6 Tips on Turning a Small Bathroom into a Retreat


My husband and I have a few things we like in common. We like summer nights out on the patio relaxing and talking about our day. We love going for overnight dates into Manhattan. We love Sade. But, the thing I love the most that he enjoys but hates to do is renovations! He is such a craftsman that it’s hard not to be a perfectionist. He is very good at all things DIY. I love to shop for design and Home Depot is our saving grace. We’d be at that store so often, I practically knew some of the employees by name!


When we moved into our home 15 years ago, it needed quite a bit of work. Over that time we have renovated every bit of space in it. I don’t think there has been any room we haven’t touched. Our master bathroom was no exception. It was the last room to be renovated. Moms always put themselves last! I know we had before pictures somewhere but who knows where everything went after losing so much in Hurricane Sandy.


I’m glad we saved it for last because it gave me so much time to dream about how I wanted it. I watched interior design shows like it was my job. I remember loving a show called, “Design on a Dime” on HGTV. In it, the designers taught you how to renovate an entire space for under $1000. I could never understand how they did it! Being that we are on a tight budget, I had to get creative. Tim even made a baseboard heating cover himself! It came out so nice, he’s had a couple of ladies from church ask him to build some for them.


I’m so glad that my husband and I pretty much agree on our style, thank heavens! We really don’t have major disagreements on design elements. He trusts my sense of style. He also wanted me to have that dream deep-soaking tub that I’d always wanted. It is wonderful! I know not everyone loves a soak in the tub but it was a life-saver for my joints when I worked as a CNA. Before the reno, I always hated being in my bathroom! Even my kids did! But now, it’s everyone’s favorite place to hide.


Here were some tricks we used to design such a small space.


1.) We made sure to measure every inch of the space after my husband demo’d everything. That way, when I went online to search options for a tub and vanity, I knew exactly what would fit. It’s like putting a puzzle together. Allowing enough clearance for a shower and, of course, where to put the towel bars and t.p. were of utmost importance!


2.) Using a shower curtain instead of a glass surround saved space.


3.) It was important to use larger-scale tiles. It can trick the eye into seeing expanded space. The square footage might stay the same, but the bathroom will feel bigger.


4.) Finding an over-the-toilet cabinet with a shelf was key for much needed storage.


5.) I knew I wanted everything white because there is no window in this bathroom and it brightens the space. Pops of my favorite color were used in small items.


6.) A bathroom where all the fixtures match is lovely. When they do, it makes a tiny space seem more luxurious.


I love my bathroom now! It is a nice pick-me-up in the morning routine and solace before bed. Took 15 years but who's counting!

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