Small Master Bathroom Budget Makeover

3 Materials
2 Weeks

Our master bathroom is tiny. When we first bought our home 2 years ago, we quickly got tired of the cheap fixtures, cracked and broken tile, and little to no storage. We had to get creative with space constraints, but we had a vision and were able to completely transform the space with lots of built-in character!

The only official before picture I had was what the real estate agent sent us, so this is shortly after we started taking things apart. As you can see, we opened up the wall because we needed to extend the studs (to add shelves above the toilet) and move the outlet a few inches up. The vanity was cheap builder's grade that was painted (and chipping). That would soon change, but we chose to reuse the sink basin and the toilet, to save money.

Once the wall was repaired, I added faux shiplap by using 1/4" plywood and attaching it to the wall with a nail gun, liquid nails, and spaced with coins. I also installed white octagonal tile, which was a first time for me, but is totally do-able, especially with a small space!

After the tile was grouted and the walls were painted, I got to work building a new vanity. I designed a turned leg vanity that fit our space and provided adequate storage. I gave it a custom gray stain/dry brush finish and installed the old sink with a new faucet. I figured if I was saving myself so much money by doing all the work myself, it was okay to splurge on a nice faucet and a nice light fixture (that you can see at the bottom). The mirror above the vanity is vintage and from an old dresser that I stole it from. :) I love the warmth it brings, don't you? FREE BUILD PLANS for this vanity (plus details on how I finished it) is found here.

Next was adding a sliding barn door which opened up floor space and allowed more light to come in. The door was a vintage one that was painted several layers of paint, but that I scraped some off and then gave a layered paint look to add some visual interest. For privacy, it locks by a hook latch on the inside of the door and eyehole screws on both sides of the door frame. The light fixture in this picture is different than the one we actually chose, but we had to install this one temporarily until the REAL one arrived (it was on backorder). For my tips and tricks on installing a sliding barn door click here.

Finally, I added some floating shelves above the toilet for extra storage. The baskets and jars hide all our toiletries and keeps things from piling up on the limited counter-space.

The finished bathroom is something I am very happy with. Even though we couldn't bust down walls and expand, I really felt we made the most with the space we had and added a lot of cottage charm. Total cost for bathroom makeover: $1250 **some items we received were sponsored but I figured this cost as if we had to pay for everything out of pocket-- or in other words, what it would cost for anyone to duplicate** To see the full bathroom reveal including ALL THE SOURCES for everything used, see link below! I also share at the top of the post, the links to every step of the process, including: -initial design plans -progress and tips -tutorial for the vanity -tutorial barn door install

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
If Your Stairway Walls Are Empty, Here Are 25 Ways To Change Them Now!
31 Space-Saving DIY Ideas That'll Keep Your Home Organized
22 Ideas To Make Your Terra Cotta Pots Look Oh-So-Pretty
15 Fabulous Fire Pits For Your Backyard
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
17 DIY-Inspiring Kitchen Backsplashes
23 DIY Wall Clocks That'll Transform Your Whole Room
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
31 Space-Saving DIY Ideas That'll Keep Your Home Organized
17 Faux Brick Ideas For Your Home
The Easiest Ways to Grow a Bumper Crop of Tomatoes
15 Things To Do With Scrap Material
17 Faux Brick Ideas For Your Home
30 Creative Painting Techniques & Ideas You MUST See!

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

41 questions
  • Hildegarde
    on Mar 12, 2016

    where are the towels for drying your hands? I don't see any...

    • Rachel
      on Mar 12, 2016

      On the wall opposite the toilet has hooks for towels-- if you go to the actual blog post linked at the bottom you can see it.

  • Lydia Hughes
    on Mar 12, 2016

    Does the sliding barn door contain the sounds and smells of the bathroom? I was considering something similar but privacy, so to speak, is my concern. I like what you've done with the small space, affordably too.

    • Rachel
      on Mar 14, 2016

      We have a fan so that helps. And from my experience, the previous door that was there didn't block 100% of the everything that happens in the bathroom haha! I honestly haven't noticed anything worse or better, so I think it does about the same job as a regular door.

