{Guest Bathroom} High Impact, Low Budget Makeover

The bathrooms were/are definitely the most dated rooms in our new house. We’re talking old-school oak medicine cabinets, bad light fixtures, mismatched hardware, 1980’s tiled floors, and a really bad countertop. Luckily the expensive parts have been updated (bathtubs, toilets, pedestal sinks), so the updates are mostly cosmetic, except for the bad countertop in the master bathroom. There were lots of projects I wanted to tackle when we moved in this fall, but because I was traveling so much for work, I had to stick to quick and easy projects. The very first project I did in the whole house was a quick makeover of the guest bathroom. 

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Did you know it’s really, really hard to take a photo of a small bathroom and have it turn out like all the fancy design bloggers’ photos turnout? Well, it is. This is why I haven’t posted this update yet. But, it’s time. I’m going to give small-bathroom photography my best shot and hope you’ll appreciate the before and afters despite my mediocre skills. 

I had LOVE LOVE LOVED Cassie’s bathroom makeover and I was so bummed for her and the bathroom that she moved out as soon as she finished it. I don’t thinks she’s that bummed, just as an FYI. I loved the white shiplap (is that shiplap? I think it’s shiplap! Where’s Joanna Gaines??) contrasted against the beautiful dark walls. How stunning is this bathroom?

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It wasn’t until I was standing in the doorway of our new-to-us bathroom, that I realized that I had the bones already in place to riff on Cassie’s design. After some nightmare wallpaper removal experiences, I wasn’t ready to commit to wallpaper (even though that paper makes my heart sing), but I figured I could go dark with the paint, update the mirror and lighting, and have a quick makeover that would be high impact. 

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On one of my few weekends home last fall, I picked out the paint (I was looking for a dark, purple-y blackish smokey grey – you totally know what I’m talking about right?), scrubbed the walls down, took down the awful vanity and light fixture, and got to work.

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Two things:
1. Can we talk about the absurdity of the light fixture/medicine cabinet combo? The cabinet totally blocked all light coming from the lights. Seriously people. Plan ahead.
2. I found a giant hole in the wall. I know we’re covering it with a mirror, but hey previous owners! Take care of my walls!

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Ok, back to it. I was painting the bathroom before we’d barely started unpacking. As we discussed, I’m adverse to unpacking. I’m confident that TimTheFarmer was not thrilled with the fact that projects were starting while boxes lingered in every room. #sorryhoney #itshowiroll But, the painting was done by the end of the weekend, I’d managed to bake a 4th place winning apple pie (that’s winning, right?) while I was painting, and I LOVED the contrast against the (fake) tile walls. I’d never painted a ceiling before, but Cassie showed me the way and I think it really made a huge difference. Once I painted, I realized the tile walls and toilet and tub and sink weren’t white, which I’d originally thought they were, they were almond. I hate almond (to be clear, I don’t hate almonds, just almond finishes). Because my “tiles” weren’t white, the white ceiling would have been an even worse idea. 

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I decided to go with a simple glass mirror instead of a medicine cabinet for two reasons. First, it’s much less expensive. Second, it actually opens up the small space in that bathroom by not taking up 4-6 inches of vanity depth with a medicine cabinet. Someday I might add a flea market frame to it, but for now, I like the simplicity.

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This was also the point where I made a hardware commitment for the house. I’ve typically gravitated toward various shades of silver/chrome for hardware finishes, but this house was calling for oil-rubbed bronze (i.e. blackish). The hardware on the kitchen cabinets was black, so that’s the direction went. We picked out this light fixture from Lowes and went with the square glass shades when we picked up the mirror. Since then, we’ve replaced all the doorknobs with oil-rubbed bronze knobs and they really play well off the grey walls and warmth of the wood doors. 

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Finally, I painted the trim around the window and door white (six coats later…ugh!), added a towel ring that was already here and rounded up some art.

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Here’s a before, during, and after:

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What are your thoughts on painting a ceiling a bold color?



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