Designing A Bathroom To Fit Our Lifestyle – Not Our Dream

If you’ve been around here any length of time then you know that renovating our guest bathroom is on our project list for 2020. We’ve tackled a guest bathroom renovation in the past and we did it on a tight $2500 budget so we know EXACTLY what can be done without a whole lot of money invested.

As we head into our 2nd bathroom renovation – which we plan to spend a little more than $2500 on – I thought it would be interesting to examine the philosophy behind why we design bathrooms to fit our lifestyle vs. designing a bathroom of our dreams.

If you’re interested in seeing what our previous guest bathroom looked like that we renovated for just under $2500, take a look:

For our first ever bathroom renovation we went into it with one goal in mind: RESALE. We purposely worked within a tight budget because we knew that our condo was simply a stepping stone to our next home and therefore, didn’t want to invest a whole lot of money into it. Having moved into the condo being it just us two, the guest bathroom wasn’t that bothersome for us mainly because it wasn’t the one we used daily.

It wasn’t until we had our daughter and I started to bathe her in the yellowed bathtub that the bathroom and the condition it was in began to bother me. Not too long after, our minds shifted towards selling the condo for something that better suited our new parent lifestyle and we started discussing what we should do to get the condo ready to sell. Updating the guest bathroom was at the top of that list.

Since we knew that bathrooms and kitchen are what sell homes, we decided that a little strategic financial investment in the bathroom would go a long way to helping us reach our goal of selling quickly so we could purchase a new home before the busy season.

We did most of the work ourselves – kept all the plumbing in the same spots, removed the dated medicine cabinet and drywalled over, kept the existing mirror but painted the frame, and had a company come in and re-glaze the existing tub and shower surround – all of which saved us time and money.

The rest was just paint and cosmetic upgrades – an affordable Ikea vanity, sink, and faucet, a budget friendly light fixture I purchased on clearance, and paint. Lots of paint!

Regardless of how much we actually spent (grand total came out to $2335.30), the end result was still just as beautiful as any high end bathroom design and definitely a huge improvement over the pink linoleum and yellowed tub that was there before – oye! Plus the couple months that we lived there while our home was in escrow I was able to bathe the baby in a sparkling white bathtub – a total bonus!


As we gear up to take on a similar project in our new home this coming year, we’ve got our eyes set on our guest bathroom once again:

Our plan now is to invest a little bit more money than we did previously. We hope to live here for the next 5-7 years and not only are our needs much different now than they were before, we need the bathroom to withstand the daily beating of a rambunctious toddler. With these things in mind, we don’t feel as bad dumping a bit more money into the project this go around so that the end result is a bathroom that will suit our lifestyle for the next few years.

While it isn’t going to be a total gut job, this update will address a few key things that our family really needs / wants: added storage, saying buh-bye brown, and also addressing some areas in the bath/shower area where we think the tiles may be cracked and water may be seeping in.

Here’s what I’m thinking of in terms of the design:

Do you think I could turn our current bathroom (below) into the much better above? I’m certainly excited to try!

Let’s talk through the design a bit, and discuss what is and isn’t working:

As much as I’d love to remove the jacuzzi tub in favor of a free standing one – it’s just not practical or worth the expense for us right now. As bulky and ugly as it is, bathing a toddler in there is life changing – it’s like her own mini swimming pool! Not to mention we recently deep in the talks of added a pup to our family, so my guess is that a deep jacuzzi tub will work well for bathing our furry friend too.

Even though we’re keeping the tub, it doesn’t mean we can’t update it! All the brown slate (which is really hard to clean btw) will come out in favor of a neutral subway tile and an updated shower trim kit will do wonders for the aesthetics too.

We’re in the thick of toddlerhood so every choice for the bathroom has to be thoughtful and appropriate for where we’re at in life. Hence the tile backsplash on the walls I have in my design plan – it’s a major splash zone in here (big tub just = bigger waves) so I’d love to wrap the room in the same subway tile as the tub / shower to really make things waterproof!

Another family friendly hack? A trio of towel hooks opposite the toilet are better for little hands that haven’t yet mastered the art of draping a towel over a towel bar because if they can’t do it, it means ALL TOWELS END UP ON THE FLOOR! Not anymore they won’t!

A new vanity will give us the added storage we’re looking for because even though we went from a condo to single family home, we actually lost quite a bit of storage so all the daily use items you see on the toilet tank and the glass shelf has no place to live but out in the open for all to see. The new vanity pulls has enough space to store kiddie towels, toilet paper, plus all our hygiene items we use daily. A total mom-win!

Even though our plan is to invest about double what we did previously, I really am aiming for a family friendly space. Despite how much I’d love to have a free standing tub and fancy finishes – I’ll just save those for our master bath one day – because if we plan to be here twice as long than we were in our condo, my expectation is that our spaces have to work twice as hard as they did before! Especially with toddler (and dog) in tow…

If you’re interested in following us as we tackle our guest bathroom makeover in 2020, be sure to stay tuned here, or check us out on Instagram too!

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