Skip the Remodel - Try These 12 Bathroom Decor Ideas

Best Of Hometalk
by Best Of Hometalk

Even though it is often the smallest room in a house, the bathroom is one of the most expensive to remodel. According to Home Advisor, the average cost to remodel a bathroom is $10,257, but a high-end makeover could cost up to $25,000. For many of us, that expense is simply out of reach.

Bathroom Decor (pixabay)

Fortunately, a few changes in bathroom decor can help an outdated or builder basic bathroom fit in with today’s styles. Skip the remodel and try some of these high-impact bathroom decor Ideas instead. 

Farmhouse Bathroom Decor

If you want beautiful farmhouse bathroom decor, you don’t need to hire Joanna or move to Waco, Texas. There are many ways to take a general style and make it your own. Farmhouse bathroom decor is warm, simple, and full of natural texture. The basic aesthetic includes stained wood, greenery, and don’t forget the shiplap. All of these components are easy to incorporate into your own farmhouse bathroom decor.

To imitate shiplap, cut full boards into 4-5” wide pieces with a table or circular saw, Alternately, you can purchase ready-made, primed wood planks at a big box hardware store. For the project below, Hometalker Christina ripped plywood boards down to size to create this faux shiplap look. 

Farmhouse Bathroom Decor (Christina)

See post: Christina|Faux Shiplap Bathroom Makeover

Use tile spacers or even nickels for perfect, even spacing between the planks, and glue or nail the faux shiplap to the walls. 

Modern Bathroom Decor (Christene @ Keys to Inspiration)

See post: Christene @ Keys to Inspiration|Fresh and Modern Powder Room Makeover

After all the shiplap is hanging in place, fill the imperfections and nail holes with wood putty or leave them for added character. Give your shiplap a couple of coats of your favorite primer and paint. With this fresh new wall treatment, your farmhouse bathroom decor will be well on its way. 

Bathroom Wall Decor Ideas (Christina)

See post: Christina|Faux Shiplap Bathroom Makeover

Accessorize with plants, wood shelves, and other gray or neutral natural items. 

Bathroom Decor Ideas (Christene @ Keys to Inspiration)

See post: Christene @ Keys to Inspiration|Fresh and Modern Powder Room Makeover

More Bathroom Wall Decor Ideas

If shiplap isn’t quite what you are looking for, here are a few other tried-and-true bathroom wall decor ideas.

Board and batten is another classic choice for bathroom wall decor. Hometalker Beachwood Place achieved a faux board and batten look by placing trim on the walls at measured intervals. Then she added a shelf on top made from a 1” X 2” board and trimmed with quarter round.

Nautical Bathroom Decor (Beachwood Place)

See post: Beachwood Place|A Nautical Bathroom Retreat!

Adding low hooks in a kids’ bathroom encourages them to hang their towels and keep the room tidy.

There are many variations of the board and batten look, so there is plenty of room for creativity. Take it up high on the walls and paint the remaining space and ceiling a dramatic dark color such as plum or navy.

Tip: Painting metal vent covers in the ceiling the same color helps them blend in and nearly disappear. 

Board & Batten Bathroom (Beckie @ Infarrantly Creative)

See post: Beckie @ Infarrantly Creative|Purple with Board & Batten Bathroom

Regardless of how you want the board and batten to look in your bathroom, the installation process is the same. Nail all of the boards and trim directly to the wall. Then, fill in the cracks and nail holes with wood putty or spackle and caulk. 

Bathroom Wall Decor (Tara)

See post: Tara|Afternoon Board & Batten

After that step, brush on your favorite shade of paint. Board and batten bathroom wall decor looks terrific painted white in a semi-gloss sheen. 

Board & Batten (Tara)

See post: Tara|Afternoon Board & Batten

Wallpaper is another creative bathroom wall decor idea. Anyone who has spent hours scraping off old wallpaper may feel concerned about using it for a new project. Rest assured, modern wallpaper has improved dramatically. The rolls come pre-pasted or not, and the paste for both types is formulated to adhere well but also to be easy to remove when it is time. Specialty wall primers are available to use under wallpaper as well. 

Tip: Heat and humidity may cause the wallpaper to peel over time, but it is still a suitable choice for a half-bath or a guest bath where the shower is used intermittently. Also, wallpaper is more durable than it was in the past. Some types are even wipeable and mildew-resistant.  

