Master Bathroom Ideas

by | Aug 9, 2019 | All Things Home, Bathrooms, My House | 49 comments

It’s looking like we’ll start working on our master bathroom in late fall.  We’re just in the early stages of getting quotes and figuring out what we’ll do ourselves and what we’ll hire out.  Similar to the master bathroom makeover in our previous house, it will be a hybrid of DIY to keep costs down and hiring professionals for the parts of the project that are beyond our skills.

Before I talk about some of my ideas, let me say that this is the best bathroom we’ve ever owned.  In 20 years of marriage, it’s the first time we have a bathroom with two sinks and a tub and a shower.  There is also a linen closet, tons of storage, it’s roomy, and it’s bright when the shutters are open.  Like the rest of this house, the bones and layout are excellent.  The things that I want to change are almost all cosmetic and more about customizing it than making things “better”.  The one exception is the shower, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

First, the star is the tub.  I know freestanding tubs are all the rage and, if we were starting from scratch, maybe that’s what we would go with, but the existing tub is perfect and there is no need to replace it.  It’s deep, roomy, and has jets.  So, it’s staying.  What I would like to change is the tile around it.  I’m hoping it’ll be possible to do that without removing the tub.  (I’ve seen that new tile can be installed over old tile if it’s intact and in good condition.  I would guess that we could demo the tile on the wall, but leave the tile on the deck surrounding the tub.  Fingers are crossed on that one!)

And, to make it a real feature, I’d like to tile all the way around the window on the back wall.

I’ve been considering a marble subway tile, as we did in our last house…

…but I’m thinking I might go with white subway tile, which still looks classic, but is a fraction of the cost.

I’d also like to make a feature of the niche beside the bathtub by also tiling and adding shelves…

…along the lines of what Maria did in her bathroom…

Photo Source: Maria of Dreamy Whites

On the floor, I’d like to do marble hex tiles (4″ or 6″).  I’ll have to get some samples, though, and see if a large, square tile might be better in the larger space.  Marble tile can get a bit too busy, so I want to strike a good balance.

We put 2″ marble hex tile in the upstairs bathroom of our last house and I loved that, but I think it would be too small-scale for this bathroom.  But, maybe not…

The shower is where the biggest change will happen.  Right now, it’s a plastic shower insert with a bubbled glass door.

We’d like to replace it with a tiled shower with a clear glass door.  This will allow us to gain about 6″ of depth, making the shower a bit roomier.

(I suppose I could’ve folded the towel properly before taking these pictures!)

And, I’m not sure about the vanity area, yet.  That will happen later.  The first phase is really about the shower, but we can’t do the shower without also doing the floor tile and if we’re going to be ripping out tile, we might as well take care of the tile around the tub, too.

My vision for the vanity, though, would be tiling the wall above the sink, changing out the light fixtures, replacing the big mirror with two mirrors, painting the cabinets, and replacing the counter.  All but replacing the counter are projects we can do ourselves, so we could just pick away at them down the road.

I wouldn’t even call this a plan at this point, but just ideas that might change depending on time and budget.  We’ll see.  One step at a time…


  1. Lisa P

    Exciting changes coming to your master bathroom! You’ll make it lovely, I’m sure!

  2. Pat McRee

    It sounds like a lovely plan, Marian, but my heart sees your entire tub and toilet area with a painted mural as only you can do!

  3. Carol Jansson

    Put a door on the toilet. It will be a life changer!

    • Jeanna

      I agree 100%. It’s an easy thing you guys can do, might be fun to add a wood piece that’s antique.

    • Terry

      I was thinking the exact same thing! A pocket door would be great but not sure about accessibility with plumbing. 😊

  4. Amanda

    I cannot wait to see this come together. Your wish list is nearly identical to the one for my master bathroom as well, except I have 4×4 white square tile- acres of it it feels like! Difficult to keep clean and it is quite busy for me. I am excited to see you share what you learn!

    • beverlee lyons

      I also have those tiles. I hate them. Hate is a strong word, but I hate them. Work. Lotsa work.

  5. Linda

    I’m sure your bathroom is going to be beautiful whatever you end up doing! Looking forward to seeing the transformation.

  6. Laura Sherman

    Love the tumbled-ness of the tile and the painted wood combination. I can see it for sure. I also love the large scale paper and the ‘Boxwood’ green mirror! You’ve inspired me today! <3

  7. beck campbell

    LOVE you bathroom…and I know it will be amazing! Just a suggestion. I removed my tub/shower and did a huge walk in shower this past year (you can go to my blog and search “master bathroom.”) Due to my fear of leaks and damage, it is something I hired an expert to do…waterproofing a shower area HAS to be spot on or you will regret it. I guess it is something you could DIY…I know I could have…but I know it was done right by professionals so I sleep a little easier!

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Oh yes, we are going to have the shower professionally done! I feel like I can do the tile on the wall, since that’s just straight lines and it’s decorative.

