Budget Bathroom Makeover + Linky

January 5, 2011

You know those oak vanities picked out by builders and installed in bathrooms across America over the last two decades?  I am not a fan, and I imagine you are not either.  Unfortunately, I happen to have one of those very same bathrooms in my own home awaiting a remodel.  Patience icky bathroom, patience, you’re next!

Meanwhile, my friend Mia and I got to talking over the Christmas break.  We were discussing her master bathroom.   Mia said “It needs help.”  I said, “I’ll bring my paintbrush.”  So I set to work to bring this bathroom into the modern age and add a few more upgrades as well.

Mia’s has an affection for warm earth tones and rich dark wood ~ her style is the yin to my ‘paint it all pale gray or white’ yang.  With all the dark wood and light bedding in the adjoining master bedroom, painting the vanity a rich espresso color made perfect sense.

Some of the pros of the existing master bath:  good paint on the walls and clean white tile countertops.  The cons: oak cabinets, those bathroom vanity light fixtures that should be outlawed, a very plain mirror, gold accents on the faucets, and no hardware on the cabinets.

Here it is Before:

mias before


And After:

budget bathroom after


The most time consuming part is the refinishing of the vanity cabinet.  Here are the six simple steps I followed.

1)  Remove all hardware and cabinet doors.  Usually I remove the drawer fronts too, but this time I taped off the edges and refinished them in place.

2) Tape off your walls, countertops, and flooring with painter’s tape.

3) Clean all parts of the cabinetry and lightly sand with medium grit sanding wedge (80 – 120) to remove any debris.  Wipe clean.

valspar kitchen and bath4) Prime cabinet door fronts, drawers, and frame with oil based primer.  Sand away any brush strokes or drips.  If painting a dark color, like brown or black, use a layer of dark primer before your dark paint.

5) Paint with two coats of either a) oil based paint in semi-gloss, or b) latex paint specialty designed for bathrooms.   Use a paint conditioner and high quality brush like I mentioned here to minimize brush stokes.

6) Reattach doors, drawer fronts and hardware.


bathroom lower cabinet before


lower cabinets after


A few other details we fixed:

I was not in love with the gold detail on the chrome faucet fixtures, so I simply unscrewed the gold parts and spray painted them in a nickel shade.

bathroom fixture before and after


Don’t forget new pulls and knobs!  These are so modern like jewelry for cabinetry.  I love the contrast of the cool chrome against the warm brown tones.


new cabinet hardware


Freshen with a few bright silver accessories . . .

chrome accessories


Add a new towel bar to the left, a new chrome light fixture above, and a mirror frame from MirrorMate.

mirrormate frame


Another new detail were the addition of these simple lattice patterned window panels and a new curtain rod.  I found those Waverley panels at Lowes, can you believe it?  I love that fabric!  I hemmed them to the length of the window above the bathtub.

new lattice panels


This ordinary bathroom vanity area was refinished in about eight hours and on a budget.  The vanity is so much fresher and more modern!

 bathroom vanity after


Have you remodeled a bathroom in your home?  Refinished cabinets and added new hardware?  Perhaps you’ve added new wainscoting, wallpaper, or a new sink.  Or you’ve designed a major overhaul of your bathroom space !   Link it up so we can all see the magical before and afters!


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