The (thorn in my side) Bathroom

As new homeowners of a house that needs a little lot of TLC, there is ALWAYS a project to be done.  Before we even moved in, the house got a good cleaning, we renovated the kitchen and painted most of the rooms (Bedroom, Hallway, ..etc.).  When that was done, we were thrilled!  But the excitement doesn’t last long when you realize the other looming projects ahead of you…especially when you walk by them every day.  It’s like the chipped paint on the window frame in the dining room is calling to me… ‘paint me!  It’ll only take a few mintues’…

Among the various projects we’ve completed on our (always growing) Honey-Do-List, is our bathroom.  Every time I step foot into it, I’m reminded of how much I want to remodel it.

Eeek!  I know, I know… it’s screaming for attention.  However, that attention requires a design, and money to make that design happen.  We’ve just about busted through all our funds for home renovation for the year – so we’re saving this beauty for next year.  Or maybe this winter?  So that leaves me approximately 6 months to figure out what the heck we’re gonna do with this mess…

The Plan:

  • Budget: $2-5K(ish).
  • Keeping: Toilet (it’s pretty new)
  • Demo: The icky tile, tub, & vanity?
  • New: 3 piece tub & vanity (we might be able to refinish it?), paint, flooring, medicine cabinet?
  • Time Frame: Long weekend?

I have a few ideas that I’ve been playing with… I’ll share and hopefully I’ll get some awesome feedback so I can start planning the remodel…

1. Space & Storage.  This is a small bathroom!  Captain obvious here, you definitely can’t tell that from the picture.  The bathroom is probably 5ft. x 7ft and contains a shower/tub, sink, and toilet.  Yup, we only have room for the essentials!  So I know we need to come up with some creative space saving solutions.  We do have a linen closet just outside the hallway for all the towels, so we just need room for the every day essentials – a place for our tooth brushes, towels, hand towels, somewhere to plug in my hair dryer, storage for makeup, cologne, you know… basic stuff.  (Oh and I should add that this is the ONLY bathroom in the house!) Here’s a couple cool storage solutions I like…

  • A Shallow Sink: more room in front of sink
ikea shallow sink

Photo courtesy of

    • Open Shelving: storage solution, but visually open/clean.

Photo courtesy of

  • Floating Sink: more floor space gives the illusion of a bigger area

Photo courtesy of

2. Light & Air.  In addition to it being a small space, there is no link to the outside.  No window.  We have a light in the center of the ceiling that has a fan.  I’m pretty sure the fan sucks – well, doesn’t suck (Haha, I’m so funny).  I don’t think the ventilation in the room is great, which is scary because we don’t want mildew where Avery plays with his rubber ducky.  Plus, there’s no natural light, and the light we have I swear is rigged, because I put makeup on and think I look great, then I get to work and use one of their stark-white bathrooms and boom – splochy!  So maybe that’s not just a lighting issue, but room color too….

3. Color. Because this is a small space, I have to be careful with color…. I don’t want it too look smaller or dominate the space.  So I was thinking about wainscoting – which would be white and I could put a warm or bold color above.  But maybe it’s too traditional?  Or what about stripes or stencil pattern?

wainscoating in bathroom with color

Photo courtesy of

bathroom color ideas

Photo courtesy of

bathroom with color

Photo courtes of

Next?  I’ll put together a few possible floor plans & concept boards of some options…

Any suggestions?  Or maybe you can point me to a bathroom that you’ve remodeled or love?  Please share links!


21 thoughts on “The (thorn in my side) Bathroom

    • Thanks… I’ll get a better idea of where I’m going with the design once I explore all my options and settle on a style/design… I’ll share more soon!

  1. It looks like a project right up my alley! On the wall with the sink and toilet – what’s on the other side of that wall? If into a closet you could add a door inside the bath above the toilet – so you could have access inside and from the hall. Have to check on plumbing venting, but it would allow you to get a pedestal sink to visually lighten the room and gain more access to the tub. The wainscoting will be cheap to do and add some visual texture. Think about making the wainscoting more than one level (not the same height all around). Sometimes the same level makes the room have a ‘belted’ look. (In my opinion). I did this in my bath and will be showing you this in my mudroom and kitchen remodels. The wainscoting will allow for a more vibrant color above. I know you’ll make it look fantastic!