With so many patterns and styles of wallpaper available, it is really up to you to choose what you like.

Hanging a busy print in a small bathroom makes a beautiful statement. 

Bathroom Wallpaper Ideas (Sassy Townhouse Living)

See post: Sassy Townhouse Living|You Will Love This Gorgeous Bathroom Wallpaper Transformation

Likewise, wallpapering only one wall and using paint on the others is a good way to keep the project more budget-friendly. 

Bathroom Makeover Ideas (The Blue Eyed Dove)

See post: The Blue Eyed Dove|Bathroom Makeover

Hanging wallpaper is easier as a two-person job so grab a partner when you get to work.

Instead of wallpaper, stenciling is a high-impact, lower cost alternative for bathroom wall decor. High-quality stencils are available online, and many mimic contemporary wallpaper prints and style trends. 

Stenciled Bathroom Makeover Ideas (Cutting Edge Stencils)

See post: Cutting Edge Stencils|A Drifting Arrows Stenciled Bathroom Makeover

Shiplap on the lower walls and a stencil on the upper walls are a striking combination. 

Bathroom Decorating Ideas (Cutting Edge Stencils)

See post: Cutting Edge Stencils|A Stenciled Bathroom Makeover Using the Keralo Allover Pattern

All of the wall treatments mentioned so far will add a lot of interest and beauty to your bathroom decor, but changing the way your bathroom looks doesn’t have to be so complicated. A simple coat of fresh paint can work wonders, and at around $15-$30 per gallon, paint is a very budget-friendly first step towards transforming a bathroom.

At your local hardware store, the first look at the sheer number of paint color choices available can be overwhelming. Choosing something you like might feel like a daunting task. Why are there so many shades of white anyway? If you don’t know where to start, try drawing inspiration from a piece of artwork or an accessory that you love. 

Decorating Bathroom Wall Ideas (One Coast Design)

See post: One Coast Design|The Olive Bathroom – A Mancave Ensuite We Can Agree On

Another clever idea is to paint the upper and lower walls different colors. This is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it can be a very practical solution in a kids’ bathroom. Painting the lower walls a dark color mitigates visible dirt and grime, and using a fresh shade of white on the upper portion keeps the room from feeling like a cave. Separate the two colors with a wide piece of trim. Adhere it to the wall with small finishing nails. 

Kids' Bathroom Ideas (Delia)

See post: Delia|Kids' Bathroom with Super Fun Elements!!

If bright or moody colors are not your thing, a coat of crisp white paint creates a clean slate for all styles of bathroom decor. If you are looking for a warm shade of white choose one with yellow undertones. If you want a cooler shade, stick with blue undertones.

White can be tricky, so it’s a good idea to buy a few inexpensive sample pots and try them first. Even the color temperature of a light bulb will affect how the shade reads to your eyes. A soft white bulb is universal and flattering.

Small Bathroom Decorating Ideas (Engineer Your Space)

See post: Engineer Your Space|Small Bathroom Remodel: Budget Bathroom Ideas

All paint brands come in several different sheens. If you prefer a more matte finish for your bathroom decor choose an eggshell formula, otherwise semi-gloss is a solid choice for a high-traffic bathroom. Eggshell and semi-gloss sheens are both durable and wipeable which is essential.

Small Bathroom Decorating Ideas

In a small bathroom, it is difficult to get inspired to make changes, especially if the layout is tricky. While it is true that some things cannot be fixed without a full remodel, there are plenty of ways to maximize the available space. Here are just a few small bathrooms decorating ideas to get you started.

If your small bathroom does not have a backsplash behind the sink, consider using peel-and-stick tiles for a modern touch. Forget the messy tile saw or nippers. All you need to install peel-and-stick tiles is a straightedge and utility knife, it could not be easier. 

Small Bathroom Ideas (Engineer Your Space)

See post: Engineer Your Space|Small Bathroom Remodel: Budget Bathroom Ideas

Once the trim is placed around the edges, the tiles look just as lovely as labor-intensive ceramic or glass tile, and the best part is that peel-and-stick tiles do not require messy grout. 

Small Bathroom Decorating (Engineer Your Space)

See post: Engineer Your Space|Small Bathroom Remodel: Budget Bathroom Ideas

Another tricky thing about a small bathroom is the door. Traditional bathroom doors that swing into the room often take up too much floor space, or they create a pinch point when the occupant is standing in the room and trying to close the door. Replacing an existing door with a barn door is one of the best small bathroom decorating ideas. Mount the barn door on the outside of a small bathroom. Purchase a factory-made door or make your own out of cut MDF or wood, trim pieces, and a full-length decorative mirror. Barn door hardware is readily available online. 

