I’ve been working with several clients on bathroom updating lately and wanted to share a few tips for doing so on a budget. Allison has been working for me for about three years now, and her family recently moved across town to be closer to their children’s schools. They bought a great house with good bones, but dated finishes.
Working with me for a few years, Allison has learned that she shouldn’t let that stand in her way! She asked me to help her update her two bathrooms, one of which was a windowless hall bathroom that served her children and guests. The budget? Under $5000.
hall bathroom before
The dated peachy countertop needed to be replaced, so that was high on the priority list. The yellowed tub insert was slated to GO – no doubt about that. And the dark flooring looked dirty and, again, dated.
The budget wasn’t going to allow for replacing the vanity cabinetry, nor was it really needed. Allison was concerned about how to update the existing cabinetry. Here’s a close-up of the rough texture of it:
There was an antiqued glazing on the cabinet, which simply drew MORE attention to the awful texture. I assured her that a pretty new color in a satin finish and slick new cabinet pulls would take away the focus on that textured finish. The texture is still there, but you really don’t notice it anymore:
When you have a dark room with no natural light source, it’s actually better to go a bit darker on your paint color to add personality and interest. When you do, however, it’s best to keep the flooring, cabinetry, and other finishes LIGHT. If you’ve ever been in a dark painted powder room with dark floors and cabinetry, it really feels a bit like a black hole. For some weird reason, when I use a powder room like that, I get the feeling I’m going to get bit by a spider.
No spiders here, though! We found this Evercor solid surface countertop that looks like marble (Baroque Aspen) at Home Depot – , but it’s really gorgeous! A square sink like this one definitely updates the look of this room, too. To cut costs, we decided to keep the tub fixtures, towel rack, toilet paper holder, and door hardware. We purchased cabinet pulls, sink fixture, and the light fixture in the same finish from Home Depot.
The floor tile is a timeless, classic pattern that lightens the room from below. The ceramic floor tile is American Olean Sausalito from Lowes at $2.98 per square foot, accented with a light gray grout to define the octagon shape a bit.
Here’s the “before” of the vanity area:
hall bath before
I told Allison to paint the mirror out the same color as her trim – no need to replace it! We had one towel bar removed, so that there would be a place to place art in the small bathroom.
Here again is the “before” shot of the bathtub to the left of the room:
American Olean white ceramic subway tile for the tub/shower surround was only $0.22 a piece. We used the same gray grout we used on the floor. No need to get “fancy” in a shower with a shower curtain – use your money on something more visual, like the countertop!
The shower curtain, art, and towels are from HomeGoods. We actually bought them for Allison’s former home last year.
What We Replaced
What We Painted
What We Kept
Some hardware and fixture
Most of the project was done via phone/online consultation, in addition to one afternoon of shopping for new items. And guess what? We came in under budget! Allison and her family are thrilled with the results. We even did their master bathroom, too – I’ll share that one soon! She was very pleased with the work of her contractors. If you are in the Greater Nashville area, check them out here. Tell them The Decorologist sent you!
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This is perfect!!! so good. what a great change
Wow! What a difference going from cream and yellow and brown to white and blue! Beautiful! One practical question: since you took out the towel rack, where are the kids hanging their towels? That was a problem in our bathroom. I ended up hanging towel racks behind the door, but I’m always wondering what others would do in that situation. Thank you for a little burst of beauty in my busy afternoon.
Towel hooks on the back of the door are a great solution to that problem! Keeps it less messy upon entry. 🙂
What is the paint color you used?
I am on fixed limited income so cannot afford to do much…but thinking I still deserve beauty…maybe I can save up for paint and new shower curtain. Thank you.
Did you find out the wall paint color?
What do you when you’re pretty much stuck with what’s already in the bathroom? And the tile and counters are bossy and you pretty much hate the colors? How can I tone it down?
I think a nice muted yellow would work well with your tile and countertop, like Benjamin Moore’s Dunmore Cream. It’s hard to see the floor tile, but I can see enough to know what I think it is. If you don’t have crown molding (I’m assuming you don’t), wrap the wall color on the ceiling as well (rather than doing a white ceiling). It’ll make the space feel larger and not so choppy.
