OSBP at Home: Small Bathroom Renovation Inspiration

This is the 30th week of my pregnancy, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve hit the nesting phase of this pregnancy. I’ve been running around trying to take care of small projects around the house, and my dad is coming down in a couple of weeks to help with a few things that we’re not able to do on our own. Prepare yourselves for a few more home-related posts over the next couple of weeks: it’s all I can think about! And there are a couple of big projects that I can’t seem to shake from my mind. The one that I’m most anxious to check off the list is the renovation of our main bathroom. As I mentioned here – the bathroom really needs to be completely gutted, which is kind of overwhelming for a first time homeowner. So while we figure out how to tackle this project, I thought I’d share some of the inspiration that I’ve gathered so far!

Oh So Beautiful Paper: Small Bathroom Renovation Inspiration / Photo by Brittany Ambridge via Domino from Ali Cayne's Home Tour

Photo by Brittany Ambridge via Domino from Ali Cayne’s Home Tour

Whatever we decide to do, I want to stay true to the traditional feel of our older home. Our current bathroom (and the only full bathroom in the entire house) is dark and unwelcoming, with modern touches that feel out of keeping with our 1920s rowhouse. The walls are painted a dark teal and paired with dark slate tile around the bathtub and dark finishings, all of which make the room feel very small – but aside from all that, the slate tile is literally flaking away and leaking everywhere. I can’t wait to rip the entire thing out! We decided pretty early on that we’d replace the tile around the bath and shower with bright white subway tile, which makes a regular appearance on my Pinterest page. Ahhhh…. like a breath of fresh air!

Oh So Beautiful Paper: Small Bathroom Renovation Inspiration / Riesco & Lapres via Desire to Inspire

Riesco & Lapres via Desire to Inspire

But the other walls? I’m not sure. Continue tile around the room? Another treatment like wainscoting or beadboard? The room is really small and we have shelving running along the wall behind the toilet to provide some much-needed storage, so there probably isn’t enough available wall space to justify wallpaper (as much as I love the idea) but I think I’d like to do something to help break up the rest of the wall space. And a light paint color on the rest of the wall to help the room feel bigger.

Oh So Beautiful Paper: Small Bathroom Renovation Inspiration / via La Dolce Vita by Paloma Contreras

via La Dolce Vita by Paloma Contreras

Oh So Beautiful Paper: Small Bathroom Renovation InspirationOh So Beautiful Paper: Small Bathroom Renovation Inspiration / Pink Walls and Wainscoting via Rue Magazine

Unknown (left) // Rue (right)

I’ve been loving the look of black and white bathrooms for a couple of years now. Our bathroom doesn’t currently receive any natural light, so I don’t think it could handle a lot of black (and I don’t want to just replicate the dark and unwelcoming feeling of our current bathroom), but we do have the option of opening up an existing skylight box in the ceiling. If we did that, maybe we could pull off a black ceiling or a darker feature wall behind the shelves?

Oh So Beautiful Paper: Small Bathroom Renovation Inspiration / Christopher Sturman via Desire to Inspire

Christopher Sturman via Desire to Inspire

Other than that, I’m pretty sure that we’ll need to replace the floor tile since it’s unlikely to survive the removal of the bathtub and surrounding tile – and we’ve always loved the idea of using classic black and white hex floor tile. I also love the idea of incorporating brass touches in the fixtures, some wire and straw baskets for texture (and pretty storage), and a couple of new accessories. But we have to get through the big stuff first before I can start thinking about accessories!

Oh So Beautiful Paper: Small Bathroom Renovation Inspiration

1. Ashley Capp via Style Me Pretty Living; 2. Brass shower rod from Signature Hardware; 3. Hex tile from Home Depot; 4. Bathroom shelving + storage; 5. Bathtub caddy from Anthro; 6. Wire storage basket from West Elm; 7. Shower curtain from Anthro; 8. Ogee countertop edge detail by Grant K Gibson Interior Design via Granite Gurus

Have any of you gone through a full bathroom renovation? Any advice for this first-time renovator/home owner with a new baby on the way?

  1. I love this inspiration! We did a full bathroom reno a couple years ago on our main bathroom (and the only one that can fit a tub). Our house was built in 1930. We had an old claw foot tub, but it was so impractical….and just old. If we had another bathroom with a shower, I would have definitely had a it refinished and kept it. We made a list of what we could DIY and what we needed to hire a pro for. We did a lot of the demo, and even ripped down a wall to make the bathroom a bit larger (and got rid of the tiniest, most awkward hallway). We ripped out the old black and white hex tile, and eventually hired a pro to replace it with new tiles in the same pattern, just like your inspiration above. We felt the same way and wanted to stay true to the house and history. We hired a pro to build a new shower and used white subway tiles. Bought a new toilet and got a double sink from Ikea. When we first moved into the house in 2006 it had awful wallpaper everywhere. We tore that down and just painted it, but we have horsehair plaster so it was really bumpy. When we did the bathroom, we had someone re-do all the walls, and we put up new wainscoting. We painted the top part of the walls a kind of gray/beige. Hope that helps!! You can definitely save a lot if you are willing to get a little DIY…however we did not have a baby on the way, so sometimes for your sanity, it is easier to hire a pro and just get it done. Ours was a bit drawn out, but we had no real deadline. 😉

    • Thank you so much Sarah – such great advice!

