7 Ways to Make Your Tiny Bathroom FABULOUS

I’m so excited to FINALLY reveal the results of my tiny bathroom renovation! Actually, we completed the entire upstairs remodel, but I’m going to start with how I made a small bathroom into something kinda fabulous:
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This bathroom was originally two even tinier spaces in the upstairs of our 1939 stone cottage, with an old jacuzzi tub and tiny sink in one dormer room, and a toilet and another sink in a sliver of a space under the sloping eaves of the roofline.

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tiny dormer room with tub and sink

 

You can see both areas in this photo taken after we pulled the hallway wall down. Tub and sink in one room:

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. . . and a toilet and sink in the next room. So strange, I know.

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With no bathroom storage at all and an aversion to bathing in front of the window that faces the road, our girls only used the toilet upstairs and instead showered, brushed teeth, and primped in our only other bathroom in the house.  So, for 14 years Mr. Man has been sharing a bathroom with three girls. And that’s a lot of hair to take care of in front of ONE mirror. Here’s a shot of the upstairs hallway before the wall came down:

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before

For years, we couldn’t come up with any scenario to make a “full bath” work upstairs. After having a couple of contractors look at it, we decided to a) bring out the wall of the hallway 10 inches to give that extra space to the new bathroom,

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b) punch out the wall between the two rooms and put in a shower where the toilet was before,

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c) add a hallway closet where the second sink was previously,
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and d) use a deadspace under an eave for the toilet to fit into.

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Ends up the trickiest part of this whole thing was finding a way to fish those wires into some other hole and down two floors into the basement so that we could put the toilet waste line in that hole. It was a Christmas miracle, I tell you.

Here’s the floor where a sink in one room backed up to a toilet in the other room.  Guess what the contractor found in the space between these pipes?

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This 1940-era empty can of glazing putty!  Isn’t this the coolest thing ever?  He also found a bit of original linoleum flooring, which I was really excited about. Unfortunately I didn’t tell him I wanted to save it, and it got thrown out with the rest of the debris. But at least I got this for Christmas;

glazing putty

 

Although we managed to unite the two spaces and squeeze out a bit more useable space, the fact remained that the bathroom was still going to be small by most people’s standards.  But in making decisions about this bathroom design, I decided I wasn’t going to let the fact that it is tiny limit the design impact.  In fact because it was so small, I knew the cost for tile would be less and might even enable me to splurge a bit! Like on this black and white marble hex floor tile:

marble bathroom hex tile

 

Ok, the teasing is over.  This bathroom is ready for her big reveal. Here are my tips for making your tiny bathroom FABULOUS:

 

Go for the GOLD fixtures.

newport brass bathroom faucet

 

 

I had my heart set on bold gold fixtures, and I found my heart’s desire in the sink faucet, light fixtures, and even the hinges on the shower door.  This is not your 1980’s brass, my dears!

round bathroom mirror

 

 

Keep your tile choices timeless.
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Classic subway tile on the walls and small hex tiles on the floor will never go out of style.  We took the same floor tile right into the shower so as to keep the flooring material as unbroken as possible.  That, and the smaller tiles give the impression of a larger space.  I have heard many designers say, “going bigger on the floor tile makes a small bathroom appear larger.”  That, my friends, is NONSENSE.  When I see a bathroom with only three 18-inch tiles across its width, it only points out the fact that the room is so tiny that only three tiles can fit!

white subway tilewhite subway tile with gray grout wraps the room

Add a dose of black for sophisticated drama.

black windows mullions bathroom

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to paint this window and its surrounding trim black.  The black in the floor tile, in the door hardware, and on the hanging light fixture give this bathroom gravitas.

Mix high and low.

designer decorologist smal bathroom

I fell hard for the floor tile, which was $14.99 a square foot.  A lot to swallow, but much easier so when paired with $.22 subway tiles for the walls.  The affordable sink and vanity came as a set, and I don’t even miss having a stone countertop. The light fixture over the sink was a bargain at $150, and the hanging light fixture was less than $300. The splurge was the sink faucet, which was (cough, cough) close to $900. Long story – you can get the gory details here. I opted for the cheaper Delta fixtures in champagne bronze for inside the shower. They aren’t as gold as the other finishes, but since it’s darker in the shower you can’t really tell.

