Before and After: A Cottage Bathroom is Transformed into a Relaxing (and Much-Needed) Bedroom

published Feb 28, 2023
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About this before & after
Project Type
Rental Friendly
Before: Bathroom with sink in corner and fireplace in center
Credit: Vicky Burton

We’ve featured homeowners and renters creatively squeezing extra sleeping space into some very tight quarters: in closets, in wardrobes (aka Murphy bed-style), in small alcoves, and up in the air (loft-style). And here’s another genius space-maximizing bedroom project to add to the list: a makeover from Vicky Burton (@shelley_cottage) that transforms a cottage’s upstairs bathroom into a small bedroom.

For Vicky, the project came out of necessity. “I absolutely loved our bathroom before — I really, really did,” she says. “We needed to make the change because of our rapidly growing family, and it’s an extra space for friends and family to stay.”

Credit: Vicky Burton

In fact, thinking about how you actually use your home before taking on a makeover is Vicky’s best home reno advice. One question to ask yourself of a space, she says, is “is it used to its full potential?” And if not, she adds, the next question should be “how can you change it?” Vicky says adding a third bedroom to her home not only worked better for her family, but it also increased the home’s overall property value — a cherry on top.

Credit: Vicky Burton

Vicky and her husband, Tim, hired a plumber to remove the previous bathroom’s existing features as well as a builder to create a new bathroom using extra square footage from a different bedroom. The project didn’t come without sacrifice, Vicky notes, since the fireplace had to be removed after removing the chimney breast — the supporting structure around the fireplace — on the floor below during a previous renovation. “Whilst I was sad to lose this feature, it did mean that we could have a bigger bedroom,” Vicky says.

After removing all of the bathroom fixtures, Vicky and Tim tackled the floor. For extra coziness, they chose to replace the black and white tile floors with wall-to-wall carpet. “Who doesn’t like getting out of bed and having carpet under their toes?!” Vicky says. The rest of the changes were simple but made the space feel more like a bedroom and less like a bathroom.

Credit: Vicky Burton

The beadboard wainscoting that was already there got a new in a mint-meets-sage green color (Lick’s Green 09). For the walls above, Vicky chose a soft ballet pink (Lick’s Pink 02). “I think too often, you see white woodwork, and by using the green paint, it gave the room a really calm feel that wasn’t too harsh against the pink and complemented it,” Vicky says of her color selection.

Credit: Vicky Burton

In terms of layout, Vicky notes that the symmetry of the skylight windows made it easy to decide on furniture placement; the bed is centered between them, where the fireplace once was. “I think because the fireplace had always been the feature of the room, I knew the bed needed to go there,” Vicky says. Her metal bed frame painted white, a wicker chair, and two new vintage-style sconces take the calming, cozy room to cottagecore perfection.

Vicky’s final touch: ultra comfy bedding. “I love vintage washed-out summer colors with soft textiles,” Vicky says. “This room feels like a summer’s day even when it’s in the dead of winter.”

Credit: Vicky Burton

“I wanted a room which embraced as much light as possible whilst keeping it a calm sanctuary,” Vicky says. And in a six-week reno, she achieved her vision and added lots of functionality for her family, too.

February is Bedroom Month on Apartment Therapy! We’re sharing stories all month about bedrooms — from how to sleep in them, decorate them, make the most of small ones, and so much more. Head over here to see them all!