So, you want a new bathroom. I hear you. I do, too. I find myself flipping through magazines featuring images of beautiful bathrooms. Looking at those just fuels the fire, doesn’t it. I tell myself that I couldn’t have that bathroom anyway because it’s the size of a large room. The bathrooms in my house are little better than executive closets! And as much as I love the look of all those bathroom images, I’m not willing to give up an entire room in the house for a bathroom.

But, there’s no harm in admiring those magazine images. There’s also no harm in upgrading the look of your old bathroom. If you can afford a full-on renovation … hey, that’s even better.

The operative word, though, for any change is “afford.” What kind of budget do you need to launch even a minor improvement? I thought I’d pull together a few numbers for you. Usually, even a ballpark figure is helpful in deciding what you’re able to take on.


Adding a new coat of paint in the latest style really is all it takes sometimes. Get rid of a dated color, make the bathroom look clean and bright again … that’s the effect of a coat of paint. If you’re not yet willing or able to change up the vanity, sink, tub, tiles and everything else, then begin with paint. To estimate how many gallons you’ll need, add together the length of all the walls and then multiply that number by the height of the room (from floor to ceiling). That final number is the room’s square footage. As a quick reference, one gallon of paint should cover about 350 square feet.

Paint can run from $20 per gallon and up. Word of advice: don’t go for the cheapest. Price does make a difference in the quality of paint.

New Tile

Tile can be expensive. But, look at it this way: you’re not tiling the entire bathroom from floor to ceiling. If you’ve got a smaller budget, choose a tile that you love and buy as much of it as you can afford. Use it as an accent in your bathroom design.

Tiles can start at $12 or less per package. Because you can limit the number of tiles you buy, don’t be afraid to go for a higher priced pack.

The Basic Remodel

A basic remodel means that you won’t be re-plumbing anything. You will, however, replace fixtures, install a new sink and vanity, and maybe replace the toilet, too. This remodel will also typically include paint and tile as well as lights and any other fixtures and finishes. These basic changes can run anywhere between $3000 and $15000.

What changes would you like to see in your own bathrooms?



So, you’ve embarked on a very exciting … ok, somewhat stressful, bathroom renovation. You know which fixtures you want to include; you’ve picked out the new toilet and sink. You’ve even decided on a brand new vanity.

Now comes the hard part. What will you put on the walls – paint, tile?

Given the fact that over the last few years I have renovated no fewer than three bathrooms, I’d like to share the tips I’ve learned for figuring out the answer to that question.

The first bathroom I renovated happened to be the powder room. I decided to use the same tile that I’d used in the hallway and the kitchen. It really was beautiful tile, all terra cotta but with subtle variations in the orange and brown tones. The problem that I realized months after the renovation was that the little pockmarks in the surface that make it look so natural have a nasty habit of capturing dust and dirt.

I ended up having to mop nearly every day just to keep them looking clean!

Tip #1 Find a tile you love, then ask as many questions about it as possible. If you find that there are characteristics that you can’t live with, take elements of the tile that you want and look for another tile that’s similar.

Tip #2 Start with one tile that you love, then build one or two other tiles into the design. One type might be the floor tile, while another will be great on the wall. Approach your choices with an eye to combining the tiles. The finished bathroom will look like an interior designer had a hand in creating it.

Tip #4 As per my own experience, consider how much future maintenance the tile you’ve chosen will need. Perfectly smooth porcelain and ceramic tiles are nearly maintenance free. All they need is a quick wipe or mop and you’re done. However, natural stone may need to be sealed periodically, and a light colored grout may show dirt more quickly than a darker color.

Tip #5 Subway tiles may be a huge trend right now, but consider whether or not they fit the style of your bathroom and home, in general. Also consider how you’d feel when that trend falls by the wayside and something else takes precedent in the public imagination.

Over to you: What factors helped you decide which tile to choose for your bathroom?




Independence Day is just around the corner. Are you ready for the big day? Raise the flag, get the picnic food ready … but, have you given much thought to the bathroom?

I find that the bathroom is always the one room in the house that ends up being neglected as far as holiday decorations go. I’ll hoist the flag outside, even drape a flag in the living room window, pull out the Independence Day themed kitchen towels, and anything else I can dig out of the holiday decorations bin I keep in the basement.

This year, I’m determined to extend the celebration all the way to the bathroom. But, what decor can I place there? Hmm, a little bit of research actually ended up yielding a huge amount of simple ideas, like the fun shower curtain pictured above.

Check out these ideas:



I love this fireworks beach towel. Very apropos, don’t you think? Or how about this toilet cover and mat set?



Not ready for that level of decor? How about something a little more subtle? These candles shine a pretty light while reminding those visiting the bathroom that there’s reason to celebrate.


Many people forget that the bathroom is a perfect place to hang art. This weekend, hang a colorful and patriotic wood curl wreath on the bathroom door or wall. It’s a decorative reminder of why you’re celebrating.



I hope these ideas have jumpstarted your thinking on how to make the bathroom one of the most festively decorated rooms in the whole house.

Over to you: Let me know what elements you add to the bathroom to give it that celebratory flare.