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Before and After: This Teeny-Tiny Bathroom Now Looks Surprisingly Spacious

updated May 3, 2019
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Though this bathroom functioned just fine on paper, it was clearly a bit cramped—that’s the shower stall on the right just inside the door—and, according to its owners, “old, cheap, mismatched, and just plain ugly.” While all the finishes and fixtures look nice enough in the photo, and the palette is cool and understated, photos never tell the whole story. This tiny bathroom is about to get a big upgrade.

The word “tiny” is tossed around too often, but it does seem accurate here:

Our upstairs bathroom is tiny. Like… six-by-six-feet tiny. And it’s the one my husband and I use the most, because it’s next to our bedroom. We’ve been wanting to renovate it since the day we moved in, but it’s a big investment of both time and money to redo and maximize a small bathroom, even despite the lack of square footage. But we did it anyway. It was a fully functioning bathroom, but it was old, cheap, mismatched, and just plain ugly.

Six feet square is a pretty small space to squeeze in a toilet, sink, shower, and even the barest amount of storage.

While it’s easy to see why a pedestal sink with its tiny footprint and streamlined presence was originally chosen in a small room, the new vanity fits perfectly and definitely doesn’t feel crowded. Plus, it adds a ton of (private) storage and style. Faith Towers Provencher of Design Fixation chose a lovely wooden unit that brings so much natural, deep beauty to a pale bathroom, then upgraded it with intriguing drawer pulls. The incorporated china top combines an old-fashioned bowl design with enough horizontal space for toothpaste, razors, and so on.

All of the silver hardware—faucet, towel bar, shelf brackets, drawer pulls, light fixture—coordinate nicely in such a small space, as do the wooden shelf and vanity. That shelf proves there’s room for pure decoration even in a tiny room, but can also hold beautiful yet handy items like candles and packaged cosmetics.

The vanity is from Lowe’s and the drawer pulls are from Dreamchinese on Etsy. The light is from Wade Logan on Wayfair, and the faucet is from BWE on Amazon. The shelves are from World Market, and the brackets are from C.R. Laurence on Amazon. The mirror is from Darby Home Co on Wayfair, and that pretty hand towel is from Anthropologie.

This is a pretty standard shower stall, but it definitely isn’t particularly inviting. Here’s what it took to make the entire bathroom ridiculously inviting:

The whole process took about a month, with us working mostly on weekends. We only hired someone to do the tile work, because we had a fairly advanced design which included a graded floor. We did the rest ourselves. My husband, Mike, is quite handy, so he was able to replace the vanity, toilet, lighting, and even the glass shower (with some help from my father-in-law). I mounted the live edge shelves, towel bars, hooks, etc. and I also made a custom rolling shelf that tucks in the corner behind the vanity which holds toiletries and extra toilet paper. I’m a DIY home decor blogger, so of course I designed the space myself, with lots of logistical input from Mike.

Excellent DIY work by Faith and Mike—and well done knowing when to call in a pro!

This round glass shower is a delight. It doesn’t look cramped, and yet doesn’t dominate the small room, thanks to its transparency and lack of a frame. Light flows into the shower so wonderfully—it must be dreamy to get clean here.

We wanted to update the finishes and make it more contemporary, but we also wanted to maximize the space by choosing pieces that fit better within the square footage. Even though the new bathroom occupies the exact same footprint, it feels much more open thanks to the frameless shower and lighter, more cohesive color scheme.

Faith and Mike nailed those goals, and the results are indeed airy, open, and unified.

The shower is by Vigo from Build.com, the tile is from The Builder Depot, the bench is from Belham Living on Amazon, and the shower control is from Symmons on Amazon.

This relatively small shower is so accommodating. The stool provides a spot to sit or prop up a leg, as well as a shelf for holding shower accouterments. The built-in cubby, while not huge, is far roomier than usual, with enough space for shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, scrub, shaving cream, and more.

After all that hard work, Faith and Mike are justifiably pleased with the results:

We absolutely love the way the hexagon floor tile turned out—it’s bold without being overwhelming in a small space and it gives the room an upscale sort of feel. We did struggle with waterproofing the shower. Because our design did not involve a shower pan, it was more difficult than we thought to keep the water from spilling out past the metal lip. I did lots of online searching and finally found flexible adhesive silicone tape on Amazon that we attached to the bottom of the glass and it works like a charm. I’d also avoid beveled subway tile for anything other than a flat wall . . . I didn’t love how the cut tiles came together in the corner.

Fortunately, the rest of the bathroom is so attractively distracting, nobody would ever notice that small imperfection. And if you have a similar leak conundrum, the tape Faith used is from MAGZO on Amazon.

Now that this tiny bathroom is far more beautiful and feels far more spacious than it originally did, Faith has some excellent advice to share:

Hire a tile pro if you don’t have much experience—it was the best money we’ve ever spent (our guy was able to finish everything in two and a half days!). Also, be persistent when it comes to choosing a vanity, shower, and decorative accents. Don’t settle and keep searching until you find exactly what you envision. And opt for unique pieces; they often appear more expensive than they actually are, and will give your space a high-end feel.

Thank you, Faith Towers Provencher of Design Fixation!