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11 Bathroom remodel ideas for 2023

When we were in the process of buying our house, one of the things on my musts-list was that the house had a good kitchen. I didn’t want to deal with a kitchen remodel, because they’re notoriously time-consuming and expensive. But I didn’t have the same criteria for bathroom remodel ideas. So, we ended up in a house that has a great kitchen, and three bathrooms that need to be completely gutted.

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My logic may have been flawed, because three bathroom remodels miiiight just end up being more of a headache than a kitchen reno. But alas, here we are, and I’m staring down the reality of three big bathroom renovations.

bathroom remodel ideas for an outdated space
Here is a snap from one of our bathrooms in all its glory. Eek.

Want to see more of what our house looks like now? Check out my house tour here and here.

Right now, I’m in the idea-gathering phase of the projects, and I’m not even sure what bathroom we will end up tackling first (we have three full baths: the kids bathroom, the master, and a downstairs bathroom). I did a temporary fix in the kids bathroom for now, with some paint, a new mirror, and new towels/rugs/art, and it actually doesn’t look half bad, but it still needs a new vanity, lighting and shower.

I’m debating whether I should do this one first because I’m halfway there and it would be the easiest, or to leave it for last because it’s fine-ish and my four-year-old could care less…

But alas.

Since the idea gathering phase is my favorite part of any project, I’ve found hundreds of photos of spaces I love and saved to Pinterest here (including plenty of my favorite Studio McGee bathrooms). But, I wanted to share a bunch of my favorite bathroom remodel ideas that I could see one day putting into practice. Because we have three bathrooms to do, most of these are what I would call budget-friendly. They’re not bargain-bin cheap, but definitely not luxury either.

21 Bathroom Remodel Ideas That Are Affordable, too

Here are a few of the ideas I love:

1. A high-backsplash sink

green bathroom with marble backsplash
Our finally renovated downstairs bathroom

The high backsplash is one of my favorite home decor trends that I’m seeing everywhere now, but it’s a very traditional look. We recently did a similar stone sink in our powder room remodel (above!) on our first floor, and it came from Etsy.

One funny note: I originally went to a local marble fabricator to do the marble sink, and when I told him about the high backsplash, he said ‘That’s a very traditional look. We don’t really see that a lot anymore.’ But I bet he’s going to start seeing it a whole lot more this year.

2. Black-Framed Shower Doors

bathroom remodel ideas - black framed doors
Image via Like To Know It
bathroom remodel ideas that aren't super expensive- black shower door
Image via Traditional Home. Design by Michelle Dirkse; Photo by Aaron Leitz.

Black-framed shower doors, like black-framed windows, have been a big design trend over the last few years. While I don’t always love the look for windows, since I have a feeling the trend will fade, and windows are SO expensive, I do love it for the bathroom.

The good news is, as far as bathroom remodel ideas go, black shower doors aren’t all that expensive. Stores like Wayfair and Home Depot both sell them for as little as $400, which isn’t bad considering lots of on-trend bathroom must-haves, like a marble tiled shower or radiant floors, can go for thousands.

Here’s are a few I love that are around $300-$500.

3. A Clawfoot Tub with Brass Tub Fillers

bathroom remodel ideas
This version from Rejuvenation is gorgeous!
bathroom remodel ideas
Image by Ashe Leandro via Domino

There’s something so elegant about a clawfoot tub, and I’ve wanted one in my home forever (currently eyeing it for our master bath). It’s such a timeless design, but I also love how many ways you can personalize clawfoot tubs with paint and tub fillers. One of my current favorite looks, a black or charcoal-painted clawfoot tub with a brass tub fillers. You can buy one pre-painted (like the version above), or do-it-yourself to save some money. (Here’s a great tutorial from Country Living about painting clawfoot tubs).

Here are a few great clawfoot tub options under $1,000.

And a few tub fillers under $600.

4. Green Subway Tile

green bathroom tile- bathroom remodel ideas
Image via Decorpad
bathroom remodel ideas
Image via Updated Home

White subway tile is incredible: It’s cheap, it’s classic, and it also happens to be everywhere right now. The antidote to the omnipresence of the white version? Green!  It’s a little more expensive than the white (the green tile below is from All Modern and about $9 a square foot. White will run you about $2-$4 a square foot), but with a statement like this, you could leave the rest of your bathroom simple and it would still be fabulous.

Here are a few green tiles I found that are beautiful and affordable:

5. A Vintage Bathroom Remodel Idea

bathroom remodel ideas
How pretty is this apothecary cabinet turned vanity? Image via Nat.Nature.
bathroom remodel ideas
The vintage-dresser vanity from our house in Michigan right after it was installed. Yes, we did lots of touching up after this photo was taken.
Bathroom remodel ideas.
Here is is when I found it at an antique store. I paid about $200, plus the cost of the sink and faucet.

