Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bathroom reno with only paint and accessories

This is a project I am very proud of!  I haven't been this excited to share something since our guest room.  Our downstairs bathroom has been an eyesore since the day we moved in.  The floor tile is plain and sort of almond, the sink is actually an almond pedestal sink that was plopped onto a cheap vanity (and it's only connected by the plumbing, so please don't try to stand on it!) and the medicine cabinet/light combo is straight outta the 90s. 
(Specifically, 1993)
I didn't want to gut this bathroom because we just don't have the funds.  Here it is when we first looked at the place:
My apologies for the terrible photo, that color is not accurate.  However, the bathroom was dusty green, and the accents were a dusty mauve.  Very dusty in here.  Now, this is a much better photo of the way it looked about 2 weeks after we moved in:
I have to admit, it wasn't much better.  Aside from replacing the running toilet with a new Kohler, and removing the window treatment (but not the hardware!  haha) there wasn't much difference.  I lived with it looking just like this for over 2 years.  I went around and around with what to do.  I thought, I'll just replace the vanity and medicine cabinet, no biggie!  But it was a biggie.
I like white bathroom vanities, but I didn't want a white vanity, since the floor tile was a shade of almond and sort of dirty looking.  I didn't want to replace the floor tile right now, it was just too big of a project.  I thought about just replacing the cabinet/light combo, but then I realized the electrical is not centered on the sink, so that would be an extra expense to have our electrician come move it.  Also, it's just not smart to remove storage in a house that has so little.  So, I decided to just WORK WITH IT ALL.  I replaced NOTHING but the toilet and accessories.  When I made that decision, I actually got excited to see what I could do!
I decided to go dark to give the room some character.  When I first started brushing SW Urbane Bronze on the walls, I knew it was meant to be.  The window in this bathroom is very large, and we get great light in here all day long.  I put up samples all over, then quickly ran to Home Depot to get a whole gallon.  (That seashell, tho!) 
The dark paint made everything look better almost instantly!  Well, it was better in person, not in this terrible phone pic. 
Then, I had to figure out what to do with the vanity.  It is standard laminate, and I wanted to pick a paint color that made the awful almond sink look less yellow.  Why, why do I always buy houses with almond baths?  The obvious choice was some shade of yellow, but I got a wild idea that maybe a pinkish hue would look awesome in here. 
It was tempting, but I went with SW Alchemy because it matched the horseradish shade we had going on in the family room downstairs.  I used a sample container of paint from Sherwin Williams, it costs $8 or less, and does just fine since it's satin.  I didn't even prime, just sanded well and painted.  I chose this lazy way out because we just don't use this cabinet much, for a main bathroom I'd definitely prime with BIN.   
Not bad!  The next thing that I had to worry about was the medicine cabinet.  I thought about painting it a creamy tone to sort of go with the tile and ugly sink, but the more I thought about it, the more I just wanted it to disappear.  I did a quick and dirty photoshop of the options:
Then I decided to do something I've never done before.  I sanded it and painted it with the same flat paint that I used on the walls.
Here it is now!
Operation make 1993 cabinet disappear, check. 
The old frosted bulbs were replaced with nice clear ones, and it made such a difference in the look of this dated fixture.  Shining up the mirrored backplate helped, too.   
Remember that I said I can't get rid of storage?  Well, behold the contents of my medicine cabinet:
I'd love to see guest's faces when they are looking for some Advil, and find paint samples, hand soap, and light bulbs instead.  I also think I may have a lightbulb problem!  And that brings me to the big question of trim.  I originally loved the natural wood tone of the baseboard, and planned to leave it.  But then, what would I do with the orangey, shiny wood trim around the door?  It all had to be painted.  I painted it all with the same flat paint, and was luckily able to use a magazine to slide under the trim for much of the room.  It wasn't too hard, and it was no big deal if I got it on the walls!
Ok, painting the trim behind the toilet without getting it all over the floor was not fun.  Turns out I'm not that flexible.  I did NOT prime or sand the trim because it was a very flat finish, and accepted the paint great. 
I did get a sample of the paint in satin and painted a second coat of that on the trim, but didn't end up liking it.  I loved having everything the same sheen, so a third coat of flat went over the top.  I also painted the entire inside of the door with the flat paint! 
So, there is a rundown of the decisions I made to make the existing stuff acceptable.  And, here is the finished product!
When I was done with this room, I was SO proud that I worked with what we had. 
I think the vanity color really does help to make the sink look a little more white, and the faucet really isn't too bad, it's very clean and that's great.  Do I still hate this sink?  Hell yes!  It's time will come...
I bought these cheap cabinet knobs at Menards, they match the look of the faucet perfectly!
This photo is a very true representation of the colors in here. 
I told Shaun I actually think painting the trim the same as the walls makes the room look more high-end.  I am 100% thrilled with my decision!
The door in particular is incredible.  I really hate shiny doors, and this makes the bathroom feel like a cocoon. 
The accessories are from Target and World Market.  I bought the artwork as soon as I decided to redo this bathroom.  I actually used the background of the floral pieces as inspiration for the wall color!
I found the incredible ledge/shelf at World Market.  I wanted wood accents to bring some warmth to the darkness, and the modern shape was just perfect to hold a few hand towels and candles, doo dads, etc.  The art, ceramic flower, dreamcatcher and silver hooks are all from Target. 
The woven towels are from World Market, the solid ones are from Target.  I love that I can remove the rug and woven towels to go with different colors whenever I want. 
It's hard to photograph, but the hooks are on either side of the medicine cabinet, at the same height.  I originally wanted a unique towel ring/bar, but I just couldn't find anything I liked in chrome.   
This beautiful Chindi rug is from World Market.  They are all different, so check out what they have at your store!  It's still on my to-do list to try and clean the grout on the floor, but the rug helps hide it for now. 
The view into the main living area. 
As you can see, I still need to decide on whether to paint the outside of the door white to match the trim, or Urbane Bronze.  I did sand and prime the entire door and trim around it, because it was a very, very shiny finish and would get a lot of handling.  I used my trusty BIN primer.  I still need to do a second coat of satin white on the trim around the outside of the door.
It wasn't too hard to keep the dark on the inside, I used the door stop trim as the separation point.  A steady hand and a great brush were all that was needed.  The line will look even more straight once I get that second coat of white on there....maybe in two years I'll get around to it! 
Here are a bunch of random shots.  I originally planned to make a window treatment, but I prefer the plain look of the frosted window now that it's all done.  I also had a hell of a time removing that previous hardware, half the wall practically came off, so I'm leaving it alone.   
This cat has been hanging around the house in random places for years, this seems to be the perfect home for him!  Plus, it's fun to be watched while you pee. 
I like the idea of adding more greenery somehow.  I think a hanging or wall planter would be awesome in here!
And, a few before and afters for you...let's call this one BEFORE before and after!
With the same toilet, only different paint and accessories.
And a comparison with the lights on.
Friends who came over during this process told me to 'just get a new vanity, mirror and light,' and I did try to find things I liked.  Of course with my taste, a modern wood vanity would've been around 1k, the mirror and light I wanted would've been over $500, and I would've had to pay an electrician $200 or more to move the wiring.  Instead, I did everything in here for just about $250.  Here's a breakdown:
Paint including samples and gallon: 45
New light bulbs: 8
Wall shelf: 40
Target feather art, floral art and flower: 65
Target dreamcatcher and feather hooks: 26
Solid hand towels: 24
World Market rug: 14
World Market woven towels: 17
New light switch and plate:  2
Cabinet knobs: 6
Hand soap and lotion: 4
Thanks so much for reading!  I know this style isn't for everyone, but I welcome any and all comments!


