15 Practical Improvements for Your Bathroom Remodeling Project

modern bathroom with soaking tub

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A renovated bathroom adds value to your home, updates its style, and makes it better adapted to your needs. Renovations are the best time to introduce improvements that will serve you and your family for years to come. If you're spending money on bathroom remodeling, consider making one or several of these essential changes to improve the functionality, storage, and comfort of the space.

Here are 15 bathroom remodeling ideas for your home.

  • 01 of 15

    Choose a Hidden-Tank and/or Low-Flow Toilet

    Tankless toilet in modern bathroom
    Astronaut Images / Caiaimage / Getty Images

    Toilets with hidden tanks—in which the water storage vessel is mounted inside the wall—have several benefits. They are worth considering especially for small bathrooms, as the design can save space. Their sleek look also fits right in with modern and contemporary bathroom designs. However, be aware that routine maintenance can be difficult because there is usually no easy access to the tank if the inner workings need attention.

    Furthermore, another style to consider is a low-flow toilet. These models save water every time you flush. They are a smart choice that not only will lower your water bill but also increase the value of your home.

  • 02 of 15

    Use Small, Textured Tile on the Shower Floor

    mosaic tile in a shower

    Alexander Fife / Unsplash

    You'll have lots of flooring, wall, and tile choices to make during your bathroom remodel. The most important choice for safety will be the floor tile of your shower. Choose a small, textured shower tile. The texture and the extra grouting will keep your feet from slipping once the floor gets soapy and wet. 

    Most modern bathroom tiles are easy to clean, and they use grouts that resist mold, humidity, and stains. Ceramic and porcelain tiles come in many style possibilities. Mix and match different patterns and colors for maximum visual impact, or do something more understated for a harmonious look. 

  • 03 of 15

    Install 2-Inch Drain Pipe

    PVC pipe with a standard sewer trap

     

    Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

    This is a small and invisible improvement. However, it will make a big difference in the functionality of your bathroom.

    Typical bathroom drain plumbing is usually PVC pipe that's 1.5 inches or sometimes 1.25 inches in diameter. This type of drain pipe can clog easily, especially if you have several family members using the same shower and/or bath. Installing drain pipe that's 2 inches in diameter costs roughly the same, and it will dramatically improve the quality of drainage in your bathroom.

  • 04 of 15

    Include a Window in the Shower

    bathroom with window in the shower

    Glow Decor / Getty Images

    One of the biggest enemies of a clean bathroom is humidity, which can lead to mold and mildew. Although a good bathroom fan will make a big difference, the best ventilation is natural ventilation.

    Adding a window in your shower will help to draw out humidity, even if you just crack it open during or after a shower. A window also will let natural light into the bathroom, which is both an aesthetic and a safety consideration. Plus, you likely won't have to waste energy by turning on a bathroom light during the day if you have a window. Remember to slope a shower window sill downward, so water drains off of it. And use frosted glass for privacy.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Add a Recessed Medicine Cabinet

    open medicine cabinet in bathroom

    Lisa M. Robinson / Getty Images

    Gain more storage space while not sacrificing a sleek look with a recessed medicine cabinet above the vanity. The extra wall framing job involved in recessing the cabinet doesn't usually cost much in the grand scheme of bathroom remodeling.

    A recessed medicine cabinet is especially useful when your vanity is on the shallower side. Compared to a cabinet jutting out from the wall, it will give you extra space to bend over and use the sink. There will be fewer worries about banging your head on the edge of the cabinet.

  • 06 of 15

    Improve the Lighting

    Bathroom vanity beside window


    Martin Barraud / Getty Images

    As you plan your bathroom remodel, consider changing or adding to your current lighting to improve the functionality and mood of the space. One advantageous lighting improvement is a dimmer for the main lights. If you like to take leisurely baths, you know they're not much fun in full artificial light. A dimmer will let you set just the right mood.

    Also, add recessed fixtures around the mirror to give you the best lighting possible when doing your hair, applying makeup, shaving, or doing any other task that requires lots of light. Moreover, consider adding lighting in the shower, rather than around it. You might find your showers to be more pleasant (and safer) when they're lighted properly.

  • 07 of 15

    Make the Tub Optional

    modern bathroom with soaking tub

     

    Hero Images / Getty Images

    A bathtub is not always a necessity, especially if you never take baths. While there are real estate professionals who argue that a bathroom with a tub offers greater appeal to prospective buyers than one with just a shower, this is much less true for today's buyers than it once was.