Thank you Kristie. Love your blog and love this bathroom redo! You have such a gift. 🙂
Thank you so much, Jen!
What a timely post! My basement bathroom sink cracked and I was shopping for an inexpensive replacement. I found a 37″ black granite with a white porcelain sink for under $300 at Home Depot, but I was concerned about going black. I think you have changed my mind. I looked at every Home Depot vanity top online and didn’t see the brand you mentioned. Did you order it at your local store?
We did, but Allison tried to find the link on Home Depot and couldn’t find it, so it’s possible they aren’t carrying it anymore – but it was only a few months ago when we bought it. Sorry I don’t know more!!! I think black granite is fine, just keep other things light.
Love the wall color. Looks great! Wait until you see my post this week about my bathroom redo!
Beautiful upgrade to Allison’s bath! Kristie, you have been so generous in sharing your shopping spots, so I was wondering if you would share where you found the light fixture over the vanity?
I am in the midst of planning a main bath reno and will be using similar elements… white subway tile, light colored quartz ct, small hexagon tile floor, new white lacquered vanity, and a very similar wall color. You have just confirmed to me that I am on the right track. As one of your happy subscribers you have taught me well! Thank you.
It was either Lowes or Home Depot, can’t remember which!!!
Alex, the wall color is Benjamin Moore AF-500 Atmospheric
Bethany thank you!
My daughter is wanting to redo a bathroom, and is wondering if she must use the same green paint of the room beside it? Brown is the other main color in the room.
If you want it to feel more like a master suite, either the same color or a lighter/darker version of it works nicely. But it’s up to you – as long as it pairs well with the bedroom beside it!
wow I had no idea that giant picture would show up! I thought it was going to be a small little icon next to my name, HA. Please disregard and remove. Thanks Kristie
Perfect timing. Just painted my closet sized powder room’s walls Benjamin Moore’s cream yellow. I felt as if it was too dark since I’m going to paint the trim, wainscoting and inside door black tomorrow.
My inspiration picture came from a friend’s hall bathroom.
Love what you have done at Allison’s home. The blue is perfect. I am sure she and her family are loving it !
Sorry about the big pic I thought it was supposed to be a lil bitty pic next to my name !! This is my house in the Southern California mountains from a few years back.
Lovely room. Could you explain a bit about the new tub? We have the same one piece vinyl one you replaced. We would love to do the same. My question is what did it take to replace the old one and is there a decent tub that’s reasonably priced? Some of the tubs are so cheap but the alternatives can be quite expensive.
I’ll see if Allison can chime in on your question –
Beautiful re-do!!! Amazing transformation! Question: You said she kept the old brown mirror and ‘painted it’ white…. I’m agonizing (for 4 months already) over changing my two very large bathroom mirrors which are a dark brown. I haven’t done it yet, because I’m not sure what to do… Do I need to sand first, then prime, then paint with white paint? I was afraid the new paint wouldn’t stick/adhere well, if I didn’t go through all this other prepping. Any suggestion… so I can move forward from this ‘frozen’ place I’m in right now….!!! Oh, and I will add… the mirrors and frames are permanently fixed to the walls.
Thank you so much for this post it helped me figure out a colour for my small bathroom. Now I am stuck on my Kitchen wall (pic attached) . I have stayed up after hours to early morning trying to figure out how i want to revamp my open plan kitchen/living room. I have started by buying a lamp shade from ikea, which has made a big difference to the room. I have been living in my apartment for nearly 10years and found it a bit overwhelming to revamp my home style. In between modern bohemian vs modern chic. HELP PLEASE!
Ps not sure if i should get rid of wall clock
what color is the paint on the walls?
I see this is an old post. But what was the wall color?
What color was the paint
I’m looking at this for a new bathroom in aug. 2021 and it still looks fresh! was done in 2006 i think.
That is a perfectly lovely bathroom for guests and the kids!