Small bathroom renovations usually include color changes, tiling, new electrics, some carpentry and plumbing. Most people choose to do most of the work themselves, only calling in tradesmen when absolutely essential.

Making Plans

A bathroom renovation is a big job, and one you will not want to do more than every ten years, so spend a lot of time on research. Before you can decide what you want your small bathroom renovation to achieve, you need to know what is available.

There is a much wider range of bathroom suites available than there was last time you put together a new bathroom. You should visit specialist showrooms to see what colors are in vogue this year, as well as what ranges of showers and bathtubs are currently on the market.

Spend a lot of time discussing the needs of every person in the house.

Decide whether to opt for a shower and a bathtub, or for one or the other. A shower is great for adults, but most young children will prefer a bath. A shower might be the only option if one of you has mobility difficulties.

Do you plan to turn your small bathroom renovation into a major project by installing a wet room. Wet room design and installations really are jobs for professionals. Most people would love a wet room, but it is not a DIY or low cost building job. Consider it seriously if you are having a new house or extension built. You might be glad of a wet room in twenty years time if you are in a wheelchair then.

What annoys you about your current bathroom? Can your renovation plans remove these irritations? Can you work in more storage, a shaver point or a larger shower enclosure? Can you install a light over the mirror to make shaving or make-up easier? Do you want a built in radio? What about recessed ceiling lights, that won't collect dead flies? Can you tile up to the ceiling to get rid of that dust-trap along the top of the tiles? What about a longer bathtub, one you can actually lie down in if you are taller than four feet?

There are a thousand and one questions you need to talk about at the planning stage, even before you start looking at particular items. Design the room to suit your purposes, learn from previous, badly designed bathrooms, and your small bathroom renovation project will be one you enjoy, rather than dread.


When choosing a colored bathroom suite you need to avoid ultra-fashionable colors. You will come to dislike your new bathroom in a few years and want to redesign it again. White bathroom suites are currently very popular for this reason. They will never go out of fashion. White makes the room look lighter and larger and you can change the bathroom decoration color in a few years time without having to rip the whole thing out and start again.

Choose neutral colored tiles for the same reason. You can paint the door and ceiling to get a new look next year, but replacing tiles you are no longer fond of is a big job. Pale grey looks superb and will go with any color, from red to blue, from turquoise to black. Use darker grey accent tiles for a modern effect.

Shower and/or Bathtub

The most important decision is shower, bath, shower over bath or shower and bath.

There are hundreds of shower enclosure designs, including corner enclosures, P-shaped and D-Shaped shower enclosures. There are as many different types of shower entry doors. These include plastic and tempered glass doors, gatefold doors and doors hinged at the side. You can get sliding shower doors and even no doors at all, a kind of mini-entry bypass type arrangement.

Before you can make any decisions you need to decide where the shower will go. You need to position your shower enclosure where you have a full height ceiling and away from windows.

Positioning a bath is usually easy, because most small bathrooms only have one wall long enough to put a bathtub against.

If you are going for the shower over bath option, then you need to make sure the bathtub you buy is designed for that purpose. The base of the tub needs to be reinforced to carry all a person's weight in one spot when they stand under the shower, rather than sitting or lying down.

With the shower over bath option you have another decision to make; whether to go for a shower diversion faucet or whether to opt for a separate shower heater and pump. Most people who go for the diversion faucet option are less than happy and wish they had run to the separate shower heater/pump solution instead. Bathroom faucets are expensive items and money spent on a diversion faucet would go part way towards buying the separate unit.


The toilet location is the next decision to make. Ideally it will go where the 4 inch diameter waste pipe already is, because you need to minimize bends in the waste pipe to reduce the risk of blockages.

Sink and Storage

You are left with a sink and storage units to fit in around the larger fixtures. Under sink storage is an excellent way of using this dead space. Consider as wide a bathroom counter top as your small bathroom renovation can accommodate. This will give you more storage space.

Look for wall-mounted cupboards, or narrow vertical cupboards to fill in any gaps and increase your storage options.

Heating can be achieved either using wall-mounted fan heaters or any of the wide range of vertical radiators designed especially for small bathroom renovation projects like yours.

Recessed ceiling lights are an excellent idea, but be aware that if you want to use the lowest energy LED bulbs you will need a lot of these to achieve the minimum light levels. A guideline would be one every 12 inches. The less efficient compact fluorescent bulbs give more light, but you still need more than you might think, space these about 30 inches apart for a comfortable light level.