April 7, 2011

Bathroom DIY Cosmetic Makeover Advice


My sister and brother-in-law recently bought a house and are planning on how to makeover the bathroom on a very tight budget.  With some creative thinking and a bit of physical labor, I know they can do it.  I thought I might share the advice I gave her, as it could be useful to others out there as well.

Based on the photo above, here is what I recommended:

  • The most obvious:  Remove the wallpaper borders, and paint EVERYTHING!  Paint the walls, trim, cabinets, and interior doors.  This will take the most time, but will make the biggest difference, and it won't cost much at all.
  • The countertop and sink are pretty neutral so those can stay without turning into an eyesore.
  • Remove the posts sitting on the knee wall between the vanity & toilet.
  • Get rid of the curtains!
  • Instead of boring blinds, make a fun DIY roller shade like this one by Emily A. Clark.   It would look great to have a fun fabric there since that window is such a focal point.  You can find great fabric prices online.  I've recently discovered Tonic Living for great modern fabrics at amazing prices.
via Emily A. Clark

Wouldn't this damask fabric look great?  AND it's on sale for only $ 8.95/yard!

  • Replace the carpeting.  I suggest a simple inexpensive tile.  This will involve the most physical labor but will be the most durable in the end.  If you don't want to mess with tile and grout, a shorter-term solution is a vinyl peel & stick floor, which will probably still be more durable than carpeting.
  • Since you'll want to pull the base trim up to redo the floor, I'd suggest looking into a taller base trim made from paint-grade MDF, which is a great price point and will work well in a high-moisture area.
  • Add flair with a fun framed mirror.  Take a look at places like Big Lots, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, etc. for mirrors.  You can find some great deals there.  Or even local thrift shops.  Keep in mind - if the frame is ugly you can always spray paint it a really cool color.

  • Replace the cabinet hardware.   New knobs will add a little punch to the final project.  You can find simple pieces for just a couple dollars.   Or you can splurge and get something unique for just a little more cost.   I've been drooling over this toggle pull from Paris Apartment for a while now:



Obviously these are only cosmetic changes, but considering nothing is broken and nothing is leaking, a makeover is all this bathroom really needs.  All of this won't cost a fortune, but it will make a HUGE difference.