 

Wrap the walls and ceiling in a COLOR you love.

benjamin moore steamed spinach bathroom

I’ve been wanting to use this emerald green paint color for some time now, and this was the perfect spot to go for it. Don’t just stop at the walls if you don’t have crown molding in the room. I also wrapped Benjamin Moore Steamed Spinach 643 onto the sloped dormer ceiling.

 

Use towel hooks instead of towel bars.

brass towel hooks

Towel bars take up a lot of room and few people hang up their damp towels neatly on them. That’s why I prefer hooks for towels.  I used two prong hooks beside the shower and on the back of the door. All you have to do is pop your towel on the hook – no folding skills required!

Hang a fun mirror.

homegoods mirror

I found the round mirror at HomeGoods for $39. It’s small, but the mirror frame maximizes its reflective quality.

Here’s a shot towards the toilet, so you can see how that fits in a niche behind the door.  I still have art to hang, but I couldn’t resist showing you the bathroom now!

toilet niche

 

I hope you enjoyed the transformation, I know we certainly are!

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Amanda C
Guest

IN LOVE!!! Love your style, friend! Gives me new inspiration to keep on trucking in our old house with tiny bathrooms. Well, tiny everything. Ha! I needed to see this so badly today. Sometimes a slow-going remodel. An be so so overwhelming. This bathroom is glorious!

Susie
Guest
Susie

Gorgeous! So timeless and a great use of space. So jealous of your daughters!

Jo Galbraith
Guest

I LOVE your new bathroom. I completely agree with hex tile on the floor. I’m not really loving those giant floor tiles in bathrooms. As usual you have created a stunning space!

Jenny B.
Guest

It’s so pretty! I love the floor tile. The size is just perfect. And the black window. And the green. And the gold. So nice! 🙂

Laura Ingalls Gunn
Guest

This is an absolutely stunning room. Bravo! Well done! It comes just in time as I am set to begin the transformation of my daughter’s tiny bathroom. Would you mind sharing the make/model of your sink faucet? It would be perfect in the space.

Lori Pruitt
Guest

Wow…what a transformation! That black trim around the window is amazing. I so want to try this somewhere (but not in my rental 🙂 ) Also love the mix of high and low. Love that you splurged on that floor, and was able to still have a great look with the subway tile. Great job!

Dana Tucker
Guest

This is fabulous!! I knew it would be. I love the way you laid out this post so I could get the plan and the befores and then dive in to the afters!!! Love the tile, the brass, the hardware!! Love, love.

Francie
Guest
Francie

It is gorgeous, Kristie! I’m especially fond of the gold fixtures and green walls, and they look great with the black and white. I also like the mirror–it reminds me of the ones you helped me hang in my bedroom. You have such a gift for design. Hope your girls appreciate this fabulous space!

diane
Guest

A perfect example of how classic does not have to be boring! Love it!

Tammy Roberts
Guest
Tammy Roberts

Stunning!Great work (again)

Claire
Guest

What an amazing and creative transformation! I love the gold finishes, black accents and beautiful colour. Well done girl!

Jil Sonia Interiors
Guest

Renovation is such a huge challenge. But, looking at this gorgeous bathroom, it’s certainly worth it! I’m just swooning over the brushed brass fixtures – how divine with that paint colour.
Such a wonderful addition to your beautiful home Kristie!

Beth L
Guest

Congratulations! What a huge difference that will make in your family’s daily life. And it’s beautiful, of course!

Alyce
Guest
Alyce

Absolutely lovely. I bet your girls are so happy to have such a sweet spot to fluff and primp! By the way, where did you get your subway tiles for $.22? Love your style.

