I purchased my 2 bedroom 1.5 bathroom condo just over three years ago in 2010. And since day one the full bathroom has badly needed help. Unfortunately it had to endure about a thousand days without receiving any. While I couldn’t afford to replace the big ticket items (vanity, sink, faucet, flooring, tub/shower), I knew that addressing the smaller items and especially painting the walls would work wonders.
Of course in the above “before” photo I was literally just about to jump into the project so there are tools strewn about and it looks a mess, not like it did normally. But hey, makes for a more dramatic before and after, hehe.
I patched and painted the walls and replaced the light fixture, mirror, clock, outlet, light switches, towel bar, towel ring, toilet paper holder, bath rug, and shower curtain rod. And then I added some accessories and art as well.
There were a myriad of problems in this room before I started work. The wall color was an odd purple-mauve that wasn’t inherently awful but just didn’t work in the space. Plus the walls were riddled with scuffs, nail holes, and peeling paint. I scraped off what I could and sanded the areas down. I was worried I should have taken the time to do some patch work with these spots but after primer and paint I’m happy to say the peeling spots are hidden. Underneath the old hardware (towel ring, etc.) were some fun little surprises from the past in the form of bits of wallpaper. Thank goodness they peeled off easily.
In the last photo above you can see the room after primer, and how crazy-town I got when trying to pick out a paint color. I decided pretty early on that I did not want to go dark and I wanted some color. So far all the walls I’ve repainted in my home have been white, gray, and black. It was time for color! I finally decided to focus in the blue, green, minty family. I bought three test pots… and then bought three more. I thought I was going to go with a more green mint, but the color that spoke to me once it was on the wall was a super light blue called Icing On The Cake by Benjamin Moore. It is definitely blue, though if you compare it to other light blues you will notice that it does still have a green influence and could be considered a blue mint, in my opinion.
I really did struggle with this decision, worrying that it might be too baby blue, which was not the feel I wanted. I felt better when I found a couple pictures on the internet where other people had used this exact color in their own bathrooms, like this one. I went for it. The little toilet nook above practically glows blue. I do intend to add either some art or a mirror to this nook.
Patching these massive holes was the first step I had to take in this project. My dad cut these out for me when we were trying to figure out a leak problem. I am very proud to say that I patched these all by myself, cut the drywall and everything. Of course this photo is very forgiving, because you can definitely see some unevenness in real life. I’m still proud, though. You may also be able to tell in the above photo that I repainted the baseboards (and repaired them in several spots) to be a bright white.
Here’s a shot to the left of the toilet. I am so glad that old hardware is gone. They were just hideous with those odd wooden backs. I love my shiny new satin nickel hardware with rectangular medallions. The towel bar is longer, too. I also replaced the vent cover and door stop.
I painted the ceiling out in the wall color as well. It feels cohesive. The paint was color-matched at Lowe’s and is a satin sheen, which is the lowest recommended sheen for bathrooms. I also repainted the walls in the shower to be a brigher white and used a semi-gloss sheen for added moisture-resistance.
My old bath rug was tan, thin, and a mess. I’m very happy with my new plush dark gray rug for $37 from JCPenney. It was the very last thing I found for the room. The shower curtain rod is one of those snazzy rotating curved ones, so it can be curved in when you’re not using the shower and curved out when you are. The motion of mine is slightly less than smooth when I rotate it, but it works and having the extra space is nice. I paid $60 on Amazon (at $54 at the time of this writing).
This is probably the most accurate photograph of the wall color. It looks a little too dark and green in some of the other photos. The hardware is by Residential Essentials. I bought it through Lowe’s. Approximately $26 for the towel ring, $37 for the towel bar, and $30 for the toilet paper holder.
You can see in the first before photo that my old outlet and switches were an ugly bisque yellow color. They worked fine, but I could not tolerate them. I had never done any sort of electrical work and somehow I had the guts to tackle replacing these all by myself, and I did it! I wouldn’t call it easy but it really wasn’t all that difficult. Just make sure you turn off the power at your breaker box. Even if you turned it back on to test your work and are just trying to fit your new outlet back onto the wall, turn the power back off. I may or may not have lightly electrocuted myself. Which is funny… but also bad. Hehe. Also remember to get a “GFCI” outlet if it’s going to be in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere it could be exposed to moisture.
