Updating A 20 Year Old Master Bathroom (Plans)

Since we have lived in our home for 20 years now, we decided it is time to update our master bathroom!

Through the years, we have made a few cosmetic changes such as painting and adding plantation shutters…

Plantation Shutters and Updating the Master Bathroom

In fact, if you look at my bathroom from the angle above, it doesn’t look that bad. 

I love the wall color – Amsterdam by Benjamin Moore and of course I love the plantation shutters!  Over the years, I have added shutters to several rooms in our home so these will be staying in the bathroom.  Actually, one of the only things that will be staying are those shutters!

The idea to update our bathroom started with our shower…

Gold Shower doors

By looking at our shower, you can tell it’s been here for 20 years.  We are not fooling anyone.  Obviously, the brassy gold doors are dated but the biggest problem is the tile.  It’s just horrible.  Don’t zoom in or you will see the mildew in the grout lines that will just not come out!  Over the years, we have scraped out the grout and replaced it countless times.   It’s just not worth it anymore.

Originally, we thought of just replacing the shower since the rest of the bathroom is in okay shape.  Then we thought it over and realized we should just bite the bullet and do a full renovation.  I know, I wouldn’t have been happy in the end if we just fixed the shower.

Other reasons to updated the master bathroom…

Cherry Vanity in blue bathroom

When I really took a look around our bathroom, I realized there were many things I wanted to update!

First, we want to remove the soffits.  What is the purpose of those things anyway?

As you can see, we also still have huge builder style mirrors stuck to the walls.  The photo above shows my side of the bathroom but on the other side of the Jacuzzi is the exact  same layout for my husband.  The vanities are in an “L” shape so we don’t have a huge place to stand, especially with that monstrosity of a Jacuzzi in the middle of the room!

While we are talking about the vanities, I should mention that I am not thrilled with their reddish-brown color either.  For the counters, we have builder-quality cultured marble.  Luckily, we were smart enough to choose very plain, neutral colors for the counters and tile but we are just ready for a change.  Lastly, the hot water side of my faucet is broken and has fallen off.

One area of the bathroom that won’t change…

Blue water closet

This is an older photo of our toilet closet.  Since this photo was taken, we replaced this bisque colored toilet with a white one so this area will stay pretty much the same.  Well, except the floor…and the paint color…oh and the toilet paper holder.

Our plan for updating the bathroom:

In renovating our bathroom, I want a timeless look.  This is going to be the only time we do this and I want a classic look that won’t look dated in a few years.  Doesn’t everyone seem to say that?

Here is what we need to replace:

  • Enlarge the shower and update the tile and doors.
  • Rip out the Jacuzzi (and surround) and replace it with a free standing tub.
  • Replace the “L” shape cabinets with ones that go straight across along the opposite walls.
  • Remove the soffit and the scary-big mirrors.
  • (Basically, gut the bathroom)

Here is the tentative plan for updating our master bathroom:

  • Free standing tub under window
  • White cabinets along the long wall where the sinks are.  (The wall is about 82 inches wide so it’s really hard to find a free standing vanity).
  • Floor – 12 x 24 porcelain tiles in a marble look with some gray possibly with a basket weave “rug” in front of tub.
  • Large subway tiles for shower – porcelain with marble look
  • Shower floor in basket weave marble.
  • Chrome fixtures throughout.

Here are a few things I have committed to so far:

Please note that these are affiliate links below.  If you click over and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 Mirabelle Faucet


 Pedestal Tub

The tub shown is a cast iron version but I am going to be buying an acrylic one.

My biggest struggle is the tile.  If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my stories about tile shopping.  I will continue to post more as I shop my way through the state of New Jersey (and Pennsylvania) looking for the perfect tile.  Wish me luck!

I will try to post weekly updates on how the bathroom renovation is coming along.

Our contractor is ready to start ripping things out as soon as I get my plan in place.  I hope you will follow along!  It’s been a few years since we have taken on a large renovation.  Last time, we renovated our kitchen so I know how disruptive a renovation can be.  I am not looking forward to the mess but I can’t wait for the results!

Have you updated a master bathroom recently?


