This Small Bathroom Has Big Bathroom Energy, Thanks to a Smart Remodel
If you have a small bathroom, then you know the struggle is real in making the most of limited space — and that goes double when it’s not up to snuff. On the one hand, you can live with dated materials as long as everything is still mostly functional. But on the other hand, isn’t a bathroom supposed to be a space where you unwind at the end of a long day or get energized in the morning? And issues like cracked tile, dirty grout, less-than-effective bathroom storage can be compounded in small bathrooms, where everything is front and center. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to give your small bathroom a remodel.
Want some inspiration? Take a look at these brilliant small bathroom remodels. Some of these homeowners and DIYers were just plain fed up with their bathrooms, while others took minor issues as good enough reasons to give their bathrooms a new look; still others decided “just OK” wasn’t good enough, and they wanted to actually be happy with their bathrooms. The result: these 14 amazing small bathroom remodels that are packed with style. Read on to see them all.
1. A Kids’ Beige Bathroom Gets a Colorful Tile Makeover
Faith Durand, Apartment Therapy Media’s SVP of Content, had a relatable problem: the bathroom her two young daughters shared was too small and far too beige. But to make matters worse, the 70-square-foot room was “crumbling beneath [their] feet.” Durand saved for a decade to be able to renovate, and when it was time, she set a plan in motion that would fit a separate tub and shower and still have enough space for a vanity. “I also managed to squeeze in a built-in bench next to the tub, which is the single best thing I can recommend for a family bathroom,” she says. One more highlight you have to see for yourself? The pops of color in the custom tiles — they’re going to be stylish even when her two young daughters become young adults.
2. Limewash Walls Take This Disjointed Bathroom Into Spa-Like Territory
Cathy Balsom and her husband Blair had a double-edged-sword of a problem on their hands. Their dated bathroom, which was dark and poorly laid out, was also painted red. And while that may be a trending shade at the moment, it didn’t look its best here. They needed to do a complete overhaul, and to coordinate with their new shower, tub, and vanity, the couple also limewashed the walls in a warm beige. The results take the space from bold and daring to neutral and serene. “I love the texture of the lime washed walls and how it plays so well with the tone of the tile,” Cathy says. “Words can’t describe how beautiful the light is in the morning when it shines in that large window, uninterrupted by any walls, and shines onto those textured walls and muted tile; it’s beautiful!”
3. A Carpeted Bathroom Is Renovated Into a Hotel-Worthy Oasis
Homeowner Carla Elliman (@carlaelliman) shares a 1970s-era home with her partner, Fraser Edwards-Cleaves, and the bathroom had been a sore spot ever since she got the keys. There was carpet in the space, for starters, as well as beige tiling and plum fixtures that all went against her dreams of a more modern sanctuary. They handled demolition themselves, but let the pros take over when it came to installing eye-catching tiles on the walls, shower, and floor. You’ll also appreciate how the pair upcycled the vanity to coordinate with this hotel-worthy bathroom. “The vanity unit I am super proud of,” Carla says. “It’s great to breathe fresh life into something old.”
4. Animal Print Wallpaper Gives a Teeny Bathroom Timeless Appeal
Justin Reid had a bathroom that was short on space but big on style — if we go ahead and count a turquoise toilet as “mermaid chic.” The 23-square-foot space clearly hadn’t been renovated since bathroom necessities came in matching bold colors, and he decided to make a change (it helped that the toilet stopped working one day). Reid hired a professional to oversee the installation of a new toilet, vanity, fresh coats of paint, and floor tiles, and then put in leopard-print wallpaper to make a statement of his own. “I am a firm believer in making small spaces make a big impact,” Reid says. “I think I achieved that here.”
5. Fixer-Uppers Streamline a Complicated Bathroom Layout in Style
Married fixer-uppers Lori and Derrick Holdenried (Little 2 The Right Design) wanted two things to happen in their bathroom. They wanted to refresh the finishes and fix the layout. The shower was perpetually dark, and a stacked washer and dryer had to move in order for the bathroom to have space. Finding a new location for the washer and dryer allowed for the toilet to be repositioned, which then increased the square footage of the shower. When it was time to focus on design, the couple chose bold yet timeless features — like hexagonal tiles and a floating vanity — to make the bathroom’s newly-minted spaciousness feel all the more luxurious, too. “When someone walks into our bathroom for the first time, I can actually hear their gasp,” Lori says.
6. Blue Paint Makes All the Difference in a One-Time Rental Bathroom
It was clear at first sight of Lauren and Kameron Sears’ guest bathroom that it used to be a rental — it simply had the dingy dateness to show for it. Its brown cabinets and crumbling grout were avoided while they tended to other spaces in their once-dated condominium, until it was time to give this bathroom a refresh using blue paint and a coordinating vanity alongside a professionally-refreshed shower and new floor tiles. “We had never remodeled a bathroom before, but with lots of research and help from various websites, we tackled one thing at a time to complete the project with an outcome we are super pleased with,” Lauren says.
