How to make the most of your small bathroom remodel

A small bathroom remodel can be a cost-efficient way to upgrade your home. We transformed our small bathroom from an outdated yellow eyesore into a spa-like retreat. From savings space to saving money, here are my best tips for what I feel made our small bathroom remodel a success.

1. Make a small bathroom look bigger: Use light colors and reflective surfaces

Use light colors for a small bathroom remodel

Keeping the colors in a small bathroom light and bright creates an expansive, airy feel. I mentioned this same strategy in my post about how to make a small bedroom look bigger.

I love the 60-30-10 color design rule.

The color palette I went with for our small bathroom was:

Metal: Brushed Nickel (faucet, hand towel rack, toilet paper holder, refillable foaming hand soap dispenser .

Mirror: Octogon Mirror from Simpli-Home

Small bathroom remodel shiplap budget floating shelves
Octagon Mirror from here
Small bathroom remodel shiplap budget brushed nickel
Terrarium vase and lotus flowers and foaming hand soap dispenser are all from Amazon. Pebbles are from World Market.

Use reflective surfaces to add more light to a small bathroom remodel

In addition to the large mirror over the vanity, I purposely chose this mirrored-front vanity from Lowes. The mirrored-front vanity adds both visual interest and reflects additional light. Plus, I’m a sucker for a nice Moroccan arabesque shape, like the mirror you can see in my DIY Valetine’s decorations post.

Small bathroom remodel shiplap budget floating shelves
Vanity is the Allen + Roth Everdene 26″ with carrera white stone top from Lowe’s. (FYI because you know I’m a budgeter, we used the Rakuten cash-back app to save even more money).

2. Use floating shelves to add storage and save space

Floating shelves and both stylish and practical. They allow you to add storage to your small bathroom without taking up much space.

Small bathroom remodel shiplap budget floating shelves
Art print is “Finding Depth” by Laura Miller

3. Add a shiplap wall to create longer lines

I know the whole world has gone shiplap crazy after Joanna Gaines popularized the trend, but a shiplap wall has a special purpose in a small room. The lines can serve to visually elongate the room. This shiplap wall also elevated the style of the room by creating an accent wall without breaking up an already small room.

4. Add spa accessories to make even a small bathroom feel luxurious

This bathroom serves as the “powder room” for our guests, so I wanted the space to feel like a welcome breath of fresh air.

Some great ideas for bathroom accessories that add a spa-like feel:

  • Plants
  • Reed diffuser serves two purposes: a beautiful way to incorporate natural wood reeds and ensure a great-smelling bathroom
  • Metal vases
  • Candle (to tie in with the other metals)
  • Art (this particular piece is from Laura Miller Studio, a long-time friend from my London study abroad).
  • Extra hand towels (both practical and spa-like)

Small bathroom remodel shiplap budget floating shelves

5. My secret weapon: Find an up-and-coming designer who is still building their portfolio

If you’re going to spend money on a small bathroom remodel, it’s amazing what a difference a skilled designer can make to the end result. The smartest thing I did was enlist a designer with great taste, my friend Christine. I’ve admired the design work in her own beautiful home for years, but because she’s just starting out in the professional design world, she was willing to trade services (design services for photography services). She started with a survey about my design preferences (colors, metals, styles, budget) so the room design was to my taste. After that, she helped me every step of the way, from choosing paint colors to loading my cart at Lowe’s (I was recovering from my diastasis recti surgery). She took the design to the next level by paying attention to the final details and accessories (a step I tend to skip when designing spaces on my own). If you’re in love with this bathroom design like I am, feel free to send me a message on Instagram and Facebook and I can get you on my designer’s waiting list.

designer Christine
Christine and I on a random beach day forever ago.
Small bathroom remodel shiplap budget floating shelves
Love all the finishing touches Christine helped me select!

6. Save money on your small bathroom remodel using a cash-back app

Whether you’re embarking on a small bathroom remodel or doing any online shopping at all, I highly recommend joining Rakuten (FREE!) to get extra cash-back on your purchases. My husband Bryan and I have been using it since 2010 and have received almost $5,000 of extra cash-back on our purchases over the years.

As of publishing this article, Rakuten offers cash-back at:

Lowe’s, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Overstock, True Value, Bed Bath & Beyond, not to mention all the other stores (Old Navy, Under Armor, H&M, Ulta, etc.).

If you’re not already a member, I recommend joining and downloading their web browser plug-in (e.g. Chrome, Safari) so Rakuten will automatically detect when you’re on an eligible cashback site and remind you to activate the cash-back. It’s as easy as clicking a button.

Rakuten automatically sends your cash-back quarterly, either via PayPal or a mailed check, whichever you prefer.

I am a Rakuten affiliate, so if you sign-up through my affiliate link, you’ll get a bigger cash-back sign-up bonus.

GET EXTRA CASH BACK for your online purchases with RAKUTEN (FREE + Sign-up BONUS)

Rakuten cash-back for small bathroom remodel

Good luck on your small bathroom remodel! I hope these tips help you maximize space while saving money. If you remodel your small bathroom, please send me photos of the end result!

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