Bathroom Makeover: Before & After

5 Materials
2 Weeks

My husband and I have spent the past several years remodeling our little house in the country. The main floor of the house was in rough shape, but it had a nice layout and it was well built so we felt like it was a diamond in the rough that was worth saving. The first room that had to be redone was the upstairs bathroom. The other two bathrooms only had showers, and with three little kids, we really needed a nice, clean bathroom so we could bathe our children. I had no desire to salvage the existing tile-work or vanity, so we took them out and removed the linoleum flooring and started from scratch.
See my blog for more details and product information:
Before & After: DIY Bathroom Remodel
bathroom makeover with subway tile wainscoting before after
First, I tore out all the old tile around the bathtub. Even though the bathtub doesn’t have a shower, I still didn’t like that there wasn’t a waterproofing membrane around it (because, kids), so I put a waterproofing membrane around the tub that was three feet high and along the apron front of the tub using a waterproofing membrane.
bathroom makeover with subway tile wainscoting before after
I painted the top half of the walls a light blue color and then I installed my blue border tile first. My bathroom tiling was going to go halfway up the walls on all four walls of the room,  so I wanted to be sure that I kept the border tile level across all the walls. In order to do this, I attached temporary 2×4 batten boards at a level height to support my border tile and installed them using white thinset mortar: (see blog for product information)
bathroom makeover with subway tile wainscoting before after
Once my border tile had dried, I removed the 2×4 supports and installed my subway tile around the tub. My tub was about one inch higher on one side than the other, so it was important that I tiled down to the tub instead of up. That way, I could use my level border tile as a guide and all my tile would stay level down to the lip of the tub. I used good old painter’s tape to keep my tiles in place as I installed them. This is a fairly small bathroom with all interior walls, so adding the white tile really brightened up the room. I also installed four larger tiles as a mosaic to add interest and installed a chair rail tile above my blue border tile that matched my white subway tile.
bathroom makeover with subway tile wainscoting before after
I installed cement backboard and a waterproofing membrane on the floor and then tiled the floor using a porcelain mosaic tile: (See blog for product information)
Note: I would not go with white grout for this floor. I ended up removing my grout and changing it to gray because the white grout looked grimy (because again, kids) and the pattern was difficult to see.
bathroom makeover with subway tile wainscoting before after
We updated the lighting  and mirror, and purchased a new vanity from Home Depot. The vanity top is made of blue marble to further tie into the blue and white theme: (see blog for product information)
bathroom makeover with subway tile wainscoting before after
I do love how this bathroom turned out! It’s bright and airy even though it’s a fairly small space. Being a mom, I also love being able to wipe down the tile walls with a rag (has your three year old ever drawn on the walls with toothpaste? Mine has, so having a washable surface for the wall in the bathroom is a definite bonus).
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
Kati Urbanek-Countryesque

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


Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Priscilla Rollins
    on Jan 30, 2018

    What is “membrane” you use it a lot?
    • Kati Urbanek-Countryesque
      on Jan 30, 2018

      a waterproofing membrane. For tiling around a tub or shower, you need to have a waterproofing membrane installed around it before you tile. You can use a sheet membrane, like Schluter-Ditra. Or you can use a roll-on membrane, which is like a thick paint. Lots of people think that cement board or green drywall are waterproof, but that is not the case. Waterproofing has to be installed in some form for a successful tub or shower tile installation. :)
  • Julie Mason
    on Feb 21, 2018

    Can you explain how the tile didn't need to be cut due to the height difference that you mentioned of the tub and how it made it better going top to bottom? How do you deal with height difference?
  • Helen
    on Sep 21, 2018

    Did you use cement back board on the walls you tiled?

Join the conversation

3 of 91 comments
  • JudyH
    on Mar 22, 2018

    Your floor tile pattern has always been my personal favorite! The basket weave pattern looks fabulous with almost any design choice! It looks great with your wall tile! Very pretty.

  • Vallery Dietrich
    on Oct 5, 2018

    Very nice! Thanks for sharing and all the tips for tiling. :)

Your comment...