Before and After: A Dark, Dated Bathroom Goes Bright—No Windows Required
When it comes to reimagining small bathrooms, sometimes small changes can make all the difference. That’s exactly what Lynn C. was working with when she renovated the bathroom of her condo. “The full bath, as well as the rest of the unit, was in original 1986 condition,” she says. “The room is slightly under 40 square feet, has no windows, and only a 7-foot 6-inch ceiling.” The lack of natural light paired with the outdated finishes made it especially dark and dingy.
When Lynn renovated the rest of her condo, she knew the bathroom would need a refresh. But to keep costs down and avoid needing new permits, she kept the original layout and rather than going for trendy finishes, carefully selected elements that would age gracefully. “The finishes like travertine basketweave, white walls, subway tile, bright chrome, and solid maple cabinetry are off-trend but historically they are an enduring aesthetic,” she says.
Finding ways to add more light is a small space can be challenging without windows, but Lynn was able to brighten things up dramatically with a new paint color and by removing the bathtub. “Using white as my backdrop immediately made the room look more spacious,” she says. “But the feature that made the biggest difference is the frameless glass shower. Now an extra three feet of depth is revealed that previously was hidden by a shower curtain.”
Finally, to make the bathroom more functional, Lynn added additional storage, including a cabinet over the toilet (with an added extra electrical outlet), a built-in niche in the shower, and multiple hooks on the back of the door and cabinet in lieu of towel bars.
Lynn’s new bathroom is almost completely unrecognizable from before. “I love that now it is bright and fresh even without a window or additional square footage,” she says. And her advice for a successful transformation? “Trends are fun but they rarely last. You know best what will please you in the long run.”
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