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Guide to a Sustainable Bathroom Remodel

We at Roomhints believe that the only future is a sustainable one. With the increasing demand for eco-friendly solutions, many homeowners are looking for ways to create a sustainable bathroom remodel.

This can be done by selecting green products such as low-flow toilets, eco-friendly countertops, and energy-efficient showers. You can easily accomplish a sustainable bathroom remodel without sacrificing style or comfort.

Here are our top hints for remodeling your bathroom the GREEN way.

large soaking tub with vessel sink and brick wall textured bathroom wall
Photo: Unsplash

What To Consider In An Eco-Friendly Bathroom Remodel



Linoleum was invented in 1860 by rubber manufacturer Fredrick Walton and became the floor covering of choice for Victorian homes. It has been widely popular ever since. Vinyl tiles replaced linoleum’s popularity in the 1960s. However, since vinyl is not sustainable, linoleum made with natural materials is coming back.

Natural linoleum flooring is made from pine flour (sawdust), pigments, pine rosin, and linseed oil. This earth-friendly flooring comes in many colors and can be cut into any pattern you want to create, making it versatile. Because it is covered with a natural jute backing, the finished material is thin and very durable, lasting up to 50 years.

Pro Tip: Use only low-VOC or zero-VOC adhesives to install linoleum flooring.

linoleum tile for bathroom
Photo: Unsplash

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is traditionally made from clay and other raw natural components, which means it can be taken directly from the earth. This makes for an excellent eco-friendly bathroom flooring. As such, it does not require the destruction of natural resources – unlike wood, for example, which depletes forests.


Bamboo is one of the most regenerative crops on earth and can become fully grown in three years on average, as opposed to hardwood trees which can take up to one hundred years to reach maturity. Better yet, bamboo also proves to be more resilient than most hardwood surfaces, beating out maple and northern red oak when it comes to toughness. Plus, bamboo easily resists moisture and mildew, which makes it ideal for use in places with plenty of flowing water, like a bathroom.

Consider purchasing bamboo floor options that have been specially engineered to be extra resilient. You may also consider modular bamboo flooring products so that you can easily replace individual planks if they become damaged. Laminate flooring options made from bamboo are also available.

Pro Tip: Be mindful of leaking toilets or faucets to create a sustainable bathroom; continued water can warp the planks.

sustainable wood towel cabinet for bathroom storage
hPhoto: unsplash


Cabinets are an essential part of keeping your bathroom environment tidy. While they can be made of many materials, most are a combination of acrylic or hardwood.

There are two main things to keep in mind when choosing an eco-friendly cabinet. The first is to avoid cabinets with formaldehyde-based particle board. This toxic chemical is often present in newly manufactured cabinets, and prolonged exposure can cause watery eyes, burning throat, headaches, and other flu-like symptoms.

The second is to avoid tropical woods – they come from the rainforest, and utilizing these materials is linked to the deforestation of critical habitats.

Here are some alternative material ideas to create your eco-friendly bathroom remodel.


Like bamboo flooring, the incredibly durable grain makes it a great alternative for cabinetry as well. Contrary to common belief, bamboo is actually not a wood but rather a type of grass.

Unlike wood, bamboo cabinets are typically VOC and formaldehyde free, are less likely to deform with humidity and are comparatively light. Not only do bamboo cabinets have a modern and earthy aesthetic appeal, but they also utilize a sustainable crop, which renews itself every 2-4 years.

The one drawback is that most bamboo comes from Asia, giving it a bigger carbon footprint with its shipping. However, local options are becoming more available and should be given priority when possible.

Pro Tip: If you can’t find bamboo, look for FSC Certified wood. The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-governmental organization that ensures the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Wheat Straw Panels

Wheat straw paneling is both eco-friendly and stylish if you’re looking for a unique touch. This type of pressed wheat board is made from sustainable wheat straw and provides a natural texture to walls and furniture while still providing the durability of wood products. It is also easy to install and maintain, making it an ideal choice for any bathroom design or remodel.

Composite Wood

One of the best ways to bring low impact materials into a rebuild is to use recycled fibers. Composite wood cabinets are made of the same robust wood fibers as their originators, keeping the integrity of the material while giving it a second chance at life.

Reconstructed wood veneers don’t use virgin forest materials which protects natural resources. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the cabinet.


A bathroom countertop is the centerpiece of any bathroom. It serves as a practical space to store items, while also providing an broad aesthetic effect to the entire area. With this in mind, it’s important to consider sustainable materials when selecting a countertop for your bathroom.

Composite Countertops

For sustainable countertop options, look no further than sustainable composite materials. Composite countertops are a great way to add style and beauty to your bathroom while reducing your carbon footprint.

With various colors and finishes available, you can easily find the perfect sustainable countertop for your space that will last for years. They also require little maintenance—so you’ll be able to enjoy them without having to worry about upkeep or damage from everyday use.

