May 5, 2022
12 min read
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How to Design Your Dream Bathroom

Nobody hates a mess more than me. GAH I hate a mess, but it actually becomes part of the fun.

I Never Thought This Was Possible...

Let me start by saying, I never thought I would be THAT girl with the dream bathroom. You know, the kind you see on Pinterest that you re-pin and send to your bestie?

Why do we lack so much confidence in ourselves?

I 1000% lacked confidence to do this project, which is exactly why I'm showing up and sharing this post with all of you.

Look folks, if I can do it (zero tiling skills), so can you. Now quick disclaimer to be fair, my father in law was there for the early stages to guide me.

John helped me set the first row, showed me how to use the level, and then he sent me on my way for the next 18 hours. Ok there were a few things in between, but John is not the hand holding type o' guy.

He gives minimal instruction and a 'you got this' grin, and leaves you to your own demise.

I realized that John having that confidence in me is what helped me the most. His laissez faire attitude knocked out my self doubt, and gave me permission to move forward. Here is a photo of John checking my work, mid-project.

BTW I really should frame this of my favorites from our house remodel.

Ok let's get back to the design process, like I said, baby steps!

Here are the five steps that helped me design my dream bathroom:

  1. Narrow down your color choices (Pinterest that shit)
  2. Choose a tile size that makes sense for the size of your bathroom
  3. Choose the design / color / textiles you want, not based on resale value (I'm going to go into a passionate discussion on this momentarily)
  4. Keep in mind that nothing is permanent, design can always be refined
  5. Prepare to get messy

1. Choosing a Color

For some people choosing a color is really tough. We often operate from a place of fear, so think clearly about the questions in your head, and then answer them out loud! 

"What if I hate it?"

"What if I tire of it quickly?"

Are these the questions holding you back? YES, we all have the same questions in our head, but to point #4, nothing is permanent, so choose the color you love, as if your life depended on it, as if money weren't an issue, and go with your gut! More on point #4 in a minute...

I started by scouring endless bathroom photos on Pinterest, and after seeing loads of white, gray and black, I knew that was the exact opposite direction I wanted to go.

BORING. Sometimes the best strategy is to rule out the things we don't like first.

Now I'm a girl who loves color, that's just my personal preference so don't take offense to me opting out of black, white or gray if that's your dream bathroom, but by knocking out these colors, and knowing I wanted SOME color, it narrowed down my choices and made it pretty easy.

And truthfully if Chad weren't in the equation, I saw some really tasteful pink tiles that I totally loved, but that wasn't an option, so green was our next agreed upon color.

Why did we choose emerald green?

It's a rich, tasteful and timeless color that reminds us of travel, of being somewhere deep in the Amazon forest with exotic birds singing and the perfect mist in the air.

Too much? Well, you asked.

2. Choosing the Right Tile Size:

Our bathroom is quite small, so it made sense to go with a smaller size tile.

For a larger space, I'd definitely consider a larger scale tile or perhaps something less symmetrical so I could get more creative.

In the kitchen we chose a large hexagon cement stone, night and day from what we chose for the bathroom.

Also, the folks at our local tile store, Buena Tile were incredibly helpful. I spent a lot of time in the store asking questions, sharing photos with them and my vision for the project, so don't be afraid to ask questions, that's what they are there for. They also helped me choose my grout color, mortar mix, etc.

To say we became friends would not be an exaggeration.

3. Choosing the Design You Really Want (vs. what you think future buyers will want if /when you resell in 20 years).

I'm going to make a bold statement here..

Many people live their lives based on an unknown future, specifically future buyers of a house they might sell in 20 years (if we even live that long).

"We can't choose that tile because when we go to resell, no one will ever buy the house."


Unless you are literally flipping the house, why would you make a decision for a future buyer that doesn't yet exist, 10-20 years from now, versus choosing the tile you LOVE and that will make you happy for the next 10 years.

This is probably my biggest pet peeve, so call me if we need to talk through this, I will literally talk you into your dream tile, and you will thank me.

Every time I take a bath with a candle, a glass of wine, my favorite book and a few herbs / salts sprinkled in the hot water I'm like yassss, I did this, and yaasssss you can too!

4. Nothing is permanent, design can always be refined!

Ok, this philosophy literally saved Chad and I as we remodeled the house.

I'd say looking back, we're happy with about 97% of our choices. There are things we did that I would do differently, (insert barn doors here) but we can / will go back and change that 3% someday. Having this mindset allowed me to move forward, to avoid paralysis by analysis and to just DO.

This philosophy was my guiding force, paired with Chad's laid back attitude and shoulder shrugs that "if we hate it, we'll change it," REALLY helped.

And as we know, mindset is everything.

5. Prepare to get messy

Nobody hates a mess more than me. GAH I hate a mess.

I was caked in dried mortar all through the tiling projects, and I finally accepted being a mess, and even embraced it a bit.

But you know what? Even writing this blog post was messy. I had various headers floating around, the photos were disorganized and the formatting was off, but it always gets done! 

It got published, it's far from perfect, but it is enough.

John and I testing out spacers in between the tile
Selfie after my first two rows, little did I know I had 16 more hours to go.
The original bathroom - BEFORE

If you are looking for a feminine design + labor perspective, I'm available for consultations. I actually loved tiling so much that I told Chad I wanted to start my own tiling company, but then I started having back pain, so had to put the physical labor on hold and just stick to the consulting.

Email me at with the subject line DREAM BATHROOM, and let's start building YOUR dream bathroom together! Here is a quick video on the process if you're a visual person like me and like to see things in action! 

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