    • Cathy
      on Mar 14, 2016

      Thank you so much for this question and answer..I love your idea and we are going to do this. Is it possible to show a picture of how this looks from opposite side? Thanks!

  • Ethyl
    on Mar 12, 2016

    Where did you purchase the shower curtain? Ethyl

    • Rachel
      on Mar 12, 2016

      All sources are in my blog post listed at the bottom.

  • Ethyl
    on Mar 12, 2016

    My apologies, but when I checked your blog for the shower curtains ... It only came up blank. Sorry to have bothered you about this . thank you Ethyl

    • Rachel
      on Mar 12, 2016

      Ethyl, I didn't buy it online, I put a link in there to something similar I once found online for convenience. If you read it the list I made, several things in a group, I state they all came from HomeGoods.

  • Myarley
    on Mar 14, 2016

    Where did you get the hardware for the barn door? The bathroom is lovely.

  • Jane
    on Mar 17, 2016

    Love your blog! Beautiful bathroom! Has the wood warped any from the moisture of the shower?

    • Rachel
      on Mar 17, 2016

      No, we have a fan and used mildew resistant paint so there have been no problems, even after almost a year!

  • Peg penater
    on Apr 1, 2016

    Does the door (which I love!) have a bottom track to stabilize it?

  • Heidi
    on May 12, 2016

    what is the actual size of the bathroom

  • Diane Burns Poole
    on Jul 15, 2016

    The sliding door on the bathroom entry. I LOVE this! My bathroom is tiny and that would open up so much space for me. Where did you find the door sliding system? I have never seen anything like that.

  • Joa9453585
    on Aug 2, 2016

    where can I buy the white floating shelves?

    • Kas8281939
      on Aug 12, 2016

      IKEA has them, as well as Lowe's and home depot. Easy to install in studs.

  • Crystal Goodsell
    on Aug 3, 2016

    Where is the shower curtain from?

  • Christine Pardo
    on Aug 12, 2016

    Did tile the floor over tile? What did you use as bonding agent?

  • Noele Edwards
    on Aug 12, 2016

    Because I see the Kreg pocket hole, I'm guessing that you made the shelves. I can't find the instructions for constructing them.

  • Ble5214775
    on Aug 12, 2016

    I am SO impressed with your make over!!! HOW did you get that FABULOUS look/stain on the sink base??

    • Lynn
      on Aug 13, 2016

      I want to know Also, looks FAB

    • Janice
      on Aug 17, 2016

      She posted a link above to how she built and finished it.

    on Aug 12, 2016

    Have you thought about refinishing the mirror to match the sink base? That sink base is done so nicely it cries out for the mirror to match it.

    • Ange Mills
      on Aug 15, 2016

      I actually love the contest of the mirror.

    • Cindy Roehm
      on Aug 19, 2016

      The contrast makes it look perfect!!!

    • Beverley Gasson
      on Sep 2, 2016

      Don't change the look of the mirror it all works so well together.

    • Abr4175060
      on Sep 4, 2016

      I agree. I think it would look much better with the mirror matching the base. I love the bathroom. You did a beautiful job.

    • Lonnie
      on Oct 5, 2016

      It looks amazing!! If I was looking at it from a buyer perspective, I would right away put the mirror on my list of things to do very close to the day I moved in. I'm all about matchy-matchy. It's a personal preference thing. The rest of it I would leave alone because it matches and is gorgeous!!!

    • Debbyhagar
      on Jan 13, 2017

      Viva la difference! So much harder to successfully coordinate than to match and so much more interesting. Keep it!

  • Devon Cramer
    on Nov 21, 2016

    Are the vanity light and window the only sources of light in the room or is there also an overhead light?

  • Irma Molina
    on Jan 12, 2017

    We have a small bathroom too.what size is this one ,you give me hope luv it

  • Cheryl Biermann
    on Feb 9, 2017

    Did you have to do any plumbing? I ask because my son's bathroom is so small the toilet is maybe an inch from the tub, by switching it with the pedastle sink it would make it so much easier to clean. Just wondering the difficulty of that and costs, provided nothing breaks while moving it all.

