Though bathrooms are necessary for every residential dwelling and commercial building, focus on function rather than form is common. Owners often sacrifice aesthetics in the name of usability — despite the fact that bathrooms are often a place of respite. No matter their size or location, each bathroom should be both durable and beautiful. Bathrooms — especially master suites — can offer spa-like tranquility when designed properly with carefully selected materials, appropriate color palettes and ideal layouts. As you pursue a bathroom renovation of your own, consider five of our most stunning bathroom remodels for inspiration.

 

From Traditional to Modern in Pebble Beach

. V I S C A I N O .

 

A traditional bathroom with glass shower and white vanity

Before — The master bath was romantic and bright, but lacked the storage the homeowners needed.

 

Large dark tiles in a master bath with geometric cabinetry

 After — the Viscaino home owners focused their attention on quality materials, contrasting and engaging textures, and a subtle color palette.

 

Creating California Cool …

Owners J and C approached the renovation of their Pebble Beach home with comfort, durability, and function in mind. The couple sought to accommodate the many needs of their young family without giving up on style. This involved transforming the space into one of “livable luxury” — choosing pieces that would perform and last over time. Storage was also a must for their family — an element that truly shines through in the master bath pictured above. Overall, the home was modernized and brightened. The master bath creates an air of “California cool.” This echoes what many modern Californians require of their indoor spaces: a seamless transition to the outdoors.

The master bath quietly reflects this ethos without overpowering users — making it the perfect place for calming baths and refreshing showers alike. The biggest risk taken in the master bath’s design was the large format stone tile — chosen in a deep atmospheric slate. One might worry that the dark, large-scale tile would fight against the light walls and porcelain tub. However, the contrast actually ties in with other elements of the space. This is especially apparent in the black and white design of the shower and the vanity countertops.

… By Selecting Quality Materials

A tiered disk metallic chandelier over the bathtub bounces light around the space. The disks create a sense of dynamism to an otherwise tranquil, open space. They also echo the shape of the freestanding bathtub. The color of the fixture mirrors the soft, graduated beige of the graphic wallpaper while also tying in the texture of the marble shower. The large, armoire-style vanity provides juxtaposition between contemporary graphic carving and soft pastel coloring.

A mix of textures offers depth to the space. This is achieved through the black glazed bench in the shower and the gold rimmed vanity mirror. The moody gray stone floor and brushed silver chandelier further the effect. Thoroughly modern pulls and other hardware elevate the bathroom without contributing any fussiness. The renovated spa-like escape now offers the homeowners a soothing space ideal for both solo meditation and intimate togetherness.

 

Historic Home Bathroom Remodel

. N O R T H  B O U L E V A R D .

 

A 1980s bathroom with bright brass fittings and central tub

 Before — Before the remodel, the North Boulevard home’s master suite bathroom was a mix of white and sand shades with brass hardware throughout.

 

The master bathroom at North, the home of interior designer Laura U

 Laura’s Home Bathroom remodel — featuring contrasting tiling patterns and a neutral palette

 

Master Bath — Glamour without the Gilding

In 2018, Laura expanded and updated the previously dated, closed-off bathroom in her Tudor Revival North Boulevard home. Each room in the Houston, Texas home evolved to better represent Laura’s more contemporary taste. Clunky bronze fittings were replaced by sleek, silver-toned pulls and hardware. The neutral pale pinks and soft whites of the shower trim, bathtub and cabinets respond effortlessly to the chosen tile designs. Both the subtle chevron pattern of the shower’s upper tile and the classic subway-style tile are stunning additions. The hexagonal natural stone tile interfaces beautifully with the smaller-scale pattern of the Escher-esque bathroom floor tiling.

Guest Bath — Punchy Pink with a Vintage Feel

The curbless shower, vessel sink, recessed shower caddy and white horizontal tile modernize the bathroom. The floral motif Mathilda wallpaper — in midnight and mint — and soft pink paint offer softness to the space. We didn’t want to completely replace the effect of a maximalist wallpaper. Multicolored sea glass counters (from Laura’s Vetrazzo collection) complement the pink paint and the bold wallpaper. The new wallpaper replaces the old with the same degree of personality — simply updated for the modern space.

