One Room Challenge

Before and After: This No-Demo $500 Bathroom Redo Features a DIY Concrete Wall

published Jun 23, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: Bathroom with green walls and sheet mirror
Credit: Kayla Berry

Apartment Therapy has shown myriad ways that dated-looking kitchens can be upgraded without swapping counters and floors and cabinets, but the same is true for bathrooms, too.

Kayla Berry’s (@berryberryquitecontrary) no-demo bathroom redo certainly proves it; she kept her existing vanity floors, and shower tiles, but her bathroom looks much more cozy and contemporary than the “cold, boring, and not cozy at all” room from before.

Credit: Kayla Berry

“It felt cold and was a space that I dreaded going into,” Kayla elaborates. And her daughters, whose rooms were downstairs, didn’t want to use the shower there, either.

Credit: Kayla Berry

“I wanted to create a beautiful space for them that they would want to be in and use, as well as for our guests,” Kayla says. Her goal was to create a space that would grow with the girls, something that was fun but not too child-like as guests would also use it, and she transformed the room during the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge.

Credit: Kayla Berry

To start, Kayla took down the sheet mirror and light fixture above the vanity. She added a whimsical wallpaper from Rifle Paper Co. to the wall behind the mirror.

Kayla says if she were to do it again, she’d choose the peel-and-stick version of the wallpaper instead, but she loves how the purple-y blue flowers in the wallpaper tie in to the blueish specks in the tile and countertops. Kayla writes on her blog that she would love to fully retile the bathroom someday, but for this redo, she made what she had work.

Credit: Kayla Berry

Once the wallpaper was adhered, which took a little longer than expected, it was time to add the new light fixture and arched mirror. The mirror is heavy but even more pretty in person, Kayla says, and the light fixture felt meant-to-be when she saw it.

Kayla hired an electrician to help with the lighting and plumbers to help with the new sink and shower hardware, but everything else in the space was done by her, including the new concrete walls.

Credit: Kayla Berry

“Smearing concrete on a wall is definitely a bold move, and that is one of my goals when it comes to designing and decorating: being bold and going for it,” Kayla says. To create the look, she mixed Quickcrete mix into a “peanut butter-like” consistency, according to her Instagram story, and applied it in sweeping strokes with a spackling knife. She says she loves the added texture in the space, and her advice to future concrete wall creators is to be aware that the concrete dries much lighter than it first appears when applied — and to get ready to get messy.

Credit: Kayla Berry

Kayla added a new bench and an arched mirror that she’d been keeping in storage in front of the main concrete wall, and she replaced the towel bar from before with three hooks. She also hung a new floral shower curtain that matches the wallpaper in the shower area.

Other DIYs in the space include replacing the door from before with a sliding one, which makes the room feel less crowded, Kayla says, and darkening the grout using grout stain sealer, which plays up the light-dark contrast of the flooring. “I feel like the black grout color helps modernize the floors,” Kayla writes on her blog.

Credit: Kayla Berry

In all, Kayla is proud of how she modernized the space without breaking the bank. Because she didn’t demo and rather just spruced up her existing surfaces, her total redo cost $500.

“I love the rustic feminine vibes the room gives off now!” she says. “When I step into the space, I truly feel like I’m walking into a spa.”

This project was completed for the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.