Bathroom Ideas 101

Farmhouse. Bohemian. Vessel sink. Undermount sink. Open shower. Freestanding tub. Wall sconces. Pendant lights. If you're thinking about remodeling your bathroom, you might be swimming in a sea of endless ideas, which can be pretty overwhelming. There are so many options and buzzwords out there that it can be difficult to narrow down the look and feel of your space, not to mention all of those practical features you'll need, too.

Well, guess what? You've come to the right place. Here, we've laid out everything you need to know, including helpful information and inspiration to guide the way. Ahead are the most important things to consider when planning a bathroom renovation.

Light It Up

Light fixtures are always a key choice in the bathroom. You'll want to provide optimal light in your space and bring additional visual interest to a bathroom through your fixtures. Simplify your search by thinking about which areas need the most light, select options that aesthetically fit the space (from wall sconces to flush mounts to pendant lights), and peruse top lighting retailers, which are included in our handy guide.

You'll have a wide variety of lighting themes to choose from, with fixtures that fit the style and feel of your bath, including contemporary, industrial, bohemian, and modern lights. And you can outfit your small bathroom with lighting that is proportionate to the space.

Stylish Tile

bathroom idea with floral mosaic tile mural on wall behind tub
credit: Alex Reyto

If you were to think of your bathroom as an outfit, the tile would be the accessories. They bring color and personal style to a bath, and can be placed on the walls, floor, and even the countertop. Bold, patterned tile also works beautifully as a backsplash.

There are some factors to consider. First, you'll need to decide where to install the tile in your bathroom (perhaps you prefer a tile-clad shower and hardwood floors instead of top-to-bottom tile). Next step: Select the material — from ceramic to porcelain to stone, all these materials carry pros and cons. Think about the style of your space. Will midcentury-inspired tile look best? How about a mosaic tile floor? And, as always, you'll need to consider your budget, which will help in determining the material — all of which is outlined in our how-to guide on bathroom tile.

But first, get an eyeful of the jaw-dropping moasic tile wall mural in this bathroom. Feeling inspired yet?

Showers and Bathtubs

When searching through bathroom ideas to remodel your shower, visualize your most soothing shower experience and the one that makes the most sense for your lifestyle. Using our guide as a jumping-off point, you can decide if a shower and bathtub combo is right for you (this option is convenient if you need to save space). Or, perhaps you're blessed with ample square footage and you can pick a freestanding tub and a separate shower. If you love taking baths and you know you'll be bathing little ones and pets, turn to the many bathtub options that are available. When you've chosen your shower or bathtub (or both), you can further style things with a tile floor or handheld showerheads and body sprays.

We personally would opt for this chic, black-and-white combo with a penny tile tub surround. Swoon!

Chic Sinks

Next, we'll move on to the sink. If the thought of this gives you a sinking feeling, never fear. All you have to do is narrow things down, and you can begin with our comprehensive guide.

There are tons of modern bathroom sinks available nowadays, but we're confident you'll discover the right one for your bath. Industrial trough sinks look amazing in farmhouse bathrooms and provide lots of space for multiple people to wash up. A vessel sink sits on top of the counter and adds shapely style to a space. Installed below the countertop, straightforward undermount sinks have become surprisingly chic in recent years. Console sinks have antique visuals that work best in large bathrooms. Self-rimming sinks are trend-proof, perfect if you're aiming for a timeless look. Wall-mounted sinks look sleek and modern. And there are several sinks that will nestle right into a diminutive bath.

Lastly, you'll want to inspect all the possible sink materials (marble and concrete and vitreous china, oh my!) and consider the idea of a colorful sink as well.

Contemporary Countertops

Modern-day countertops come in a range of materials that have their upsides and downsides depending on how much maintenance you want to put in and the visuals you're hoping to achieve. Refer to our one-stop-shop guide and think about the following materials.

For something unexpected, earthy, and durable when properly cared for, choose wood. Concrete is another option that goes against the grain and is ideal for industrial bathrooms. Marble is oh so luxurious, and it works in several different bathroom styles. Similar to marble but without the high expense, quartz is a quality option for bathroom countertops. Glass is sleek and fits seamlessly into modern baths, but be prepared for possible scratches and nicks. Solid surface countertops are traditional, and for good reason since they're so durable. Laminate will be kind to your pocketbook.

Bathroom Styles

We know Pinterest and Instagram are brimming with bathroom ideas, and you might have a million of these looks in your head. Here in the 21st century, there are seemingly endless design styles and themes to choose from. The real question is, which one feels right to you? And to add onto that, which style will work best with the rest of your home?

Perhaps a modern look, readied with slick lighting or on-trend patterns, is the right pick. Modern could be far from your mind as you scroll through vintage bathroom ideas. In the opposite direction, contemporary style that's so right-now could be directly up your alley and match the avant-garde visuals in your home. Rustic, farmhouse, industrial, or bohemian themes could mirror the worn woods, neutral colors, and reclaimed objects you love decorating with. To echo modernist motifs, choose a midcentury or Scandinavian theme for your bath.

