ABM Studio: The Tiny Bathroom (Before)

Bathroom inspirationPhoto via Desire To Inspire

Today I'm here to talk about our tiny half bathroom. This bathroom is located on the first floor beside the kitchen, under a stairway.Tiny bathroom 1When we first saw this bathroom, it was hard to get over how small it is. I mean, for a house in the Midwest, it's TINY. I'm sure some of our Chicago or New York friends are more used to a smaller bathroom and might laugh at us, but come on. It's pretty little. 😉 The sink might be the smallest/cutest little thing we've ever seen. We didn't get too excited about this room at first. To be completely honest we weren't even sure if it was a room we should share here on the blog, but we've definitely changed our minds! 

The limitations have proved to be kinda fun. There isn't a lot we can do in there due to limited wall space and layout, but we've enjoyed trying to make the best possible room out of it. Tiny bathroom 2Tiny bathroom 2Here you can see the tile and border. 

Tiny bathroom 4Here you can see water damage on the ceiling. Uh oh! 

During our inspection we learned that the floors in this tiny bathroom were unsafe. After closing, and after starting the contractor work, we learned the walls were also unsafe and that basically the entire room had to be ripped apart and rebuilt. Actually if major repairs didn't happen within the next few years the ceiling or floor may have caved in. That wasn't the happiest news ever, but we're so glad we found out at such an early stage! Every old home purchase tends to come with a surprise of some kind, and I feel like we found ours with this bathroom update. 

One really good thing that came from that process was that our contractor was able to move that pipe (covered in greenery above) in the wall. Yay! Tile obsessionPretty tile inspiration via Design Crisis and Houzz

During the process of collecting inspiration for this house I fell in love with TILE! I had so much fun choosing tile for our kitchen and one and a half bathrooms. We kept it pretty basic, playing more with shape and texture than color, but doesn't this rainbow tile inspire you?Penny Tile!Penny tile inspiration via Remodelista and Apartment Therapy

We chose to tile the walls in our tiny bathroom with white penny tile and the floors with a larger and darker hexagon tile. I've always wanted to try penny tile and I can't wait to share the resulting room with you soon!Wall PlantersHanging plant containers via West Elm and Urbilis

Since this room is small, a lot of the design depends on the details. Besides choosing tile the only "fun things" we get to add is a new mirror and a little bit of wall decor. Instead of art I think hanging plants may be the perfect solution for this space! 

I'm really excited to share the "after" photos of this room when we get there. It might not be the biggest or the best room in the house but it has a chance of winning "most improved"… although, it's gonna have a tough battle against the kitchen! 🙂 Thanks for letting me share this project. It's been such a learning experience! xo. Elsie 

Credits // Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Inspiration images are linked throughout.

  • I love all of these images! I wish I could completely renovate my tiny dingy rental bathroom. However, the good thing about having a deadbeat landlord who ignores your requests for repairs means I am now committed to doing them myself, my way. New paint and new floors of MY choosing are in the works once I fix the ceiling and remove the old wallpaper and I can’t wait for it to be done. Also, I can’t wait to see the progress on your new studio house!

  • Please share. I was super hyped about seeing the after photo but got a little ahead of myself. Can’t wait to see the end result as I’m sure there will be awesome ideas that I can use for my own box sized NY bathroom. Btw, love, love, love the colored tile. 🙂

  • Our household suffers from a semi-tiny bathroom syndrome too. Although I can’t say I share in your lovely ivy covered pipe. Can’t wait to see what you do with the space!

  • That sink is so sweet. Is it wrong to hope you put it back in there? And I think fresh plants are a cool kind of nod to the fake ones on their way out. Upgrade!

  • These are such cool ideas…I’m really excited to see how this room turns out!


  • But.. how large are your regular bathrooms then? I am seriously wondering. This space looks completely normal to me, even a little big. But then again, I live in the Netherlands so that’s probably why. But still.. why would you need more space? 😉

  • I’m from Ireland also, and as a previous commenter, I have to say, out bathroom with a shower is the size of your toilet also…so calling it tiny is a bit amusing for me 🙂 good luck with the makeover though!

  • I’m really looking forward to this one. My flat’s bathroom is quite small, too (with a shower cubicle, though), so this could be just the inspiration I need.
    Also, the penny tile looks great, I’m sure this will be really pretty.

