgehammers

  1. Save space by installing a smaller bathtub, since tubs are traditionally the largest fixture in the bathroom. Modern shorter five-foot tubs take up less floor space than older longer tubs. New tubs often are not as tall and make the ceiling appear higher. A new bathtub makes a good impression on home buyers, especially if your bathroom has a cast iron tub filled with chips and stains.
  2. Although it won't technically save space, you can also help create an illusion of spaciousness by topping your tub's side wall with a simple, unadorned shower curtain. Large patterns on shower curtains tend to overwhelm a smaller bathroom and make it feel less spacious. Stay with a clear curtain or match the wall color to further enhance the open feel.
  3. You can also gain some floor space by replacing the sink cabinet with a pedestal style. You'll lose some cabinet space, but you can usually more than make up for that loss by hanging a cabinet above the toilet. You can also save space by adding a sink that mounts directly to the wall. If you like having your sink in a cabinet, consider putting it into a smaller cabinet. There are dozens to choose from, in any color and style you might want, at your local home improvement center.
  4. If you're handy, you can opt for an antique cabinet or chest instead of the usual bathroom cabinet. Look for small chests at second hand stores and paint in your target buyer's preferred colors. You may need to reconfigure the upper drawers for the plumbing. Top with a solid surface countertop; the small piece won't cost much compared to the dramatic impact it provides. You can finish with a vessel sink which sits on the counter for a great updated look. (However, vessel sinks have not sold as well this past year and may soon look dated.)
  5. The toilet can also be replaced with a smaller, more efficient style. New toilets generally have a smaller footprint and aren't as tall as older toilets.
  6. The easiest way to add the illusion of space is with a new mirror, especially if you have an old small medicine chest above the sink -- the type with a stainless steal frame. These old-fashioned medicine cabinets really date a home. Replace with a mirror spanning the wall all the way up to the ceiling. Or, look for an extra large framed mirror and paint the frame to match your decor.

When you stage your bathroom, use towels to add softness to the hard space. Don't use a lot of little pictures on the walls; they create a cluttered look and make the space feel smaller.

You don't have to bring in a wrecking crew to create the look and feel of a larger bathroom. It just takes some imagination and some relatively simple upgrades, at a price that's significantly less than tearing down walls!

Learn how to make money in any real estate market. Jeanette Fisher offers free real estate investing teleseminars. Fix and flip houses with the Design Psychology edge: Free Flipping Houses ebook

Copyright © 2007 Jeanette J. Fisher
Use of this copy without permission (active links required) is a violation of federal copyright laws.

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