suggestions for my bathroom remodel please (pics included)

Frizzle71July 1, 2012

hi everybody,

I am in the process of buying everything I need to have the 5'x9.5' bathroom in my condo completely remodeled. I'm a guy who has absolutely no 'decorating-sense' haha, so this has been very difficult for me. I've somehow managed to buy some of the stuff, but I still have more to go. Here's a few pics:

This is the current state of the bathroom. I've torn out the vanity, toilet and tile floor, but will be hiring a professional for everything from this point on.

This is the tub and toilet I bought (plain white cast iron tub and toilet)

This is the wall tile I've picked out (carrara-looking porcelain 6.5x6.5 and accent tile strip), and how I think I want it to be put on the wall (you might notice there are chips in the edges of the tiles. I ordered it online and over half of it arrived chipped. I'm in the process of replacing the chipped ones and getting my money back):

This is the floor tile I bought (medium grey color 13x13 porcelain)

This is the vanity I bought (48" black, looks darker in person)

Ok now for questions:

I'm thinking about doing the walls a lightish blue or blue-grey color. Do you think that will look good with what I've picked out so far?

Do you like that pattern for the wall tile?

Do you think that accent tile will look good with the wall tile?

What color grout should I buy for the wall tile? The tile is slightly off white, so should I just go white? Or slightly off white to match the tile? Or maybe a little darker like a light grey?

Do you think that is a good width for the accent strip (it comes in 12"x12" pieces)?

How high on the wall should the accent strip be? Right in the middle? A little above the middle?

What pattern should I have the floor tile? Just straight in rows, or maybe diamond pattern?

What color vanity top should I get? I was thinking about some kind of carrara or carrara-looking so it would match the shower wall tiles, but I don't know. Suggestions?

In the shower right now there is only a soap holder on the wall. I was thinking of putting 2 corner shelves in the back corner of the wall. I also need a place to hang my wash cloth though. Where do people hang their wash cloths? Right now I just hang it on the hose that goes from the shower head to the wall.

Right now I just have a mirror on the wall that's the same width as the 48" vanity. Should I just stick with that or maybe get a recessed medicine cabinet with mirrored doors? If I go with a medicine cabinet, how wide should it be?

Ok that's enough questions for now, thanks for any and all opinions and suggestions!

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That's pretty close in size to the bathroom I just remodeled, you can see the pics in my thread a few weeks back (or the current thread on what you would do different).

The color and looking good together stuff was the hard part for me too. I'll only comment on the few things I think will help since it's not my strong area.

Floor tile, at a 45 degree angle. Especially with tile up the wall. My tub surround has a tile look, and I knew that straight lines on the floor would odd if they lined up with them and odd if they didn't. I love the tiles you picked!

I got a pair of OXO suction cups and use 1 for my washcloth. I think you can see it in the pics. Works well so far.

I read a lot about mirror sizes trying to decide. The best "rules" I could find included cover the entire wall behind the vanity width so it blends, or if using a smaller mirror usually about 2/3-3/4 the length of the vanity for a single sink. The only definite guidance I saw was not to make the mirror longer than the vanity. My 48 in vanity has a 42 in framed mirror with a 30 in light bar. If I had a little more room for sconces I would have used a slightly smaller mirror, but without sconces I felt the 42 in looked better in my space (it replaced a huge frameless mirror, so that probably played into it to).

I like the accent tile, but no idea about size and placement. I would be drawn to either at counter height so it runs along the counter as a backsplash, or in line with the counter so the top is flush with the counter, but that might be a completely off ratio, hard to tell without knowing how high the tile will go and how high the ceiling is. I'm sure others know way more about this stuff and can help. I'm just a big fan of more ideas are better.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 10:39PM
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I like all of the stuff you've picked out so far. great choices!

the accent tile shouldn't be in the middle. Are you going to put it in the shower also?

the mirror - large wall mirrors are out. are you putting in side lights over the vanity? what's the width of the wall you are working with? and width of the vanity?

Do you need a medicine cabinet? they are handy to have for all of those needed items so you might consider one.

my bathroom sink is about 22" wide - the vanity is 66" and I'm looking at a mirror not more than 24" wide. my light fixture is over the mirror area.

oh - grout. not white. i think you can get samples to test. will be worth it to do up a few so you can find out what they really look like when they dry.

i don't know what I'd go with on the counter top. white, black or grey I think. i'm sure some of our other members will pop in with some great ideas for that. just know that black will show the dust much quicker!