  • Carol moser
    on Mar 25, 2017

    Do you have a source for the floating shelves. I'm in the middle of a remodel and they would be perfect?

  • David Lumphrey
    on Jul 15, 2017

    How did you extend the studs?
  • Myrna Solomon
    on Jul 15, 2017

    Just wondering why you didn't stain the mirror to match the sink, or vice versa? Great job tho!
  • Jeremy Green
    on Aug 28, 2017

    Did you use any sort of sealer on the plywood? I would worry the moisture from showers would rot the wood after some time...
  • Jeremy Green
    on Aug 28, 2017

    Did you stain or seal the plywood? I would be worried the moisture from the shower could cause problems after a while.
  • Sally Pavinski
    on Sep 4, 2017

    What are floating shelves?
    • Tara Marion
      on Dec 30, 2017

      Shelves that don't have visible brackets or hardware. They appear to be "hanging" right of the wall.
  • Leslie
    on Sep 5, 2017

    It may have been asked previously , nut what size are the shelves dimensions?
  • Colleen Taylor
    on Dec 5, 2017

    Hello, Like all the other 145 commenters have already sais - Great job. I want to build a bathroom in a small space and am wondering what the measurements of your bathroom are? I think my space might be even smaller.
  • Lisa
    on Jul 24, 2018

    I would love to do this to our bathroom. My house was built in1850 and the bathroom was added later. I have no idea when but nothing has been done to it since it was installed. I am so afraid to start tearing into walls. My question is how do you get past that fear?

    • Eva Conrace
      on Jul 24, 2018

      My house was built in the 1880s, and I did my bathroom last summer. In my experience, you never know what you will find when you open up the walls. Unless you are an experienced carpenter, I recommend you hire someone for the basic construction, then do the finish yourself. I had sagging floor joists, in the basement and the ceiling, and now have two new support columns in the basement. Way beyond my skill level. I love the result. It is so much cleaner and more comfortable. Everyone wants to use my bathroom! You overcome the fear by getting experienced help and advise!

    • Renee Brown
      on Jul 24, 2018

      I have found that every diy construction project is comprised of one step forward and two steps back. Plan then replan again over and over. Be sure to put all the possible pieces in order, such as "if I do this then that will affect the outcome of that " my projects take a while because I am always thinking the "dominoe effect" through carefully when I hit each hurdle and issue. But the pleasure and pride is off the charts when each step is accomplished correctly. Good luck and don't worry, you can do it with flexible and thoughtful planning.

    • MIck
      on Jul 24, 2018

      Plan, have a clear vision, then close your eyes and swing the sledgehammer....once you get in that first hit, you are all in.

    • Diane Kirsch
      on Jul 24, 2018

      .......And, have a 'handyman' on stand by!

    • Bijous
      on Jul 25, 2018

      All good advice. I'll just add, anticipate a 10 to 15% budget over-run. Knowing this in advance will lessen the final sticker shock. The second is to set a time- line then extend it by 2 weeks. You'll be glad you did...

  • Mssmatch
    on Jul 24, 2018

    Do u climb on the toilet to reach items on top shelf?

    • Ella Frierson Bond
      on Jul 24, 2018

      I don't think most people would have to. I don't know the height but, judging by the shower bar it is not really high. I can hold onto the a shower bar without tip toes.

    • Hotheadzmarine.williamson
      on Jul 24, 2018

      I think those items are for decor only purposes

    • Pamela Blunt
      on Jul 25, 2018

      I love this. For me the sink cabinet especially is a brilliant idea. Our house was built in 1905 and we have a clawfoot that I refinished. I haven't been able to find the right sink cabinet so I am completely changing how I am thinking about it after seeing what you did. Also love the floating shelves. Right now we have a mahogany over the toilet storage stand. The floating white shelves would lighten up the room. Thanks.

    • Sunny
      on Jul 25, 2018

      she said The baskets and jars hide all our toiletries and keeps things from piling up on the limited, I just thought they were items that were going to be used often..

  • Dana Zimmerman
    on Jul 24, 2018

    Could you have easily made some built in shelving? With the sheet rock and all off? I like build ins, with lips or railings!