  • I can’t wait. I have a reallllllly small full bath but I’m a renter so I’m excited to see what ideas to try!

  • Can’t wait to see the finish makeover. Love the tiny sink by the way!

    Eileen | yesmissy.com

  • Ooooh, I can’t wait to see how this room ends up!! I loooove seeing before and afters of home renovations 🙂 The hanging plants will be beautiful 🙂


  • can’t wait to see what you do to spruce up a tiny space!



  • haha here in the London UK we have a bathroom 2 x 1.5m (that’s tiny!)Fairly normal here though, if you’re lucky enough to have a second bathroom in your home. Good ideas too, might try some miniature hanging planters, and we’ve gone for white tiles too.

  • Tiny spaces are my favorite! It forces everything to be functional AND beautiful, my favorite combination.

  • love this, tiny bathrooms are quite common in the houses hubby and i are looking at buying in New Zealand. i just looove that white floral tile but can’t seem to find it on the houzz website!

  • I really need to move into my own place just so I can use all of your guys’ tips and tricks! Can’t wait for the after pictures!

  • Beautiful inspiration. I can;t wait to see how it;s going to look like! xx


  • Oooh…but it’s so cute! 🙂 I love the old sink. Charming! Are you guys doing the tiling yourself?

  • I love the idea of hanging plants in the bathroom. And that honeycomb tile is pretty sweet. I totally agree, the bathroom itself is pretty tiny to us midwesterners, but you can totally do something awesome with it!



  • We made hanging planters for our bathroom and I love them. They add a natural and dynamic element without taking up much space.


  • Such a tiny space! I cannot wait to see how you update it! So darn fun! 🙂


  • Can’t believe you wanted to get rid of that….charming….ivy-covered pipe… 😉

  • Great tile inspiration. I love the teal tiles! I’m sure you’ll make something beautiful out of this bathroom!

  • We spent a lot of time thinking about what to do with our tiny bathroom, too. It is definitely a challenge to redo a small space! You are right: use details wisely. Can’t wait to see what you two do!

  • That is a REALLY small bathroom and definitely needs some work. I am sure with your beautiful creative minds you guys will come up with something awesome.

  • what an unexpected and delightful little bathroom this turned out to be. i just adore the nook for jars and soaps:)


  • beautiful tile inspiration!
    can’t wait to see the final result 🙂

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  • I’m glad you decided to share this more difficult room. I’m a long way off from owning my own home, but I’d like to “flip” a house one day, so I’m storing up inspiration! I’ve been wondering and guessing–are you guys feeling more free to take big risks with redoing and decorating this house since it’s not where you live?

  • Haha, this post reminds me of how I initially felt about our tiny apartment — how can it possibly be this small?? 🙂 But over the past few months, we’ve really enjoyed figuring out how to make the best of our little 200 square foot space and actually now I have trouble envisioning moving into a bigger one!

  • I love the look of the tiny penny tiles and it’s such a nice idea to contrast them with the bigger floor tiles. Can’t wait to see how it ends up looking!

  • Can’t wait to see what you do with this space! It’s just so cute and cool! x


  • It’s funny, but sometime those “small area” make overs, make the biggest difference! Can’t wait to see it finished!

  • I admit, I had a little giggle at the cute tiny sink. It was just so cute!

    That rainbow tile is incredible. You’d certainly get a good waking-up jolt when you go into that bathroom in the morning.

    Good idea adding plants into your bathroom. They will enjoy the moisture and they’ll add beautiful pops of color and life too. It’s an improvement over the ivy-wrapped pipe, although that’s a good way to work with what you’ve got even if it’s not ideal, right?

  • Small spaces are the most fun to play around with. They make you more creative and try things you wouldn’t ever think of otherwise. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  • I can’t wait to see how you guys remodel the whole space, I plan on buying a home in the near future and am leaning on a fixer upper. I’m not all that handy though so… lol

  • Can’t wait to see the ‘afters’! I live in Belfast, Northern Ireland and I have to say I did giggle at this being called ‘tiny’. Lots of houses over here have family bathrooms this size! At first look I thought “You could surely fit a shower in the corner of that room!” 😉 Best of luck! I’m sure it will look brill.

  • loving the idea of putting the hanging plants there, great for small bathrooms surely! all the best getting it a makeover

    Katrina Sophia Blog

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