Before and After: A $112 Refresh Brings This Dated 1980s Bathroom into 2020

published Oct 16, 2020
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Before: Dark bathroom with dated wallpaper and blue floor
Credit: Sheena

A dark and dated room can often come a long way just a few key updates. Take this bathroom, which DIYer Sheena’s kids share. Sheena, who blogs at Bean in Love, says there were some nice features about this space, including the vanity light, oversized hex tile floors, and the wood vanity. But the overall vibe? “Dark, and that wallpaper was oh-so-dated,” Sheena says. “The wallpaper, ceiling light fixture, and those orangey light bulbs had to go.”

Since this bathroom was used by the kids, Sheena wanted to make a space that was light and bright—”a happy place to brush your teeth in,” Sheena says.

Credit: Sheena

Sheena started by peeling off the old wallpaper—an easy task since years of humidity had already caused it to start peeling. Then, she removed the old towel bars before patching the holes and painting the walls a warm white (PPG’s China White).

Credit: Sheena

Sheena replaced the bulbs in the light over the vanity to give a brighter, less orange glow. She also popped off the old cover on the flush mount ceiling light and replaced it with a pompom-accented drum shade that she DIYed herself. The drum shade not only looks more modern—it’s also way brighter and helps bounce light around the whole room.

Credit: Sheena

The vanity stayed the same, except for new modern gold-toned pulls. And in the fresh lighting, the floors look brand-new, too. Total cost for this bathroom refresher was just $112—hard to believe, given how much better it looks now. Sheena was able to keep costs low by shopping around and getting creative with her supplies.

“We have a small budget for renovations so for us, finding supplies for much lower than retail is key,” Sheena says. “It takes a little bit more patience to search out and a little more thinking outside-the-box to turn ideas into real life, but in the end, we’re able to do more because we spend less.”

Now, the bathroom feels bright and happy—the exact goal Sheena had set out to achieve. “The bathroom turned out exactly like we had hoped,” she says. “It’s a far cry from where it came from!”

And it leaves room for tinkering, too. “For example, we’ve been thinking about adding an accent wall in the form of a stencil or peel-and-stick wallpaper to the vanity wall,” Sheena says. “It’s a blank slate right now so it’ll be an easy addition if we decide to go that route.”

But, she adds, for now “we’re happy with how far it’s come and we’ll be—or at least the kids will be—basking in the bright spot it is now.”

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