The Most DIY Friendly Bathroom Renovation We’ve Ever Done!

January 25, 2018

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This project and post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement.

A couple months ago, we filmed a series of simple bathroom how-to videos for Lowe’s Home Improvement (how to tile a floor, how to install a tub insert and surround, how to swap out a vanity, and how to hang a mirror and lighting) and today is the day we can finally show off the finished bathroom! It’s the DIY-est bathroom we’ve ever done and we renovated the entire thing on camera over a one week period! We’re so happy with how it turned out, on such a tight budget too!

Here’s the same angle before:

I’ll give you a second to scroll up and down a few times because I can almost not believe it and I was there! The bathroom was a small space, just under 6’x9′, but it felt smaller for a few reasons:

1. An oversized vanity
2. Obtrusive storage above the toilet
3. A curved header enclosing the shower (making it too small to actually stand in and use–really, the shower hit just under their chest)
4. Too many mixed materials on the wall. Do you see where the old shower surround hits the edge of the window? It slices the room even more making it appear smaller. The tile on the walls going 2/3 up wasn’t extending the height either.
5. A big, elongated toilet.

We addressed all of these things, maximizing the space while still making sure there was enough storage and all the function.

Here’s another angle from the before that really illustrates how tight the bathroom was to begin with (and how many different kinds of bulbs exist in the world):

Here’s that same angle now:

(Psst. We posted about the pre-painted vertical shiplap we hung on the walls right here.) By getting rid of the over-the-toilet cabinet and getting a toilet and vanity with a smaller footprint, the space can breathe! I know what you’re thinking–but what about all that storage you lost with that wall cabinet? 

We doubled it! Behind the bathroom door, there was a bare wall that had a very deep hall closet behind it, but served no function to the actual bathroom.

We borrowed from the hall closet and added a recessed cabinet in the bathroom, using an in-stock pantry cabinet from Lowe’s! It’s one of my favorite features in the whole bathroom because it added so much to the space and it looks amazing, too. Like it should have always been there!

One of the things Lowe’s really wanted us to show in this bathroom was how to install a tub and surround. It’s such an easy DIY and a quick way to update your bathroom on the cheap–only taking a couple hours! While most designers don’t include a surround in bathroom designs and opt for a fully tiled shower instead, the vast majority of every day Americans have them!–so we took it as a challenge to not only incorporate one, but to make it shine with the design. Continuing the vertical paneling all the way around really makes the whole thing work.

In this small of a bathroom, stopping the vertical paneling where the shower/tub is would have been a mistake. Vertical paneling meeting individuals tile would have been busy. The surround allows the whole bathroom to flow while keeping the wet area water safe.

Here’s the before and after of the left side of the bathroom:

We hung two hoods right next to the shower for easy access to towels and I love the way the simple stark black hooks pop against the clean white walls.

But maybe the biggest show-stopper is the marble herringbone floors. Tiling is a job that anyone can do. It makes a huge impact and since the tile we used was on mesh backing, it was a quick job, too!

If you have a small bathroom, installing a vanity with some legs to it will really help open up the space! We chose a beautiful one from Lowe’s with a slim profile, storage galore, and legs with some open storage at bottom that really lightened the whole bathroom–while still adding some warmth and contrast in color.

We attached the toilet paper holder right to the side of the vanity, as opposed to the wall under the window where it was previously, so the view when you look into the bathroom was cleaner and less cluttered. Clutter can cause a lot of visual weight to a bathroom, making it feel even smaller.

For that reason, we went with a classy, frameless mirror (that I’m obsessed with!). It reflects so much light around the room, sits a little away from the wall, which creates a bit of depth,  and can pivot!

The two metals we mixed here were polished nickel (in the sink faucet, mirror and shower head and faucet) and matte black (in the hardware, lighting, hooks and towel rings). The mix feels modern but classic.

We can’t wait to show you all the in-depth videos we created of this project, but for now, here’s one more before and after in .gif form and all the sources for you!




SOURCES: floor tile | wall paneling | mirror | vanity light | shower faucet | hooks | vanity | storage baskets | storage cabinet | faucet | towel ring | pulls | toilet paper holder | toilet | tub | shower surround




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What do you think?

