5 Design Ideas for Your Bathroom Renovation

Articles & Interest

The bathroom is one of the most important elements in every home. It’s also one of the top rooms with the highest return on investment (ROI) according to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, which makes it a great candidate for a renovation. Not only will a good bathroom remodel increase the value of your home, it will also turn your daily routine into a gorgeous, no-stress oasis.

Not sure where to start? Here are five popular design ideas for your bathroom renovation.

Install a Double Vanity

Double Vanity artium Double vanity Ultimate

From left to right: RenoMark member ARTium Design Build, Ottawa, ON; RenoMark member Ultimate Renovations, Calgary, AB

With the busy lives we lead, having ample space for your morning routine is a must. The last thing anyone wants at the beginning of the day is fighting with their partner for the mirror or breaking up their kids’ squabble over the sink. It’s not hard to see why double vanities are all the rage in modern home design – they offer convenience and flexibility in an often tight area of the home.

In fact, double sinks were the highest ranked ensuite feature in the 2020 CHBA Home Buyer Preference Survey, powered by Avid Ratings Canada, with 43.7% of respondents rating it as a “must-have” in their home.

The emerging popularity of double vanities over the last decade has led builders and renovators to include them in low-rise, high-rise, attached, and semi-detached homes alike, especially in primary bedrooms. Like any regular vanity, double vanities now come in all shapes, sizes, materials, and colours. Gold hardware? Yes, please. Shaker-style drawers? No problem. No matter your style, there’s a double vanity out there that can fulfill any taste in design.

Plus, not only do double vanities help minimize stress over shared space in the bathroom, but they also provide double the storage space. Since “cluttered” is not a word anyone wants to use to describe their bathroom, a double vanity can help you achieve the clean, crisp, minimalist look you’re striving for.

Of course, it’s important to consider the size of your bathroom before installing a double vanity. When laid out incorrectly or forced into a tight space, the extra sink can make your bathroom design less convenient and more difficult to move around. When shopping for double vanities, you’ll find that they’re generally between 60 and 72 inches wide, but some can be as small as 48 inches wide. If you’re firm on a double vanity, but your bathroom’s existing layout isn’t conducive to one, you can always talk to your contractor about building a custom double vanity or reconfiguring the space entirely.

ProTip: Worried your bathroom will look crowded with a double vanity? Consider a floating vanity as a solution. Floating vanities drive the eye up, which creates the illusion of space – making them a popular choice for small bathrooms. Pair it with bright, light-toned walls or tile and you’ll have a bathroom that looks infinitely larger. They can also make cleaning easier that a vanity with legs. Depending on the style you select, you likely won’t have to sacrifice storage, and you’ll achieve the crisp, open bathroom you’ve always dreamed of.

Incorporate Plenty of Storage

Bathroom storage

RenoMark member Reborn Renovations, Calgary, AB: “Modern Makeover” – WINNER for Best Bathroom Renovation in the 2021 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence

Bathrooms can easily get cluttered – especially when multiple people in your home use the same space (picture a blow dryer, cologne, and bathroom bags spread loose across the counter). While ample storage isn’t a magic solution for a tidy space, it does make it easier for anyone using your bathroom to stow their items out of sight.

There are many ways you can maximize storage space in your bathroom. Depending on the layout, you can deck out your bathroom with shelves, cabinets, closets, and more. Regardless of item size, everything in your bathroom should have a home.

The most obvious place to add storage is within the bathroom vanity. If you have the space, try incorporating a double vanity. If space is limited, a single vanity with plenty of drawers and cabinets in one compact design will get you added functional storage space for easy organization.

A linen closet is also a great option as they can often be built into awkward spaces in your bathroom. And consider installing niches in the wall of your shower to house shampoo bottles or soap, avoiding the clutter and awkwardness of having them live on the corners of a tub.

One way to maximize storage in a small bathroom is to incorporate vertical space-saving techniques. Try adding hooks or a storage ladder to hang towels or even baskets of toilet paper. If you can’t add additional counter space to your bathroom, you could incorporate open shelving over the toilet to keep your everyday essentials. And if you don’t have space to add a linen closet, you could tuck towels into stylish baskets to place under your vanity or next to your shower. You could even install a shelf over the bathroom door to take advantage of that unused space. And niches aren’t just for the shower: consult with your renovator about whether there’s the option to use space between the wall studs.

ProTip: Get creative by mounting a full-length mirror on a thin “hidden” cabinet that opens to shelves. Not only will you get a daily peek of your full outfit, you’ll also keep storage for your bath or cleaning supplies out of sight.

Include a Stand-Up Shower

 Stand up shower worton

From left to right: RenoMark member My House Design/Build Team Ltd., Surrey, BC: “Sunlit + Kits” – Finalist for Best Bathroom Renovation in the 2021 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence; RenoMark member Worton Homes, Guelph, ON.

Modern home design sees homeowners leaning toward stand-up showers over soaker tubs. CHBA’s 2020 Home Buyer Preference Survey, powered by Avid Ratings Canada, found that 29.1% of Canadian home buyers listed an oversized shower as a “must-have” in their home, while 30.3% “really want” one.

While soaker tubs add a relaxing touch to a bathroom, stand up showers are a more versatile, convenient, and accessible option for many households. In a bathroom with a small footprint, a stand-up shower can better utilize space in ways that a soaker tub can’t, bringing a touch of luxury to even the smallest bathroom.

