Elsie’s Main Bath (Mini) Makeover

Hello! Today, I am excited to share our mini makeover with you! Due to Covid and other remodel priorities, we aren’t planning to fully gut and remodel this bathroom for a while (most likely 3-5 years and it is the last room on our list!). Since we won’t be remodeling for a long time, we wanted to do a quick mini makeover to address the functional issues and make it feel closer to our style for the time being. Mini makeovers (often called “phase one”) are very challenging because our goal was to use as much as you could from the existing room and spend as little money as possible. However, three to five years is still a long time and in my opinion it’s too long to live with a room we didn’t love. So this mini makeover became the perfect solution for us! We spent a few weeks updating it minimally and now I feel much more settled and happy here.

This post is sponsored by Delta Faucet. They make the most gorgeous faucets and hardware. As you will see in this post, they make a huge improvement and brought our space more up-to-date without having to take on a full remodel!

Before we dive in, Here are the BEFORE photos …

We started with a 1990s bathroom in pretty rough shape. The very big PRO is that it is very large, with abundant space, natural light and storage. The CONs were that it had lots of leaks, two clogged sinks, the tub and shower were both broken and there were lots of little issues like missing and broken towel bars. It was definitely in need of a refresh both functionally and visually!

My thoughts/goals when planning this MINI makeover:

-I knew I was not ready to fully remodel this space. So we did not want to rip anything out. So the tile, vanities, mirrors, etc., all needed to stay for now.

-We wanted to update the space so that everything is fully functional, including repairing leaks, repairing our shower and having clogged drains repaired.

-I wanted to make it look as pretty, modernized and “my style” as possible. Given the design challenges of not ripping anything out, I would need to find creative solutions to work around everything.

-I didn’t want to spend very much money on anything that we would only use temporarily. So we decided to keep the majority of our updates affordable like paint, removable wallpaper, adding curtains and some art from Etsy.

Here’s what we ended up with!

The space feels updated, more our style and most importantly is now FULLY functional!

Let’s talk about the toilet closet first!

Adding removable wallpaper made a HUGE visual impact. I chose the Botany print from Chasing Paper. Removable wallpaper is easy to install and durable. Plus, if you look at how this room looked in the “before” pics, it was SUPER boring. The removable wallpaper added a lot of personality.

We updated the hardware with a Delta towel bar, toilet tissue holder and a new flush handle. Swapping out your toilet handle is a great hack for modernizing it with just a simple hardware change.

I also added some marble shelves, two prints from Tiny Fawn on Etsy, and my favorite towels EVER! The smiley planter is from my favorite ceramics shop- The Coy Collection.

OK, moving on to the tub. We decided to paint it a pale pink (Behr “Sand Dance”) along with the vanities, using this tutorial. We kept the existing ’90s tub and updated the hardware to this beautifully designed Trinsic Roman Tub faucet with Hand Shower Trim. The included hand shower is such a unique touch and is perfect for rinsing off after a bath and is so helpful during bathtime. Plus, I love the vibrant, champagne bronze finish! Then we added some boho curtains. It was already pretty private with blinds, but the curtains help to give it a cooler vibe. I have to admit … I LOVE the ’90s tub. It’s huge and hilarious and really fun to take baths in. My kids love it too—of course!

OK! Let’s talk vanities. We kept the existing cabinets, counters and mirrors. We updated the faucets, towel bars and cabinet hardware. The Trinsic Two Handle Widespread Bathroom Faucet from Delta perfectly match the tub faucet. They were so easy to install and still in my favorite finish! I also added a few decor things like these affordable rugs (only $70!) and some cute things like organization for my skin stuff and a little bit of art here and there. It came a long way with these small changes!

In the shower, we updated the shower head to the Delta Faucet Raincan Shower Head, bringing a modern twist – showers are 100x nicer with just that one small swap. The shower tile is not my favorite, but the new shower head will help us enjoy it to the fullest for the time being.

I found this small, perfectly sized shower rug.

Speaking of rugs, I decided to put a big area rug in the area between the giant mirror and the (newly pink) cabinets. This is another tip for minimizing a floor you don’t *love.* I’m not crazy about the travertine tile, plus there’s just so much of it. A few cute rugs help my eyes not focus on it as much.