Do you have a layout of your bathroom with measurements so we could get a better idea of how these all relate to each other in the space?

have you picked out a sink yet?

the wash cloth in the shower part - you can have a rod built in with the tile. I have one like that - mine is a glass bar on the back wall. google something like 'shower bar' - and hope a lot of drinking bars built into showers don't pop up...

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:20AM
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thanks for the replies so far!


I just checked out your new bathroom, it looks really good! And I like how the floor tiles look at that angle. I think I'm going to have mine done that way. I wonder if it is harder for the contractor to do them at that angle, and if they charge more?

I'm only putting the wall tile around the tub, and was going to put maybe a 6" strip of that accent tile in the middle just to make it a little less boring.


"Are you going to put it in the shower also?" - I'm only going to put the tile around the tub, and was going to put maybe a 6" strip of the accent tile in the middle, or slightly above the middle

"are you putting in side lights over the vanity? what's the width of the wall you are working with? and width of the vanity?" - I'm not sure what kind of lighting to get. I think if a get a wide mirror then a light on each side might not look right? I might want to go with just a strip of lights over the top. The vanity is 48".

"Do you need a medicine cabinet?" - I don't really have too much stuff to store in the bathroom, but now that I think about it, it might convenient to have. I'll have to check how wide they come.

"Do you have a layout of your bathroom with measurements so we could get a better idea of how these all relate to each other in the space?" - here's a quick drawing:

"have you picked out a sink yet?" - no not yet. I need to pick out a vanity top for the vanity, and I figured it would come with a plain white sink, or if not, that's what I would buy. I was thinking I would get a lighter colored vanity top, but I'm not sure.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 3:36AM
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I was also planning on having the wall tile go from the tub all the way to the ceiling, and on the ceiling above the tub as well. If you look at the first pic I posted, the ceiling above the tub is lower than the rest of the ceiling.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 3:40AM
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I will answer a couple questions now. I feel like you need a light counter top. For a real shebang - try to find supreme white granite or ivory supreme in as light a slab as you can find. Looks like marble but is granite. The slabs can be veiny or chunky looking. Or, if you don't want natural stone, try a caesarstone - perhaps nougat, or one of the whites.

For the accent tile - I love seeing the accent tile be the vanity backsplash (rather than natural stone), topped with a pencil strip or chair rail. You could even put a pencil strip below the accent tile strip, then the strip, then top it with a chair rail. I think your bath could call for a nice wide accent strip - 10" with the bordering pieces. If you're running your field tile up the wall, you could run it higher then have the accent strip more about shoulder height.

For another option - you could run the accent strip vertically, on your entire wet wall (or for less $ as a nice wide strip down the center of your tub/shower from the ceiling.

Love the 2 baskets in the far corner for stuff. Why not hang a towel bar at the far end of your tub for your washcloth and extra towels, wet bathing suits, etc?

Have you selected a hardware finish yet? Polished nickel would be really nice I think, with your selections. A nice high end look. Satin or brushed nickel could be nice too but you'd really have to take samples of everything (once you pick your counter top) and compare the finishes.

Nice work so far!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 8:52AM
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Thanks, Frizzle71. It's all stock items from Lowes, so nothing special or expensive but we are very happy. I still cringe at the "before" pics, they don't show the peeling cabinet finish but i know it was there!

The angle is slightly harder for the floor tile due to the angle cuts at the edges, but overall it is a simple layout and shouldn't cost more, especially with that size tile (maybe with tiny tiles because of the cutting, not sure). You do need to plan for 15% overage instead of 10%, but with a space that size it doesn't cost much more for extra tile. There is a little more waste due to all the edge cuts.

One of the awesome tile guys here might be able to confirm or correct me, I'm just going by my experience where my GC told me tile was no problem and as long as it wasn't a complicated pattern it wouldn't cost more (I was purchasing the major materials, including tile).

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:53AM
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I like your choices too.