There are also many design options with stand-up showers. They can feature different colours, patterns, textures, and hardware to suit the needs and design style of the homeowner. Plus, a traditional glass enclosure can trick the eye into seeing a larger space, while simultaneously acting as a canvas for the artistic stone or tile work within the shower.

Finally, installing a stand-up shower may save enough wall space to add a window to your bathroom, which will allow for more natural light and the ability to air out your bathroom after use.

ProTip: Showers generally use less water than tubs, as long as you’re not taking 30-minute showers. So, if you’re an avid bather, installing a shower may mean you could reduce your water consumption and save money on your water bills. You can even get water-saving showerheads to lower your water use even further.

Use Tile – All Over

 Bathroom tub and tile - oakwood Bathroom tile - Treehouse

From left to right: RenoMark member OakWood, Ottawa, ON; RenoMark member Treehouse Developments Ltd., Calgary, AB

No one wants their bathroom to feel musty, so it’s unsurprising that the ’70s carpet trend (i.e., the worst bathroom floor taboo) propelled tile into the number one slot as the best bathroom flooring material on the market due to its ability to repel moisture. But a rising trend sees tile all over your bathroom rather than just on the floor.

Tile’s durability and versatility makes it great for your bathroom’s backsplash and walls because it’s so easy to clean. And when done tastefully, mixing colours and textures can add subtle visual interest to a sparse bathroom, while offering a clean, spa-like comfort to your daily routine. And if you’re happy with your bathroom’s layout, you can breathe new life into it without changing its overall structure using tile. If you’re into a modern look, try a mix of black and white tile for a bold contrast. Or if you like a more natural style, play with greys and browns that mimic the colours of the outdoors.

On top of the infinite choices in colours, shapes, textures, and patterns, tile is also available in several materials. And there are some materials that are best used for walls or backsplash rather than the floor.

One of the most popular materials for bathroom tile is ceramic because it’s simple to install, durable, and easy to clean – and it can also be a cost-effective option with prices as low as $0.50 per square foot.

Porcelain is another common bathroom tile because of its unique ability to emulate the tones of natural stone. Unlike stone or marble, it requires little upkeep for the same elegant look. While you can find budget-friendly porcelain, it’s more durable, less porous, and trickier to install than ceramic, which usually puts it at a higher price point. Both ceramic and porcelain come in glazed or unglazed finishes; while unglazed tile offers a rustic look, a glazed finish offers a sleek, bright feel – and it doesn’t absorb water. Both ceramic and porcelain are excellent options for walls, backsplashes, and showers.

Glass tile is also a great option for your bathroom because of its stain- and mould-resistant qualities. It’s best used as a backsplash because of its susceptibility to chips and scratches, which makes it a less desirable floor tile, especially for high-traffic areas. The different shapes and tints of glass tile can give your bathroom a translucent look and it can be used to create a bright mosaic accent that beautifully reflects your bathroom’s ambient lighting. Glass tile is more expensive to install because of its many grout lines and fragility. It is not recommended as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project.

Finally, you might even try vinyl tile. It’s just as easy to clean as classic tile, and it can give you the visual interest you desire, for a more affordable price. Vinyl tile is water-, mildew-, scratch-, and mould-resistant, which makes it practical to use on the wall in your bathroom or shower, though most people use it a flooring option. Vinyl is also much easier to install than other materials, so you’ll save on labour costs.

ProTip: Whatever tile you choose for your bathroom renovation, it’s important to do your research and ask your contractor for their recommendations based on your budget and bathroom attributes.

Add Visual Appeal with Wood Accents

 Wood accent Bathroom - Schreyer wood bathroom - Morgan Quality homes

From left to right: RenoMark member Schreyer Construction Ltd., Whistler, BC: “Northern Lights” – Finalist for Best Bathroom Renovation in the 2021 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence; RenoMark member Morgan Quality Homes, Ottawa, ON: “Cedar Tranquility Spa” – Finalist for Best Bathroom Renovation in the 2021 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence

As Canadians spend an increasing amount of time indoors, many are craving a little taste of nature in their living spaces. Classic, clean, white bathrooms have a lot to offer, but you might want to warm up a minimalist space by playing with wood accents.

Many contemporary bathroom designs incorporate wood or cedar accents to add visual appeal to the space, similar to what you might see in a day-spa – and who doesn’t want that spa feeling in their home?

Whatever your unique design preferences, adding natural wood to the traditionally stark nature of a bathroom is a sure-fire way to make it more warm and inviting. When used in small doses, like a vanity countertop or open shelves, wood can take any monochromatic style and add dimension. Wood can also complement a bold patterned tile, so that your statement bathroom aesthetic stays grounded in sophistication.

It’s important to remember that wood needs treatment to be waterproof. The last thing you’ll want after refinishing your bathroom is that beautiful wood deteriorating from constant moisture. Make sure you use wood that has been treated with tung oil, walnut oil, linseed oil, or a waterproof sealant/stain-sealant to ensure water doesn’t damage the wood long-term.

ProTip: Wood accents can be a quick, cost-effective option to spruce up your bathroom. You can incorporate wood walls, shelves, mirror frames, and more without breaking the bank, while simultaneously achieving the look you want for the space.

Overall, investing in a more beautiful and functional bathroom will have immediate benefits to your daily routine and the value of your home. If you’re considering a bathroom renovation, make sure you get a written contract from a trusted contractor before they perform the work. RenoMark renovators agree to abide by a Code of Conduct, so that you can renovate your bathroom with confidence.

Ready to get started? Find a professional contractor in your region through the RenoMark member directory.