Clever Bathroom Renovation Tips Joanna Gaines Swears By

Joanna Gaines and her husband Chip have been bringing their keen eye for design to our TVs for well over a decade now. We've seen hundreds of bathrooms completely transformed from drab to fab on "Fixer Upper," so it makes sense that we turn to Jo when we need some inspiration for things at home. She's the master of making even the smallest, flat-out ugliest bathrooms somehow change into spaces that we would love to have for ourselves.

Her bathroom renovations always turn out great, providing the homeowner with plenty of functional improvements. We've seen improvements like more counter space, storage in the most creative nooks and crannies, plus things like shower seats to make bathrooms easier to use. Yet she does all this without compromising on her downhome, farmhouse chic style, which we all love. She has the best hacks for upcycling furniture to save money on your remodel, plus she knows the color to paint your bathroom that will never go out of style. This way, you don't have to do another update every ten years! We've rounded up the most clever bathroom renovation tips Joanna Gaines swears by — so you can get started on making your house a bit more like home.

Marta Cement Tile can modernize any bathroom

The best part of the modern farmhouse chic aesthetic is that it plays on nostalgia for a bygone era without feeling stale or old. It gives you all the comforts of contemporary life wrapped up in a bow of when things felt a little bit more simple. However, it's important to remember that most of the modern farmhouses you see on TikTok, HGTV, and even all over Pinterest are fully updated. They weren't built ages ago, looking so nice. If you are stuck with a home that needs an update, particularly in the bathroom, choose Marta Cement Tile. Gaines thinks it can instantly add the fresh, updated look you want without ruining the overall delicate aesthetic.

"What I love about this tile is it's super fun, but there is just a classic way about it," Joanna Gaines said via YouTube in Season 3, Episode 12. The style is a classic black and white combination, which plays on the much-loved checkerboard style that was popular in the USA for most of the 20th century. The great thing about black and white is that it goes well with everything. In this episode, Gaines chose gold finishings like drawer pulls, towel rings, and matte black cabinets. Yet, in your own space, you can go for hunter-green cabinets, silver finishes, or anything in between — as the floor makes the perfect blank canvas.

Elevated vanities mean easy extra storage

There never seems to be enough storage in the bathroom vanity! To combat this, Joanna Gaines has a fantastic renovation tip to give you more room, even if you have a smaller space. The key is to build up, not out. You don't need to add brand new storage, just make the most of the furniture you already have. We see this come to life in Season 3, Episode 7, "Paw Paw's House." The young couple is trying to make the most of a home that's been in the family for generations, but they are running out of room.

To fix this, Gaines uses the dead space in the middle of the bathroom vanity to add a raised section. The genius thing is that you aren't losing out on any counter space, as you can still store stuff on top. What you do gain is plenty more space underneath. "It's practical countertop space, but there's also more storage," she said of the clever hack, per Youtube. "I think the coolest part about this [vanity] is how this is elevated in the middle." It's easy enough to get this look without a complete bathroom overhaul, as well, by adding flat-topped, stackable storage bins to your counter. These bins come in many colors (and materials, if you are worried about plastic not looking chic). They tend to be affordable, as well.

You don't have to have a full-wall mirror to make things work

If you have a home built in the 80s or 90s, you likely have one large piece of glass across the wall to serve as your mirror. Yes, these make getting ready in the morning easy enough as they offer plenty of square feet to view yourself in. You can also make them look a touch chicer than raw glass, as it's simple enough to cut a custom wooden frame to fit around the edges for a more finished look. Yet the sheer amount of space they occupy can make these large mirrors challenging to clean. They also leave you less space for other things you might want in your bathroom, like wall lighting or more vertical storage.

To fix this, Joanna Gaines advocates for having smaller multiple mirrors instead of one extra big one. Viewers see an example of this clever renovation tip from Season 5, Episode 7, "The Baker House," described in her blog. Just above the vanity, there is now a singular oval mirror with two identical lamps on either side. This setup is easier to keep clean, as hanging the mirror high enough out of the sink's splash zone will save you a lot of grief. It is also more practical for getting ready, as the soft light of the lamps yields better results than a glaring overhead light.