Hadley Mendehlson featured the same wallpaper in her article “Designer Bathrooms That Prove the Power of Pink” for House Beautiful. Mendehlson described the “contrasting turquoise” as providing an enchanting “pop” of color. This quality is equally pertinent to the North Boulevard home bathroom. Given the North Boulevard home’s bathroom palette — hot pink, turquoise and white — it could easily have fit into Mendehlson’s “Power of Pink” article too.

 

The cabana at Laura's home prior to the renovation

Before — The North Boulevard home’s cabana featured dark woods and a small cabana with mismatched tiles.

 

The cabana of the home after renovation with bright white tiles and colorful wallpaper

After — In the North Boulevard cabana, we replaced older wallpaper with modern Mathilda wallpaper.

 

Pink has found a place in the hearts of designers, industry professionals and amateur renovators alike throughout 2020. The blush shade chosen for the North home bathroom pictured above bears similarity to Benjamin Moore’s 2020 Color of the Year “First Light.” The company describes the color as “a soft, rosy hue blooming with potential.” Benjamin Moore color specialists recommend pairing First Light with a cooler, saturated hue like their bold “Blue Danube” or “Cushing Green.” A cross between the two strongly resembles the deep turquoise color of the Mathilda wallpaper.

 

Return to the Mid-Century with Tile

. G R E E N  T R E E .

 

The powder bath of a traditional ranch built in the 1950s Houston, TX

Before — The pre-reno Retreat Bathroom of the Green Tree home was dark and yellowed, with deep brown accessories making the space top-heavy and overbearing.

 

Beau Monde glass tile from Ann Sacks in a home designed by Laura U

After — Superbly crafted Beau Monde tile from Ann Sacks transforms the powder bath, while keeping the same sunny color theme.

 

Green Tree Retreat Bathroom – Mid-Century Mixed with Contemporary

This Houston Ranch-style home was transformed into a haven of Mid-Century design. The Mid-Century-inspired sink base cabinet in the powder bath features brass fittings and ferrules. The walnut cabinet was designed by legendary German company Poggenpohl. The cathedral pattern walnut featured in the vanity varies tonally. This offers a beautiful sense of dimension that reminds one of British architect T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings’ 1950s walnut and brass cabinets. The tapered, sofa-style legs add a delicateness to the cabinetry in the Green Tree home’s bathroom. Unsurprisingly, the antique silver of the sinks’ faucets and knobs pairs perfectly with the bronze finish of the dual sconces. The two sets of hardware create a seamless transition as the eye moves upwards. This visual pathway from the dark walnut of the cabinet to the pale tones of the stone makes the room feel larger.

The soft white undermount sinks provide a delicate contrast to the pink and pale mint of the countertop and shower. For the vanity backsplash and above-mirror trim, the homeowner fell in love with Ann Sacks’ Beau Monde Glass tile. Each tile in the collection consists of Ann Sacks’ signature stoneware, in a variety of different patterns and exquisitely cut glass. One of the primary takeaways from this project is that quality tiles like those from Ann Sacks are definitely worth the splurge.

 

A blended closet and bath in a Houston home originally built in the 1950s

 Before — The space was all-white, which typically produces a bright, open space. However, the lack of appropriate lighting and contrast made the space feel cramped.

 

Beautiful Ann Sacks tile in a 1950s Houston home in Tanglewood

 After — The guest bathroom communicates Mid-Century Modern simplicity and craftsmanship without falling prey to any kitschiness.

 

Green Tree Guest Bathroom – Mid-Century with a Nod to Art Deco

The guest bath in the Green Tree home offers its residents another Mid-Century Modern oasis. This time, the bathroom remodel includes Art Deco elements. The sharp, linear handles of the antique silver faucet echo the delicate lines of the Ann Sacks tile surrounding the squircle mirror. Dark-stained walnut in the vanity echoes the cabinets behind it — also designed by Poggenpohl. An armed double globe wall sconce adds to the Mid-Century feel. The frosted milk glass of the sconce’s globes is an especially poignant touch because frosted milk glass was beloved by designers of the period.

