10 of the Best Bathroom Redos of 2022, from Serene Escapes to Dramatic Jaw-Droppers
In theory, bathrooms are ripe for renovations. They all need basically the same elements — tiles, mirrors, sinks, and so on — but the combination of those necessities are endless. It also helps that the square footage of bathrooms are much more manageable than, say, a living room or kitchen. But shedding details that have stuck around for decades or beautifying builder-grade choices takes a lot of work. And it isn’t easy painting or wallpapering around plumbing, either.
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Over the last year, Apartment Therapy has seen DIYers take on bathroom renovations big and small, figuring out solutions for unforeseen issues and stretching the tightest budgets. As we look back on all that was accomplished, from installing new vanities and salvaging old ones, to ripping out flooring and replacing drywall, to choosing the right paint colors to go with it all, these are our 10 best bathroom renovations of 2022. May they inspire you to bring your A-game to this deceptively approachable space, since we know so many of our readers already have.
1. A Dark Bathroom Loses the Red (and a Couple Walls) to Become a Light, Serene Escape
While it’s true that this bathroom renovation was very recently published, there’s a reason why it’s included: just look at that red-walled “before.” Homeowner Cathy Balsom and her husband, Blair, were overwhelmed by the shade — and the way it clashed with the gray-lilac tile around the tub — and wanted a change. They rerouted the plumbing for a new shower, toilet, vanity, and stand-alone tub, and surrounded it all with a spa-like lime wash. “I love the texture of the lime-washed walls and how it plays so well with the tone of the tile,” Cathy says. “Words can’t describe how beautiful the light is in the morning when it shines in that large window, uninterrupted by any walls, and shines onto those textured walls and muted tile; it’s beautiful!”
2. A Seriously Small Powder Room Gets a Bigger, Brighter Look with the Same Footprint
Francesca Zanetti’s tan-all-over powder room had none of the 1940s charm the rest of her bungalow had. Instead, it was small, uncomfortable, and dark. She and her husband didn’t want to spend money changing the teeny floor plan, but Francesca also couldn’t find a new sink that could fit within the footprint — until she remembered that a faucet could be installed on the side of a sink. That switch and some colorful Italian-inspired flare turned this bathroom into a space that reflected her style.
3. A Small, Drab Bathroom Gets an $800, Hotel-Worthy Upgrade
Stacey Hartman knew her powder room needed a refresh for two reasons: It lacked personality, and more importantly, it had structural issues. “There was a bit of damage at the base of the drywall, and the texture on the wall was so uneven and poorly done. Additionally, when we’d originally moved in, the sink was a pedestal sink that was installed off-center and they had tiled around the base, so I had a hole in the tile that I couldn’t fill in.” She and her husband spent a month making repairs and installing changes, which included new floors, fresh paint, and tropical wallpaper. Now the bathroom is exciting and safe, all for $800.
4. An Unfinished Basement Is Overhauled with an English Countryside Bathroom for $9,600
Suzannah Stanley (@suzannahstanley) of the blog Create/Enjoy was set on turning her unfinished basement into a functional and liveable space, complete with a full bathroom. “It was a big deal to have the concrete cut up and plumbing installed, but we knew we wanted to add a full bathroom if we were going to go through with the expense of the project,” Stanley says. “Our house only has one-and-a-half bathrooms upstairs, and we wanted the basement to include a comfortable guest suite.” She hired pros to help her along the way, and turned a truly blank space into an English countryside hideaway for $9,600.
5. This 1960s Bathroom’s $3,000 Redo Keeps the Retro Charm, But Loses the Dated Feel
Erin Mason’s home was built in 1962, and her bathroom made that quite obvious: It had a cave-like shower, a tiled vanity, and yellowing wallpaper. Erin set a budget of $3,000 to update the space without losing its charm, and did so within a black-and-white palette offset by a teal water closet. The results are fun, approachable, and hopefully as timeless as her home’s original style. And if not, she says that’s no biggie, too. “Your tastes may change in a few years, but paint and even tile in a smaller space like a bathroom are relatively inexpensive to change,” Erin says.
6. A $1,500 Redo Makes This “Builder Basic” Bathroom a Totally Glam, Maximalist Space
Chloe Powell (@rococo_realestate_design) and her husband, Romie, owned a basic, builder-grade bathroom — think all-over white tile, beige floors, and chrome finishes. In other words, it was the perfect opportunity for them to flex their DIY skills. They did so by upgrading the countertops, installing board-and-batten, putting up wallpaper, and changing up the floors. “I love the crane wallpaper,” she says. But “it was definitely challenging to install,” she says. At least now, their bathroom is far from basic.
7. A 20-Year-Old Bathroom Gets a Stylish and Sophisticated Head-to-Toe Redo
Leslea Ferguson’s daughters shared a bathroom that had finishes from 20 years ago: a tiled counter, orange-wood vanity, a large mirror, and harsh lighting. So last spring, she and her husband, Nick, decided to enter One Room Challenge to give the space some much-needed color and fun. They painted the original cabinets white, added a butcher-block countertop, put in new sinks, and installed tiles on the vanity walls. “The toughest project was removing all the original tile; once that was done, re-tiling was straightforward but time-consuming,” Leslea says. The two-month project was worth it, and now her daughters have an updated bathroom of their own.
8. A Color-Overload Bathroom from the ’90s Gets a Calming, Beach-Inspired Redo
Patricia Prince Taggart’s guest bathroom was a color explosion from the 1990s, thanks to a blue, green, and orange palette that touched every inch of the space. She wanted something much more calming — and aimed to get rid of a funky door situation — so she hired professionals to help. They took care of the plumbing and tiling, while she sealed off the door. Now the room is a neutral haven, complete with a glass-enclosed shower and cement floor. “I love how it came together — love the tile, the mirror, the faucet, everything,” she says.
9. A Colorful, Beachy Bathroom Redo Keeps Its Original Pink Tiles from 1954
Lauren Bolschitz didn’t want to get rid of the blush-pink tiles in her 1954-era bathroom, and she also didn’t mind the gray tub and toilet. “These pink and other pastel-colored tiles from, I believe, Daltile, are a staple in older homes in East Dallas, but most have been gutted and renovated over the years to more ‘mainstream,’” she says. Instead of following suit, Lauren preserved them alongside her husband Daniel, and made $500 worth of changes to the storage, wall behind the vanity, and light fixture. The results are a mix of mod-meets-modern.
10. A Glam Vintage Bathroom Redo Honors Its Home’s 1910 Roots
Nina Watson’s (@artdecojewel) bathroom lacked the charm you’d expect in a century-old home, with a mostly beige palette and plain fixtures. But even worse were its too-small tub and degrading fixtures. Nina’s redo fixed all the practical problems and brought in plenty of personality, too, with a clawfoot tub, brass fixtures, and gorgeous blue wall tile. Now, the bathroom feels more in line with the home’s 100-year-old style. “The bathroom cabinet fits everything we need, and the shower totally envelops you,” Nina says. “The taps feel gorgeous when you turn them, and the vintage 1960s lights (one above the mirror, one overhead) dim to virtually nothing and just take you somewhere else, which when you have a noisy family and stressful working days is exactly what you need.”