Maximizing Bathroom Space

2 Materials
3 Weeks

We've shown a number of our bathroom renos on Hometalk but the one we're showing you today is my personal favorite to date!

As I showed you in a previous bathroom transformation, renovating a bathroom gives you the ideal opportunity to maximize the space you already have. My Mom's bathroom had never been updated in the 30 years she's owned the house so it was high time for a reno. For us, it was just as important to make the sure the space was as functional for Mom as it was beautiful.
Mom didn't want another beige coloured bathroom yet she was insistent that she wanted to keep the old beige bathtub so it really limited our tile selections.
However, I managed to pull together a nice palette to make the bathroom look fresh, yet still blend in with the tub.
I worked the beige tub into the colour scheme by by finding a neutral floor tile in an off white with a slight streak of beige running through it. It was hardly noticeable, because it read more like a white, but it really allowed me to tie in the odd beige tub when it all came together. Below you can see the floor tile against the field and accent tile we used for the tile surround. We'll use the colour of the blue accent tile to paint the existing vanity, which was the only other original element of the bathroom, besides the tub, that we ended up keeping.
Two inch tile for the shower floor is an ideal size to accommodate the curve of the floor toward the drain, but can I tell you how hard it was to find a decent variety of tiles in that size? At the 11th hour, we finally found a dark grey hexagon pattern which helps to ground the starkness of the white tile on the floor and shower walls.
You can see the grey shower floor in the picture below and the original vanity base - which we kept because it was sized to fit perfectly into the alcove and was in good condition.
Here's a before and after of the vanity area with updated with new mirror, lighting, quartz countertop, sink and faucet. The vanity is still a work in progress; it will be painted blue to pull in the tile surround on the bathtub and the hardware will be replaced with a more modern silver metal pull. The holidays have a habit of putting finishing touches like that on hold!

UPDATE: There's a link to the vanity makeover near the end of this post!
One tip that I gave you in my last post that I'll give you again is to get rid of any bulkheads above the bathtub and shower areas. You can see how removing them really opens up the space.
Another thing to note is that we have started to replace all the light bulbs in Mom's house with LEDs and the bathroom is no exception. It will save her a substantial amount of money on energy costs!

Here's another before and after comparison of the bath area that demonstrates how much more expansive it looks:
Another useful tip to expand the space, if you have one of those 'corner' showers, is to knock down the back wall and go deep. We originally had a tiny little cubicle of a shower stall; Mom was in real trouble if she dropped the soap!

Below you can see that we removed the original back wall and made it flush to the wall of the tub. We also opened up a 'window' between the shower and tub to let the light flood in (which will be fitted out with glass when the shower door gets installed).
Increasing the size of the shower allowed us to add a bench seat for Mom (and of course a grab bar to help her get up!)
It also allowed us to fit in a rain shower head as well as a hand held sprayer too.
A nice finishing detail to is a shower niche to hold soap and shampoo. Its a huge improvement over the metal soap dish that was originally there! Which would you rather have?
Happily, Mom wasn't as attached to the beige toilet as she was to the bathtub. Both technology and looks have come a long way in the last 30 years and a one-piece low flow toilet is the way to go!
The last finishing touch was installing the glass in the shower area, but I've reached my picture limit so head over to Birdz of a Feather at the link below to see the final reveal.

If this new bathroom space has inspired you, please pin and post on Facebook.

Curious to see how the vanity makeover turned out? Click here to check it out. While you're there, you might also want to check out some of our previous bathroom renos:
Get your DIY mojo on! Follow us at Birdz of a Feather (link below) to get updates on new home & garden DIYs as well as craft projects. You can also follow us on:


Suggested materials:

  • Tiles  (Tile store)
  • Bath fixtures  (Speciality store)

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Birdz of a Feather

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


Have a question about this project?

4 questions
  • Laura
    on Dec 28, 2016

    Where did the extra shower space come from? Was there a closet on the adjoining wall that was taken out or reduced?

    • Birdz of a Feather
      on Dec 28, 2016

      No not a closet at all, just wasted space. For some reason the builder just made the shower area ultra tiny. Probably wanted to save on tiles and labour etc.. We were pleasantly surprised when we knocked down the wall and found we could open it even with the bathtub wall!

    • Joyce
      on Dec 29, 2016

      did you use the taller toilet.they are so much easier for us older gals

    • Jeannie Carle
      on Jan 5, 2017

      You are SO right Joyce!

  • Jkendall
    on Dec 29, 2016

    What material did you use to case the shower door and above the tub for shower window?

    • Birdz of a Feather
      on Dec 29, 2016

      We used marble for those areas.

    • Jkendall
      on Dec 29, 2016

      Thanks so much. That's what it looked like, but I didn't know if you found a faux product that looked like it. Very impressed with the design of it!

  • Patrice
    on Feb 28, 2017

    How much did this project cost? I'm looking to do a similar one.

    • Birdz of a Feather
      on Mar 2, 2017

      Hi Patrice - my sister kept tabs on this reno because she managed the budget and I don't have a final figure for you. If I can manage to get it from her, I'll update you :)

  • Mmh33727423
    on Jul 3, 2018

    We have a Master Bath in a Farm House that we're trying to update to sell. Our problem in this bathroom is that it has Medium Blue tiles in the entire Bathroom that follows the height of the shower wall throughout the entire bathroom leaving approx 3-4' around the rest of the space. Same tile is on the Vanity. We're watching our $$$ since we are selling it. Can I paint the blue tile in the shower & put shiplap over the rest of the walls? Can I put a new counter on top of the blue tile on the Vanity? It is a big bathroom. Any other suggestions? Love your project, turned out very nice. We don't want to spend that much $$$ bc we have other projects to update. Please HELP🙃.

Join the conversation

4 of 44 comments
  • Jeannie Carle
    on Jan 5, 2017

    This just looks "all brand new" and beautiful! How sweet of you to do this for Mom!

  • Theresa Budd
    on Jan 23, 2017

    Did you tile a Formica counter top? I have really ugly Formica topped cabinets .

    • Birdz of a Feather
      on Jan 24, 2017

      No, we splurged on quartz counters. We're just in the process of painting the cabinet doors now, so I'll have another update soon. They're the last thing to finish off!

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