    Plus, if your house includes another family bathroom that does have a tub or a tub/shower combination, there is no reason why your primary bathroom can't omit the tub in favor of a luxurious shower. Your main concern should be with how you're going to use your bathroom.

  • 08 of 15

    Stick With a Small Tub

    small bathtub

    Trinette Reed / Stocksy

    If you are installing a bathtub in your bathroom remodel, note that bigger is not always better. Oversized bathtubs once were all the rage. But today's bathrooms feature sleeker looks in their tubs. So unless you personally want a large tub in which you can stretch out, there's no need to break your budget for one.

    Smaller tubs take up less floor space in the bathroom, freeing up room for more storage, countertop area, and more. They also use less water and energy to fill them. And they are less surface space to clean than a large tub.

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  • 09 of 15

    Opt for Heated Flooring

    radiant heat floors

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    If you're replacing the floors in your bathroom remodel, consider adding heated flooring. Heated floors aren't that expensive to install, and they will add value to your home. Plus, they can actually save you money on energy costs in the long term, as they're more efficient to heat a space than a central heating system.

    Not to mention that heated bathroom floors will make a huge difference in your comfort, especially if you live in a cold climate. Most bathroom floor tiles are naturally cold. But running the floor heating even for a little while can cause the tiles to retain heat for a long time.

  • 10 of 15

    Keep the Main Fixtures Neutral

    neutral sink fixtures

    Raymond Forbes Photography / Stocksy

    When selecting bathroom fixtures during a remodel, you'll be faced with lots of choices. Of course, you should select the fixtures you like best. But it is ideal to stick with neutral options for the main fixtures—e.g., the sink, toilet, shower, and tub.

    Bathroom style fads can fade quickly. And large fixtures can be pricey and difficult to replace if you decide you no longer like them. Plus, a bathroom that's clearly dated can negatively impact your home's resale value. You can always add some bolder design flair with smaller fixtures and accessories that are easier to swap out when it's time for an update.

  • 11 of 15

    Carefully Consider Countertop Material

    marble countertop in a bathroom

    hikesterson / Getty Images

    Like bathroom fixtures, there are also myriad options when it comes to bathroom countertops. When selecting your countertop material, it's important to weigh appearance with functionality.

    For instance, natural stone countertops are fairly expensive, but they're also quite durable. And they can fit with many different design styles. The look of marble countertops appeals to many people, but marble is porous and needs regular resealing. Laminate countertops are inexpensive, though they don't add much for resale value. And tiled countertops can be easy to install, but the grout lines need frequent cleaning.

  • 12 of 15

    Prioritize Ventilation

    exhaust fan in a bathroom

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Ventilation isn't exactly an exciting part of bathroom remodeling. But improving a poorly ventilated bathroom should be a priority. 

    Even if it's not required by code, a bathroom vent fan is a smart addition. It will draw out moisture and odors, improving the air quality in the space. It also will help to prevent mold and mildew growth. Plus, you can run it year-round unlike a bathroom window, which you might not want to open during cold or inclement weather. 

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Consider a Low-Flow Showerhead

    showerhead

    Andrea Davis / Unsplash

    If you'll be replacing your showerhead during your bathroom remodel, consider trying a low-flow option. Low-flow showerheads are exactly what they sound like—they pump out less water, which can save hundreds or thousands of gallons per year depending on household use. They also are comparable in cost to regular showerheads.

    A past complaint about low-flow showerheads was that they lacked pressure. However, you might not even notice a difference in pressure with today's models. 

  • 14 of 15

    Don't Forget About Storage

    vanity with drawer space

    Taylor Beach / Unsplash

    While you might be aiming to create a simple and streamline spa-like space with your bathroom remodel, remember to include ample storage. You need enough cabinets, drawers, and shelving to comfortably fit all your bathroom items—ideally with a little room to spare for future items.

    Make sure the storage will function with your day-to-day life. For instance, select a vanity with enough storage space that will keep items you regularly use at your fingertips. Otherwise you might find them cluttering your countertops and diminishing the look of your beautiful new bathroom.

  • 15 of 15

    Choose Accessories Wisely

    accessories with a gold finish

    Grace Kelly / Unsplash

    When selecting the finishing touches for your new bathroom, it's important to make sure they all go together to create a cohesive style. For instance, aim to pick towel bars in metallic finishes that coordinate with your faucets. And consider splurging on a slightly more expensive soap dispenser rather than an old plastic one that will look dingy against your brand new stone countertop. 

    Furthermore, don't clutter your new bathroom with accessories all at once. Try living with just the essentials for a little while to see what you really need in the space. Then, you can strategically pick items that fit both your design preferences and your lifestyle.