    • Indigo

      What a great space to remodel. I recently remodeled my master bath. All four walls were tiled by he previous owner and he used 1” square mosaic glass tile. My tile guys worked two days removing the tiles, and no matter how careful they were, it was really damaging the wall. What a mess!! We made the executive decision to stop the removal and tile over the rest of the existing tile with the new tile. I tiled all four walls floor to ceiling and the floor too. It is a perfect tile job and their is no telling where some of the old tile was left and where we tiled over existing. It has been finished for two years and no problems. So it can definitely be done.

  8. Dale

    Make sure your installer is familiar with Kerdi and Ditra products for your tiling waterproofing/underlayment. It’s a must for preventing water penetration. Only way to protect such a major investment. We did our our own; it’s not hard.

  9. Cheri Dietzman

    So, our bathroom is on the fall list too (at least mine — maybe not K’s) 🙂
    One minute I want subway tile, the next I think marble. The hex tile is beautiful – I think I can do it on our small bathroom. Possibly will add a freestanding tub and definitely will redo the shower. New vanity, lights, mirror. So many decisions!!!

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      We should go tile window-shopping together…

  10. patti

    I have the small hexagon tile in a large master and I think it looks very pretty because the rest of the room is simple and mostly whites and rustic wood with grey accents. However, I hate the grout cleaning. I don’t know if I’d do it again.

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Yep, I hear you on the grout. I don’t think I’ll do white grout, but a pale gray grout, so it’s a little more forgiving. I had white grout on 1″ hex tiles in our half bath in our last house and that was a nightmare to keep clean.

  11. Sheila

    Marian, have you thought about light fixtures? I have bar lighting above all of the bathroom sinks in our house and would love to replace them. We need a lot of light though. I’ve looked at tons, but haven’t found the perfect fit.

  12. Colleen

    Can’t wait to watch your progress! The mirror may possibly be an issue. Sometimes builders glue these large mirrors to the wall and when removing them the dry wall is pulled down with the mirror. Ask me how I know! 🙂 I do love a previous suggestion on painting a mural in the recess above the tub! 🙂

    • Addie

      Yes!!!…that happened to me. You can never find anyone to fix the texture just right so……I got a VERY large framed
      mirror, from a vintage dresser set. Found it at a garage sale… $5.00!!! Problem solved. Looks great!!!

  13. Eileen

    You could frame the mirror when the time comes, Nice gold frame would look nice or white.

    Put a door on the toilet and it then becomes a “water closet”. Nice to have privacy.

  14. Becky

    How fun!! We did our master bath a few years ago so I just want to share one piece of advice – please keep those panels on the front of the tub if they give you access to the plumbing. Our tub was completely tiled in and we had to cut a hole in the wall outside of the bathroom to fix a leak once. If we’d had access panels that wouldn’t have been a problem. Just my 2 cents. Anyway, I know that whatever you do will be gorgeous! I can’t wait to see what you decide on!

  15. Brenda

    I have been trying to make up my mind on a bathroom floor tile. I really like the cement tile but I’m still not sure. We’ve never hired someone to do the work for us so I feel like I need to get this right! It’s not like a paint color that turns out to be a bad choice. We’ll be stuck with it! We are also looking at a very large tile ( 18 inches). But I’m afraid they would crack if the house settles. Decisions, decisions! I can’t wait to see what you do!

  16. Marlene Stephenson

    How very exciting for you, it will be so nice and enjoyable, after it’s done.

  17. Jenn

    I love all the ideas. We have the hex tile in two of our smallish bathrooms. Do you ever have trouble with the gaps being of varying sizes within the sheets, or some of the hex tiles being set in a bit wonky? It’s not too noticeable in a small space, but am imagining in a large space it would show worse. Perhaps we just bought an inexpensive tile and it’s not that way with all of them.

  18. Diane

    Your current bathroom is quite lovely and I’m certain the makeover will be stunning, Marian. 🙂
    A thought about the tile on top of tile… No doubt it can be done, but I can’t even imagine how tricky it would be around the tub. That being said, my parents had their bathroom professionally tiled. I don’t remember what the original surface was, but it was a hard shiny surface to which the tiles were applied. After about 5 years the titles began to come off randomly. Maybe the “glues” are better today, but it would give me pause. There really are no easy solutions in my thinking.
    Also, it seems to be a current trend to take out the large vanity mirrors and replace them with small individual mirrors that a good for tooth brushing and make-up application, but not to see how one looks. It seems that pretty reigns over function. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for this change.

  19. Margaret Mills

    I agree with some of the others: put a door on your commode room! The other ideas are super.

  20. Mary Beth

    We remodeled a master bath about ten years ago in our last home. The rage at that time was travertine. One of my favorite things we did was river rock on the floor of the shower, it felt like I was at a spa each time I used it. We also had a bench in the shower, which I think is a must for shaving or just relaxing. We had a rain-head shower and a shower hose again loved having both and used them all of the time. Above the water knobs, I put in a niche for the bar of soap. On the larger wall we had a very large niche for shampoo, conditioner and body washes with a smaller shelf above to house my razor. This way the bench was always clear of bottles and jars.

