DIY Small Bathroom Accent Wall Ideas

Updating a small bathroom is easy with impactful accent walls. If your bathroom is outdated or boring, you don’t need a big budget for a makeover. Our basement bathroom has no design. It has no windows, and no natural light. But, it’s a full bathroom with a shower and tub that we use ALL the time as a family of 5. In fact, I’ve designated it as my husband’s bathroom. Trust me, we’ve avoided MANY disagreements by him having his own bathroom.

basement bathroom makeover
Basement Bathroom before
Basement Bathroom makeover

Can you have an accent wall in a small bathroom?

Yes, you can have an accent wall— or walls—in a small bathroom. These are a few accent wall ideas I used to transform my basement bathroom:

  • Adding peel and stick wallpaper
  • A fresh coat of paint
  • Ceiling design
  • An accent wall with shiplap

I love accent walls. I have a beautiful green board and batten hallway. I also have panel molding accent walls in my living room and primary bedroom. I used accent walls to take my basement bathroom from basic to beautiful! It’s a small space: 6x5ft. But it has potential.

The basics of this bathroom are fine. They aren’t amazing. They are plain builder grade options. There are marbled looking ceramic tiles, a shower and tub with gray shower tiles, a brown bathroom vanity and white walls. It’s basic. A full gut bathroom renovation is out of question. You’ll be amazed at how much this space will transform by adding a feature wall. 

Here’s my mood board for where this space is heading. I am so EXCITED!!! It’s dramatic and bold! The walls will be the focal point.

bathroom moodboard

Which wall should be the accent wall?

You don’t have to designate a single wall as the feature wall. In this bathroom, I took the design all the way across the room. I wanted the room to be cozy.

But in my modern bathroom, I picked one wall to be the accent wall. Deciding which wall is the feature wall depends on what the perfect focal point is. This will depend on the layout of the room, and what type of accent wall you want: wallpaper, tile or wood. 

Tile accent wall – If you use tile outside the tub, a good rule of thumb is to use it on the wall with the sink/vanity. This is the technique I used for my niece’s bathroom makeover.

Shiplap accent wall – Shiplap is so versatile. If you’re only going to apply it to one wall, you should also use it behind the vanity and mirror. However, you can also take shiplap across the whole room if you’re doing floor-to-ceiling shiplap panels, OR half-wall shiplap. 

Modern accent wall – If you’re doing an angled accent wall, find a wall that is mostly blank. Doing this type of accent wall behind the toilet or vanity would be too busy. Doing it on the wall with towels is okay, but consider changing from a towel rod to hooks so the design doesn’t interfere with the look. 

Wallpaper accent wall – If you’re looking for floor-to-ceiling wallpaper, only do it on 1 wall – the vanity wall. However, if you’re planning on taking it across the top half of the room (i.e., if the bottom half is wainscotting or board and batten), then you can take the shiplap across the whole room. 

Easy DIY Bathroom Accent Walls with Wallpaper

The first thing I did was install this beautiful peel and stick wallpaper. I’m often asked if peel and stick wallpaper is suitable for a bathroom. Does it just peel off? So far, no! I used a beautiful floral wallpaper in my niece’s DIY bathroom makeover and it’s been stuck for 3 years. Having a window or good venting increases the likelihood that it will stay stuck to the wall.

installing wallpaper in a bathroom

I decided to wallpaper the entire top half of the bathroom as it’s a small space and I really wanted to make it cozy. It’s also dramatic. Peel and stick paper is a great option if you’re a renter or just not sure how you will feel about the pattern after a year or 2. If you’ve never installed peel and stick wallpaper, here are my 5 best wallpaper tips.

I also added small details like covering the electrical plate to give it a real interior design vibe.

wallpaper over light fixture

A shiplap feature wall brings new life into this bathroom

Thank you Sherwin-Williams® for sponsoring this post. Read more about my disclosure policy. Accent walls are the perfect DIY project for beginners. I knew I would bring in a dark and moody tone from the wallpaper into the bathroom for the bottom half of the space. I held my color chips up to the bathroom wallpaper until I found a few colors that I loved. I debated on Thunderous SW 6201 and Link Gray SW 6200 for a long time. After I painted a swatch from the Sherwin-Williams Color to Go® samples, I would hang out in the bathroom, visiting multiple times a day, hoping the decision would get easier. It didn’t! Sometimes the right color pops out at you immediately, and other times, both colors could be SO beautiful!

bathroom with wallpaper

Thunderous SW 6201 (left) and Link Gray SW 6200 (right)

After humming and hawing for days, I finally decided to go with Thunderous SW 6201. I used Sherwin-Williams Emerald® Interior Acrylic Latex Paint, in a satin finish. This is my go-to paint finish. It is easy to clean and durable with 3 kids. Instead of just painting the lower half of the wall, I used leftover shiplap from my shiplap ceiling project. This is a great way to use scrap from a previous project and keep your budget on track.