    • Zin14990756
      on Sep 23, 2018

      Not above the toilet because of the pipes in the wall (first picture)

    • Suzy Googoo
      on Dec 7, 2018

      Don’t should all over people. Build ins with lips or railings doesn’t even make sense.

    • Laurel
      on May 8, 2019

      Wonderful! Love this look! You've inspired me to start planning- I too have a little bathroom that I can't expand but it needs a facelift. I think this is doable. Thank you for posting!

  • Sue O'Ferrell
    on Jul 25, 2018

    how do you go about getting sponsors? we've been renovating our house (former unloved rental) and sure wouldn't mind a little help!

  • Lacey
    on Jul 26, 2018

    Did you use marine grade paint to keep your shiplap from warpping from the shower humidity? I'm planning to do this but worried about the moisture in the bathroom.

  • Catherine Gris
    on Jul 25, 2019

    where did you purchase the light fixture above the sink?

  • Julie
    on Jul 25, 2019

    Not a question .... a compliment! This is the best project I’ve seen on Pinterest! Congratulations! Julie

  • Pamela
    on Jul 25, 2019

    Hi ! I love your re do !!!!

    I have a question about about your barn door ... is there a way to put a lock on it ?

    • Jane
      on Jul 25, 2019

      “For privacy, it locks by a hook latch on the inside of the door and the eyehole screws on both sides of the door frame”

    • Melanie Klem
      on Jul 25, 2019

      Above, they stated, "For privacy, it locks by a hook latch on the inside of the door and eyehole screws on both sides of the door frame."

  • Rosanne Marrufo Harris
    on Jul 25, 2019

    This is amazing! Our Master bath is an exact duplicate. However we have a Shower in ours. Would the Shiplap be ok with moisture? I'm ready to start tearing down!

    • Barb
      on Jul 26, 2019

      I put it in our master. We use the fan on when we go in and leave it on for about an hour after. Also I would invest in a more powerful one. It’s not something that you want to go cheap on. Ours is about one year old now and it is doing fine. Oh ya, I used a bonding primer & and then outdoor paint in satin. I used nickels as spacers so that the cracks are equal. Then I stenciled a large shell in a transparent sea glass color. We really like it. Paint the lines first with a 2” brush.

    • Melinda Clements McBride
      on Jul 27, 2019

      I’d love to so pictures of your!! I’m so tempted to try this.. but your stenciled shell sounds wonderful! Please post picture!

    • Mia Kulick
      on Aug 1, 2019

      Please post a picture. Thank you.

  • Melinda Clements McBride
    on Jul 27, 2019

    I’m so impressed! Very pretty! Love the vanity, love the door, love the “shiplap”. It’s perfect.

  • Mia Kulick
    on Aug 1, 2019

    What type of shelves are those? Did you purchase them & where? Or make them & how? I love that idea. Thank you for sharing.

    • Linda
      on Aug 1, 2019

      Just Google "floating shelves." My son loves his!

  • Lesia
    on Aug 1, 2019

    Love the entire look! It’s perfect!

  • Jeanette
    on Aug 2, 2019

    Beautiful job. Did you remove the old tile before laying the new tile?

    • Cher
      on Aug 5, 2019

      you always should remove "old tile" as over time it can become lifted or grout no longer holding the material in place. This should be removed to give a good solid foundation for the new tile going in.

      I worked in flooring for a number of years this is a huge mistake folks make is not removing the old which always causes issues down the road.

  • Cyn Davis
    on Sep 30, 2019

    When you laid the tile, did you have to put a pad under it or did you just lay it on the floor directly?

    Thank you in advance. It looks great.

  • Doreen Freeman
    on Feb 14, 2020

    Thank you! I will try this project. Over the toilet I now have a lovely, large. storage cabinet. It is centered over the toilte & leaves apx. 14" bare wall on each side begging for these shelves. The existing cabinet has great storage except, without creative folding it just doesn't accommodate large towels.

    My experience with floating shelves, unless they have those ugly brackets

    under them, are difficult to install. Are yours of a unique mounting technique?

    Thanks again, I am anxious to get on with this, what looks like a simple project but how many simple projects are really out there?

Join the conversation

2 of 240 comments
Your comment...