Small family bathroom makeover

The projects I enjoy doing are remodels and makeovers where clients live in the property for several years before they decide to put their own stamp on it. This little bathroom was in serious need of an upgrade. Untouched for almost 16 years, with the builders tiling and sanitary ware, the space was lacking personality and “life”.


What made the biggest difference? This stunning wallpaper from Designer’s Guild. With its plaster-like effect and metallic texture at places, this bathroom is now elegant and sophisticated which the whole family can enjoy.



To pull the colours together I used art and the bold fabric on window pelmet. They add personality and introduce new colours into the space, so its’ not too 2-dimensional.


I also added new lights above the mirrored cabinets. White – on the tiles which got refinished (much cheaper option to go for than buying new tiles) and all the other accessories create a strong and crisp contrast between the dark Farrow & Ball Hague Blue paint and the wallpaper.


The look is now more crisp and fresh, don’t you think?




So what did I do to make this bathroom transformation a success?

1. To contrast the white existing tiles, I used dark paint colour around the bath area. I also painted the front panel of the bath tub all in high gloss paint finish. 

2. I created a black border on the tiles and carried it all the way around the whole space. I joined the tiles with the walls that don’t have tiling with paint. Again all in gloss finish.

3. I introduced textured and metallic wallpaper on the “dry” wall. This is the main game-changer.

4. I added new wall lights above the mirrored cabinets.

5. To bring the scheme together, I used colourful abstract art and fabric.


1. Don’t be afraid of using dark colours on walls in small spaces. It will work as long as the colour is contrasted with white or light neutral. I would say at least 40 – 60 or 50 – 50 in quantities.

2. Mix metals – chrome, nickel, brass, gold etc. It adds individuality and dimension.

3. Use wallpaper on dry walls (walls not directly close to water supply). Honestly, the bathroom comes alive. If you can’t use wallpaper, try going for patterned or textured tiles instead. Choose stone or tiles which allow “the invisible grout” (the grout line is so thin that blends into the tiling).

And that’s it. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Happy weekend!

Karolina Barnes Studio

PS. See my other projects here or view my portfolio here.