    We also moved our toilet across the room to be able to have a jetted tub. If you are not adding a door to the water closet for privacy, you might consider swapping the toilet area for the shower with a larger glass wall on the one side of the tub. It might give you more room for the shower which would feel more like a walk-in shower. Since I don’t know what is to the right of your current shower I don’t know if this is feasible.
    Good Luck, I am sure you will love whatever improvements you make.
    Mary Beth

  21. Julie

    I think a salvage half glass door would be great on the toilet – you can frost the glass and stencil something cute on the glass.

  22. Pat

    I can see a vision of loveliness coming together!
    I like your ideas about using tile.
    I use caution on the side of minimizing patterns as I get sensory overload quite easily, these days.
    During Parade of Homes, I often leave with mixed emotions as to the multiple patterns of tile used in a small space.
    I’ll be back to see your choices!
    Thank you for an inspiring post!

  23. Michele M.

    M- I can’t tell by the pics but if you don’t have a door to the commode area you may wish to consider adding one.

    Looks as though you actually may be able to even put in a nice pocket door. Just a thought.

    Agree on tiny hex tiles being too much for a large bathroom.

    Love all your other ideas. How exciting!

  24. Wendy Y

    We were just at Lowe’s last night and wandered down the tile aisle. I was amazed at all the new variations on white subway tile, as well as new trends in tile overall. So even if you go with white subway, you will still have lots of fun choices! Enjoy 😀

  25. Debbie Scarimbolo

    My daughter had a similar set up. She switched the shower and toilet areas creating a huge walk- in shower. Existing shower area provided plenty of room for the toilet. Did require moving a pipe but it seemed well worth it. Whatever you do will be great😉

  26. Teresa

    Go out and look at Kim @Savvy Southern Style recent master bathroom remodel. Its the prettiest remodel job I have seen in blog land! That should give you lots of inspiration ideas….looking forward to seeing your do-over in the Fall.

  27. Christy Thompson

    Hi there! I am almost certain you’ve shared this before, but could you share the manufacturer & name of the blue fabric you used for the shower curtain in your previous bathroom (2nd photo)? I believe it was available at Joann’s originally?
    Thank you!

  28. Kim

    I’d go with large floor tile (maybe the slate from entry?) bc floor grout is so hard to keep clean and a lovely marble on the tub surround.

  29. JC

    This all sounds beautiful and very similar to what we are planning, though we are removing our 90s corner tub and putting in a free standing. Your tub is classic and will fit in beautifully with your design. So, I am intrigued by tiling over tile. This would be soooo much easier I would think. I’ve had marble in my last shower and it is a lot of work to maintain after every use and weekly, but you just can’t replicate that marble look in its authentic look and charm. I picked up some marble look alike samples this week, and while pretty, they still dont have that look and feel of the real deal. I think I just talked myself into doing marble!

  30. Diane Wicks

    We are going through a similar idea on a couple of our bathrooms. Hybrid is the way to go! I can’t wait to see your ideas come together.

  31. Sherry B

    I look forward to your update as I am also in the process of reworking our master bath. I do not have the space to have a tub and shower, only a large walking shower. I know I will find inspiration and ideas in your posts.

  32. Di

    Hi— this looks like a really project with lots of possibilities!
    In the picture with the blue and cream shower curtain at your previous house— love the fabric! Do you have a name and source for it?


  33. Sylvia

    I also recommend Kim’s (@Savvy Southern Style) bathroom for ideas. Also, she did a kitchen remodel a while back and I ‘m pretty sure her husband tiled over tile.

  34. Candice

    Would you share the source for those gorgeous, glass, jars in your bathroom?

  35. Cindy

    Definitely would recommend a door for the toilet area. I like the idea of switching the shower and toilet. What color are you thinking about for the cabinets?

  36. Lisa Hackman

    I love the mini landscapes!!! My painting talent ends with tables, chairs and an occasional wall!!

  37. cabrini rudnick

    Paint the cabinets and leave the counter. it will save lots of money. Your counter looks fine and will stand out with the right color cabinets

  38. Bob

    I can understand how freestanding tubs versus built-in tubs is a hard decision. My wife and I can’t come to terms with how our bathroom should be designed. We’ll have to consider getting a contractor to weigh in on the details.

  39. Maribeth

    Planning a master bath remodel now. I love the aesthetics of a free standing tub but after sitting in numerous ones, we’ve decided to go with a drop in with apron front. Free standing are beautiful but comfort and ease of getting in and out can be problematic. So function over form. Drive our decision …..

  40. charles Riley

    Hey, Marian thanks for your blessing article to remodel my bathroom. Here you exposed all necessary tips but What are the minimum budgets to remodel the whole house?

  41. Nancy

    I as of late renovated my lord shower. Every one of the four dividers was tiled by the past proprietor and he utilized two square mosaic glass tiles. My tile folks worked two days evacuating the tiles, and regardless of how cautious they were, it was truly harming the divider. What a wreck!! We settled on the official choice to stop the expulsion and tile over the remainder of the current tile with the new tile. I tiled every one of the four dividers floors to roof and the floor as well.


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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