Recycled Glass

Recycled glass countertops are one of the most popular sustainable materials for bathroom countertops. Most are made from up to 80% recycled glass, with the remaining 20% being a mixture of cement or resin binders.

This type of countertop has a low environmental impact due to its use of recycled materials and the fact that it does not require any additional manufacturing processes like cutting or polishing.

The carbon footprint for a recycled glass countertop is relatively low compared to other materials. By nature, it produces fewer greenhouse gases during production than other types of stone or engineered surfaces.

Salvaged Stone

Like many other materials made out of salvaged natural resources.Reclaimed stone can be a sustainable way to make a big impact visual in your bathroom rebuild. Upcycled quartz and granite are two great options.

Granite is one of the most common materials used for bathroom countertops due to its durability and long-lasting nature. While granite does have a relatively large carbon footprint, its benefits outweigh its environmental effects, especially when it is reclaimed from a previous build.

Granite is a renewable resource and offers a look that can last for years with minimal maintenance or upkeep. As such, it is one of the more popular choices for those looking for sustainable options for their bathroom countertop.

Quartz is durable and aesthetically pleasing and has a significantly lower carbon footprint than granite, making it a great alternative to other less environmentally friendly materials. Additionally, quartz is non-porous, making it resistant to stains and bacteria growth, so you can feel confident knowing that your countertop will be safe and clean at all times.

brick wall bathroom with sustainable tile floors and white toilet
Photo: Pinterest


You’ll have a few options if you’re looking to rebuild with sustainable wall materials. Because walls can make up a sizable part of a remodel, utilizing sustainable materials can help reduce your overall carbon footprint while also helping to ensure your building is energy efficient with minimal earth impact.

Brick Walls

While brick may not be the first wall material that comes into mind for a bathroom retrofit, it can be an exciting addition to a modern buildout. A brick wall can add a bold backdrop for a clawfooted tub or can make a great statement wall.

Brick and stone masonry are among the oldest yet most reliable building materials available today. Masonry walls are also highly energy efficient due to their ability to absorb heat from the sun during the day, then slowly release it at night—helping keep temperatures inside more consistent throughout the day and reducing energy costs in the process.

Recycled Glass Tiles

Glass tile is becoming increasingly popular for bathrooms because it creates an elegant look that brightens up any room. It also has antibacterial properties, which makes it ideal for bathrooms.

Glass tiles can be more expensive than ceramic tiles, but you can save money and the planet by buying recycled glass tiles or using smaller pieces of glass tiles instead of large ones.


Porcelain tiles are one of the most eco-friendly options available for covering walls. Produced mostly with recycled and recyclable materials, they are durable, easy to clean, and, when used with “closed-cycle” technology, can keep renewable resources in circularity.


Water-based paints are not only great for bathrooms, but they also happen to be one of the most eco-friendly options for an update of your space. This type of paint maintains a low impact because it uses water, rather than volatile compounds, as the main solvent.

Overall this type of paint is biodegradable, won’t off-gas harmful fumes, and contains fewer overall chemicals.

white toilet with sustainable tile for bathroom design
Photo: Unsplash


Toilets can be a source of great environmental impact in your bathroom. Updating this space should include an eco-friendly toilet that won’t just save you on your water bill but also your carbon footprint.

Low Flow

Low-flow toilets use less water than traditional models, typically ranging from 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF) to 6 GPF, depending on the model. These water saving toilets are designed with special flushing mechanisms that allow users to save water without sacrificing performance or comfort.

In addition, many low flow toilet models feature dual flush options so users can adjust their water consumption according to their needs at any given time.

Waterless/No Tank

Waterless toilets are for the dedicated eco warrior who are ready to eschew old conventions in favor of a lower carbon footprint. Unlike traditional toilets, these systems don’t require any water at all.

Instead, they rely on natural processes such as evaporation, dehydration, decomposition, and absorption to process waste safely and efficiently without using any additional resources like water or electricity.

Waterless toilets are perfect for areas that don’t have access to a reliable source of clean running water or septic sewerage systems since they don’t require any connection or installation costs associated with traditional plumbing systems.

Smart Toilets

Smart toilets have great environmental perks and offer conveniences that will give your bathroom a modern feel. Like waterless and low-flow toilets, a smart toilet has great water-saving features.

However, these technologically advanced toilets go the extra mile in energy consumption. They come with built-in heating elements that ensure the water stays warm without constantly being reheated. This means that you are using less energy overall, and your toilet will be ready when you need it without having to wait for long periods between uses.

Additionally, many smart toilet designs include motion sensors so that no energy is wasted when no one is in the room—which is especially useful if you have kids who forget to turn off lights!

Sustainable Bathroom Updates Are Easy

Remodeling at its core, involves many materials born from the earth’s natural resources. Harnessing renewed materials or making introducing green technology to your bathroom can greatly reduce your overall carbon footprint.

Making a green update to your bathroom can be cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing, and reduce your impact on the earth.

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