Mirror Barn Door Ideas (Debbie)

See post: Debbie|Cathedral Mirror Barn Door Joanna Gaines Inspired

If the layout of your bathroom is small and cramped, more like a hall than a room, one of the best small bathroom decor ideas is to install a vanity and sink that is narrow from front to back. Buying a sink that uses a nontraditional side-mounting faucet maximizes the space inside the basin for washing. Add a towel rack that hangs directly onto the sink to save wall space. Also, hanging a large mirror makes the whole room appear larger.

Rustic Bathroom Decor (Love the Tompkins)

See post: Love the Tompkins|Rustic Glam Bathroom

DIY Bathroom Decor for Dated Bathrooms

Probably the most common bathroom decor dilemma is how to make changes to a dated bathroom. Everything feels so permanent, and it can be difficult to see past pink tile or a chipped Formica vanity top. 

DIY Bathroom Decor Ideas (Sabrina)

See post: Sabrina|DIY: Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

If the vanity is in decent condition, give it a coat of semi-gloss or high gloss paint, and add some new hardware. If there is room in the budget, a new average-sized countertop costs between $130-$350 depending on the type of surface, laminate or solid. For an additional $40-$200, swap out the old sink and faucet for a new one. 

Bathroom Makeover on a Budget (Sabrina)

See post: Sabrina|DIY: Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

If replacing the countertop is too expensive or the old one is an irregular shape, you may be able to glue new material directly onto the old countertop.


Mid-Century Bathroom Ideas (CIndy Hagemann)

See post: Cindy Hagemann|Redo of Mid-Century Modern Half Bathroom


Bathroom Ideas (CIndy Hagemann)

See post: Cindy Hagemann|Redo of Mid-Century Modern Half Bathroom

To dress up an old mirror, try framing it with stained 1” X 2” pieces of wood nailed to the wall or glued directly onto the mirror. 

DIY Bathroom Decor (Sabrina)

See post: Sabrina|DIY: Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

Lastly, freshen stained and dingy grout by painting it! Polyblend Grout Renew is a color and sealer in one, and some homeowners stand by using basic acrylic paint brushed on with a steady hand. 

Affordable Bathroom Ideas (PageFarmChick)

See post: PageFarmChick|Polyblend Grout Renew - An Affordable, Easy Way to Update Grout Color


DIY Bathroom Decor

Even if you are not ready to make significant cosmetic changes in the bathroom, accessories and DIY bathroom decor will freshen up a tired space. DIY bathroom decor does not have to be complicated or expensive.

Strong rope and a piece of stained scrap wood work well as a hanging shelf. For a nautical look, display seashells and other decorative beach-themed items on the shelf.

Kids Beach Bathroom (The Blooming Hydrangea)

See post: The Blooming Hydrangea|Kids Beach Bathroom

If you love crafts and painting, try copying the artwork from a decor item that you like on small canvases. First, draw the designs free-hand with a pencil or use transfer paper. Then, paint the drawings with inexpensive craft paint. The owl-themed wall art pictured below is DIY bathroom decor inspired by a store-bought bath set. 

Kids Owl Bathroom Ideas (Thrifty Artsy Girl)

See post: Thrifty Artsy Girl|Kids Owl Bathroom Art

If beach bathroom decor catches your eye, display a small jar filled with seashells or glue seashells to a styrofoam ball to make a unique piece of DIY bathroom decor. 

Easy 'Beach' Bathroom Decor (Tracey Lee @ Mia Bella Passions)

See post: Tracey Lee @ Mia Bella Passions|Easy 'Beach' Bathroom Decor - DIY a Shell Jar or Ball

Any of these projects will add character and style to your bathroom. So, even if you inherited a previous owner’s color scheme or outdated bathroom decor, by no means are you stuck with it. This article is packed with plenty of fresh bathroom decor ideas, large and small. Give one of these projects a try, and if it sparks another great idea, be sure to post your project on Hometalk.

Written for the Hometalk community by: Stacy | BlakeHillHouse

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  • MarthaJean MarthaJean on Jul 25, 2022

    Your posts, photos, & instructions are amazing! thanks so much, mjl😜

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