Kelly
Guest

AMAZING! I love the emerald green and gold combo. You did an excellent job, why wouldn’t you! Thank you so much for sharing!

loroy
Guest
loroy

Beautiful! I really appreciate this post because I, too, am working on a bathroom and can appreciate how many decisions have to be made and all the obstacles to be overcome. Mine is more of a partial remodel than a complete renovation, and space is not an issue. The hardest part was getting started and deciding how far I wanted to go. I couldn’t decide if I should replace my vanity which I disliked because it had no drawers and the ivory vanity top didn’t match the marble tile in the rest of the bathroom. It wasn’t until I came… Read more »

kelly
Guest

Love it! Love your paint color choices, floor, hooks, window, everything! Great job as usual my friend!

Sandy
Guest

I’m curious about the tub – did you eliminate it in favor of a shower? I’m remodeling a couple years before resale and have an 80s master bath with a shower just big enough to stand up in. The hall bath has both tub and shower… Do you (and your readers) think it would be good for resale to replace the master’s tub with a large shower and using the old shower space to build a better storage area ?

kathleen barry
Guest
kathleen barry

Well done and the green paint included on the ceiling is the icing on the cake!!!

JL
Guest
JL

Gorgeous!! We have a decent sized bathroom upstairs, but it’s longish/narrowish. I’m definitely painting the window at the long end black. Love that look!

Kathy
Guest
Kathy

You are way braver than I am to undertake such a big remodel and with such bold color, but I love it. I l also ike how the gold empty picture frame is a bit of a nod to your logo. So what happened to that pretty chandelier and little sink from before? I lived in a home with two full baths, but each was divided into a water closet and a bath. Does have its uses to accommodate more folks in less space and is a very popular set up in Europe. I never understood the bathtub or shower… Read more »

Susanne
Guest
Susanne

Whoa!!! That is awesome! Your timing is perfect, Kristie! We are set to turn a small laundry room into a bathroom in the 1855 portion of our house. You have soooo many good tips in this post! You just saved us in at least a couple of ways! No big tile for us now–we had been advised to use larger tile to “expand the space visually”. What a disappointment that would have been. Thank you for your timely advice and inspiration!!!

Rory
Guest
Rory

LOVE this, Kristie! Amazing use of space and the tile is gorgeous, and that green —- beautiful!

Molly
Guest
Molly

It turned out gorgeous! Emerald green deserves more appreciation. 🙂

Darlene
Guest

The bathroom is beautiful!! I am in love with small hexagon floor tiles❤❤❤
Great Job!
http://www.BundleMeBaby.etsy.com

A different Holly
Guest
A different Holly

The bathroom is beautiful. I grew up in an old historical home that still had all the tiny tile bathroom floors intact. Too bad I had no appreciation for them then! I’m simply an amateur home owner with a couple of questions. When you talk about the gold sink fixtures as “not your 80’s gold” are you simply talking about the quality of the fixtures? What made these fixtures special except for being so gorgeous? I love how you retained the integrity of your home’s historical value. This was always my Dad’s goal while growing up. Also, (amateur!) What made… Read more »

trackback

[…] you see all the way across the space into the new bathroom, which also sports a black […]

Kaylin Booker
Guest
Kaylin Booker

The toilet in a separate room is pretty common in many other countries around the world. It’s actually a brilliant idea I’d say and the fact that your toilet room had a sink was pretty great. Usually you have to leave the toilet room to go to the bathroom to wash your hands. Anyway, I know it’s not common in the states and your new bathroom is gorgeous! Just wanted to share that little piece of info 🙂

trackback

[…] you missed the rest of the upstairs remodel, you can check out the fabulous emerald green bathroom here, the storybook bedroom here, and the library nook […]

LG
Guest
LG

Hi Kristie. I love the hanging light fixture! Is it a period piece or wad it new! If new, do you remember the name/brand and where you purchased it? If not, no worries. Love the way this bath turned out!

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Hi Kristie,
I am a long time reader, first time commenter. I am considering painting the window trim black in our 1940s Tudor upstair bathroom. The floor tile is original the the home and is similar to what you used. I was curious if you would share what black paint you used for the window?
Thanks,
Jennifer