  1. I love it! It is amazing what difference paint can make. Very clever painting the medicine cabinet the same color as the wall. I thought I wouldn't like the green, but it really works with everything you put together. Nice job.

    1. Thanks, Mary! It’s nice to do something fun since the cabinet is crap, anyway! Haha

  2. I think it looks great! I also think it helps that it looks like you did a very neat paint job.

    1. Thank you! Neat painting is my ‘thing,’ and I’m so happy you noticed!

  3. Freaking amazing. I mean, WOW! Love it! You've inspired me to break up the monotony of the Walmart/Trader Joe's shopping day by popping into World Market. I need that rug in my life.

    1. Thanks so much, Tracy! The best part is the rugs are just $16.99 full price, but are currently on sale even cheaper! I got more as backups! Ha

  4. I think it's a greater accomplishment to work with what you have than to gut and design a new bathroom. That said, this is AMAZING. The difference between the floor and the counter top in the after - you'd think it was new, it's so much brighter! The yellow vanity is a stroke of brilliance, yay you! And when I first saw the frosted bulbs I though "oh, I should recommend she cover it with frosted plexi", and then you changed the bulbs and BAM, instant-modern! :O
    I'm so shocked and impressed by what a MASSIVE difference a bit of paint (and a lot of effort) has made!

    1. Sorry, it's not letting me sign in with my usual google ID, but it's Whitney...

    2. Thank you so much, Whitney! I am also shocked by how different it looks. I was so nervous about the unconventional choices, but it worked out so well in the end! I also thought about plexi for the light, and was happily surprised that my cheap (and lazy) bulb swap worked fine! I appreciate your thoughts so much!

  5. Brilliant, my friend...BRILLIANT!
    You are amazing with your ideas for decorating.
    I love it!

    1. Thank you, Barb! This bathroom was so exciting for me to flex my decorating and designing muscles’s been AWHILE since I got to have fun like this 😁

  6. Love! My bathroom is also dark grey with yellow accents. Had to work with what I had, too. I discovered a grout dye that I used on the floor grout only to differentiate between the floor and walls, which have the same tile treatment. The floor now has charcoal grey grout, while the rest of the grout in the room is white/off-white. Maybe a grout dye would be a good solution for you instead of trying to scrub it more? Great work!

    1. Ditto on the grout dye! I've used Grout Renew by Polyblend and it has done wonders to make a tiled floor look sooooo much better. It makes dingy grout look brand new--i love it....and it's such an easy and cheap solution.

    2. Thanks! I have used grout renew before, I’m definitely going to look into the best color!

  7. I love it. I agree that a hanging plant in the cat corner would be awesome :) Hydrogen Peroxide would be a cheap grout cleander fyi.


Thanks so much for reading....your comments mean a lot to me!