  1. 06.22.20.
    Nice bathroom- Congratulations on a well done job!
    Could you please tell me the size of your herringbone marble floor tiles?
    Thank you!

  2. Kelly Dillon says:

    Hi! What color grout did you use in your tile floor?

  3. Kelli says:

    I know this was from a long time ago but we are looking at that tub and shower faucet set. Do you know how it has held up?? Also, it says you need a MultiChoice Universal rough-in – any clue what you used? Thank you!

  4. Christina says:

    This looks so good! We are starting our bathroom reno and I was eyeing this same vanity at Lowe’s but the countertop looked almost off-white in the store. Does it look bright white in the bathroom room or does it seem off white compared to bright white walls? Thank you so much!

  5. Kayla says:

    What grout did you use for the tile?

  6. Elise says:

    can you share how much the whole DIY was? I’m trying to budget for this type of thing but have no idea!!

    • Chris says:

      The best way to budget for your project will be to take measurements and pick out products you want in your space. Because of the wall covering, costs will vary depending on the size of bathroom. But as a reference, this whole bathroom was around $6000.

  7. Henry Hoffman says:

    What did you use for the baseboard? Thanks!

  8. Henry Hoffman says:

    What spacers did you guys use for the herringbone floor tile? I bought the tile and measured the space and it measured 3/32″. The tiles would require T-shaped spacers. I can’t find 3/32″ T-shaped tile spacers anywhere. Thanks!

    • Chris says:

      We used tile wedges. They can be whatever thickness you need – you just have to have a good eye for it.

      • Henry P Hoffman says:

        Thanks! I also couldn’t get a trowel notch size recommendation from Allen & Roth (Lowe’s) for the tile. I’m guessing you used a 1/4″ x 1/4″ x 1/4″ notched trowel for the thinset under the tile?

        Thanks again! -Henry

      • Chris says:

        Yes, 1/4in works great.

  9. Sarah naef says:

    Where did you find the shower curtain?

  10. Hilton says:

    This bathroom is gorgeous! We’re renovating our bathroom next month & it’s almost the exact same layout. You’ve given me a lot of inspiration. Especially since it’s our only bathroom & we need to get it done quickly! I especially like how flawlessly you mixed two metals in such a small space. Thanks for sharing this!

  11. Jane says:

    Hi – thanks for sharing, love the look. I was trying to pull together a new bathroom and was having a terrible time finding a vanity that we liked. After seeing your post, I went to Lowes and felt this was the best option for what we needed. I even bought the wire baskets – my question to you: The metal baskets after one day have scratched the bottom shelf. Not bad, but I know it is there. Do you put anything on the baskets, so they don’t scratch when guest pull it out to grab a TP roll?

    • Jane says:

      One thing for older homes – our plumber had to really cut into the door area to get pipes from a 1957 house to work. It was worth it and he saved a drawer, but something for buyers to remember.

    • Julia says:

      Oh! We don’t live in this house that we did the bathroom in so I haven’t noticed but don’t hesitate to put little felt pads on the bottom. :)

  12. Karyn says:

    Hi, the link to the shower head is not working. I assume it is from Lowes, but can you provide the mode name or number for it?

  13. Erin says:

    Is the paneling OK if it gets wet? Did you look at using aztec?

  14. Cary says:

    We are currently remodeling our master bathroom and loved the floor tile you used. However, when I read the description it said “not intended for foot traffic”. Could you verify that you linked the correct product please? Thank you

    • Ashley says:

      I’m wondering the same thing! It has a PEI-1 rating which isn’t supposed to be used floors. I just bought a bunch of this exact time for a bathroom reno in a week and don’t know if we should use it or not!

      • Julia says:

        On Lowe’s Website it says it is suitable for floors, and we worked with them on this project. The floors have held up amazingly so far!

  15. Jenna McCann says:

    LOVE the makeover! What color did you use for the trim/crown molding? Also, how did you transition the floor tile to the hallway?