The right shower curtain means you don't have to renovate at all

If you're limited by time or budget, Joanna Gaines has a clever bathroom renovation hack that can be finished in less than ten minutes: Installing a new shower curtain. You can use curtains to change the feel of a space, completely transforming your bathroom based on their texture, shade, and length. The number one issue people struggle with is lack of room, so Gaines uses these shower curtain tricks to make even the smallest of washrooms seem that much larger.

In a YouTube-exclusive walkthrough of a client's home, she reveals that the key is to use light, neutral colors in most of the larger areas of the bathroom, like the walls, tiling, and even the flooring. She points out that the bright white tile, set apart by dark gray grout, does a lot to trick the eye into seeing more space. "The same with the shower curtain," she said. "It's white but has a ton of texture and layers, so it makes a big statement, but it's still a light and airy color." In this instance, Gaines chose a white, ruffled curtain that added a fun bit of texture to the room without taking up visual space. So, if you want a quick fix for your bathroom, swap out your shower curtain for a white, cream, or off-white option for a few free square feet.

Upcycle furniture for a unique look

There are so many furniture possibilities when remodeling your bathroom. There are more options than buy-it-new or build-it-yourself. Instead, there is a wonderfully happy medium: Purchasing pre-loved options and making them your own with a little bit of TLC. Even if you don't have the best DIY skills, there are plenty of ways for you to follow in Joanna Gaines' upcycling footsteps. During Season 2, Episode 2, "Homebuilder's Dream Home," Gaines used a dresser she found on resale and changed it into a vintage-inspired vanity for the homeowner.

If you want to recreate the look in your home, it's possible to have either a recessed or vessel sink. For a recessed sink, it's best to choose the sink first so you can accurately measure the hole. For a vessel sink, it's OK to have a more general idea, as the sink will sit atop, and only the plumbing will run through the top. If you don't want a dresser vanity, the possibilities are still endless. Consider redoing a hat rack for towel storage, vintage robes, or other fabrics for curtains, plus vintage lighting fixtures.

Try sliding barn doors instead of pocket doors

Space is so important when redesigning a bathroom. If you are looking for more of it when renovating yours, you might consider adding pocket doors instead of typical swinging ones. Because you don't have to account for the door's path, you have more flexibility in the layout of your space. A great Joanna Gaines-approved variation of the classic pocket door is a refurbished barn door on a high sliding track. These doors function nearly the same way but add a touch of farmhouse character to the washroom.

Fans of the show will recognize this feature, as it appears often in the show, as well as in Chip and Jo's home in Texas. So, this is a great place to start if you want your house to look like the Gaines'. While not in the bathroom, a notable example of the style was featured early in the show's run in Season 1, Episode 12, "Academics Seek Acreage." Gaines gives the couple's farmhouse a much-needed uplift. Barn doors typically slide from a metal rack installed across the top of the doorframe. They are loose on the bottom, so there is no need for a door jam. The wood simply glides across the carpet or tile, so be sure there is at least a ¾-inch or more gap to avoid unnecessary friction.

All tiling types bring personality to bathrooms

If you're in a pickle about how to add personality to your bathroom, Joanna Gaines is the first to suggest fun tiling. The great thing about a bathroom is that you don't have to choose just one type of tile, either. If you're mindful, different types of tiling on the floors, walls, and even in the shower can complement each other perfectly. This creates a fun visual texture for the bathroom, even if the colors aren't bright and the patterns on the tile are not bold.