Small Spaces

Small bathrooms are not a bummer. We repeat: Small bathrooms are not a bummer. In fact, a small bathroom can give you an opportunity to exercise a bit of creativity, especially when it comes to making the space look larger with light colors and skipping busy patterns. When remodeling a small bathroom, you can add decorative flair by thinking minimally with your decor, combining form and function, and installing floating shelves. You'll even have enough room left over to hang attention-grabbing light fixtures.

This small bathroom looks like a spa oasis thanks to natural light, a neutral palette, and a glass shower enclosure.

True Colors

Even in the teeniest of bathrooms, we think color is always a home run. To make your bath stand out among other bathroom ideas, you can paint it in a color that feels just right to you. Or use tile, cabinets, and other decorative elements to tie your palette together.

Go with something that pushes the envelope a little, like black (or a black-and-white combo) or a whispery pink. Or, if you want your bathroom to look tried and true, you can never go wrong with blue or green.

Black and white work together in perfect harmony in this bathroom.

Bathroom Floors

You've covered a lot of the visuals that will surround you in a bathroom; now you'll need to consider what you're putting under your feet. Use our guide as a starting point and adjust your flooring options according to your budget, the maintenance you wish to devote to it, and the aesthetic value.

Marble floors look particularly lovely, and ceramic tile offers a lot of personality, particularly when you opt for something colorful and patterned. Concrete floors are having a moment (but might be a little cold from time to time, so keep that in mind). And remember that you can always dress up your floor with a cozy rug. Or, go all in and opt for floor-to-ceiling statement tile.

The Toilet

We have more toilet styles available to us than ever before, like composting toilets that are ideal for tiny homes and Airstreams. Then there's the one-piece toilet, a newbie to the design world, in which the base and tank are connected. The two-piece toilet is a budget-friendly choice that's been around for years. Wall-mounted toilets are streamlined and compact—in other words, made for small bathrooms. And a smart toilet, the latest and greatest bathroom invention, comes with technology that makes it touch-free and lights up at night. You can read all about these styles in our helpful guide.

Wall to Wall

Now your bathroom walls could use a little love, whether you choose to hang wallpaper or add artwork. In the spirit of farmhouse style, you could always install shiplap in your bath. Wainscoting can look shockingly modern as well.

And don't worry — your bathroom will still look unique and cool if you decide to simply paint the walls. Around here, we're particularly fond of shell pink, black, and even bright yellow for bathroom paint.

Clever Storage

OK, so your bathroom idea might seem incredibly fabulous right now, but what about storage? Don't forget that you'll need to include places to stash towels, lotions, and other self-care necessities.

Follow our guide to bathroom storage ideas, and you'll be organized in no time. You can either purchase products that will erase your storage woes, or you can build them right into your bathroom design (like a cubby for towels that rests in your vanity). Small bathrooms call for an extra dose of genius, ranging from wall shelving systems to corner shelves. There are so many products and solutions that can make organization in a bathroom a breeze.

Rental Bathrooms

When you're in a rental home or apartment, it's true that you can't really do any huge changes to your bathroom. And that's OK. Because there are loads of other ways to bring personality to your space.

You can paint the walls and ceiling or pick up some good old peel-and-stick wallpaper, which you can read more about along with other ideas in our guide to updating rental bathrooms. You could also try some other creative bathroom ideas and make it all about the hardware and fixtures, or green things up with a plethora of houseplants. When you're simply hanging a medicine cabinet or a new mirror in your rental bathroom, you won't have to sacrifice your security deposit.

Finding Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures can be an easy way to refresh the look of your bathroom. In our guide, you can read about sink faucets, bathtub faucets, and showerheads that will instantantly modernize your space and create more convenience for you, too.

Even the colors and finishes of these fittings can boost the style points in your bath. Black fixtures look right at home in a black-and-white bathroom, while brass looks current and opulent in an array of bathrooms. Modern shapes and clean lines are ways to make your fixtures look right-this-minute as well.

Vanity Cabinets

Your vanity serves a practical purpose as a surface for carrying out daily routines, but it can pull double duty giving you bonus storage, too. Even though vanity cabinets are extremely useful, be forewarned that custom options will impact your bottom line. Read our practical guide to cabinets and gather up some new bathroom ideas to think about.

Vanity cabinets are also a good opportunity to infuse your bath with an extra dose of color. Black or gray perhaps?

Accessories and Decor

Finally, the layout is in place. You've chosen your shower, sink, cabinets, and flooring. Now it's time to put the cherry on top of all your hard work. That's where accessories and decor come in. You can infuse style into a tiny bathroom by choosing thoughtful details, like a downsized trough sink and a brightly-patterned rug. If you're planning on a black-and-white bathroom, punch it up with graphic tile and a bamboo shade. Rustic bathrooms call for wood furnishings, well-loved tile, and throwback features.

The sky really is the limit when it comes to bathroom accessories — you can bring stylish accessories into a kids' bathroom, give your bath a trendy makeover, or keep the price point low and incorporate accessories under $50.

When you update the decor in the rest of your home, don't leave out your washrooms. Give them the seasonal treatment when fall and the holidays come around — even towels can make great pieces of bathroom decor.


Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.