Before & After: A Windowless Bathroom Transforms into a Bright Oasis

published Aug 9, 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.
Beige tiles in bathroom with glass shower door before renovation.
Credit: Mary Howe

Level up your next chill day at home with our guide to having your best low-key home sesh ever. This content is presented in partnership with La-Z-Boy; it was created independently by our editorial team.

Whether you have a small bathroom or a larger bathroom, you want it to be a retreat — a place to relax and escape from it all. You can achieve this with little touches, like plants and calming hues. Or, you can completely overhaul your bathroom for a serene space designed to your exact specifications. 

Mary Howe (@northernbird_____) and her family had one redo goal: brighten up their existing low-lit, windowless bathroom. “We needed more light, without a doubt,” she says. The decade-old bathroom was “dark, drab, and damp,” according to Mary, and she was “desperate for a window.” A lack of airflow and accumulation of steam meant she was constantly repainting the ceiling in the bathroom. 

“I think we just came to a family decision that we couldn’t put up with it anymore,” Mary says. “None of us really enjoyed having a shower — and certainly not a bath — in the dark bathroom we had,” she adds.

Credit: Mary Howe

“The whole project was to create light,” she says. But it wasn’t easy.

Credit: Mary Howe

Mary and her husband, Nick, consulted with contractors and architects for an involved demolition and redesign. “We had a builder re-jig the upstairs space to move the bathroom from an internal bathroom to one where we could access an outside wall and have a window,” she says. Professional help came in handy as they moved the new bathroom to where their corridor once was; Mary says their builder gave them great ideas for how to reconfigure the space and tackle the complex project. 

“Uncovering remnants of an (almost) 100-year-old chimney stack in the roof space was the hardest part,” she says. “The dust got absolutely everywhere despite best efforts to contain it! However, because we were removing walls, it had to be done.”

Credit: Mary Howe

Not everything was a challenge, though. Mary was pleasantly surprised by how easily she and Nick agreed on design choices like shower fixtures and the painted pink band she added for “a modern and interesting feature.” In addition to a new window, she brought in light with white paint and white tiles in the shower.

Mary says the bathroom aspects of the project (so not including knocking down walls and moving rooms around), cost about 4,000£. To save, Mary and her husband used luxury vinyl flooring as opposed to ceramic tile — although Mary says she would have splurged if there was more money in the budget — and waited to buy their Tecaz bathtub until it was on sale. She also suggests getting “word of mouth” recommendations for architects and contractors and seeing their previous work — something she says “paid off” for this renovation. 

Credit: Mary Howe

Living in a construction zone was worth it for Mary and her family in the end. “The light created by now having a window and fresh air coming in has completely transformed our home life,” she says.