I would do a grey colored counter and definitely use the accent tile as a backsplash like this:

then use the same accent tiles up the center back of the tub like this:

Bathroom design by Portland Kitchen And Bath Jason Ball Interiors, LLC

I would paint the walls a soft gray to match the floor tile. Take the tile with you and ask for a lighter shade. They can custom blend it for you.

I would also do a smaller framed mirror especially if this is also your powder room/guest bath or the only bathroom in your condo, and put sconces on either side as well as a central light possibly with your vent.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 10:32AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

You've done really well so far!

Let me see how many questions I can answer.

For countertop/sink, we chose to go with Corian as it is much softer and warmer than stone and you can get the integrated sink so no change in materials...just a smooth transition in color from counter to sink. Since the floors are dark gray and the tile is light, I would coordinate the counter with the floor...something like Corian graylite would look great:

The corian website has a design tool where you can pick and choose the color of the wall, vanity and counter to see what it might look like.

Putting the floor tile on the diagonal will cost more money as there are more cuts and it takes longer. I would suggest doing them square but using some of that lovely accent tile in the floor for a more modern and linear maybe run the main tile, then a few rows of accent tile, then main tile and then another few rows of accent tile. These strips of accent tile could then be carried up the wall vertically in the shower area. Might be really cool. Or you could create an "area rug" in the floor by switching to a diagonal in a rectangular shaped area or to a different color tile or even a different texture like river rock. There is almost no end to how you can use accent tile in a bath. Go to and search on bathroom glass accent tile and you'll find tons of excellent ideas.

You can but it isn't necessary to tile the ceiling in the tub/shower area.

I think you want to put some thought into lighting. Much more modern to do a framed mirror, medicine chest or not, with sconces on either side. You should also do recessed lighting in the tub area and a few others in the ceiling. (We added one over the pot for reading...not that we ever do that.)

Your wall sconces and your plumbing/hardware become the jewelry of the room so go with something that blends with all the gray...satin nickel or polished nickel would be fine. Depending on budget, you could do chrome too. But the finishes should, fixtures, cabinet hardware, towel bars, and don't forget the flusher handle on the toilet.

Adding a towel bar to the wall opposite the shower head is a good idea....make sure it's high enough to stay out of the spray.

Tile grout should match the background color of the main tile...only do contrast if you are making a statement.

Corner shelves in the shower are nice.

Wall color comes later, but if you want to think about it now, you can go monochromatic with a soft gray, or you could use that to contrast the walls some, though probably still in the gray a blue gray or a sagey green gray. Then again, I love the soft gold tone in my family room with the gray stone. That could work too.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I think you've made great choices so far! For the counters, I think a lighter color would keep the room from getting too heavy, with the black vanity and dark gray floor. White granite would be awesome, though hard to find/expensive. Caesarstone nougat and Silestone Mont Blanc are colors to look at if you want a solid surface; just be sure to take the marble-like tile with you when you pick a counter, as the marble can run to the blue end of the spectrum, or the more cream-colored end. It can make a big difference in the overall color scheme.

I really like recessed medicine cabinets, so think about whether your contractor could do that. Obviously lots cheaper to install would be a wall mounted cabinet, and those are easy to find in a style that compliments your vanity. If you want to stick with the craftsman style of your vanity, Home Depot has white medicine cabinets that would coordinate really well. And as said above, sconces that go on either side would be possible if you shrink the mirror.

If your budget is tight, consider just putting some trim around the existing mirror to create a frame. Even though big mirrors are "out", they can be pretty nice to expand the illusion of space in a narrow room. And consider how the mirror is attached to your wall. If it's heavily glued, removing it will wreck the wall.

Are you replacing the tile that's on the rest of the bathroom walls?

As for paint, a very very pale aqua can look great with the cararra marble finishes. I'd be careful not to go too blue because it can look cold and/or garish. I actually would consider doing a dark gray wall, perhaps only on the top half if you're keeping tile on the lower half. If you use glossy paint, it can look very rich.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 2:21PM
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I'd go with a light countertop: white, gray, or some mixture of the above.

I like a bluish-gray for the walls. Keep it light since the room's not huge. A light sage green would be nice too.

I'd put the accent tile roughly eye level, rounded up to the nearest full tile. In other words, if eye level falls in the middle of a big tile, lay the full tile and put the accent tile above that (or below).

