a look back – 1988+2019
(Everything you see, we bought with our own money – nothing was sponsored or gifted). This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Before we get into this kids bathroom remodel, lets take a quick look at the bathroom when we bought the house and what it looked like after my super budget friendly update to get us through five years without a full remodel.
kids bathroom remodel, 2023
When the time finally came time for our kids bathroom remodel, I was sent into design euphoria. If you know me well enough you know that my favorite spaces to design are children’s spaces, bedrooms, playrooms, bathrooms, etc. And if you did not know that, now you do! There’s something exhilarating about the freedom of designing a fun and colorful space that made for kids, and I knew this bathroom was getting torn out to the studs so I had full reign on this (budget-friendly) design .
Our home has slowly been renovated from its original 1980s “charm” into a much more modern and neutral home of the 2020s. Think white walls, light flooring, white cabinets, wood tones, much lighter and brighter than its first rendition, but still cozy. I think I like to refer to it as earthy modern. Anyways. I knew I wanted more “fun” in this bathroom shared by both my children. But also to not feel so childlike that a guest would feel out of place using it.
Going into this remodel all I had for design direction was the fact that I had my eye on this affordable aloe colored tile from floor and decor. And I also this neutral hexagon floor tile I found at habitat restore for $1 a square foot. I knew I wanted it to feel fun, and light, and colorful, which was a lot to say in comparison to my more monochromatic house. When we were out exploring a small town I found these postcards in a bin at a bookstore and they were EXACTLY the vision I saw for the space.
Turns out they are by chris turnham and I fell in love with these images of brother and sister exploring, it reminded me so much of our adventures both past and future with our kiddos. Is it weird to design a bathroom with such permanence around a couple of postcards? I did it anyways.
The aloe green tile was so fun for a kids bathroom but subtle enough to act as a neutral for many years to come. I opted to lay it in this vertical 1/3 overlay pattern, a twist on more traditional layouts. I attribute the color and the pattern created with the white grout to be the thing that really elevates this extremely affordable tile option!
The niche was a last minute add on as I realized something like this can only be done now and it really elevated the look (and functionality) of the shower and the bathroom. I opted for the pencil tile to finish the edges of the shower and the niche, and I am quite happy with the extra money spent there instead of using schluter.
The base of the niche is actually the quartz backsplash piece that came with our vanity. Since I knew I was planning on tiling a backsplash on my own at some point, the quartz piece was up for grabs, the perfect size and a fantastic way to save some money and tie the vanity and the shower together for a cohesive look.
I went with a nice deep soaking tub because the original was so shallow it was not practical at all for an adult to bathe in there. My contractor joked that the kids could swim in it, he’s not wrong.
the details – fixtures and vanity
From the moment I set my heart on that green tile, I knew I wanted gold fixtures to go with it. The champagne bronze color that delta offers was perfectly warm without being too bright yellow-y brass, and while it made finding matching fixtures (like a shower curtain rod and tub hardware) slightly more complicated, I really love how it looks with the soft green. I went with this set of sink fixtures, and this set for the tub/shower.
When we first contacted the contractors about this kids bathroom remodel, we were looking at a six month wait. A last minute change of plans had us on the schedule a mere three weeks after we signed a quote. So I had to work FAST, both designing this space, and then sourcing everything. This was particularly stressful when it came to ordering a vanity because you really cant see very many in person and have to trust that photos and reviews online are anything close to an accurate representation of one of the biggest features in this room.
I knew what I was drawn to and I stuck with looking for wood, with an open shelf at the bottom. It felt like a more airy piece for what is truly a pretty small bathroom. This way I could create the illusion of more space even if it meant less practical storage. I know its an unpopular opinion, but for me and my family we opt for less things to store instead of more storage space.
I love the way the vanity we chose feels more like a piece of furniture and is visually more interesting because of the baskets on the bottom shelf. I did change out the hardware that came with it, an easy and affordable way to make it feel more custom!
the details – mirrors and lighting
Mixing metals and materials in a space is one of the easiest ways to make a design feel elevated. If everything was matchy-matchy your space will feel very flat, expected, and not visually interesting. Old with new, warm colors with cool, smooth stone and textured baskets and wood tones, brass and black metals, etc. I chose these black mirrors and this hardware to compliment the champagne bronze fixtures.
When we tore out everything from the old bathroom, a horrendous set of florescent lights were housed in an over-engineered bulkhead. So I had always known I did not want to go with traditional set of vanity lighting placement over the mirrors. Why should I when I had an option of something completely custom sitting right in front of me.
I opted to install a custom light fixture between the mirrors called “the twig“ from a local lighting company. I love it for many reasons 1. its beautiful 2. its called the twig and that just really fits this whole “adventurous” bathroom theme I had going on 3. it provides the most perfect ambient lighting for when you’re not really feeling the bright led can lighting option, like when you are enjoying that deep soaking tub! 4. It was from a small local business.
the details – the finishing touches
When we had started this kids bathroom remodel, I always knew I would be the one to add a backsplash at a later date. It is a very simple DIY project and was an easy way for me to save money on labor. I also knew that I would be able to find tile for a small project like this, for a very affordable price on Facebook marketplace. Usually larger projects (with high end tile) have just enough remnants to cover a small backsplash like this.
I ended up finding someone selling these zellige tiles for about half the cost and thought they would be perfect. Adding just enough texture and interest to the bathroom, not to mention the practical need like water damage prevention, without making it seem too busy. I used white grout to avoid grout lines, the bathroom had enough pattern happening with the shower tile and the hex floor tiles.
When I was done I decided it needed to be topped with white oak trim, making it feel more a part of the vanity and a fixture as a whole, otherwise the backsplash didn’t feel grounded. This helped a lot and I think it is a nod to the style of the bathroom as a whole.
For whatever reason this bathroom felt like it needed a very loud shower curtain. I went back and forth between fun patterns and bright colors and ultimately landed on this Yellow curtain. And used it with an extra long liner to make it function as a shower curtain. Pro tip: opt for purchasing a long curtain and liner instead of a traditional shower curtain. The height of the shower curtain not only makes your bathroom feel taller, it makes it feel like high design.
My mother in law brought the colorful whale and turtle tapestries over during her last visit and I fell in love with them and knew I had to find a place for them in my home. I love art with sentiment and since these were from a family friend from the Philippines I wanted to incorporate them somewhere. They were so colorful and fit that outdoorsy adventure motif, they were a perfect addition to the room. And I just love how they look with the yellow curtain.
Along with the mixed metals I also like to mix wood tones. I purchased this towel hook which matches the white oak trim on the backsplash, as well as the light colored baskets complimenting the dark wood vanity itself.
I almost wrapped this thing up without mentioning the fact that the ceiling and the trim are not your average paint color. When I painted the whole room Dove White by Benjamin Moore, the room felt like it was missing something. I opted to paint the ceiling a subtle (did you even notice??) sand color, Sand dollar by Benjamin Moore, and the trim a color that matched the tile. Its those fun and unexpected moments that make this room feel more childlike and I just love the way it all turned out!
Shower tile / Shower fixtures / shower curtain / curtain liner / bathtub / toilet / floor tile / vanity / sink faucets / mirrors / light fixture / sun bathmat / towel hooks / vanity pulls / postcard art / bird mobile / rinsing cup / backsplash tile / Shower curtain rod