These shelves are without a doubt my favorite part of the room as we purchased it. I like the curved detail and it’s amazing having a lot of storage! Out of all the things in the bathroom probably these shelves and the Delta fixtures are what I will keep when we completely gut it and remodel years from now! I like arranging accessories and pretty things on the shelves. The giant air plant here is real. His name is Mr. Plant and he is Nova’s plant. She gives him a soak about once a month in my sink.

Ah! Well, I think that is everything! I am so grateful for the chance to do this mini makeover. It has already made a world of difference and I pretty much smile every day when I see the wallpapered bathroom. If you are living in a home where circumstances won’t allow you to remodel for a long time, I definitely recommend a mini makeover as a solution! Fix anything that is driving you crazy and make it as cute as you can with just a few small upgrades like paint, new rugs and new hardware.

Looking for other small update ideas to refresh a bathroom? Check out these posts for inspiration!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments! xx- Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Kelly. Project Assistant: Collin DuPree. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Lovely! We had a big 90’s jet tub at our last house. The only trouble is that we would run out of hot water before it was full!

  • What an awesome makeover, mini or not, it’s AWESOME!! The colors are fantastic. Pink or orange I love them both. :o) Thank you for the links to your products. We have recently purchased two small cottages for weekly rentals and I’m currently working on “mini” makeovers. It’s always nice to get other ideas elsewhere. As I was reading ALL of the comments, as well as everything you said, I thought maybe this should have been titled Sand Dance by Behr. LOL

  • I really appreciate seeing a mini makeover like this instead of a full remodel. Besides updating our floors, my partner and I don’t have the budget to remodel anything in our condo, and it’s not a “forever home,” so investing too much in it doesn’t make sense. But mini makeovers and making the best of what you have is my JAM. Thank you! 🙂

  • Gorgeous bathroom! Can you please tell me where you got the saguaro cactus and roadrunner statue? So cute! Thank you! 🙂

  • Such a great refresh. You’d never know that it wasn’t a brand new room. I particularly love the corner bathtub with magical curtains. And the colors are perfect for a relaxing space. Nice!!

  • Hi!
    Cool bathroom makeover! It has inspired me that maybe I can do more with the house my fiancé and I rent currently. Our bathroom is super small and has linoleum-lined walls, floor, shower – I think it is supposed to be a safe call to prevent moisture damage? Let me just say, I don’t think it is the most beautiful touch! But we live in northern Sweden and it can get pretty humid sometimes. Do you know if the wallpaper you use is moisture resistant? And how does it work for removal, is it a feasible option for renters who can’t make permanent changes and have to reverse everything before move-out?

  • Great makeover! I almost refer phase 1 improvements to total remodels because they are way more accessible! Can you share your source for the solid pink/peach curtains? They look like what I want in my girls’ bedroom.

  • Love this! Did you trim the curtain over the tub? I noticed it only comes in one long length, I have a similar over-tub window and I love this curtain for it 🙂

  • Amazing! Always forget what paint can do! If this was my bathroom I don’t think I would ever leave. Enjoy!

  • I was wondering about the cabinet hardware–I’m not sure if I’m just missing the link. And congrats! Everything is so pretty! I like the way you are able to see potential in uninspiring rooms.

  • mentions and links for that coy collection smiley pot? guessing she’d appreciate the credit and exposure!

    • Thanks so much for pointing that out (I missed kind of a lot of links when writing this posts- sorry- been adding them in all day). XX!

  • Hi Elsie, do you find those waffle towels to be absorbent? (Or did you do that pre-soaking in water or something trick to make them absorbant?) Thanks! Also- that wallpaper is awesome!

    • Hi! They are very good towels. This specific kind is my favorite bath towel ever but we use the hand towels in our kitchen/living spaces too. They are great for cleaning up kids messes. 🙂

  • Hi,
    I love seeing these before /afters. Would you consider doing the images of each area side-by-side? I always like to compare and it’s harder to compare the before of the same spot to the after when you have to scroll up and down. Thanks!