I'd keep the grout light so it blends rather than accentuates the borders.

Floor tile on the diagonal would look good.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 6:39PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I used the corian on line designer to give you a sense of what your bath might look like with the dark gray counter and the pale wall with the dark floor. I don't think it looks too dark at all...I think it looks rich and masculine.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 9:27AM
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Thank you for all the suggestions!

I like the idea of a towel bar at the far end of the tub (especially if it sticks out far enough so it drips straight into the tub and not onto the grout), but I also like the corner shelves in the back corner. Do you think having both would be too much back there?

When I bought the tub, I also bought the drain and overflow cover thing and they are polished chrome, so should I just go with polished chrome for all the hardware in the room? (the knobs on the vanity look brushed nickel I think, but I could always buy new knobs).

phylhl & loves2cook4six, I really like the idea of using the accent tile for the vanity backsplash also. That will look really cool (just have to buy a few more pieces of it, I was surprised how cheap it is, only about $12 per 12" square).

AnnieDeighnaugh, you're right, that gray color for the vanity doesn't look too dark. I was thinking I should go more towards white, but now I'm going to think about darker too.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:36PM
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Great choices. You under estimate your abilities.

We recently did a small bath using Carrara hex on the floor. Laticrete silver shadow grout was used. It is light, doesn't stand out. It would work for the wall tile. Be sure to use a penetrating sealer after installation.

Use a good quality towel bar at end of shower (rust). Corner shelves could work if placement is carefully considered. I'd use real Carrara for shelves. Think I'd place towel bar high and shelves lower. There are quality wire baskets in different configurations available to hold items. Google Ginger Splashables.

My preference would be the darker vanity top with a white china under mount sink.

Even though slightly more to install the floor laid diagonally would help room to appear larger and is more interesting. I'd use grout similar to tile color.

IMO, the 2 metal finishes are fine together. Just keep the fixtures, towel bars and toilet tissue holder the same.

We used Benjamin Moore silver slipper-a light gray blue- on the walls. it looks very nice with Carrara. BM has many nice grays, too.

Mirror-consider a dark frame, larger vertically than horizontally, or a chrome pivot mirror, or possibly silver leaf frame. Sconces on each side of mirror, possibly. Here is a link to a medicine cabinet, hidden, for the end wall of vanity. June 23, 2012 post.

I think you are wanting to use the accent tile horizontally? If so, definetly place it above 1/2 mark. Closer to 2/3rds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Velvet & Linen

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 12:08AM
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If I were going to do corner shelves, I'd be more inclined to put them in the front corner, where they will be behind the spray from the faucet, as opposed to the back corner where they'd have to be pretty high not to be in the path of the water.

You've done a great job so far. I'd just throw into the mix that I don't think you absolutely need the accent tile unless you want it. The plain field tile would be fine by itself, too. Would work either way.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 12:11AM
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Correction: Benjamin Moore grayish blue paint color is GLASS Slipper 1632.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 12:32AM
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I observe you really like dark colors and shades but I won't suggest you have everything grey or blue. Pair these colors with white to make the room brighter.

I've seen the drawing of your bathroom's layout and I think the toilet beside the tub is not a good idea. Or maybe it is, just separate them with a glass shower door/enclosure

Remember not to put too much when your shower area does not have that much space. Hope this helps! :)

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 12:56AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you put a towel bar over the back side of the tub, you can't also put shelves there. You can sneak them in on that front left corner (when you're facing into the spray). You also have room for a nice towel bar (perhaps consider a heated towel bar....a real pleasure) along that long wall.

If you started with chrome, there's no reason why you can't continue with looks nice with your colors.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 9:08AM
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I don't see any problem with toilet-beside-tub. That's pretty standard. But I do see that in your drawing the tub/shower plumbing is on the wrong end. It's much cheaper and easier to do one wet wall with all the plumbing in it. Also, if you're going to keep the tub it's pleasanter to loll in a tub with the toilet down by your feet rather than next to your head.

It's possible your existing plumbing is already set up that way? For some reason in older baths it was common to put the toilet at the head of the tub. All those cute cottage floor plans from the 1920s that people post here have that arrangement, for example.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 9:40AM
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