Home Projects

Before and After: A Fresh Redo Makes This Windowless Bathroom Look Bright and Sunny

published May 4, 2021
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Before: Dingy bathroom with small square tile floor and beige tile shower
Credit: Emily Drake

If you have a lot of work to do in your home, it’s important to prioritize which projects come first. You might decide to put your bedroom on the top of the list since it’s where you sleep. You might start with a smaller area, like a pantry, and work your way to bigger ones (or the reverse).

Emily Drake, who’s owned her 1970s condo for a few years, started with the kitchen. It had been frozen in time with harvest gold appliances and matching flooring, and, as Emily says, “that was an emergency!”

Credit: Emily Drake

A few years later, Emily finally had time to tackle the 1970s-style windowless bathroom. “The bathroom was clean and serviceable, but seriously needed an update!” Emily says. “Being stuck at home, living through a pandemic, really motivated me — and I guess a lot of other people too! I had plenty of time to gather ideas from Pinterest and contemplate options.”

Credit: Emily Drake

While Emily had no trouble picking out her tile and other finishes and fixtures, she knew she needed help putting everything in. Finding a contractor to take on the job was tricky, but she ended up finding someone she loved. “Here’s my tip: Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations,” Emily says. “Networking is key!”

Emily kept the same layout to minimize costs, but replaced the old tiled floor with a much more modern oversized gray tile. The minimal grout lines make it much easier to keep clean. Emily also chose new tile for the shower, which makes a big difference in the whole bathroom. “I love the white tile in the shower!” she says. “It really bounces the light around!”

A vanity from IKEA in a wood tone adds some natural warmth to the room; Emily topped it with white quartz, which is easy to keep clean and resists staining. Finally, new lighting makes the bathroom so much brighter (no window required).

Emily’s only regret? “I waited so long,” she says. “Now I wish I had done it sooner. I could’ve been enjoying this all along!”

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