Need a Bigger Bathroom? Tricks to Making a Small Space Bigger.

I think by now many of you have seen our guest bathroom remodel. It was so small it made for a super easy remodel. It’s more modern now but for such a tiny space we could only make it feel so big.

Our master bath was different. The space was actually larger than it seemed, it was just poorly used. We were able to really modernize the room and make it seem larger. It flows beautifully with the styling of the master bedroom and we are pretty amazed with how it turned out.

To give you a good idea of where we started, here is a photo of our bathroom before the renovation. The photo was taken with some kind of wide angle so it looks bigger than it actually is. This is the photo from the original home listing.


Things we decided to change in the master bath:
1. Paint color: We actually had a few people who liked this color it was a warm brown headed toward something of a “caramel.” It was sprinkled in a few rooms throughout the house. I’m not a big fan of this brown. It reminds me of 70’s shag carpet which is just not something I like. I like things to feel clean and uncomplicated. As with the rest of the house we went for shades of grey. I like things to feel fluid and uniform throughout the house. Because we’ve used a consistent color palette throughout -the entire house looks and feels like “us,” it feels more relaxing and it actually makes choosing other things (like furniture, fixtures, accessories) less complicated.
2. Flooring: The original flooring in this bathroom was a hideous vinyl. I hate vinyl. Hate it. I know it’s pretty wide spread in “builder basic,” homes but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It never looks clean and I’ve always thought it looked cheap. The thing about tile is that it doesn’t actually have to cost a lot of money. To do the tiling in both of our upstairs bathrooms cost maybe $100 total. I think a lot of people choose vinyl not just because of price but also because of ease. You just cut out the shape of your bathroom and glue it on. Well Parker & I aren’t afraid of hard work and any improvement we decide on with this house we want to see a return on when we go to sell, so we were going to get our DIY on with the floors.
3. Vanity: The original vanity was OK. It was definitely builder basic but it was clean and relatively unblemished. My problem with the vanity was that it was HUGE. It dominated the space of the bathroom making the entire space seem tiny. While it had a huge cupboard beneath, it didn’t have any shelves or drawer so it wasn’t even making use of the space it dominated. So not only did it look dated it also wasted space (which in our house is at a premium in bathrooms).

So here are a few photos of the changes as we went along.

bathroom 4

We removed the toilet from the floor (you can see it sitting in the tub) and removed the laminate flooring.

bathroom 3

This is a photo of the removal of one of the cabinets and the countertop. We disconnected the plumbing after turning off the water main.

bathroom 5

Once the flooring and cabinets were removed we added a sub flooring for the tile. 

bathroom 6

This is a photo of the “dry run,” for the tiling. We laid out the flooring, made the scores and cuts needed. When you are laying tile you have to work pretty quickly. Quick set cement is exactly that, quick. Having the pieces pre-cut and arranged makes this process much easier.

Unfortunately I don’t really have photos of us doing the final tile laying, with the quickset… and then sponging the extra and getting ride of the “haze,” but we went through all of that and installed our new vanities that we got from Home Depot that aligned more with our tastes and would add more usable storage to the space. The new cabinets each have shelves within them so they can stay more organized and actually have more square footage of storage than the previous cabinets which were much larger.


Since I took this photo we’ve also changed out the mirror. We took this mirror down and added a framed mirror over each vanity. We have one last change to make, the light fixture. We’ve actually been slowly changing out all of our light fixtures to modernize the entire home but also so, the same as we did for the paint, every room matches the next. The new design matches our master bedroom decor beautifully, we used similar shades of the same colors from the walls to the curtains to the furniture.

bedroom 1

I’ll update the bathroom photo here as soon as we’ve changed out the light fixture so you can see the final product.

The bathroom project lasted about a week but really it only took 3 days… it complicates things when you’ve got two people who work (which is most of us) and you can’t just keep taking days off to work on your home. So if you are looking to do a DIY bathroom remodel with a similar scope to ours, see if you can do it over a long weekend. It’ll spare you the 5 day gap we had between start and finish. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize our master bathroom was out of commission all week.

So if you’ve done a bathroom update or remodel, we’d love to see! How did you make use of your space? What kind of complications did you run into?