An Update on my Guest Bathroom Remodel and How to Tile a Wall

Guest Bathroom Remodel

It’s time for a guest bathroom remodel update, friends, as the last time this project graced the blog was back in October. I soft launched it over on this post where you can see photos of the hand painted block print faux wallpaper that started it all (worth a read if you love the look of wallpaper but want a more budget-friendly option). Outside of that, I’ve been sharing my progress with the DIY bathroom makeover on Instagram, which mostly includes all my trials and tribulations. Spoiler alert: there was a situation with the ceramic tile on the wall that took me for a spin emotionally, physically, all the things. We’re in a much better place now, though, because sometimes, you’ve gotta call the pros for a lifeline. 

The partnership that changed my plans.

You know in the Sex and the City movie when Carrie plans on wearing a humble skirt suit to her courthouse wedding but then she’s gifted an over-the-top Vivienne Westwood-esque gown that escalates literally everything? Well, call me Carrie and hand me my Manolos because yeah…that kind of happened here. 

Tips to paint your own faux wallpaper

As you may know, it started as a simple project where I planned on painting a floral faux wallpaper and adding tile to half the walls. But, as luck would have it, Kohler reached out with a partnership opportunity that deserved more of a to-do. I was unbelievably excited to use their new bathroom fixtures and vanity from the recently launched Studio McGee collection. Guys, this stuff is gorgeous. Talk about an upgrade from the builder-grade situation I was working with prior. Who could blame me for spiraling into full-blown makeover mode? 

So, what was the new plan? Since the vanity was being replaced, I figured I might as well rip out the existing floor tile. I wanted something simple but elegant, so I opted for a white-glazed porcelain penny tile with a slate blue-gray pencil tile for a border. It’s very reminiscent of Art Deco, which I love. 

Bathroom Tiles for Guest Bathroom

Ripping out the floor took me a few days with a hammer, pry bar, and a ton of breaks. Honestly, I only worked on it 30 minutes at a time (#momlife). You could absolutely get through this far faster, especially if you worked with a powered rotary hammer—I just didn’t bother getting one for this, but you certainly could, especially if your space is larger.

Penny Porcelain Floor Tile Process

How to start a guest bathroom remodel.

I have a confession here. I’ve never designed a room so piece by piece. I prefer (and highly recommend) having a fully flushed-out vision before starting. I only had a partial picture in my head of what the end product would be with every step I embarked on and honestly, that was really overwhelming. What I did know, and this hasn’t changed, is that at this point, the shower/tub area will stay as-is for now, and I’ll tackle it a few months down the road. 

But yeah…have a plan. Know what bathroom fixtures you want, what’s going on the walls and floor, what your lighting will be since that might affect where the junction boxes for that goes. You know want to install a vanity and *then* decide you hate the 1970s checkerboard ceramic tile on the ground. Get it sorted early on, make all your tweaks before you bring out your crowbars and sledgehammers, ask all the questions and take all the measurements (twice…maybe even three times). This way, you don’t have to pivot numerous times and risk making mistakes, or spending more money than you budgeted for. 

Back to all the beautiful Kohler bathroom fixtures. 

“Fariha, we get it, have a plan, yada yada, but give us the deets on the new product” you may be thinking. Here’s what I picked for the space:

Kohler Guest Bathroom Picks

  1. Towel Rod
  2. Vanity 
  3. Faucet
  4. Mirror
  5. Hooks
  6. Toilet

As for the lights, I haven’t decided yet on a final pick but these are the two options I’m considering:

  1. Light option 1
  2. Light option 2

Okay, onto the walls that almost broke me.

How to Tile a Bathroom Wall

So no, I didn’t have a proper plan for this bathroom remodel before and after but what I did have was wall tile. I picked a 1×6 straight sheet tile from Fireclay in the color cardamom. It’s so gorgeous with its hand-glazed finish which gives it a ton of natural color variation. I had a tile trim on hand for the top. 

Installation wasn’t as straightforward as I expected. I was going for a dry stack technique, which just means I wasn’t going to use grout (you don’t technically need it on a wall like mine that won’t be exposed to water since it’s really acting as more of a decorative finish than anything else). 

Here’s how I went about installing the wall tile:

Muscle Bound Tile Adhesive

Try #1: I started off using MuscleBound tile adhesive. In theory, it’s amazing. It’s a sheet that acts as mortar, and your tile sticks right to it. But it was a disaster with the type of tile I was using. The tiles were really hard to align and once they were on, it was too difficult to reposition them. Nothing was straight as you can see in this photo: 

Try #2: We all deserve second chances, don’t we? So did my beautiful Fireclay tile. So I called in my tile guy to help. We took everything off that I had put up and instead of the MuscleBound, he used a material called mastic that goes on like regular mortar so you can still adjust everything but it’s stickier so the wall tiles don’t slide down before everything dries. 

You can see the whole process (for better or for worse) on my Instagram Stories

Material Used:

  1. Musclebound
  2. Mastic Tile Adhesive
  3. Wall Tile in Cardamom
  4. Penny Tile
  5. Grout (Antique White)

DIY Bathroom Tile Before After

What’s up next?

I’m currently in the incredibly painful part of the design process: waiting on product to arrive. Before I install anything else, I need the toilet and the vanity to arrive, which is hopefully in the next week or two. From there, I’ll put up the mirror and sconces. 

Oh, and I need to add a ceiling track because I want a tall shower curtain. That will elevate the design of the room and match the level of the Kohler pieces. Then it’s just styling (my favorite part) and voila! My welcoming guest bathroom will be done and ready to reveal. I can’t wait! 

Stay tuned. 



DIY Guest Bathroom Remodel Recap


Blog Post Edited by Arlyn Hernandez

This post contains affiliate links to products that I used or recommend. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I really appreciate your support!
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