Before & After: Bathroom Makeover

Hello! We're back with a full before and after reveal for ya today. Our bathroom is done! You've probably seen it already, but we wanted to pop in today to share more photos and talk about all of the changes we've made. If you'd like to catch up so far, you can see our teaser post here and our collaboration post with The Home Depot here. Also - we had something really, really exciting happen with this project. It was featured on Emily Henderson's blog along with some really amazing DIY bathroom makeovers, and I could not feel more grateful and honored to be included on the site of my favorite interior designer.

So, let me take it back to June 2016 when we bought this very sweet little Surznick Ranch. The bathroom was brown/beige/yellow to the extreme. It was frankly awful in my opinion, so I quickly painted the walls from yellow to white in order to try and tone down some of the warmth. We didn't do much to the space beyond that, except throw up a print on the wall and install some towel hooks.

Fast forward to October 2018 - we were nearly finished with our master bedroom makeover and I was ready to start making moves on the bathroom. I started by painting the tile floor out of the blue one day, and rest of the makeover kind of spiraled from there. It was a slow makeover that we didn't finish until six months later, but it's been quite the transformation in that time. Below are some before and after shots, but keep reading below if you want the details and sources on all of the changes we made in this tiny space.

It's so. much. better. Right? We love how this space turned out and anticipate keeping it this way for a long time. It's possible that someday we will completely gut and renovate the bathroom, but it's low on our priority list. For now, we're happy to have a functional and updated space that's pretty and better fits the vibe and style of the rest of our home.

As for the makeover, let's start with paint. There's a lot of it - nearly every surface, actually. As mentioned above, I started with the floor. I was super inspired by Jenny Komenda's painted patio, as well as this floor, and somewhat combined the color and patterns into the floor you see here. Besides the measuring and drawing of each colored section, painting the floor did not take long. I believe I did two coats of primer and two coats of each color, and ended up finishing it in a single weekend. We later added a single coat of sealer, but it wasn't enough to completely withstand our continued renovations, so I ended up repainting the floor and adding a TON of sealer again towards the end of our makeover. Since then we've had no issues with chips, peeling paint, etc. and it feels super solid.

Once the floor was painted, the white-ish tub and beige wall tile looked even worse than before - dull, dingy, and just not the color we wanted. We used the Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refreshing Kit to paint the tub and all of the tile walls, and now they're beautiful, white, and bright. If you have bathroom tile that you hate but don't want to remove, I really can't recommend this product enough. We followed the directions on the box to a T and it is holding up incredibly well. You have to really, really clean and prep your tile prior to painting, but don't skimp on these steps if you want a great result.

The only thing that I don't like about the product is that you have to use it quickly (within 8 hours of mixing the epoxy, if I'm remembering correctly.) This isn't a typical paint - it's an epoxy that you have to create by mixing two cans together, and it solidifies as it dries. We opened a can and only managed to get up one coat before we had to call it a day, and by the next day the "paint" (epoxy) was solid in the can. Also, the fumes are BAD, so you'll want to take precautions for that. We kept our cats in the basement all day, had windows open (even though it was still winter), had multiple fans blowing, and wore face masks. Overall, the tile feels exactly like... tile. It's shiny and solid and doesn't at all feel like it's "painted." I don't think it even really looks like it, unless you look closely. Two thumbs up.

Above the wall tile, we wanted to create a little texture and something more custom and interesting than just painted walls. Again, inspired by Jenny Komenda, we decided to add a plank wall created out of MDF sheets that we ripped into planks. This was definitely one of the tougher aspects of this project, but we're happy with how it turned out. Apparently if you live in the Southwest, you can just buy MDF planks directly from Home Depot. Unfortunately these are not available where we live, so we had to use a table saw to cut them down and that led to some irregularities in the boards. I don't think you can tell from looking at the wall, but we had to be very careful about the order in which we attached them in order to keep the spacing even.

We generally followed the tutorial Jenny outlined in the post linked above, but the gist is that we used a bead of liquid nails to stick the board to the wall and then added finishing nails hold it in place. After all of the boards were attached, we filled in the nail holes and gave everything a couple coats of primer and dark gray-blue paint (Liquid Mercury by BEHR.)

