Before and After: A BILLY Hack Makes a Bathroom-Laundry Hybrid Work Beautifully

published Jul 25, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
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Rental Friendly
Before: Basic grayish white bathroom with washing machine in corner

Almost every home has a space that could use a little extra help. Sometimes that space is small, like an impractical closet; sometimes, it’s a whole room that needs a redo. When Agathe Corbet (@amastudiointeriors) and her husband, Jeremy, bought their apartment in France, their bathroom “was probably the worst-looking space in the entire apartment,” Agathe says. It had popcorn-textured walls, dated sconces that were attached to the existing mirror, and exposed pipes.

Credit: Ama Studio

“It was VERY outdated and needed a lot of love,” Agathe adds. The plumbing for the sink and the washer would need to stay, but Agathe wanted this space to match her minimalist-yet-warm, modern aesthetic. As an interior designer, she “was excited for once to be my own client!” she says. 

Credit: Ama Studio

It’s no surprise Agathe has a background in design because her bathroom redo is full of smart layout choices and budget-savvy fixes. “We completely gutted the bathroom and upgraded everything from the vanity to the tiles and wall finishes,” Agathe explains. She and Jeremy did all of the renovation work themselves.

Credit: Ama Studio

To update the walls, Agathe and Jeremy added shiplap, and they chose a creamy white paint in the color “Coconut” for the color scheme. For the floor, they selected cool handmade Bejmat tiles. The new vanity is from IKEA, but Agathe customized it with jute pulls. Other high-style touches include modern sconces and a sheet mirror with rounded corners.

“Because this is a small apartment, this room had to accommodate both a bathroom and a laundry area,” Agathe says. “A washing machine not being the most pleasant thing to look at, I wanted it to be hidden. We hacked a BILLY bookcase into a partition wall that doubles as open shelves.” (This isn’t Agathe and Jeremy’s first BILLY hack, though, as they also utilized the standby shelving in their dining room and living room.)

The bookshelf side of the BILLY faces the rest of the bathroom, and the backside acts as a partition for their petite washer/dryer. They extended the top of the shelf to the ceiling for a true built-in look. Agathe and Jeremy also added a curtain rod and white curtain to conceal the machine further.

“The hardest part with this hack is that because the building is pretty old, none of the walls or floors are straight, so we had to use quite a bit of caulk to fill the gaps,” Agathe says. Because she and Jeremy own this apartment, they screwed the BILLY partition to the floor with screws, but you can skip this step if you’re renting, Agathe says.

Credit: Ama Studio

“I love that it hides the laundry area,” Agathe says of her hack, adding that the $200 IKEA hack (plus using IKEA for other large items) allowed her and Jeremy to splurge on the tiles, hardware, and countertop.

Agathe’s second-favorite thing about her BILLY hack? The shelves on the non-laundry side give her the opportunity to accessorize! In keeping with her warm minimalist aesthetic, she chose simple shapes and woven textures for the items on the shelves, and it completes the cozy yet clean and contemporary look. 

Inspired? Submit your own project here.