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Plantation Shutters over Tub


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  1. I’m so excited for you! You will loving having a newly remodeled master bath. Our home is a similar age and was filled with brass, cultured marble,etc. And the Jacuzzi tub. All I could think about when taking a bath was the water sitting in those jacuzzi pipes/tubes getting gross. I never used the jets. Anyway, we remodeled because of the hurricane/flooding, but I was still so happy to be able to make a spa-like space. We didn’t change the footprint/plan of the bathroom, but the updated finishes look so light and bright. I originally wanted a free-standing tub, but it would fit in the space available. Here’s a link to pics I took when we finished. https://txtanya.blogspot.com/2018/03/home-tour-post-harvey-part-ii.html

    1. Thank you, Tanya! I know what you mean about that Jacuzzi! We have washed ours over and over again with bleach etc and could not get those jets cleaned. We just stopped using it so it made sense to just replace it. I will pop over to look at yours for ideas! Thanks for your input!

  2. It sounds ambitious but lovely! I recently installed a new walk-in shower when the old one began leaking to the basement! It wasn’t my plan to decorate in that way, but one does what one must!

    1. Thanks, Kim! I loved seeing what you did with your master bathroom. Hopefully, our renovation will be quick and painless! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Shelley, I’ll feel your pain as you remodel. Keep your eye on the prize. We flipped our floor plan with shower and commode, so ours was a little more complicated, but we too pulled a jacuzzi tub and replaced with a free-standing. Our project took eleven weeks (!!), but we love the end results, which I recaptured in a post on my blog. I hope yours goes well.

    1. Thanks, Rita! Luckily, we are hiring a contractor to take care of it because we don’t have those kind of DIY skills. I will pop over to your blog to see how yours turned out. Thanks for the good wishes!

    1. Thanks! I just can’t wait until I can make some decisions on the tile. Why do I have to have a budget?….

  4. Eek! Shelley, I’m so excited for you!! It’s going to be beautiful – I love the choices you talked about and that tub is stunning!! Can’t wait to see what you do. We’ve been in our house almost 20 years as well and I really want to do ours. I was hoping to do it for the ORC in April but I just don’t think I can get it together before then. But maybe in the fall! And then you can advise me;)


    1. Thanks, Sheila! I actually thought about doing it for the ORC but we already started making plans with our contractor. It’s a huge job and if I could just make a commitment to tiles, we could start. Of course, staying within our budget is so hard when I have so many ideas of the perfect bathroom. Wish me luck!

  5. Oh my goodness, I could have written this post! We’re literally in the same boat… 25 years old, huge whirlpool tub, mildew shower tiles and all! Hoping to get our makeover started in the next few months!

    1. Ha! Gotta love those mildew shower tiles! I am excited to get started even though it’s a bit overwhelming. Looking forward to seeing what you do for yours!

    1. Thank you, Karianne! Yes, I am sure removing the soffit will make the ceilings seem so high. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Thanks, Liberty! I didn’t realize you were in PA! That area is a little far from me but thanks for the advice!

  6. Shelley, it’s so funny about whirlpool tubs–I don’t know a single person who uses theirs and who doesn’t regret getting one! Your new plan sounds perfect. Can’t wait to see it. A tip on shower mold/mildew. I, too, have a white tile (and white grout) shower, and the only way to prevent the problem is to squeegee it after every shower and to spray it down with a solution of half white vinegar and half water every once in a while. Your “This is going to be the only time we do this and I want a classic look that won’t look dated in a few years. Doesn’t everyone seem to say that?” made me smile because, yes, we do! #HappinessIsHomemade

    1. I know what you mean about the whirlpool tubs. I forgot to mention in my post that we don’t use it anymore. Over time, we started to have a problem with dirt in the jets. No matter how many times we ran it with bleach or vinegar or various cleaners, we would still get little black particles. It was so frustrating because in the early days we actually used the tub a lot. Good tips on the shower cleaning. I will definitely keep that in mind because like I said, we are never doing another bathroom renovation! Thanks for your input and for stopping by!

    1. Thanks, Kippi! Unfortunately, we didn’t get anything accomplished this week. Between power outages and my indecisiveness, we are moving a bit slow!

  7. Your bathroom is very similar to mine, although instead of tile I have a lovely fiberglass insert that has unremovable hard water stains. It’s so validating to see that I’m not the only person who fears the jet-fungus Jacuzzi!! Our plan is to tear out everything and start over. Can’t wait to watch your progress!!

    1. Yes, those jacuzzis can be scary over time! We probably didn’t take care of it as well as we should have but I just don’t want the hassle of it any more! Good luck with your renovation! We are moving slow on ours…

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