I have bathroom renovation regrets. There…I said it. It’s been two years since we remodeled our upstairs bathroom, and I’ve had plenty of time to think through the choices we made and what we would change if we could do it over.
Let me be clear, this is absolutely a first-world problem. Our girls are incredibly fortunate to have such a beautiful, modern, clean bathroom. I grew up with one bathroom for our entire family of seven, and it had carpet…carpet! So, when I say I have bathroom renovation regrets, it’s relative to the fact that we spent hard-earned money on design decisions that may look different if we were renovating it now or if we had gone at a slower pace.
Let me explain one by one. Click through to read about my five bathroom renovation regrets and how I plan to resolve them.
If you’re curious about sources, please visit the original Vintage Elegance Bathroom post.
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Regret #1 | Taste-Specific, Pricey Shower Tile
When we began the planning phase of remodeling this bathroom, I couldn’t believe the overwhelming amount of tile choices out there. I saw this marble arabesque tile at Lowe’s and that was it for me…I fell hard for it. It didn’t occur to me to look at different options because I had never chosen tile before. Polka dots on marble seemed so darling for my girls. And it was…it is. But we were brand spankin’ new homeowners on top of being brand spankin’ new renovators, and it showed through decisions like this. We rushed things, we didn’t lay out lots of different options, and we didn’t narrow anything down by budget. All big mistakes in the world of renovation.
Oh, and the most frustrating part of this bathroom renovation regret was the cost. We miscalculated how much we would need, and it was a pricey tile to begin with. So, by the time all was said and done, this was accidentally and unnecessarily the most expensive element in the space.
Takeaway: If I could do it over, I would set a budget and find a beautiful tile choice for a whole lot less, especially now that I know what’s out there. At the end of the day though, I’m okay with the tile because at least it’s not boring, it goes with any color, and it’s classic. It may be taste-specific (read: too fancy, too fussy), but marble is always a good choice.
Regret #2 | Countertops That Didn’t Match The Design
I don’t hate these countertops, but I went with a more modern pattern of quartz because a company offered it to me for free in exchange for promotion. I was trying to be financially wise, but I could have chosen a less expensive shower tile and budgeted for a natural stone remnant to be fabricated. This was a very big lesson I learned during the process.
Takeaway: Though this particular countertop is too modern and edgy for the English cottage vibe of our house, I don’t think it would bother most people. So, even if it bugs me, the fact that it’s new, light, and durable adds value to our home, and that is something to be happy about.
Regret #3 | Settling For Floors I Didn’t Love
To put it plainly, I let our contractor talk me out of the floors I really wanted. He didn’t want to do the work of laying smaller tiles with more character, and I let him convince me we should go with large-scale tiles. They’re clean and bright, but cold and boring at the same time because of all the other white in the space. I wish I would have stuck to my guns and taken on the DIY myself or at least halted construction until I could figure out the best compromise…not these tiles.
Takeaway: They’re just floors, and any future buyers (if we ever sell) will love how easy they are to keep clean and how light and bright they make the space. I mean, look at how dark the bathroom was before. I think all the white in here was a knee-jerk reaction to so much brown!
Regret #4 | Not Adding a Pocket Door
Once I gave up on this idea because other people couldn’t see the value in it, I instantly regretted it. I didn’t want to take out the dividing wall between the vanity area and the shower/toilet area because I love the fact that one of my daughters can be getting ready while the other one is showering. But, it would have been so functional to have a pocket door that didn’t swing into the tiny shower/toilet area.
Takeaway: Having a pocket door would have really opened up that shower/toilet area, and I do wish I would have insisted on having it done before the floor tiles were laid. But, pocket doors are not at all common in Southern California, so it really would have been just for us. Adding one wouldn’t have increased our home’s value and not adding one didn’t hurt it either. So, I can live with this bathroom renovation regret.
Regret #5 | Not Adding More Storage
I love character, reusing things, and making the best of what I’ve got. But I should have listened to Jeff when he suggested getting a new vanity. Again, things were moving fast and we were inexperienced. This seemed like an economical, sentimental decision, but Jeff could see the lack of storage in this vanity and how a bigger, newer vanity would have benefitted our girls and any future homeowners. To be honest, I was afraid of the expense of a large vanity. This was already an unplanned renovation, for which we had not budgeted, so I was trying to make everything as painless as possible for Jeff. My heart was in the right place, but my head was not.
Takeaway: The wonderful thing about this regret is that it can be changed. We don’t plan to change it, but if we ever did, it would be a doable DIY. Also, there’s a floor-to-ceiling cabinet right outside the girls’ bathroom door where towels and linens live, so storage is really only a problem inside the main portion of the bathroom.
Most of these problems were due to the fact that we were not taking our time. In fact, I would say we were rushing everything so our girls could have a functioning bathroom. Plus, I can’t handle having trades people in my house day after day for very long, and I just wanted them out. We shouldn’t have hired anything out until we were absolutely certain of our design choices. Instead, we were making them during the work, and I felt pressured.
Now that I have no pressure or time constraints, I’ve come up with a solution to remedy my regrets.
The Remedy for Bathroom Renovation Regrets
Here is my plan to visually warm up this bathroom and make it a space our girls want to use. They appreciate all the hard work and money that went into it, but they both say it’s cold and uninviting in there, and they prefer our old, tiny shower downstairs to this one. I’m about to change that!
They’re already excited about this little refresh, and honestly, I get it. My environment affects me so much, and I like warm, welcoming spaces. Ready to see the small changes I’m going to make? Here they are…
I am SO excited about this mini-makeover. All the heavy lifting of a full renovation is already done. Now it just needs a little vintage, a touch of color, and a dose of personality. I’m collecting everything now so that once I have it all in my possession, I can do a quick weekend makeover.
Here’s what I’ll be doing:
- Adding a vintage runner over the tile in the vanity area (wanted to do this from day one)
- Changing the mirrors (these were inexpensive so I’m okay with replacing them)
- Adding character to my favorite sconce with patterned fabric shades
- Changing the wallpaper (I still love the original paper but want something warmer)
- Removing floating shelves (they are never used) and adding a vintage bamboo shelf over the toilet
- Changing shower curtain from gray to a warm rust color
- Hanging a piece of art over the hooks in the shower area (printable art that can’t get ruined)
So, that’s it. What do you think of my regrets and my remedy?
Do you have renovation regrets? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!
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