This story shows you how to make your small, cramped bathroom more convenient, elegant and easy to clean. These projects make the typical 6 x 8 ft. bathroom feel larger and more comfortable. We'll walk you through the steps for getting more natural light in your shower, replacing your dingy old bathtub with a spacious shower, and installing a toilet and sink that simplify cleaning. So stop dealing with an outdated bathroom and get to work!

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Proper ventilation will prevent moisture from getting trapped in the bathroom, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. Extract moisture by installing a ducted exhaust fan on a timer. Most timers allow you to set the fan for 15 to 60 minutes to remove heat, steam and condensation. Choose a fan according to the cubic feet per minute of air it moves.

Tear out the existing piping (Photos 5 and 6). Then frame the 2×6 walls that will contain the new plumbing and the opposite end of the shower base (Photos 8, 9 and 14). It’s easiest to nail the bottom plate to the floor and the top plate to the ceiling, then fill in the studs one at a time by toenailing them in at the top and bottom. Stack the studs directly in front of the old ones wherever possible. Space the studs in the center of the shower about 12 in. apart to leave room for the shower valve and showerhead. The studs behind the toilet should be spaced exactly 19-3/4 in. apart for securing this toilet chair carrier (Photos 8 and 15).
Proper ventilation will prevent moisture from getting trapped in the bathroom, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. Extract moisture by installing a ducted exhaust fan on a timer. Most timers allow you to set the fan for 15 to 60 minutes to remove heat, steam and condensation. Choose a fan according to the cubic feet per minute of air it moves.
Glass block comes in 8-in. and 6-in. squares and 4 x 8-in. half-block rectangles. You’ll need to choose between real mortar grout joints and clear silicone–joined blocks. We chose the silicone system because we liked the clean, uninterrupted look. Whichever way you go, buy the panel preassembled and banded together as one unit, ready to set into the opening.
There are so many beautiful things to notice about this bathroom that it's hard to know where to start. The concrete sink? The wallpaper? The sconce lighting? The tarnished mirror on the door, reflected in the main mirror? The barely-there ultra-modern faucets? Whatever you notice first, though, you can't but admit that this space is a masterpiece.

The job of installing our wall-mounted fixtures was tougher than it had to be, thanks to poor and contradictory one-size-fits-all instructions, metric fittings and duplicate and missing mounting parts. Prevent hard-to-fix future problems by test-fitting the actual fixtures when roughing in framing, plumbing and blocking to make sure everything will work out. Then finish the walls. When test-fitting, simulate finished floor and wall surfaces to get the clearances right.
Tile the walls first, then the floor. When tiling around the window, keep the tile about 1/8 in. away from the glass block. Tile the floor, starting by carefully snapping center lines to lay out border strips and field tile. Work from those lines to get evenly spaced tiles throughout the floor. Grout the walls and floors but caulk the inside corners between floors and walls and where walls meet.
The special-order fixtures, fittings, shower pan, tile and glass block panel can take weeks to get in hand, so do the necessary legwork and ordering well in advance. Before gutting the bathroom, check to make sure that there are shutoffs for all the fixtures or a master shutoff for the entire bathroom. If not, buy ball valve shutoffs sized to fit your pipes. Then turn off the main water supply line where it comes into the house from outside, cut the pipes feeding the bathroom and install the new shutoffs right away (see Photo 7).
A one-piece shower pan is the key to a leakproof shower. We opted for an easily installed fiberglass shower pan. Forty-eight inch wide pans are common and will work well; 60-in. units like we used must be special-ordered. The shower pan has to fit into the space left by the removed bathtub. Most bathtubs are 60 in. long, perfect for a 60-in. shower base.
Pedestal sinks can saver or waste space depending on the arrangement and storage options of your bathroom. If you want to open up floor space, they’re an excellent choice. However, they don’t offer the storage that vanity cabinets provide. If your bathroom lacks storage but you have your heart set on a pedestal sink, include open shelves or a tile-lined niche behind or adjacent to it. Alternatively, consider using cabinetry 16 or 18 inches deep, instead of the usual 21 inches, to maximize your floor plan.
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