Before and After: 5 "No Renovation" Bathroom Makeovers

Dated cabinetry. Tarnished or tired fixtures. Wood paneling from bygone decades. If a bathroom blight is giving you the blues, you might not need to go into full renovation mode to make it all better. Here are 5 dramatic small bath makeovers that require little more than paint, elbow grease, and a bit of imagination.

  1. Dark and Dated

    Dark Wood Paneling

    Old wallpaper, faux brass fixtures, and dark paneling made this farmhouse bathroom feel a little dreary and uninviting. Fortunately, the bones for a lighter, brighter bath were all in place, and the blogger at Thistlewood Farms was ready and willing to give the space just the TLC it needed.

    Related: How To—Strip Wallpaper

  2. Light, Bright, and Cheery

    White Wainscoting

    Once the wallpaper came down, a pleasing shade of bluish-gray paint went up in its place. Together with the newly white wainscoting, lighter colors transformed the room almost instantly. A well-placed dresser provides much-needed built-in storage, while friendly hand-painted signs reminding visitors to brush and floss add charm to the once-bare walls.

    Related: 12 Easy Ways to Boost Bathroom Storage

  3. Orange Overload

    Orange Bathroom

    Probably considered glamorous in its heyday, this shiny, posh, and undeniably orange bathroom seen on Fly Through Our Window was in desperate need of modernization. But where to start when you're not springing for a complete overhaul?

    Related: Designers Tell All—Today's Top 10 Bathroom Trends

  4. Complementary Colors

    Orange and White Bathroom

    While it's hard to believe when you see the after photos, most of the elements were untouched. The floors, tub, tile, cabinets, sink, and countertop—yes, even the orange countertop—all remain. Replacing the gaudy foil wallpaper with a paintable vinyl successor and painting the cabinet base white accomplished most of the heavy lifting, while the warm hues in the contemporary fabric choices tie the reimagined orange scheme together.

    Related: 7 (Very) Different Looks for Bathroom Vanities

  5. Been There, Done That

    Dated Decor

    There weren't necessarily any serious design missteps in the bathroom at the Thrifty and Chic household—in fact, the room's accessories complemented the colors of the countertop and cabinets well enough to get by. But sometimes you just want to wow guests in the one room they are sure to visit.

    Related: Beyond White—11 Alternative Hues to Color Your Bath

  6. Everything Old Is New Again

    White Bathroom

    A few cosmetic changes made all the difference! The inexpensive DIY board-and-batten treatment gives the room a bright facelift, while accents like a floral shower curtain, glass canisters, and handcrafted mirror frame flesh out the fresh new style.

    Related: 20 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Big

  7. Tired Tiles

    Old Tile

    This bathroom from the blog The Long and Short of It looks like a perfect makeover candidate, but with all that tile, it's hard to imagine getting results without some serious renovation work. 

    Related: Bathroom Floor Tile—14 Top Options

  8. Perked Up With Paint

    Painted Tiles

    Rather than going through the labor-intensive process of ripping out and replacing the wall and floor tiles, this thrifty blogger had them painted, lightening and updating the room's ambience. Echoing the new sleek design, the vanity got a paint job as well as a new countertop—but one that incurred minimal effort and expense: This pristine marble slab came from the remnant yard of a local granite fabricator.

    Related: Buyer’s Guide—Granite Countertops

  9. Run-Down Retro

    Retro Bathroom

    The "before" state of this bathroom reflected its obvious shoestring budget: cheap laminate, vinyl flooring, and apartment-grade fixtures. But by focusing on the vanity (and thinking outside the box), the homeowner at Addicted 2 Decorating had big plans to take the decor from sad '70s to sweet and stylish.

    Related: 17 Tiny Bathrooms We Love

  10. Fab Rehab

    DIY Mirror Frame

    Holy transformation, Batman! Beneath the updated vanity light, a new mirror now smiles back, defined by a border of cheery mosaic tiles. And that old laminate countertop? It won't be missed—the new surface proudly boasts a row of stained cedar fence pickets.

    Related: 18 Bathroom Updates You Can Do in a Day

  11. Don't Miss!


    Low in square footage? Certainly! Short on style, features, or convenience? Absolutely not. Click now to see 25 of our all-time favorite small bathroom designs.