  16. Rachel says:

    This is so inspiring! Thank you! It looks great and it’s amazing to know you did it in a weekend with a limited budget. This is great content that just makes me want to do! Keep up the awesome work!

  17. Lauren says:

    I’m like 2 seconds from hitting order for marble hex for our small guest bathroom, but one thing is holding me back – durability. Do you have any experience with how marble holds up in a high-traffic bathroom?

  18. Katie says:

    I am sending this to my mother ASAP! She has a small upstairs bathroom that is in NEED of renovation!!! Such great budget friendly fixes that really stand out!

  19. Eliza Lynn Barney says:

    We are moving into our first house and our master is almost identical to this layout! How much would you say the redo cost total? An estimate is fine ☺️ This is gorgeous and doesn’t seem too out of our league!!

  20. I can’t wait to see the video on the shower surround. I’m debating doing an acrylic surround or tile in a bathroom renovation. I was leaning towards tile, but now I’m not sure!

  21. Sara says:

    I’ve been looking for a floor solution just like this! We have a 1905 house and a lot of bathroom flooring looks too modern. This strikes just the right balance between vintage and modern and is also on budget (and looks pretty easy too!)

  22. Cathy says:

    Cannot WAIT for the tutorials. Question – did you guys lay the marble tile on top of the previous flooring?

  23. Allie says:

    Do you have a link for the basket you are using as a wastebasket?

  24. Julie S says:

    Holy flippin’ Batman on wheels, guys! This is pretty much the answer to my prayers – our full sized hall bathroom is only 5′ x 7.5″ and still lives in the the 80’s: blue wallpaper, shiny brass and all. It is the guest/young daughters/most convenient bathroom and sees heavy use and is next on the list to freshen up, but we are super broke after a partial renovation and move in. I am planning for a $1000 or less renovation (10% saved so far LOL) and have been trying to figure out how to get the look I want while paying for and doing it on my own. This is EXACTLY what I want. I am so picky I don’t think I have ever seen a room I wanted to straight up copy but this is it. I will have to make a few small changes as there is only room for a 24″ vanity and I need a medicine cabinet for added storage because there’s nowhere I can steal from, but seriously it is like you were designing this for me. I was planning to do some sort of half panel wall straight over the wallpaper to save me removing some of it (had enough of that during the reno to last me five lifetimes) but I really like how modern your paneling looks even though I had previously rejected that style! Really I am crying happy tears over here. I think I can actually do this!

  25. Jessica says:

    Can you tell us about the little art piece above the toilet? I have a tiny little bathroom tucked under the eaves that is mostly ‘mine’, as it’s too small for the husband. I have a subtle ‘rocks’ theme, and am in love with that art!

  26. Sarah says:

    Our bathrooms have the almost exact same layout! Thank you for the inspiration. Our diy experience is limited: painting, caulking, patching, removing a drop ceiling, etc. How realistic would this bathroom renovation be for a couple of newbies?

  27. Thalia says:

    Amazing timing! MY husband and I will be redoing our only bathroom in February – we’ve taken a week off to get it done – and it is about the exact same size and layout as this one. Definite inspo!!

  28. Lisa says:

    This bathroom is gorgeous! We’re renovating our bathroom this summer & it’s almost the exact same layout. You’ve given me tons of inspiration. Especially since it’s our only bathroom & we need to get it done quick! I especially like how flawlessly you mixed two metals in such a small space.

  29. Angi Lowry-Greene says:

    We are doing a bathroom remodel right now and this is the exact shower and vanity we purchased, can not wait for ours to get done

  30. Alejandra Alvarez says:

    Where is the rope basket from?

  31. Kristi says:

    It’s beautiful!!! And I love that I can click on an item and find it in my own Lowe’s! I’m snagging that towel holder and those hooks. Xo

  32. Kelly says:

    I’m curious about your choice of light bulbs. I’ve struggled with our clear light fixtures as I don’t love the look of the plastic bulb base, particularly when it’s covered in text, showing. What options did you consider?

    • Julia says:

      To be honest, I wouldn’t have chose bulbs with the white plastic base and text. They were just what was picked up and on shoot day, I didn’t want to lose light. Simple swap!

