How to Redo Bathroom Walls: What Materials to Use

Few rooms are as important as a bathroom, so don't give short shrift to yours when it's time for an update. Whether you intend to stay in your home for decades or expect to put your house on the market in the not-too-distant future, keep the value of your house intact and your cleaning tasks down by choosing bathroom wall treatments that offer a dramatic new look. As long as you choose the right medium, there is no need to bust the budget to accomplish this makeover.

Step 1

Investigate the cost and work involved with installing bathroom wall paneling.  Bathroom wall panels are large sections of steam and water resistant surfaces that look terrific, go up fast and will end ongoing frustrations with the deteriorating grout used to put ceramic tile into place.

Get year's worth of maintenance-free enjoyment from your bathroom wall panels by selecting from design options like mosaics, faux wood and even marble, available at your favorite home improvement shop. 

Step 2

Fall back upon everyone's first choice by installing ceramic wall tiles to spruce up your bathroom.  Choose the largest tiles possible to do the job so there's less maintenance involved when grout starts to discolor or crumble.

Take advantage of new tile adhesives and gorgeous new finishes including matte, high-gloss and patterned tiles that can instantly transform a bathroom from mundane to gorgeous. 

Step 3

Consider installing wainscoting in your bathroom.  Take a page from the Victorian era when wood panels graced bathroom walls from floor to wall mid-point.

Heavy-duty varnishes and sealants will waterproof even the most delicate woods so there's no danger of leakage.  Avoiding leakage is serious since leaks can can permeate sheet rock behind the wainscoting, and trigger mold and mildew build-up.

Step 4

Employ an old standard with a new look: Paint your bathroom walls with protective enamel paint, but don't settle for one color.  Add drama and interest to your walls by creating chunky vertical stripes---anywhere from 18-inches to 36-inches wide---from floor to ceiling.

Use the most dominant paint color as your accent around mirrors so your walls coordinate with major fixtures in the bathroom. 

Step 5

Choose from today's rich variety of bathroom-specific wallpapers, particularly if your bathroom walls have been painted, stripped and refinished multiple times.  Expect wallpaper to cover a number of flaws found on your sheet rock, but remember to match the size of the pattern to the size of your room so your bathroom doesn't wind up with pattern overload.

Step 6

Go for the drama and glamor of a floor-to-ceiling mural that can transport family and friends from your home to.  Dor instance, you might choose Caribbean island where the breezes are mild and the palm trees are so lifelike that you think they are swaying.

Inexpensive murals can turn a bathroom from ordinary to quite extraordinary, so if nothing else in this article appeals to you, do consider one.  You'll be glad you did.

Things You Will Need

  • Bathroom wall panels
  • Ceramic tile
  • Enamel paints
  • Wainscoting
  • Wallpaper
  • Wallpaper mural

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.