Bathroom upgrade advice

I am currently dealing with this bathroom in my unit:

I’ve been planning in my head for awhile, and then I opened the ikea catalogue to almost exactly what I had in my mind:

Do you foresee any issues with cleaning, water, etc? I’m looking forward to bright, clean looking, and no shower curtains to clean!

Don’t you rent to families? If so, the loss of a tub is a loss of that demographic. I would really ponder if you want to go in that direction and have a wet room, which most Americans can’t fathom. It might however, be a great draw for certain countries’ citizens.

You might also want to check your local code. In our area, if you rebuild a bathroom (tub removal hits that benchmark), you have to bring the space up to code which does not allow a bath or shower in front of a window, unless 1. the bottom of the window is above 5 ft, or 2. you have tempered glass in the lower portion of a double hung. Then, you also have to vent the space even if there is a window. To be honest, I am not redoing my personal bathroom since half the cost will be bringing the space up to code (a code that I think is ridiculous) and not on actual functionality improvements.


I have an open walk in shower but it’s longer than this-- the shower head is farther from the opening-- and water does splash/spray into the main part of the bathroom some. Not a problem for me as it is all tiled in the bathroom and in the area leading to the bathroom but I can tell people walk with their wet bare feet into the main part of the room because I see the wet foot prints one the tile after they check out. I have a terry bath mat in there but maybe a bigger rug would help. If you put a glass wall between the shower and sink it will make a small bathroom seem bigger and it will only take a couple of inches instead of the 4.5 a framed wall will take. The glass may be harder to keep looking good and you can’t install the valve in it so there are trade offs.

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This is an excellent point. My walk in shower was new construction so everything to code anyway. Also I was building with my older sister in mind. I wanted a walk in shower for ease of access for her. So a walk in might appeal more to older couples. My shower has been praised by almost everyone but I don’t rent to people with small children.

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Thank you ladies, this is the kind of thoughts I’m needing to ponder and research. I do agree about the glass so I don’t lose so much space, and I’ll have to look into codes. We have to replace the tub, either with a new tub or shower enclosure. I’ll have to see if doing either requires updating the bathroom. We plan to gut the whole thing anyway and I want to add a vent, so unless it would be a whole lot more than that to bring it up to code, it’s costs we were already planning on. Thankfully my husband is “Handy Andy”, and has done all this before. He does beautiful tile work, and I want to maximize the space as much as possible!

I had a bath with a window over the tub and used a large clear sheet of Plexiglas as a shower curtain (over the window) and this worked well, and did not hide the window or trim. If you have a quality bathtub I would keep it and just change the tile and vanity. Your ikea bath looks great but I think the shower will cause a mess.

He does beautiful tile work! Aurgh! Come to DC now and we can barter rent for tile work! I’m about to contract to have most of the floor done. ; )

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I think that, as long as you have a shower that you can hold in your hand, small kids will be ok in the shower, For very young ones, provide a large tub that that can use as a bath? And then, of course, a baby bathtub as needed.

We had a bathroom with a window in our last house, we tiled all around the window, then took the glass and had it frosted at a glass place. Looked great and gave privacy - put no curtain around it.

I guess I wasn’t saying that families can’t make it work; I just am not sure that they will book and be willing to try something different. It is something to consider, but only Sarah knows what kind of guests she already attracts and what kind of guests she wants to attract going forward. Market knowledge is something that each of us develops guest after guest after guest.


This is exactly what we did in our rental rehab 2 years ago.

Hi @Sarah_Warren,

From the looks of the picture of your existing bathroom, it appears it’s a standard 8’ X 5’, just like mine. See my floor plan below:

I would love to replace the bathtub/shower surround with a fancy shmancy tiled walk in shower, but I don’t think the space is big enough. Does Handy Andy know different?

When we had this house built, I asked for a shower enclosure in this bathroom instead of the tub/shower combo, but was told there wasn’t enough room and I’d have to give up the pantry on the other side of the wall.

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I wish, the tub is most of the problem. It’s pocked with rust, and reglazing only lasts a few years. So at a minimum we’re taking the whole tub out and doing a step in shower, but I like the idea of having it more open. I have to play around with ideas, look up building codes, think about how much water will spill out with different options.

As far as marketing to families, I honestly don’t want small children, but I’m okay with it as long as people understand what they’re getting into. Even my 2 year old has taken a shower with me…when I’m on a trip I’d rather a quick rinse off in the shower than messing with baths anyway. But I hate bath night anyway, lol. My ideal is families with older children, and I think having a bathroom without a tub will quietly steer my guests in that direction anyway! Especially with the pool, stairs to access, etc, little children are a liability that I’d like to avoid without outright saying it!

