Before and After: An “Anything but Relaxing” Bathroom Gets a Glam Blue-Green Glow-Up

published Aug 10, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

When you think of the most relaxing rooms in your home, your mind probably drifts toward your bedroom, perhaps your living room or a sunroom or a porch, but what about your bathroom? Apartment Therapy has featured some pretty, spa-like bathroom spaces over the years that’ll have you whipping out a bamboo tray, book, and glass of wine, and maybe lighting a candle or three or four or five. (Be sure to check out these other ideas for making any bathroom a bit more spa-like, too! Oh, and the anatomy of a perfect bath.)

But in Ana Vergara’s apartment, the primary bathroom was “anything but relaxing,” she says. In fact, it was rather dull and dreary. “Actually, I never used the bathtub or shower in my bathroom,” she says. “I realized I couldn’t even fit into the bathtub, and I’m quite petite — 5 feet.”

Ana’s bathroom redo proves you don’t necessarily need a bathtub to create an ultra-relaxing bathroom. Sometimes, a spacious shower does the trick — especially if you add things like shower steamers, eucalyptus bunches, or cute bamboo benches. Here’s what Ana envisioned for her space: “The priority was to enlarge the shower space, to allow for two people to shower in my bathroom,” she says. “I wanted a more spa-like bathroom, with green/blueish colors and black accents.”

The tile for the main bathroom was a suggestion from a friend and was inspired by Ana’s travels to Morocco. “It has that kind of patina feel with green-blue water colors,” Ana says. She went with bohemian blue square tiles for the shower and a more green hex tile for behind the sink, and she says she especially loves the hex-shaped ones.

Credit: Ana Vergara

Ana hired an architect friend, Uchi, to help her with the remodel, in which they replaced the tiny tub with a shower with a glass door, moved the water connection in the shower to the right so that all faucets (now in sleek black) would be located on the same wall, replaced the black countertop with a gray porcelain one (cheap and easy to clean, Ana says), and added a ledge for Ana to store cosmetics. 

Because of the new ledge, Ana bought a smaller mirror — a bargain find, she says — and this also gave her room for one of her favorite new details in the space, and certainly the most spa-like, a towel heater — “a must for a chilly person like myself” Ana says. (Her towel warmer is from Peru but you can pamper yourself with a similar one from Pottery Barn.)

Ana says she’s worked with both interior designers and architects before, but for super-tight spaces or spaces with challenging dimensions, she recommends hiring an architect for help. “Architects know their stuff — especially for transforming small spaces,” she says.

The hardest part of the redo “as usual, was to stay within budget and timeline,” Ana says. “Due to space, we could only have one person working in the bathroom at a time.” But, the after feels much larger thanks to the tub-to-shower swap and the new glass door, and much more special and spa-like thanks to the serene green tile, the ledges for both the shower and the vanity, and trendy new hardware. 

“I don’t think I’d change anything,” Ana says of the after. “I love the colors, the space, the accents. I actually use my bathroom now!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.