So this is an idea I’ve done a few times myself and I always love how it turns out. Using vintage dressers, sideboards, or cabinets as bathroom vanities can save money, but it also brings a unique element to your design that you won’t see anywhere else. Bathroom vanities from big box stores can run upwards of $2,000 for a large version, even more if they’re custom made or sourced from an upscale retailer or trade source. BUT! Who needs one of those when you can turn a vintage dresser or sideboard into an antique vanity.

You can find all sorts of old dressers on places like Facebook marketplace or Craigslist, or through local estate sales or flea markets, often for under $300 even for larger sizes (I’ve seen them for as little as $20). We used a small dresser with a basin sink on top and wall-mounted hardware in our Michigan house above (see more of the house here!), and it was perfect. We had the contractor we were working with on our renovation install it.

6. Painted Beadboard

bathroom remodel ideas - painted beadboard
Image via Pinterest, if you know the original source let me know!
Bathroom remodel ideas - painted beadboard
Image via Maison de Pax

Beadboard is one of the more classic bathroom remodel ideas, but painted beadboard or wainscoting feels fresh–even modern–depending on what color it’s painted. I love the look of black of gray beadboard with a white wall and brass accents, like the ones above.

Shop beadboard paneling:

7. Patterned Tile

bathroom remodel ideas
Image via Better Homes & Gardens
bathroom remodel ideas - tile
Image via Becki Owens

If you’re looking to bring pattern into your bathroom design, your immediate thought might be to go for wallpaper. I love wallpaper in the bathroom as much as the next design-fanatic, but it’s not the only way to bring print into the space. Patterned tile on the walls or the floor not only makes a major design impact, it can be easier to maintain than wallpaper.

Wallpaper can be tricky in the bathroom because of all the moisture. It can be done of course, but you’ll need to find a wet-room approved version, or splashproof wallpaper. Tile, on the other hand, is easily washable, and there are so many gorgeous and fun tile options these days you won’t even miss the wallpaper. Plus, you can find lots of amazing options for around $4-$10 per square foot.

A few great ones I found for under $10 a square foot:

8. Splash Proof Wallpaper

This Tempaper removable wallpaper is also moisture resistant.
wet space wallpaper
Wall & Deco’s Coquillages wallpaper.

However! If you do have your heart set on wallpaper, there are bathroom-friendly options. Wet-room approved wallpapers will hold up to moisture and humidity. Wall & Deco’s wet system wallpaper, for example, has a patent-pending adhesive system that resist’s moisture, and Mitchell Black and Tempaper both sell moisture-resistant removable wallpapers in a wide range of prints.

A few designs I love for the bathroom: 

9. Penny Tile

bathroom remodel ideas - penny tile
Image via Real Simple
bathroom remodel ideas
Image via Pinterest (I couldn’t find the original source — If anyone knows where this photo is from LMK!)
bathroom remodel ideas - penny tile
This is our Chicago condo with our DIY penny tile floor. Again, sorry for the terrible photo, I took this at night with overhead lighting on!

One of my favorite bathroom remodel and renovation ideas? Penny tile. Like subway tile, Penny tile is super inexpensive (about $3-$12 a square foot depending on the color/material you choose and where you buy it), but looks awesome when it’s done. We did a white penny tile floor with dark-gray grout in the bathroom of our Chicago condo, and I loved the graphic, polka-dot like result. Because it’s so budget-friendly, you can even take it up a wall to create a high-impact backsplash.

Here are a few great options I found at Home Depot: 

10. Gorgeous Shower Hardware

This shower head from Signature Hardware is under $500.
Bathroom remodel ideas
Image via My Design Chic

You could choose simple, inexpensive shower hardware that gets the job done for your bathroom renovation. Or, for a couple hundred dollars more, you can get show-stopping, design-making shower hardware that will instantly elevate the look of your whole bathroom. I know, a couple hundred dollars isn’t pocket change, but if you’re crafty–maybe pair it with budget-friendly subway tile or find a few things on sale–you can totally squeeze it into your budget.

Shop shower sets under $500:

11. Pretty Towel Bars

bathroom remodel ideas
A Rejuvenation towel bar set.
Bathroom remodel ideas
A lucite towel bar from Etsy.

Towel bars are another bathroom remodel idea that’s more of a detail item, but I also think it’s one that can really elevate your bathroom from something that looks good, to something that wows. Instead of going for simple, builders-grade brushed nickel or chrome, go for towel bars with a some style. iI promise it will give the whole space a lift. Anthropologie, Etsy, CB2, and Rejuvenation are a few of my favorite sources for chic towel bars.

Shop towel bars: 

Now, I just need to find the budget and the time to apply some of these bathroom remodel ideas to my own bathrooms…