It depends on the rest of the house. For me your Ikea example is a bit too much.

I like it more like this (also Ikea).

or this:

If you do not have a separate shower, removing the bath is a good choice.
Showering in a bathtub is nice for homes, but not for rentals. People can slip, trip, fall, etc etc.

Replacing the bathtub by a shower will also reduce your bathroom cleaning time. Nothing worse than spending half an hour scrubing soap residue from the bath tub. (Some people still use a soapbar instead of liquid soap).

And baths are a huge waste of water and energy. Another good reason for offering a bath to guests.


The glass doesn’t look great unless you squeegee it after every use (or every other use) so be prepared for a bit of maintenance. We do squeegee after every use and it still doesn’t look great because I can only reach so high and there’s a little line that forms on the glass. So our shower looks good after the cleaner is here…

In the apt, I use a white waffle cotton shower curtain and it looks great - a clean and light look. I would replace your dark shower curtain right away (get one with no pleats so it looks more clean and modern) and maybe replace the light with a less yellow bulb, repaint walls to an off-white (we did a very light grey).

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I still need to look into it. I think doing the walled enclosure wouldn’t work, but doing a shower enclosure with either a glass wall or a curtain should work. [quote=“chicagohost, post:14, topic:7264”]
We do squeegee after every use and it still doesn’t look great because I can only reach so high and there’s a little line that forms on the glass. So our shower looks good after the cleaner is here…
And that’s the reason I don’t want to do glass, lol.[quote=“chicagohost, post:14, topic:7264”]
maybe replace the light with a less yellow bulb, repaint walls to an off-white (we did a very light grey).

It’s the off-white fake tile that makes the room look yellow, and the ugly shower enclosure. I can’t wait until it’s clean white subway tile!!! I’m currently using what I have up there, but I have a white curtain for inside the tub and I just may remove the dark curtain to brighten up the space since it’s just for show and not function.

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Well I much prefer the standup shower - the Ikea pictured shower has no raised area to keep the water from going into the rest of the bath - I think that would be messy. If you had a shower pan with a raised area I think it would be nice, and would be more appealing to me as a renter. I don’t really like those showers in Europe where water goes everywhere -

Yes, that is definitely something I would add from that picture. About 1-2 inches to step over and keep the water in. And no plants, lol.

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I like both these designs. They are small spaces but feel functional. The look is very clean and modern.

White subway tile is very in style right now, but I think it’s a nice look and won’t feel dated the way other tiles are starting to. Personally I am not fond of the Ikea picture in the original post because it all looks a little cheap and “builder grade” - what the builder puts in as the low-cost default in new inexpensive homes. Personal pet peeve - dark grout with white tile. It just always looks dirty to me. YMMV.

The difference in cost between low grade vanities, tubs and toilets, and medium grade items is not that much. I put Kohler or Moen faucets in my entire house and they only cost about $30 more per item than the American Standard versions. I have seen cheaper toilets that are about $250 and really nice Kohler ones that are $400. These items should last for many years, so the small cost difference is offset by the much nicer looking end result, and also the knowledge that you did it right and it never needs to be replaced. My plumber raves about Kohler and said they will replace any faulty part for free with no questions asked because they pride themselves on being high quality.

The biggest cost of any remodel is alway the labor. If you have a handy husband that will save you thousands, especially if he can re-route plumbing and lay tile.


Yes, that has been our experience. We just bought our house from my parents, and my dad always had to spend so much for labor he went for the cheapest parts. Meaning we are having to replace everything. He always complained about how often he had to replace everything around here…hmm, maybe it’s because he went cheap on materials!

I hate builder grade materials! I have an old house, I have lived in another old house and a “new construction” house. Hated the new construction one. Give me quality and old! So our bathroom remodel is intended to be bright and clean, and yet fit the age and style of the building.

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Those floor tiles look smooth. I believe that floor tiles in bathrooms should be a little bit rough to prevent slipping. This will be especially true if you don’t have a barrier between the shower and the rest of the bathroom, although I agree that it would be lovely to not have to clean the shower curtain or door. Also, if you have hard water, as we do in Los Angeles, CA, you might want to go with light color tile as dark tile will show water spots. If you don’t have hard water; it won’t be a problem.

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