      I totally agree on the clawfoot tub; we don’t have one, and while I love the look I don’t think it would work in a main bathroom – especially with two small children in the house. We currently have a jacuzzi tub left by the previous owners that we hate, but we’re planning to replace it with a standard soaking tub.

      I think we’ll probably be able to do a lot of the tile work ourselves (my dad said he would help us – but I think my husband will be an excellent tile setter just based on his personality), but I think we’ll probably hire out any work that needs to be done to frame the shower or repair wall damage, etc. The big question now is just timing and budget. And how long my husband can put up with me complaining about the bathroom. Ha!

  2. We actually just renovated our only bathroom in our house this past winter, in the same exact style you are discussing above. We did literally everything ourselves, except for the electrical, which we do not have the confidence for yet. As far as advice, I wish we had really nailed down timelines and set better expectations for ourselves. We seemed to lose steam and even now it is not all the way complete (need to trim out the bathroom, and finish some painting). It was overwhelming at first but we are in LOVE. By doing a lot of the work ourselves, we saved a ton of money. The whole renovation ended up being about $2,000 and the ONLY item we didn’t replace was the toilet, so we feel pretty good about it. We bought our subway tile from Lowe’s, and the black and white hex tile from Overstock – both were really affordable and we are impressed with the quality. ANOTHER piece of advice, seal the tile right away! We have not yet sealed the bathroom floor and I am totally regretting it. I will have to scrub that sucker down before sealing now, and am NOT looking forward to it 🙂

    • Hi Andrea!

      Oh, you’re so brave! I think we’ll end up doing a mix of DIY and hire out since we’re not really confident enough to tackle things like drylock/drywall or plumbing on our own. But I think tiling and painting are definitely within our reach – especially if I can convince family to come help us out.

      I totally hear you on the timelines and expectations – I’m trying to be as realistic as possible on both points, especially since I tend to overestimate how quickly we’ll be able to do things. Hopefully (if we can pull this off) working with a professional on some things will help keep us on a tight schedule. And thank you so much for the advice about sealing the tile – it really helps!

  3. When we moved in a year ago we did a “best we could afford at the time but one day we’ll do the whole shebang” renovation that we hired out. I am still saving our pennies so that we can do the whole thing ASAP when daycare and preschool payments stop, but at the suggestion of our tile guy we chose an oversize subway tile to make our small bathroom look bigger and used gray grout. Those two elements alone made a tremendous difference. One year later, I love the gray grout even more since it does a relatively good job of hiding toddler grime. Good luck!

    • Hi Colleen! Thank you so much – that’s so good to know about the gray grout! We’ve been debating between dark and light grout (my husband worries darker grout will look dirty from the start – I think the opposite). I’m highly in favor of anything that hides toddler grime! Did you use a charcoal gray or a lighter shade of gray?

  4. We did a gut reno of our upstairs bath just before Hilma was born. Like…JUST before. We decided not to DIY any of it, since I’m the handy one and I was 34 weeks when we started. We did white subway tile from Lowes with DeLorean grey grout, and it looks fantastic. We wound up doing fairly cheap matte black tile for the floors, and used the same grout. It really works for us, and since we’re planning on selling in a year or two, we didn’t break the bank or do anything that would be a hard sell stylistically. We also got our tub from Lowes, and while I love the shape (it bows out on one side – more space!) I don’t love the acrylic finish, so I would recommend splurging a little on the tub. Our entire project was just under $6K, which we thought was very reasonable!

    • Carrie! You give me hope! I’m 30 weeks now – so I’m worried about missing out on whatever window we might have left before the baby arrives. And we’re in the same boat on probably selling in a year or two – so we have to keep re-sell in mind with anything we do. Thank you so much for the great advice!

  5. After painting a bathroom with no windows a raspberry pink that I went crazy for, I realize a lighter color might have been a better more practical choice. While the color is lovely, it sucks the light out of the room. It’s difficult to get the light you really need and want in a bathroom for getting ready, doing makeup, looking for a contact, etc. I would definitely go with a lighter color, especially in a bathroom. Another thing to think about is grout color. I really have had good luck with darker colors.
    Good luck!

    • Yes! Our current dark teal bathroom (not my choice) totally does that – just sucks the light out of the room. So so so true!

    • Thanks so much Julie! I do love the look of wallpaper in a bathroom – but I think it’s just probably not going to work for us in this bathroom. There just really isn’t enough open wall space to justify the expense of wallpaper (as much as I love it) – and our bathroom seems to be about half the size of Ana Gasteyer’s bathroom. 🙂 But we’ll see how I feel about trying black walls after we switch out all the fixtures and dark tile – paint is the easiest thing to change so I may just experiment!

Comments are closed.