My shiplap boards are cut to 46″ tall and I have a 9ft ceiling in this bathroom. I painted my boards before installation to make it easier to paint all the edges. Shiplap is constructed with tongue and groove. It’s hard to get into the nooks to paint the shiplap once it’s on the wall. I used a small quart of paint. It’s often enough for an accent wall and a great way to save when keeping the project on budget!

painting shiplap

Installing ceiling molding

My bathroom has a flat ceiling which I am so happy about!! Most of my home has a popcorn ceiling, so I knew I could add a cool design to the ceiling to draw the eye up! This makes a room look taller as well. I didn’t want to add crown molding. I felt it was too traditional for this bathroom.

When I was installing the shiplap wall, I realized that I could make a really cool shiplap accent feature because of the lip of the shiplap. I cut it into strips using my table saw and I nailed it into the ceiling! I created a cool ceiling trim using shiplap!

Small bathroom with ceiling trim

Adding the final touches to transform a small bathroom

Accent walls are a great way to add a ton of character to a small bathroom. But don’t forget to look at the details that make your bathroom look like an interior designer helped you! 

New lighting, mirror and hardware

A great way to personalize a bathroom is to swap out all the boring builder elements. I installed a new light, mirror, and changed the faucet and hardware. If you’ve never removed a bathroom mirror, it can be intimidating, but it’s actually pretty easy! I’ve taken down 4 and haven’t broken one yet (or I will have 7 years of bad luck!).

This bathroom is about adding interest. Instead of using a round or rectangular mirror, I used this ornate mirror. Incorporating the gold tones makes the space feel lux and elevated.

Small bathroom with wallpaper

Giving my shower a new look

Most showers have a problem— the curtain is hung too low. I like to hang my shower curtains high, like you would with a window curtain. This makes the room look taller. I got a new gold shower curtain rod and rings to match the other hardware in the space. I swapped the old floral shower curtain for this neutral waffle weave. With the bold wallpaper, I wanted the shower curtain to be neutral.

bathroom with high ceiling

Adding the finishing touches to the bathroom design

Once you’re done with all the big DIY elements like the accent walls, it’s so fun to go to the home decor store and get all the final pieces that tie the space together like the towel bars, soap dispensers, toothbrush holders, artwork and more!

Gold facuet in bathroom

The Reveal: Accent Walls Bathroom Redesign!

I absolutely love how much character I added to this bathroom space! You don’t need a huge budget, but hard work always pays off! The dramatic paint color Thunderous SW 6201 by Sherwin-Williams goes a long way to make a HUGE impact. I took the shiplap and wallpaper around the whole room to make it feel super cozy. Installing shiplap behind the toilet wasn’t easy, but I am really glad I took it the whole way around! This combo of wallpaper and shiplap is a great pairing for small bathroom accent walls.

Bathroom without windows

The old tile was neutral, but not exactly in the color tones of the walls. Since new tile was not an option, I covered the bathroom flooring with a vintage style rug.

Small bathroom accent wall ideas with gold vanity light

The gold tones in the room aren’t the exact same, but add character and a vintage vibe.

Small bathroom accent wall ideas
bathroom with wallpaper
thunderous by SW in bathroom
wallpaper your light switch
Moody bathroom with wallpaper and shiplap

I didn’t change the vanity, and I think the brown undertones of the vanity and half shiplap wall painted in Thunderous SW 6201 look really good together!

By using the existing materials in this space, I saved a ton of money, and let’s be honest – who wants to gut an entire bathroom? It’s dirty and dusty and takes FOREVER. Updating a small bathroom with accent walls is a budget friendly way to add character.

Home improvement doesn’t mean that you need to gut your whole bathroom. I hope you can see that you can have the bathroom of your dreams without new tiles, a new shower, etc. Simple updates can make a huge difference to the appeal of a bathroom.

How much does a small bathroom makeover cost with accent walls? 

Total Cost of the Bathroom with accent walls is $800. I would have loved to keep the cost under $500. You can do this by omitting the wallpaper and working with the existing shower rod and shower curtain you have. Full budget breakdown below:

  • Wallpaper: $30/ roll X 4 rolls = $120
  • Mirror $120
  • Brass hooks (similar linked) $3.70 each
  • Light $120 (not available, but similar is linked)
  • Leftover Shiplap $0 (If purchased, $10/board x 12 boards = $120)
  • Paint $40
  • Rug $40
  • Shower rod $55
  • Shower curtain $35
  • Accessories and supplies $40
  • Faucet $100
  • Total cost for me was $670. If you have to add in the shiplap, it will be approximately $800

I’d love to see if you update your bathroom with accent walls! Tag me @hanashappyhome

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Moody bathroom with accent walls

16 thoughts on “DIY Small Bathroom Accent Wall Ideas”

      1. Can i have the link to all the hardware such as the faucet, light fixture and hooks etc?

  1. Pingback: 40 Brilliant Bathroom Accent Wall Ideas You Will Love

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