The reflective deep blue-gray of the Ann Sacks Ribbed Moon Tiles pairs perfectly with surrounding brass and walnut features. Approaching an optical illusion of sorts with its sheen and concentric ribbing, the Ann Sacks tiles elevate the space without detracting from surrounding elements. The dark blue-gray coloring of the tiles nods to 1930s Art Deco — a period very much in vogue this year.

Conversely — but in perfect harmony — the concentric circles and half moon shapes recall elements of abstract and Op art of the 1960s and 70s. The tiles’ glazing bounces light around the space. This is a much-desired effect for smaller guest bathrooms. The tile follows into the guest bath’s shower flanked by classic white tiles and a recessed shower caddy. Overall, this bathroom reno demonstrates how effectively darker colors and moody metallics can both visually anchor and expand a space.

 

5 Tips for Your Own Bathroom Remodel

Know What You Want, But Be Open to Suggestions

If you decide to work with a professional designer, stand strong in your vision but be open to their suggestions. The designer will likely have a trained eye for ideal color combinations and textural contrasts. Be prepared but take recommendations when offered. This collaboration will likely lead to an impeccably designed space best suited to your own aesthetic while tying in surrounding elements of your home.

Consider Scale

Understanding scale is particularly important in bathroom remodels. This is because they are small, unusual spaces. Consult with a designer to determine the best scale for each element. All must be individually considered. This includes everything from the floor and shower tile to the tub and light fixtures. Scale played an important part in the Viscaino project. The project featured a stacked metallic pendant light fixture above the freestanding tub. When creating a similar program, consider the size of your bathroom before incorporating a pendant light fixture above your bathtub. Houzz’s Brenna Malmberg — in conversation with Coldwell Banker’s Luxury Interiors arm — recommends opting for chandeliers in “bathrooms that are at least 100 square feet (ca. 9 m²).” However, if your bathroom features a number of elements — e.g. a freestanding tub as pictured above or several vanities — the space should be at least 150 square feet (ca. 14 m²) to properly accommodate a large overhanging light fixture.

 

A bright soaking tub in front of a black framed window

Large-format tile and strong geometric patterns pair well without overpowering.

 

Orange and cream Ann Sacks tile in a Houston Home

This Ann Sacks tile was well worth the splurge for a powder bath that wows.

 

Seek Out Quality Materials

High-quality materials are essential in remodels — especially in bathrooms. This is because bathrooms experience constant use and struggle against pressure from changing temperature and relative humidity. As you approach your bathroom remodel, seek out materials that will stand up to extreme fluctuations. They should be able to handle the dips and spikes in relative humidity. Each element should also be able to resist damage from dew-point humidity. Whether you are considering wallpaper for your bathroom walls or tile for the floors, bear in mind the unique challenges bathrooms pose. Keep in mind that while renovations are important for your own enjoyment of your home, they are also an investment. A bathroom reno investment should increase the value of your home, but this is rarely achieved without the use of quality materials.

Have a Buffer in Your Budget

Bathroom remodels often exceed their budgets. This is especially true when completed solely by the owner without professional help. Many contractors, designers and other professionals recommend maintaining a ten to forty percent buffer in your budget to accommodate any unexpected up-charges. In an article for Houzz, Erin Carlyle notes that “just 36% of remodeling homeowners hit their budgets in 2019.” 31% went over budget. Another 29% “had no initial budget at all.” To err on the side of caution, Carlyle encourages renovators to “buffer in an additional 25% of your costs on a remodel.” This should account for unexpected issues and keep you on track!

Splurge On Something Truly Special

Bathrooms are ideal for relaxing with candles, a glass of wine and an enjoyable book. You and/or your guests will likely be spending a fair amount of time in your remodeled bathroom. As such, consider splurging on items that make the space unique and truly special. Many of the remodels described above went for enchanting Ann Sacks tiles or custom cabinets as their splurge. However, you could decide on a claw-foot tub, custom cabinetry, an intricately woven wall-covering or bookmatched finish marble.