7. Too-Large Fixtures and a Bland Palette Were Tossed in This Colorful Redo
Ariana Ervin and her wife Lucy’s bathroom had been the site of a former owner’s DIY refresh, and while the black-and-white motif was fine, it sure could benefit from more character. “Their attempts at adding ‘character’ to the room included painting a wall purple and adding a fake style Moroccan tile — both details we were not fans of,” Ariana says. The couple appreciated the effort but were continually irked by fixtures that seemed too large for the space. Those were the details that pushed them into their own renovation. Aside from picking out items that allowed for better flow, the couple went with a more colorful motif that spoke to their personalities. “We chose more expensive but timeless pieces, like a TOTO toilet and a soaking tub from Kohler, so the quirkiness of the DIY things we did end up feeling elevated,” Ariana says.
8. A Small Cottage Bathroom Was Given Style, Function, and a Lot of Color
Homeowner Janette Smith lived in a tiny cottage with an equally teeny bathroom. It’s just 25 square feet and fits in at an angle. “The full-length bath was placed on the longest wall, therefore under the eaves, so any showering had to take place sitting or kneeling in the bath,” Smith says. On top of this, the room was just boring — really, really boring. Smith decided to replace its butter yellow walls and white fixtures with graphic floor tiles, floral wallpaper, and a bright pink tub that’s the undeniable showstopper in a far better layout. “Decorating was going to be very bold and colorful to warm the room up so that it could become a small and mighty bathroom that I could love,” Janette says.
9. The Carpet Had to Go, But Existing Green Fixtures Inspired This Cool Makeover
DIYer Anne (@ourhouseofdisco) lives in Switzerland inside a home built in 1980, and it had one controversial feature: carpet in the bathroom. Not just any old, gross, moldy carpet, either — this one happened to match every green fixture in the room. “The green carpet had to go,” says Anne, who moved into her place in 2021. “But it was clear that we also wanted some old things to live on. I made a special challenge out of the olive green bathroom.” She held onto the green toilet and tub, and painted green-and-white stripes from floor to ceiling in their honor. The results are so good, you may want to do something similar in your own bathroom (hey, colorful toilets are back, baby).
10. A Bathroom’s Leak Leads to a Cool Black-on-Wood Style Refresh
Sometimes, a headache can lead to a bold idea. Courtney Equall (@girlandgrey) had a leak in her family’s upstairs bathroom, and she took it as an opportunity to renovate the whole space. The leak was fixed, of course, and the all-over brown that’s typical of 80s spaces was replaced with floral wallpaper and cool black-and-wood details that are squarely of this era. Aside from her silver-linings approach to home repairs, she has more recommendations that are worth considering. “Do your own demo!” Equall advises. “Even after the cost of a dumpster rental to dispose of materials, it will save you thousands.”
11. A Dingy Green Bathroom Is Refreshed with an Inviting Pink-and-White Motif
Marcel Dagenais (of Brew City Builds) and his partner, Ben, only noticed that the bathroom in their home was dated — we’re talking green walls and dirty tiles — when they first walked through it. They missed an important detail: the old tub wasn’t combined with a shower head, and installing one meant ripping out the surrounding plaster walls to make it waterproof. Marcel and his mom handled the demolition, hired a pro to do the plumbing and tile work, and chose a pretty pink detail to make the space feel more inviting. “I wanted to add a bit of warmth to break up all that white,” Marcel says. “I was a little nervous about using this color since it’s not the first choice for me, but we’re both super happy with the results. I think it really makes the space come together nicely.”
12. A “Dark and Dingy” Bathroom Gets an Airy Walk-In Shower
Tarah Baker’s bathroom hadn’t been renovated since the 1990s, and it was definitely showing its age — more so than other spaces in her 1910 property. “The bathroom was so dark and dingy,” Tarah says. “There was only one bathroom when we moved in, so we really wanted it to feel like a spa.” She worked with her husband, Cody, to overhaul the room, which included installing a walk-in shower, new tile work, and a mounted sink. The results are bright and airy — with some industrial edge — which is exactly what she wanted to achieve.
13. A Windowless Bathroom Is Moved to Get More Light, Color, and Family Praise
Mary Howe (@northernbird_____) had a dark and windowless bathroom, which made its dated beige tiles feel all the more tired. And after living with it for a while, her family decided that they needed to make a change. “I think we just came to a family decision that we couldn’t put up with anymore,” she says. She and her husband, Nick, hired a builder to help them move the bathroom into a corridor with natural light, and with more space, they were able to install a walk-in shower, tub, and vanity. Now the room is filled with light and color, and no one will get sick of it anytime soon.
14. A Beige ‘90s Bathroom Is Given a Glow Up With Pink Floor Tiles
When Athina (@iona.molly)’s shower in her very ‘90s bathroom — complete with old tiles, a corner vanity, and plenty of beige — started to leak, she took it as a sign to give herself the bathroom of her dreams. Out went the old, white floor tiles for bright pink ones, and in went a new oval tub, a mounted vanity, and a glass shower. The renovation included hiring professionals and asking for help from her brother, but as a first-time homeowner, Athina wanted to be sure to do it right. “It felt like every step was important, nerve-wracking, stressful, and exciting,” she says.