What we learned when decorating our first house (Part II)

We learned a lot when we redecorated and renovated the bathrooms in our first home. We had three bathrooms in our first house; two full and one half bath.

Part II: Bathrooms

Over the course of the five years we lived in our first home we renovated all three bathrooms. The bathrooms were generally unattractive and the previous homeowners had made some unusual choices- such as putting ½-inch pink-veined marble tiles on the walls and as the countertop of the guest bathroom.

Guest Bathroom

Before and after photos of the guest bathroom
Before and after photos of the guest bathroom

This bathroom was the most extensively renovated. Because of the thick tile on the walls and floors the bathroom had to be demolished to the studs. We started with a blank slate and selected all new fixtures, tub, toilet, vanity, tile, and mirror. Because it is a small bathroom we selected a paint color that was very nearly white (Nebulous White by Sherwin Williams) as well as white subway tiles in the shower. We used light grey tiles on the floor and did a accent of grey and silver glass tiles in the shower. We were very pleased with this bathroom with one exception.


Lesson #5: The mistake we made in this bathroom was to purchase a vanity that did not have soft-close doors. It seems minor, but the doors on this vanity would slam closed with the lightest push. So when guests needed extra towels it was very obvious. When we update the bathrooms in the new house I will be sure not to make this same mistake.

Master Bathroom

Before and after photos of the master bathroom
Before and after photos of the master bathroom

This bathroom was renovated before we moved in while the others were completed separately (and by a different contractor) after we had lived in the house for a couple of years. Because it was done up front we made some decisions to save money that ultimately left us with a bathroom we didn’t much like. This is because we left the tiles on the floor and walls. The beige tiles weren’t awful, but I strongly disliked the brown and mustard-colored trim pieces. The walls were covered in a sand texture which was a nightmare when patching holes. The room is painted Divine White by Sherwin Williams.


In addition to replacing the black toilet, it was also essential to replace the vanity and vessel sink. Although it looked nice, the vessel sink simply wasn’t practical for things like brushing your teeth or washing your face because the water would splash out. The other major change was to add sliding shower doors. Originally there was a swing door next to a panel of glass block that wasn’t practical in the small bathroom. In this bathroom, however, we made another mistake with the vanity.


Lesson #6: Consider the countertop material on your vanity. The cultured marble countertop and sink that came with the vanity we selected was not durable. There is typically a glossy finish on cultured marble and scratches in the finish began to appear within a year.

Powder Room

Before and after photos of the powder room
Before and after photos of the powder room

This small half bath in the lower level just needed a facelift. We painted and replaced the toilet, mirror, fixtures, flooring, and vanity. The room was painted Passive by Sherwin Williams. I always felt like this bathroom lacked a bit of character and wished that I had tried something a little bit more adventurous in this space.

You can read more about what we learned when decorating our first house in my Part I and Part III posts.

What do you think? What updates have you made to your bathroom spaces?

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