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A 100% Reversible Rental Bathroom Makeover For Under $500

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Joseph’s bathroom had some decent bones. The fixtures weren’t terrible or avocado green (not that there’s anything wrong with green). It had plain white tile— which you could see once you scrubbed your way past all the rust and mold. So, all and all, not a nightmare. It just needed a light makeover: getting rid of the bandaid beige, cleaning up the tile, and adding some color and warmth with a new floor, paint and decor. Ready to see what we did?

(Image credit: Jessica Rapp)

If you missed all the before photos, check those out here and see a breakdown of what we did.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

#1: Cleaned Nasty Grout & Recaulked

Usually paint gets the award for biggest impact for least amount of money. Not this time. Where before there was rust and mold, now there is clean white tile and grout for days. Without a doubt the best thing we did to this bathroom.

(Image credit: Jessica Rapp)

#2: Spackled, Primed and Painted

After the grout, I focused on the walls. The old paint color wasn’t doing the bathroom any favors, so after a coat or two of Kilz Kitchen & Bath (which helps with moisture and mildew), we painted the walls a fresh, deep green. True confession: After a few slips of the roller, we wound up painting the ceiling too, which was a happy error that wound up looking great.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

#3: Swapped Out Lighting & Mirror

A new brass and bronzed metal light fixture looks great with the green walls and the new campaign-style mirror, which replaced the old mirrored vanity. Instead of dealing with the recessed cabinet space, we just installed the regular wall mirror over the same spot. Since the new mirror is larger, it covers the hole.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

#4: Added Storage

It’s a very small bathroom, without a lot of room for stuff, but we added a couple of options for storing bathroom products and linens. First and foremost, the new wraparound open shelving makes it easy for Joseph to grab what he needs. They are just stained board anchored to the wall with L brackets, which were painted green to help them blend into the wall. Towels are kept in the new basket below, and on existing hooks mounted on the back of the bathroom door.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

#5: Installed New Flooring

Although the old tile wasn’t horrific, this vinyl floor really is a nice change, especially for the money. It feels smooth and sturdy underfoot, and the wood look really warms up the bathroom. Once he moves out, Joseph can easily pull up the flooring if the landlord isn’t happy with the change. There’s no adhesive or nails to stop him.


At the end of the day, we spent under $500 which isn’t nothing, but most of it can be removed and taken when Joseph moves out. As long as he keeps the old mirror and sconce, he can replace those puppies in under an hour. The floor will probably come up in about ten minutes. But then again, the landlord also might want to leave it.

About $100 was for towels and decor, which you might already have and not need to buy. That makes the final tally significantly less.

  • Grout Cleaning & Supplies: $18.70
  • Paint & Supplies: $45.61
  • Flooring & Supplies: $66.91
  • Shelving & Hardware: $24.94
  • Mirror: $119 (regularly $159)
  • Lighting: $76.50
  • Towels & Storage: $100.98
  • Miscellaneous Hardware & Supplies: $33.33

Grand Total: $ 485.97


Want to see more of these rental makeovers? You’ll love Tara’s kitchen redo.

Re-edited from a post originally published 3.8.17

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