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Before + After Bathroom Refresh

by Joanna Gaines
Published on July 25, 2019

One of my favorite design challenges to take on in a remodel is infusing the homeowner’s personal style and taste without compromising the space’s original character. It’s a tricky balance, but it feels so rewarding when different styles work together to create a cohesive space. When circumstances like a limited budget or living in a rental don’t allow for a complete demo or remodel, the question becomes—“How can I make this space my own while working with what it has to offer?”

One of my friends here in Waco is renting a cute two-bedroom, ranch-style house with a tiny, 1950s bathroom—complete with minty green wall tiles and a ceramic wall-mounted sink. Left by itself, it feels a bit dated. Since a complete renovation wasn’t an option, we pulled out a few simple tricks to refresh the space and make it feel more like her unique and personal style.



Once we did a simple refresh to the bathroom, we had a little fun and styled it out three different ways, then let her choose the look that she loved the most. Remember, it’s okay to refresh what makes sense for your space—that may just be simply pulling in new decor!


The Vintage Look

With a mixture of vintage and industrial style decor, this look was just classic enough to pair well with the bold green tile. Matte black and navy details, a simple striped shower curtain and towels, leafy plants, and a vintage runner on the floor completed this storied and intentionally styled out space.

The Neutral Look

The texture in this neutral look is what elevates this bathroom. The chunky runner, fringe shower curtain, and even the interesting shape of the leaves on the split-leaf philodendron plant in the corner give it an easygoing, mature character that I love. It’s a simple update that quietly yet confidently complements the existing style.

The Eclectic Look

To really play off of the 1950s tile, we brought in brighter colors and then gave them balance with natural wood and rattan accents. Anytime I use bolder colors and patterns, I like to mix in more natural elements so it’s not so overwhelming to take in (especially in a small space). I let the green walls stand alone and paired them with contrasting accent colors to make a bold and fun statement.

Once I stepped back and looked at all the options, I honestly had a hard time picking my favorite look for this bathroom. My oldest daughter, Ella, helped me stage all the different looks, and she voted for The Eclectic Look. My friend ended up choosing The Vintage Look. She loved the details of the rug and the black accents against the bold green tile. Which style do you like the best? Tell us what room refresh you are tackling this summer!

TIP: Troubleshooting Old Towel Bars

There are two towel bars in the space, both in locations that don’t really make sense—one in the bathtub and one above the toilet. They are grouted into the tile, so there was no easy way to remove them without damaging the walls. To fix the problem, we came up with the idea of covering them with custom-made, hollow, wooden open shelving units. If you have this same issue in your bathroom, contact a local woodworker to make something similar to these. To secure the shelves long-term, use a ceramic tile adhesive.

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