  • window treatment follow up question!
    For people who have older windows or live in rentals, what types of treatments do you suggest for optimal natural light (but also privacy from close neighbors)? All of your staff seem to have great light in their homes on posts and stories. I’d love a blog post about window treatment options!! (is that lame? ha!)

  • Where do you find laundry hampers? Is there a reason to not use temporary wallpaper instead of Permanent? Does it peal after a while?

  • man i love this so much! love that wallpaper too! i did a phase one on my master bathroom last year and the difference is night and DAY. it looks way better, but it also finally felt clean for the first time after 2 years living there. i love the paint color too!

  • SO much better! I love a simple decor switch. Idk how your routine is but my little girl loves to sit and chat with me while I get ready in the morning and it’s the sweetest time of day. You totally have room for a bench or small chairs if you wanted to have primping buddies.

  • LOVE how it turned out! Always inspired by you. Do you have a link for the boho curtians? I’ve been looking for something like that and can never find something big enough for the space I’m trying to cover! Thanks!

  • So pretty! While bigger, this bathroom reminds me a lot of my tired 90s main bath, huge tub included (which my whole family loves!). I know I’m not the first to ask, but do you mind sharing the pink color that you used?

    I also have a question about the hand wand sprayer on the tub. I’d love to have one! Did your previous hardware already have that “hole” or did you have to somehow create it? Mine only has spots for hot and cold handles and the actual faucet, so I’m thinking it might not be an option for my tub.

    Thanks for the pretty inspiration!

    • Hi! Yes the previous hardware already had a sprayer. It was mostly compatible. We just had one extra hole at the end (which we just added a cover to). 🙂

  • Love all of this. Trying to figure out what is phase 1,2, etc myself. Really love the tip on changing toilet handles.😂 Some are very odd in the late 80s house we bought.

  • Wow!! 🤩 this doesn’t need to be a mini makeover until a bigger one -your bathroom is awesome! I love the colors and textures of the rugs!

  • What type of material is the vanity? What paint color and type of paint did you use? I’d like to paint our vanity but afraid it may chip/peel? Thanks! Looks adorable!

  • I’m a little confused about the color difference between what’s in your Instagram stories and this post. I understand the filters etc but which one is closer to the actual color? Everything looks pink in Instagram but has an orange tone in this post. Just my two cents but I really think no filters would be better when showing your room makeover. But the room is gorgeous, you always have wonderful ideas and beautiful rooms!

    • Agree with this- ABM filters photos on IG and the blog so much they’re not true to what the room looks like. The ‘pink’ wet bar area in your office, the wood stain of your dining room area, and now this space. It just seems a little disingenuous.

    • Thanks for the feedback. The IG stories are more true to color btw. 🙂

  • So excited for all these room reveals and way too happy that we’ll have 3-5 years of content to look forward to! I’m a renter so I usually find a lot of appeal in these phase 1 renos because they seem more achievable for someone like me!

    Do you have an in-depth post on removable wall paper? I’m dyingggg to try this out but am so nervous about damaging my rental walls and also that it might not be worth it if I plan on moving in a year or so.

  • Was there any negotiating that needed to happen in regards to making the bathroom pink? It’s a great refresh, using what’s there.

    • No, my husband is into pink. We used it a lot in our last home and it’s not a wild color. The only colors my husband doesn’t like are super bright colors like it I wanted to do bright yellow or something like that. 🙂

  • Are your cabinets actual wood or are they that weird laminated moulded MDF that my 90’s house has (mine look the same)I’m curious if so, how did you paint it if it is laminate. My house is very similar to yours and every single cabinet/drawer facing in the whole house is laminated and it’s frustrating. Yes it’s white, but some are chipped, some are yellowing, some are gunky.

  • What a great refresh! What window treatments (if any) do you use behind the curtains?

    • Hi Kelsie,
      Our windows have built in blinds (between two panes of glass) on most windows in the house. The smaller windows are luckily very private from neighbors so we feel like these tapestry blinds are sufficient. The very large window is visible from our backyard so if you’re in the pool area, or even from our kitchen… so I am considering replacing them with frosted privacy windows when we do windows this year. :))

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