Even though bathrooms are mainly utilitarian spaces and function comes first, we shouldn’t let that thought guide our entire design process. A bathroom can maintain all its functionality and also look beautiful and be inviting at the same time.
I’m sure that looking at your own bathroom now you can come up with a few ideas of how you’d design it differently if you had the chance, things you’d like to change and elements that you’d like to add. Here are a few of the most common ways in which you can update your bathroom and change it for the better:
Bathroom Remodel DIY
Rethink the walls
The walls of a room set the style and define the ambiance that you want that particular area to give off. It can be very alluring to pick the easy way out and install the same tiles all over, from floor to ceiling. However, that wouldn’t really set a great mood and wouldn’t necessarily complement your bathroom in a good way. Try thinking of a few other strategies for a change, like using wallpaper, painting the walls in a fresh and light color, adding some texture to the decor or making the space feel super cozy by installing board and batten.
Take advantage of the mirror
Every bathroom has a mirror so since this is a must you might as well take advantage of it in a cool way. A common strategy is to install a large mirror which makes the bathroom seem bigger and more airy and bright. This is especially helpful if you have a small bathroom. The mirror can become a statement piece if you give it an interesting frame but it can also stand out less if you go with a sleek, frameless look.
Focus on the vanity
Another good idea is to pay more attention to the furniture pieces in your bathroom. There might not be enough space for cabinets, shelves or anything else but every bathroom needs a vanity. This can thus be the focal point of the bathroom. If you’re planning a bathroom makeover, replacing the vanity altogether can sometimes be the best option if you’re going for a change of style. Sometimes however simply updating the existing vanity can be just as great. You could paint it, swap the old hardware for something new and different or add a few accessories on the sides, above and wherever else you can.
Update the area around the tub or shower
Replacing the original tub or shower would definitely be a big change that would impact the whole bathroom and while sometimes that’s clearly the way to go, there are also other ways in which you can update them. For example, you can focus a bit more on the space around them and install new tiles or adding a few accessories such as a few shelves, a shower nook, new curtains and so on.
Install new lighting fixtures
The lighting is very important for any space and the bathroom is not an exception. The right type of lighting can make a big difference in how this area looks and the ambiance inside. There’s numerous ways to update a bathroom though lighting. For example, you can swap the old vanity lights for something new and different. Instead of having the lights overhead you could install them directly onto the mirror or on either side of it for symmetry. Sometimes a chic pendant light or even a chandelier can look nice in the bathroom, just make sure you install them safely and they don’t hinder you in any way. Also, ambient lighting can totally change a bathroom so consider installing LED strips under the cabinet, vanity or behind the mirror.
Update the fixtures and hardware
It’s not just the big things that matter when remodeling a space. In a space like the bathroom there’s plenty of fixtures that actually have a big impact on the room as a whole. Things like the faucet, the tub and shower fixtures, the towel holder or toilet paper dispenser all play a role in the design of this space. If they’re too old and don’t really suit your style or the vibe you’re going for replacing them can be the way to go. Of course, you can also give them a makeover using spray paint or other supplies.
Add little details and decorations
When all the important elements are in place and the bathroom is functionally complete, take some time to add a few little accessories and decorations to really make this space come to life. Things like a comfortable little rug to step on when you get out of the shower, stylish shower curtains, a lovely soap dispenser, a cute planter up on a shelf or even some artwork on a wall are details that allow you to truly add your own style to this space.
Inspiring Before and after bathroom remodels
There’s definitely more going on in this bathroom right now than it was before the remodel but in spite all of that the room actually looks simpler and cleaner. The while walls and the new vanity counter keep the room looking bright and give it a more timeless aesthetic. The new design by @thehomeiskey is truly inspiring.
This transformation by @zoefeldmandesign highlights a lot of interesting and inspiring design details. For instance, it was possible to swap the old pedestal sink with a double sink vanity while still maintaining the open and exposed bottom section. The new design is a bit more industrial but still welcoming thanks to the little details that make it special.
