How to Update Your 1990s-Era Bathroom

Design Tips to Usher In Contemporary Trends

Remember our previous post on updating your 1990s-era kitchen? Well, today, we’re tackling another major room in the home: the bathroom. After all, 90s style didn’t typically contain itself to one corner of the house; it left its mark everywhere

Now, although bathrooms are usually the smallest spaces in a home, they can also be the most expensive to remodel. Plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and more all play a role, and it’s a room you absolutely want to plan out before jumping into demo mode. So, as tempting as it can be to rip out those decades-old countertops and shower doors, make sure you have all the details in place first so you know exactly where to start. (P.S. we LOVE bathroom renovations, and with our 3-D renderings, we always ensure you get the most detailed sneak peek of your project – ask us how we can help!)

So, without further ado, let’s talk 90s trends – because chances are, if you don’t have some of these elements in your bathroom, your neighbor most certainly does.

 

Nursery Drive

BEFORE

What jumped out right away to us on this project was the color palette. Per typical 1990s-era style, cabinetry and trim throughout this space was all oak, which had the effect of making the room feel cramped and closed in on itself. Paired with those outdated brown tones was a shade of blue that similarly makes the space feel a bit jarring. In theory, blues can be relaxing and do frequently work well in bathrooms, but a shade this saturated didn’t quite work for the room and immediately evoked 90s memories. Beyond the color scheme, the room felt like it was too divided, which made it all feel smaller than it really was.

His & hers sinks in this bathroom had a decent amount of counter space, but it all felt cluttered and cramped without proper storage options built in.

His & hers sinks in this bathroom had a decent amount of counter space, but it all felt cluttered and cramped without proper storage options built in.

 

Powder blue walls paired with a gray tub, white tiles, and oak trim made for an overwhelming color palette.

Powder blue walls paired with a gray tub, white tiles, and oak trim made for an overwhelming color palette.

 

Oak trim around the windows made the light feel muted and darkened the space overall.

Oak trim around the windows made the light feel muted and darkened the space overall.

 

The shower area felt far too dark and small, separated from the rest of the space by a solid wall.

The shower area felt far too dark and small, separated from the rest of the space by a solid wall.

 

AFTER

To begin our transformation of this space, we started with 2-D and 3-D renderings to show in detail what the room had the potential to be. Because the bathroom had both a tub and shower, his & her sinks, and a separate toilet nook, there wasn’t a large amount of extra square footage to work with, so the goal was to keep everything feeling open and bright. Out went the darker colors, and in came classic shades of creamy whites and soft browns. Additionally, we opted for a surrounding glass wall and door for the shower to bring in the light, and we brought the cabinetry up to the ceiling (above the toilet and between the sinks) to add visual height to the space. The result was a spa-like environment that felt timeless, chic, and inviting. 

3-D rendering of the future bathtub and shower wall, complete with updated glass, faucets, and tile.

3-D rendering of the future bathtub and shower wall, complete with updated glass, faucets, and tile. / Design by: Carla Bast, Sneak Peek Design

 

3-D rendering of the his & her sinks station and separate toilet area, including ample storage solutions on the vanity.

3-D rendering of the his & her sinks station and separate toilet area, including ample storage solutions on the vanity. / Design by: Carla Bast, Sneak Peek Design

 

In the final design, we incorporated shades of white and brown, and kept all the finishes timeless and elegant in a bright chrome.

In the final design, we incorporated shades of white and brown, and kept all the finishes timeless and elegant in a bright chrome. / Design by: Carla Bast, Sneak Peek Design

 

The final tub and shower felt much more open, allowing light to penetrate the entire bathroom and making everything feel much larger.

The final tub and shower felt much more open, allowing light to penetrate the entire bathroom and making everything feel much larger. / Design by: Carla Bast, Sneak Peek Design

 

Oak Ridge

BEFORE

A classic 90s-era design choice, this bathroom incorporated oversized mirrors above the vanities, and while mirrors do tend to make spaces feel larger, because of the paint colors and dark cabinetry, the room surprisingly felt like it was shrunk into itself. And while the spacious soaking bathtub and glass-surround shower had the right idea of opening up the space visually, the chrome trim and unnecessary steps gave off a bulky vibe that didn’t fit the confines of the bathroom.

Though there was a large mirror in the bathroom, the dark paint colors and too-warm oak cabinetry kept the space feeling small and cramped.

Though there was a large mirror in the bathroom, the dark paint colors and too-warm oak cabinetry kept the space feeling small and cramped.

 

An outdated shower door and too-large tub kept this bathroom stuck in the 1990s.

An outdated shower door and too-large tub kept this bathroom stuck in the 1990s.

 

AFTER

To get the most out of the space, we kept everything largely in its original position and opted to simply update the materials and slightly alter the sizing of everything. By switching to a more contemporary-shaped tub, it opened up floor space, allowing for a built-in nook for towel storage that was both functional and stylish. The shower was expanded to include a convenient bench seat inside, and the tiles throughout the space were swapped for a more streamlined marbled look to make everything feel cohesive with smooth transitions between each area. The paint was changed to a calming blue/green and the cabinetry and countertops were upgraded to lighter, more elegant colors. Because of these changes, we were able to keep the original mirror intact, and it finally had the intended effect on the room; it felt larger and much more spacious overall.

By swapping out the old tub for a sleeker, more contemporary model, we opened up floor space, which helped the room feel much more open and airy.

By swapping out the old tub for a sleeker, more contemporary model, we opened up floor space, which helped the room feel much more open and airy. / Design by: Carla Bast, Sneak Peek Design

 

New paint and a fully-updated cream vanity gave this bathroom an instant style upgrade and instantly make the space feel larger in size.

New paint and a fully-updated cream vanity gave this bathroom an instant style upgrade and instantly make the space feel larger in size. / Design by: Carla Bast, Sneak Peek Design

 

So, if you’re looking around your own 90s-covered bathroom and wondering if those outdated tiles and too-blue colors will ever get a facelift, now’s your chance! Take a cue from these two project transformations, and you’re sure to have a bathroom with style that will take you well into the next decade and beyond.

 

By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Sneak Peek Design

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Sneak Peek Design provides a one-of-a-kind virtual interior design process including kitchen + bath remodels, additions, whole home renovations, and new construction.

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