Before and After: The Best Part of This Low-Budget Bathroom Redo is the $50 Vanity Transformation

published Feb 26, 2023
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Green bathroom vanity before renovation.
Credit: Michelle McRae

If your bathroom vanity has seen better days, keep in mind that you don’t have to totally replace it to make it look better. Projects like this custom teal vanity, this bright green one, and this $24 IKEA hack prove you can work with an old vanity base to create something new.

And if those aren’t enough to get your creativity going, here’s another DIY to add to your inspo board: Michelle McRae’s (@shellychicboutique) new cane-fronted vanity, built because her old one “looked awful,” she says. It “was a cheap old big box store vanity,” Michelle adds of the gray-green vanity before. “Much of the particle board was warped; the paint was chipped and peeling.” (You can see some of the chipping on the bottom near the floor.)

Instead of getting rid of the piece, Michelle decided to give it a fresh look. To start, she used a sander and paint stripper to remove the paint off the doors and body. Then, she repainted the vanity in a color that mimics a light wood tone; brushing on a dark glaze over top using broom brushes and chip brushes helps create a faux woodgrain effect. For the doors, Michelle used leftover cane from another project, but you can buy it here. She removed the old door centers with a putty knife and hammer before stapling the cane to the backs.

Credit: Michelle McRae

To complete the vanity, Michelle spray painted the old hardware on the doors black (she also spray painted the lighting to match). The total cost for the vanity transformation was under $50.

Above, Michelle also replaced the faucet with a more elongated black and gold one from Amazon, and added a bit of gold paint to create stylish accents. The gold mirror is the same one from before — just with a new look thanks to its fresh surroundings.

Michelle’s bright new wall paint is Sherwin Williams’ Pure White, and the board and batten — a mix of 4×1, 3×1, and 2×1 boards attached with a brad nailer and caulked for a seamless finish — is painted with a mix of Pure White and Behr’s True Taupewood.

Lastly, Michelle added finishing touches to the space with a new bathmat from Amazon and framed artwork she made herself.

“I love EVERYTHING about it,” Michelle says of her “after.” And in the end, she’s glad she kept her old vanity and sink. “I honestly HATED the rounded sink until the moment I started taking photos at the end. I’d wanted to replace it, but it’s an odd size, and I didn’t want to pay $200-plus for an off-size sink for a vanity that may or may not even end up staying in the bathroom. In the end, I’m thrilled I cheaped out!”

At $300 total with the vanity ringing in at $50, her bathroom redo certainly was cheap in cost — but it looks like a million bucks.