    • I am sooo glad you suggested the wainscoating at two levels! I love the high wainscoating for the wall opposite of the sink and toilet – perfect for pictures to sit on up high, and to hang some towels. Then it would be perfect lower on the sink wall, especially since I think I might expand the medicine cabinet with a built in shelf.

      As for the pedestal sink, that wall backs to the nursery – so not sure if that’s possible. I agree that it would lighten the room though.

      Thanks so much for your suggestions!!! I’m going to run with the idea and I’ll be back soon with a more focused plan of action!

  2. We re-did two small bathrooms in our old house (sorry, we didn’t take any photos). We relied on IKEA for our mirrors and cabinetry. They were easy to put together and instal.

    This looks like an exciting project! We’ve been in the new house for a little over two years now and we are JUST getting to redoing the guest room. How pathetic are we?

    • You’re not pathetic! You, like me, just take time to get around to projects. We have to prioritize… so some projects take the back burner, but we’ll get to them, eventually!

      How did you like the quality and style of the IKEA items you used? I like their shallow sink.. very modern, but it may save some room. We’ve got some IKEA furniture, but no plumbing fixtures so I’m unsure about using them…?

      • The quality and style turned out fantastic in our small bathrooms. They were finally updated (1928 house) with modern fixtures.

        We didn’t replace the toilets because the flush on both of them were AMAZING! The newer toilets don’t give you that reassurance you need, if ya know what I’m sayin’

        I don’t know of anyone who has purchased plumbing fixtures, but I’m sure if you have to return anything, they’ll take it with a receipt.

        Can’t wait to see the final room.

  3. Megan,
    The makeup issue is the type of light you are using. You need to have a vanity light over the sink or install a wall makeup mirror with a light. You also need a ceiling light that is going to give a better distribution of light. It can be really hard to find a ceiling fan/light that gives good lighting. Let me check with some of my vendors to see what they have.

    • Amy! So nice to see a comment from you! I’d appreciate you checking with your vendors, thanks. I still have no clue what style the bathroom will be, so send me any options you find please 🙂

  4. How fun! I can’t wait to have a house and start decorating/renovating! I’m sure it can be a little stressful too, but try not to get caught up in all that. PS. I love Ikea!

    • You’re right, it can be stressful! We try to just take it one project at a time, and have fun with it. I think it’ll be fun saving up funds and making plans for the bathroom renovation. I’m busy enough with daily stuff that I can keep it on the back burner and bring it out to think about and work on when I find a free minute!

  5. great post! I love hearing about your house projects and what is next on the list! Love the photos too…I think wainscoating with a pop of color on top is a great idea! Try googling (if you havent already) small bathroom spaces. You might find a pic similar to your bathroom and can get ideas that way. Or pinterest! LOVE that site!

    • haha… Pinterest is like crack for me. I get so overwhelmed with all the awesome ideas. If I could, I’d spend all day on that site! Great suggestion.. I’ll keep looking for ideas and narrow down the bathroom plans soon. This morning on my commute I saw a mustard yellow car and wondered how that color would look on the bathroom walls… yes, that would be the most random inspiration, haha.

  6. I feel your pain with your small bathroom. Ours is tiny and something needs to be done this winter. I want to paint and do something with the vanity. We have a very cute pedestal sink but it is so not practical. It is small which is the only thing that works right now. The space is so tight with how the door opens and the heating vent so I am not sure which direction I am going to go in terms of a new sink. I like open shelves above the toilet that will help to store some things. Can’t wait to see what you end up doing.

    • Yeah, I’m there with you about the pedestal sink. They’re perfect for powder rooms but not the only bathroom in the house. We need that storage under the sink! I’ll have some sketches of ideas posted soon about where we are going… sticking with the same layout but adding storage space and breaking up the room with textures and colors…

  7. Girl… I’m just looking to move into my dream-house, which, by the way, I found yesterday. I want to go look at it, but I know right now is not a good time for us to “sell”… of course, it’s the perfect time to buy. HA.

    I can’t wait to see what you plan on doing. I think in another life you will be an interior designer. 🙂

    • Hahaha… well, we can dream, right? Our house is no-where near the ‘dream home’ we want, but it’s a good start. The bathroom renovation ideas are flowing… will get some sketches out this week on the blog for opinions…

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