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How to Work with a Small Ensuite Bathroom Design

Do you struggle with what to do with your small ensuite design? Follow me as I transform a little bathroom in 8 short weeks for the One Room Challenge.

One of the struggles of living in an older small home is the small bedrooms and bathrooms. Can you relate? This is the first time we’ve had an ensuite in the eight homes we’ve lived in and it’s been wonderful to have. However, it’s a small three-piece bathroom with a pocket door that jams, creaks, and sticks. Especially in the middle of the night!

Small Ensuite Bathroom Design

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Spring One Room Challenge 2021

This is why I’m thrilled to be joining as a guest participant once again for the Spring One Room Challenge. It’s an 8 week-long makeover for featured and guest designers to transform a room. The best part of the challenge is discovering new and old friends and watching the makeovers happen with loads of beautiful inspiration at the end!

UPDATE: You can find all of the Spring One Room Challenge posts including the final reveal below. Due to the nature of the problems we encountered and slow progress each week, I shared articles all about bathrooms and room makeovers to provide helpful tips and DIYs relative to what we were doing.

I’m excited to share my thoughts on how to work with a small ensuite design like ours. Make sure to look for tips and tricks on methods to save money, space, and create a visually open and bright bathroom with moody vibes in the upcoming weeks.

The Bathroom

Here is what the bathroom looked like when we moved in almost three years ago. This is all of it apart from a walk-in shower to the left.

Bathroom Before with dark cabinets and pale yellow walls
Bathroom Before

I immediately painted the vanity, removed the over-the-toilet cabinet, and painted the walls bright white with a dark green feature wall. It made a huge difference and has done well for the last couple of years!

Cheap Bathroom Makeover with paint.  Dark blue vanity on dark green wall and toilet.
Bathroom Progress
Small Bathroom Makeover On A Tight Budget, view of white walls with a bench and gold towel rack for a colorful shower curtains round up
Bathroom Progress

And now it’s time to take it up a notch! The modern traditional style I’m going for will flow nicely with our borderline maximalist eclectic home.

How to work with a small bathroom design

These are the steps that I plan on taking to make the most of the small space without sacrificing design and they are great tips for you too if you struggle with a small bathroom.

  • Use a frameless shower door. I can not wait to replace the frosted texture shower door with a clear glass-frameless option. It will instantly make the room look almost twice as big as you’ll be able to see the entire space when you walk in.
Jeffrey Court Tile Bathroom full view with frameless shower door, garden wallpaper, grey vanity, and marble floors
Frameless Shower Door and Free Standing Vanity
  • Bring the shower or tub surround tile up to the ceiling to make the biggest impact. We are replacing the laminate floor tile with leftover natural stone-marble hexagon tile from our last bathroom makeover. Jeffrey Court is one of the sponsors for this makeover and is also gifting extra floor tile plus a beautiful field, bullnose, and accent ceramic tiles for the rest of the bathroom.

We will bring the shower surround tile to the ceiling and around the walls as wainscotting with bullnose trim. The shower niche and shower floor will be a small grey hexagon that will pull out some of the marble veining colors. It’s going to look glorious!

  • Paint the ceiling a color to elongate the room. I plan on painting the walls and ceiling in two different shades of green. I think lighter on the walls and darker on the trim and ceiling. The dark ceiling will recede and make the room look taller plus it will be so crisp against the white tile.
  • Use a pocket or sliding door to save space. The bathroom already has a pocket door which is a great space-saving alternative to a traditional door. But as I mentioned about, ours is banged up, noisy, and sticks. So we want to use a salvaged 6-panel solid wood door and a brass barn door kit.
  • Choose a freestanding vanity or floating vanity. I want the marble hexagon floor to shine! Right now the cabinet vanity blocks off a quarter of the bathroom. It’s great storage but a lot of the vertical space is wasted in the cabinet. Selecting a vanity with long legs that will expose the floor underneath will do wonders for this small space. And the ceramic tile wainscotting acting as a backsplash will give it a nice high-end look.
  • Use open wall shelving and vertical space for extra storage. I already replaced the wall cabinet with a gold hotel-style towel rack and shelves on the opposite wall. It is still perfect for the room and provides all of the towel storage we need and then some.
  • Don’t skimp on the details. Don’t forget a great vanity light and bathroom fixtures. I decided to mix metals and use brush nickel and gold in this bathroom for our modern-traditional design plan. I selected modern styles that will complement the traditional elements beautifully. This bathroom will be small but mighty at the end!

Bathroom Design Board and Sponsors

*This post contains sponsored links

A big thanks to sponsors Jeffrey Court and Hansgrohe for sponsoring my bathroom makeover. Find the direct links to sponsored products and more below. Thanks for supporting brands I love and trust!

small ensuite bathroom design mood board
Small Ensuite Bathroom Design Mood Board

Jeffrey Court Tile, Hansgrohe Brushed Nickel Joleena Collection, Clare Paint, Home Depot Vanity, and Vanity Light Fixture

Here’s a rough idea of the tile wainscotting, grey bullnose trim, and green walls that will go around the entire bathroom with Jeffrey Court tile and Clare Paint.

tile Wainscotting graphic
Tile Wainscotting Pattern

And the to-do list for the next 8 weeks:

  1. Demo bathroom with the contractor
  2. Check walls for damage and fix if necessary
  3. Have contractor install floor tile
  4. Shower surround, floor, and niche
  5. Wainscotting tile
  6. Install new vanity
  7. Have contractor install faucets and trim
  8. Sand texture down on walls
  9. Paint walls
  10. Paint the ceiling
  11. Paint the trim
  12. Style
  13. Clean up and paint salvaged door
  14. Have contractor install barn door kit
  15. Hang door

Make sure to follow on Instagram for behind the scenes and Q&A time. 🙂

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    1. Thank so much and it’s great to “see” you again! I remember when you did a bathroom complete reno a few (or many?) years ago. I think it was an egg plant color on the walls?

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