  33. Paige says:

    Can you share the source of those pretty bath towels?

  34. Tara says:

    Incredible job, guys!!! I never in a thousand years thought I could be inspired by a shower surround, yet here I am! Bravo!

  35. Maura says:

    I love everything about this reno. I have two bathrooms in DIY progress and two more that are worse for the wear, and there’s a ton of inspiration here that I can use.

    As a side note, I have that shower curtain! Got it a few years back for our last house when we actually had a fully renovated bathroom. #singletear ;)

  36. Rachel says:

    WAY TO GO! This bathroom is so cute.

  37. Lil says:

    This is gorgeous! I “must” know about the ONE thing you didn’t link…the shower curtain. May I have info, please?

  38. Lane says:


    This is so stunning. You guys are insanely good at what you do :)

  39. Dajana says:

    I just sent my husband a screenshot of the before & after of this kick ass of a bathroom and said: we can do this! Thanks for the inspiration (& how tos).

  40. Maria says:

    This looks incredible! Can you tell us what color grout you used for the floor?

  41. Erin K says:

    This. Is. Amazing! So jealous of Preston! If you need another bathroom to do, mine is available ;) We also have an outdated tiny bathroom I’ve been thinking of doing all white. Thanks for an amazing inspiration photo!

  42. Tiffany says:

    I live for realistic renovations like this one! I love everything about it! Can’t wait to watch the videos! Thank you so much for this inspiration!

  43. Jillian says:

    WOW!!! Does not even look like the same room!! So affordable and approachable, yet stunning and classic. LOVE all your choices!!!

  44. JBKCMOM says:

    Great work!!! Can you tell me where the little mirror is from that is on the back of the toilet? It is the perfect size and so cute it can be left out. I must have it. Thanks!

  45. Do you think you may do a post about that cabinet installation in the wall. We have a very similar setup that I was thinking about doing this same thing. The hall closet is unnecessarily large, and we could use more storage in the bathroom itself, so I’m curious about how you did it!

  46. angela s sewell says:

    I love towel hooks instead of a bar. Hooks are a much more efficient use of space and so much more visually interesting.

  47. Kate says:

    Love! Is there a link to the shower curtain?

  48. Jamie G says:

    Wow! Stunning! You guys hit it out of the park! Any chance you have sources for the towels and shower curtain! Thanks for a great post!

  49. Betsey says:

    Saving this for our future bathroom reno (which is laid out almost identically)! What style of tile would you have chosen if you hadn’t done the surround in the shower? Would you have taken the tile up to the ceiling, or still have done the paneling on the very top? Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Julia says:

      If we were tiling the shower alcove, I wouldn’t have used the vertical shiplap to be honest. So, it probably would have been a completely different result.

  50. Sarah says:

    Trying to CTRL + C and CTRL + V this into my house. It’s not working….

    Great job, as always! Thanks for making it so DIYable!

  51. Jess says:

    Ok, this is like my favorite thing y’all have ever done. It feels so achievable for low-budget, non-designer folks :) And like you said, most of us ooh and aahh over tiles but the reality is we have surrounds. It looks amazeballs with the shiplap and looks so clean and fresh- I agree, tiles would totally look out of place here.

  52. Celina says:

    I love it! So clean, bright, and modern.
    I’m helping my sister-in-law renovate her bathroom, and would like to do similar paneling, but am wondering about the effects of moisture on the wall behind the paneling. I’m having a hard time finding information/advice about this online. Did you look into that for this project?

    • Julia says:

      There’s a fan, window and the surround is protecting the boards from any water actually hitting them, but even if they do–the boards are extremely durable and have a great factory finish on them.

  53. Hannah Francis says:

    I love this so much! This is exactly what I am wanting for our master bath reno and couldn’t quite execute it! Now we know where to start!

    We actually have plaster walls in our house and tile currently 3/4 the way up. This will save us so much time not having to drywall the bathroom. My husband just said he was worried about hanging anything heavy on the shiplap because glue is the main component attaching it to the wall behind it? Was that an issue? We would be using a nail gun as well as the glue.

