When it comes to small-bathroom makeovers, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. A complete overhaul is often the most appealing (and the only logical) option, but once the dust from demo day settles, you’ll be faced with a heap of not-so-easy decisions to make. What type of tile should you use? Where can you squeeze in extra storage? Does this layout even make sense?!
Rather than come up with the answers to these questions out of thin air, read on to gather inspiration from these dramatic bathroom before-and-afters. As it has been said, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
The One With Special Effects
Utah-based designer Andrea West wins the award for best shower tile moment. To make the configuration extra-special, West took the Starburst Hex pattern from Cement Tile Shop up onto the ceiling and had it cut to look like it was melting into the subway tile.
The Ultra-Sleek One
Tali Roth stuck to a strictly linear scheme in this no-fuss master bathroom in New York City. The designer’s real challenge (other than working with the room’s existing layout) was getting the grout color just right so the squares were clearly defined but not too graphic. The strength of the design lies in its simplicity.
The Terrazzo One
Roth went in a much bolder direction for the second bathroom in the same Manhattan apartment as is featured above, covering the floor and walls in an oversize orange and green terrazzo. You can hardly even notice she kept the original tub in the mix.
The One With Whimsical Wallpaper
A tiny space doesn’t have to equate to a boring space. The dated walls and lack of decorative touches in Dee Murphy’s powder room weren’t exactly exciting, so she breathed new life into the interior with a botanical wallpaper print, a tiny two-tone table, and floral rug.
The Kidproof One
Designer Jenny Komenda gutted her daughters’ bathroom and started with all-white walls as her base. She then added easy-to-maintain tile flooring in a herringbone pattern, along with marble countertops and a gray-blue vanity with plenty of storage. Knocking out a wall allowed her to add a second sink so the kids don’t have to share.
The Mid-Century Modern One
Old-fashioned wall panels, begone. This bathroom is now brighter and more spacious—and it features both a stand-alone bathtub and a walk-in shower, which fit the homeowner’s needs for a handicap-accessible space. The mid-century modern double vanity adds some much-needed character.
The Rustic Shiplap One
In this major renovation, Sherry Hart of Design Indulgence swapped the windows for skylights, which allowed for unobstructed natural light, and covered the walls in reclaimed wood. The outdated yellow toilet and matching tub didn’t make the final cut; Hart replaced them with simple white fixtures.
The Classic Subway Tile One
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? This bathroom is a prime example of how a simple color change can have a major impact. Kristina Lynne swapped out the tired blue paint and linoleum floors for crisp black-and-white tiles. Plus, how cool is the exposed ductwork?
The One With Graphic Floor Tiles
Amber Lewis reinvented this interior with a complete white-out, making the perfect foundation for intricately patterned floor tiles, a marble vanity with a black steel base, and a leather-wrapped mirror.
The Metallic One
Lewis also took an all-encompassing approach to this master bathroom. She swapped out the existing double vanity for a lighter, hardware-less option and installed a glossy dark backsplash that makes the copper sconces, brass faucets, and silver-framed mirrors shine.
The One With the Weathered Vanity
Cami Graham of TidBits completed this stunning transformation by swapping the standing shower for a more elegant pedestal soaker tub. The sink area also got an upgrade, complete with a château-inspired worn-wood vanity and an antique brass mirror.
The One With Discreet Shelving
Yet another awe-inspiring before-and-after from Amber Interiors: This bathroom once had bulky cabinetry and the tiniest pedestal sink. Lewis quickly tore those out and brought in cherrywood floating shelves, accentuating their red undertones with Merlot-colored pulls. Spare towels, beauty tools, and scented candles can all be kept out of the way in this handsome nook.
The Splashy Pastel One
Stasia Buckle’s rental bathroom wasn’t totally outdated, but it wasn’t exactly inspiring either. That all changed when she gave it a splashy coat of Fairy Dust pink. A high shelf filled with hanging plants also makes the ceilings look taller—in addition to bringing a refreshing dose of nature to the small space.
The One With a Dramatic Marble Moment
When you’re working with minimal square footage, the occasional splurge is well worth it, as Tali Roth proves here. This sink’s purple-veined marble countertop steals the spotlight, while simple, affordable tiled floors and white walls set a serene backdrop.
This story was originally published in April 2016. It has been updated with new information.