Gaines posted a great example of this subtle use of different tiles on her Instagram feed. "The tile is the real show stopper in this bathroom at the Castle. The space used to be a dressing room, but we reworked the layout to include a shower and vanity area. I love how the walnut cabinet contrasts with the clean, timeless look of the marble," she posted about the design. You can see the hexagonal tile that covers the floor also extends into the shower space — and it's the same for the larger block subway tiles on the walls. The white and gray go together perfectly, yet in other parts of the bathroom, there are rich blue tiles, adding more depth to the space. All this to say, tile is easy to clean and adds a stylish touch to any space, so the more of it, the better!

Some bathroom colors never go out of style

One of the worst outcomes of completing a bathroom renovation is realizing you've gone too topical. It would be a shame to realize in five years that you chased trends and are now stuck with a time capsule in your house that might be functional, but you hate the look of it. One clever trick that Joanna Gaines has to avoid getting yourself into situations like this is to choose the classic options over the chic, new ones. Classic colors and features have already stood the test of time, so it only makes sense that they would continue in the same way.

Other than choosing things that won't go out of style, you also need to choose colors and decorations that won't go out of style for you. That is, if you are renovating your children's bathroom, consider the day it might also become primarily for guests or vice versa. A great example of this is in the 2018 limited series "Fixer Upper: Behind the Design." While Gaines remodeled the children's bathroom, she did so by carefulling collecting colors like white, gray, and navy blue. This was a purposeful attempt at helping the bathroom grow up with the children and remain timeless so the family wouldn't have another redecoration on their hands later on.

A seat in the shower makes things more functional

You never know when you will need your house to be just a little bit more accessible. Whether you have surgery and need temporary accommodations or something more permanent happens, it never hurts to think about these situations ahead of time. Especially as we age, our need for a more thoughtfully designed home becomes greater. While there are plenty of things you can do to make your home more accessible without renovating, if you are going to renovate, you might as well work things in.

You can see a great example of this clever forward thinking during Season 3, Episode 14, "The Green Mile House." When revamping the bathroom, Joanna Gaines does well by adding some built-in storage to the shower with recessed walls. Yet she also adds a place to sit next to the faucet, which can come in handy when standing for the shower is too difficult, no matter the reason. Gaines also added another great accessibility feature: An increase in size. "We've made the shower twice as big, but with this glass and all this texture, I just feel like it really makes a huge statement in this bathroom," she said per YouTube. A large shower is great to have in your home because if you ever need mobility aids or perhaps a caregiver to assist in washing, there will be plenty of space for both.

Adding a bathroom vanity adds livability to a space

If you have a little bit more space in your bathroom, a clever trick to make the most of it is to add a vanity to the counter space. While with smaller space, adding a raised storage area between your sinks makes the most sense, for larger homes, indention is the name of the game. In Season 5, Episode 13, "The A Lot of Options House," Joanna Gaines sunk the countertop between two sinks to add a getting-ready space, complete with a chair for those longer hair styling moments.

To recreate the look at home, you don't have to create one continuous countertop. In fact, if it's easier for you to use two separate sink stations with a recess in the middle, it might even look better. By doing things this way, you can even play with textures, like adding a wooden countertop in between each stone surface. You don't need special lighting installed in this area, as some might prefer a portable lighted mirror. However, if you do, it is the perfect place for wall-mounted lighting to achieve the perfect makeup look every time.

Rotating mirrors can make getting ready a touch easier

Have you ever found that you just can't find the perfect angle when you are getting ready? Perhaps you need to swivel the mirror so you can see the back of your hair when curling it, or applying eyeliner would be much easier if you could get closer to the mirror. Joanna Gaines has the perfect solution for these behind-the-scenes problems: Installing rotating mirrors!

As seen in Season 3, Episode 14, "The Green Mile House," Gaines selected options that made the most sense for the space. "I really like this bathroom because it's not overbearing. There is a lot of texture and dimension going on, but it's not too much," she said, per YouTube. "I love...these rotating mirrors. We use a really light palette in here." These mirrors don't take up much space on the wall, and the swing of their hinges not only makes getting ready easier but cleaning, too — as you can pull them towards you. Similar mirrors are readily available online at popular home improvement stores.