My new accessories and art are easily my favorite part of the update to this room. I already had the little basket corralling toiletries (I received it as a gift basket a while back and repurposed it). Everything else is new.
Just last month my city got its first HomeGoods! When I checked it out for the first time I managed to walk out with a new soap dispenser and toothbrush holder for myself. They were about $13 and $10 respectively. I love having a soap dispenser like this rather than using disposable ones, and how about that snazzy modern clear acrylic? I love how these literally blend in because of being transparent, which keeps the counter looking less busy. And yet at the same time they are visually cool in their own right.
My old clock was a cheapo from Target. I very unexpectedly happened upon this guy on ModCloth. He’s a large size at 12″ in diameter and made of ceramic made to look like a chalkboard with tally marks. I like that it’s black (or dark gray) because I was looking to add some dark accents to the room, and I just think it’s fun to have something a little offbeat. It was on sale for $38 but unfortunately is no longer available.
This is an awful photo because I have no idea how to photograph a light fixture, but at any rate here is a close-up, which I hope you can see is a vast improvement from the awful old cheap monstrosity I had before. In fact two of the three arms on the old fixture stopped working over the course of this project! It was probably like 30 years old so I put it to rest. I didn’t have a whole lot to spend on a new fixture but I really didn’t want just another 3-armed bendy builders-grade uggo, so I was happy when I found this simple but contemporary sconce on Amazon for $124. If you look at that product page you may note that the shade looks decidedly more gray (in fact they call it “slate gray”), while mine is definitely linen colored. Kind of annoying but the linen works.
And I installed the light all by myself too! The wiring itself was fairly straight forward. The hardest part was doing that wiring while simultaneously holding up a big heavy light fixture. I knew that I should have waited until I had someone to help me with that… but I got impatient.
My favorite corner. I love how the art and flowers are reflected in the mirror, literally doubling the color in the room. You can hardly tell, but the mirror is in fact new. I just bought another cheap frameless one because the old one was chipped and damaged. I would have loved one with a frame, but it wasn’t in the budget this time around.
Surprise: I painted these myself! One day I just had an urge to try acrylics, who knows why. I sat down and painted these two, which I know are very amateur. I had no intention of hanging these in here until I realized they fit in the very cheap frames I’d bought at a dollar store months ago. Let me tell you something; you could pop most anything into a frame, especially a black frame, and it will instantly look awesomer. I was still worried about the wall color being too baby blue, too juvenile, right up until I hung these and the addition of black in the room completely transformed it. Having warm colors like gold and pink helps a lot too.
If you read this blog regularly, you know I have a weakness for pink flowers. All pinks, but coral-pink in particular is a favorite. As much as I love real flowers, I really wanted something more long-lasting. I bought two bundles of faux flowers at Hobby Lobby for $10 each. (Actually they were $5 each; always always wait until your desired item is one of the 50% off categories before buying anything at Hobby Lobby!) Bundles like this come pre-arranged which makes it so easy to get a fancy bouquet look. For being less expensive than real flowers, I think they look pretty fabulous. They are in a white vase I bought at a thrift store forever ago.
I love my tissue box cover. My sister giggled at me when I told her I’d got one, because I think it seems like either a luxury or a little old-fashioned, but seriously I do not want to be at the mercy of whoever is designing tissue boxes over at Kleenex. The colors and patterns are too unpredictable and often ugly. I had been searching for just a simple white ceramic box cover but when I saw this textured gold guy at Bed Bath & Beyond on clearance for $15, there was no question. I love gold, and it ties in with the gold in the art. White ceramic would have worked but this is so much more interesting.
Bringing my list of sources for this project up to something like 15 different stores or websites(!), I found this sweet little ceramic tray with two birds on either end at World Market. It is regularly $10, and I got it for a little cheaper because of a coupon and a moving sale. It usually just holds one or two necklaces, and occasionally a lip balm or other small tidbit, just because stuff looks better all neat in a tray.
So there you have it! The room feels so much better. I was right that paint alone would make a drastic difference, and the addition of colorful details and fresh hardware makes me really happy. It’s difficult now to look at the hideous countertop, the awful yellow vanity, and the wretched orangey fake wood laminate floor… but the rest of it manages to distract me from all that most of the time!