Our bathroom previously had a pedestal sink, but we wanted to swap it out for a vanity that provided more storage in our small space. We installed the Hemnes vanity with the Odensvik sink from IKEA and a Kingston Brass faucet. This was our first time doing plumbing work in our home, and while it wasn't a walk in the park, I'm proud that we installed this sink (and repaired a slow leak) without any major issues (yay!) We switched out the standard vanity hardware with these pretty brass handles from CB2, and we love how they tie in with the new light.

The light is made by Illuminate Vintage, who we've purchased two other lights from for our house (the music room and bedroom ceiling lights.) We love how this is similar to the others we have, but in an interesting and unique shape that we haven't seen before. We did have to hire our favorite electrician to come in and rework the wiring for us. We assume that the bathroom used to have a built-in medicine cabinet with sconces on the side, and then someone was too lazy to change the wiring before installing the medicine cabinet/mirror/light combo that we inherited. All is good now though!

Since this is such a small bathroom, we wanted to make sure we were utilizing our space in the best way possible, so we added some wood shelving both in the shower and above the sink and toilet. The idea to add the shelf above the sink and toilet actually solved a big problem for us: when we removed the medicine cabinet/mirror, we had a 3' section of wall that was missing the top row of tile (as seen above). Since the plank wall was aligned with the top tiles along the other walls, we were going to have a 2" gap here that we needed to fill in. We ended up chipping out the rest of the top tiles on this wall and built/installed this poplar wood shelf. We kept the wood unstained, but it has a few coats of polyurethane on it to help keep it looking fresh. I also love the natural separation it creates between the tile and the plank wall.

In the shower, we wanted to make the most of the window space since it's really our only spot for shampoo, soap, etc. I love a copper pipe DIY (see here, here, or here), so we built a three-tier shelf out of copper pipe and poplar boards. Since this wood will be directly exposed to water, we sealed it with deck sealer, and it's holding up well! I also love that we can actually have some plants in our bathroom now.

For some finishing touches we installed a new door (with the same mid-century trim treatment as our bedroom door makeover), new matte black shower head/tub spout, a round black mirror and toilet paper holder, a new shower curtain, and artwork from Juniper Print Shop.

This whole makeover turned out better than we could have imagined. While we did have some electrical and plumbing help, we DIYed everything else and I'm really proud of how it worked. This space is definitely elevated from where we started, and it feels like it fits in with the rest of our home instead of being the sore thumb of the house (oh wait, that's the kitchen.) I'll link everything I can think of below, but if you have any questions, please let us know!

Floor paint - Glidden Bay Coral, Glidden Golden Moment, BEHR Starless Night
Floor sealer - Green Building Supply
Tub & Tile Refreshing Kit - Rust-Oleum (available at Home Depot)
Shower head - Home Depot
Tub spout - Home Depot
Shampoo bottles - Target
Planters - Synthesis
Shower curtain - Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Shower curtain rod (it's actually a regular curtain rod) - Target
Shower curtain hooks - Target
Plank wall - MDF sheets (available at Home Depot), tutorial by Juniper Home
Vanity/Sink - IKEA
Brass handles - CB2
Toilet paper holder - Amazon
Faucet - Home Depot
Round mirror - Target
Matchstick holder - Etsy
Brass light - Illuminate Vintage
Women print - Juniper Print Shop
Towel knobs - Target (old), similar
Towels - Target
Door - Home Depot, mid-century trim tutorial

I know this one was a doozy, so thanks for reading!

Sarah & Nick


  1. Woaaaa, beautiful! I'm a sucker for before/after photo's, so thank you :) It looks like my dreambathdroom, best place to relax. X

  2. I like the before and after images of the bathroom makeover. It's nice. I like the toilet tissue holder. I'm using the same one in my bathroom. I like the quality of this holder. It took little be more time for me to figure out how to put it on the wall. But after I did, the holder seems strong. Pretty convenient to put it on the corner of my bathroom.

    Lots of Love
    Stephanie from