Sometimes shower curtains just don’t work in a bathroom and sometimes swapping the whole shower setup for a bathtub makes more sense. There was plenty of space to do in this bathroom remodeled by @ispydiy and we love the new design. It plays with strong color contrasts and introduces pattern and texture into the room. The wallpaper, light fixtures and all the little decorations make it feel so homely and welcoming. It’s really a pleasure being in here.
Related: Bathroom Wainscoting – What It Is And How To Use It
Tiny bathrooms have lots of potential too. It’s tempting to want to keep such a space as simple and as empty as possible but that wouldn’t really help it stand out or look inviting. On the contrary, a fairly busy design can oddly enough be a great fit for a small bathroom. A cool idea can be to create vivid patterns on the walls using tiles or wallpaper while keeping the fixtures nice and simple. This transformation by @zoefeldmandesign can give you a taste of what that might look like.
Although white is often a perfect color for a space like the bathroom because of how versatile, clean and simple it is, it’s usually also worth consider other options, even some that can seem intimidating. For example, this remodel by @zoefeldmandesign swaps the while on the walls for matte black which is the complete opposite and yet works in this case.
Sometimes a bold and more unusual color can turn out to be the perfect answer, like this gorgeous turquoise used in this small bathroom by @zoefeldmandesign. It’s so vivid and vibrant and it’s used on everything, creating a magnificent backdrop for the stylish pedestal sink, the mirror, sconces and even for the new wooden floor.
Another cool idea to keep in mind when remodeling a bathroom is that you can create distinct areas within the same room by playing with variations in floor level, different floor designs, contrasting wall tiles or actual space dividers like this stylish shower divider used here by @eleven_views_. It plays both an aesthetic and a practical role and the glass doesn’t really break the room but allows a smooth transition between the two areas.
There’s plenty of details that can be added to a small bathroom without making it even tinier and more cluttered than it already is. For one, things like floating shelves and mirrors give the eye something to focus on and are both practical and aesthetically pleasing. The space above the toilet is perfect for a few small shelves that you can display a few decorations on or that can be used for storage. Check out this lovely before and after transformation by @thistle.harvest if you want some inspiration.
This bathroom has a very chic design, with light and neutral walls, a white ceiling and bold pops of color that add a certain dynamic to the room. The brass fixtures and matching hardware and accessories really help to elevate the design and go really well with the gray mosaic tiles in the shower and the vanity counter. This was a complete remodel by @zoefeldmandesign which transformed the entire room.
In this case the overall structure and vibe of the bathroom was kept the same but everything but updated. The vanity is in the same place but now has a lovely mint green color, the floor tiles stand out but have a vibrant black and white pattern, there’s still shelving above the toilet but it’s made of wood and more fitting for the new decor. A key change made by @lv_renovations however was replacing the corner shower unit with a freestanding tub.
Related: Past, Present, And Future Of The Jack and Jill Bathroom
An elegant approach when redesigning and decorating a bathroom can be to focus on using natural materials and finishes. You could introduce wood and stone or tiles that mimic certain materials in order to get the desired aesthetic. This remodel by @decorartucasa.com_ creates a brighter and more open ambiance in the room and add a really beautiful vanity with floating shelves and two beautiful washbasins.
Even if you go with a simple overall design you can still find ways to make it look interesting. White subway tiles for example can be arranged in an interesting pattern to create a cool backdrop for the shower, as shown here by @frills_and_drills. We also like the while black and white combo used throughout this room. It adds a timeless vibe to the decor.
A more fun approach can also work, especially if you’re dealing with a small space. Using eye-catching wallpaper or creating a vibrant tile design on the walls of a small bathroom is a simple and very effective way of creating a unique decor. This transformation by @zoefeldmandesign gives the room a fresh and tropical look without an overwhelming amount of detail.
Speaking of eye-catching wallpaper and wall designs, check out this bathroom by @zoefeldmandesign. The new design is surely very different from the old one, a lot more colorful but also simpler in certain ways. It’s a very bold design that wouldn’t work for everyone but definitely a strategy worth considering.
An easy and effective way of simplifying the overall design and decor of a bathroom is to opt for a wall-mounted toilet and, similarly, for a minimalistic sink or washbasin. That allows you to add more details elsewhere. For instance, add an accent wall. This remodel by @housetohomeatlast is actually very informative in this sense.