  54. Danielle says:

    What a beautiful transformation! My favorite has to be that new, built-in storage. Genius!!

  55. AP Correia says:

    Beautiful! I can’t wait for the tutorials.

  56. juliet says:

    Has Lowes given you any idea of when the Metrie T&G products might be available across the US? I’m interested in using the product for a project, but it’s unavailable in my area. If I run across the border to Canada, I can buy it, but I can’t in Michigan. The Metrie site doesn’t give any availability in my area. ;-/

  57. Jess says:

    Love the storage behind the door. Did you have to reframe the studs in the wall to install it? Or did it fit between the existing studs? I hope you do a post on how you installed this awesome storage. Thanks!

  58. Mere says:

    Hi I love this! What an amazing transformation. How will the wood holdup with all of the humidity in the bathroom? What was the total cost of the renovation?

    • Julia says:

      There’s a fan, window and the surround is protecting the boards from any water actually hitting them, but even if they do–the boards are extremely durable and have a great factory finish on them. We came in right around $3000 total.

  59. Kira says:

    Looking amazing! What was the approximate total cost?

  60. Amanda says:

    Gorgeous! I can’t believe how much bigger it feels by removing that header.

  61. Erica says:

    Beautiful job! Where can you view the how-to video for the tub and surround install?

  62. Stephanie says:

    I love it! Where are the towels from?

  63. NANCY says:

    What an amazing job!!!

  64. This is a fantastic transformation! So *clean* looking which is especially important in a bathroom, I feel like, because you know it ain’t always clean. :)

  65. I’m obsessed!! Such a fresh space!!
    BTW…where is that super cute shower curtain from? I’ve been looking for a simple and clean design and that is just perfect!!

  66. blueflower says:

    Very nice! I have a similar tiny bathroom that I want to renovate. One question though – what is the width between the bathroom door(when its open) and the vanity. When you walk in does your hand hit the vanity? I may have face this problem in my bathroom if I don’t go with a 18′ deep vanity(so small!). What width would you recommend for this passage?

  67. Jenna says:

    So bright, beautiful, and timeless now! Excellent job! BTW, I didn’t see a source for the shower curtain and would love to know where it came from. It would be perfect in my bathroom!

  68. Karen says:

    Where is the shower curtain from? I love it!

  69. Stacy says:

    Wow what a big improvement!

  70. Gurston says:

    Amazing. Can’t wait to mimic every bit of this when we redo ours. Where did you get the shower curtain?

  71. Abby Pliszka says:

    This looks incredible! I love seeing a budget renovation. It feels so approachable! Thank you for sharing.

  72. Kristi says:

    The bathroom now look beautiful and classic. Well done! Now come do mine! I was wondering where the cute towels are from?

  73. Lindsay C says:

    I love this post. Affordable. Something I can link to and go buy easily and locally. This is great. More posts like this. And I love the price tags you included! An easy click and a redirect in a new window. Lol, it’s the little things. Nice work! Love it.

  74. Nancy Sherman says:

    Wow – this is practically my bathroom! I’m definitely going to pin this incase we ever do a bathroom re-do. It’s so rare that you see “tiny” bathroom makeover, especially one with your own footprint.
    Love what you did, such an improvement!

  75. Jennette says:

    Looks amazing! I thought I hated espresso wood, but this one looks so good. May have to steal some of these ideas for my own bathroom makeover.

  76. Julie says:

    What an amazing transformation! Love it! You mentioned this was done on a budget… are you able to share the approximate total cost? Also, what paint color did you use here? Thanks!

    • Julia says:

      No paint at all! We used pre-painted Metrie boards (see this post) and color matched the trim color to those boards.

      • hokidoki says:

        Julia, i love this bathroom and can’t wait for your master bathroom reno. i am in the midst of planning for bathroom reno and also interested in shiplap. do you see any downside of with using shiplap. i was told that i need to maintain it every 3 – 5 years via repainting. Is that true?

      • Julia says:

        This is really high quality stuff with a factory finish. I haven’t heard anything about the 3-5 year rule.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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