Projects & Improvements

Before & After: A Small Outdated Bathroom Gets a Bright and Cheerful Update

published Apr 26, 2014
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Mera Matthews)

Need inspiration on how to lighten and brighten your old and outdated bathroom? You’ll find it in Mera’s simple update of her cozy room. She didn’t do anything complicated, but her changes made a big impact on the look and feel of this small space.

(Image credit: Mera Matthews)
(Image credit: Mera Matthews)

From Mera:

When I first moved in, the downstairs bathroom was painted a fleshy pink. One of the first things I did was to paint it a light minty green and add an orange bath mat and new shower curtain. It was a cheery and quick update at the time but, pro tip, you can’t just paint willy nilly without priming, and without knowing what type of paint you’re painting over. I painted water based paint over oil paint. Oops.

The paint peeled and cracked pretty quickly which just added to the overall yucky-ness of the room. When a small leak in the upstairs toilet seal caused a moldy looking (but thankfully not actually moldy) HOLE in the ceiling I realized that it was time to take action.

I knew that I wanted it to be light, bright, and cheerful. There is only one junction box for a light fixture above the mirror and nothing in the ceiling or shower area. I didn’t want to hire an electrician, so light-colored, reflective surfaces were the order of the day.

I also knew that I wanted to add furniture. A little wood table or stool is an instant way to break out of the matched-set toothbrush holder/soap dish/kleenex dispenser box store boredom that often happens in bathrooms. I’ve carried around a salvaged free-standing cherry red cabinet for more than ten years. I love its crazy color and grandma-y handle. It was the perfect starting point for my bright and cheery bathroom dreams.

I kept the towel hanger, which is actually an old luggage rack from a train. I love this thing, and I wanted it to stand out, so I stripped the paint off the metal parts and left the wood base and dowel white. The floors are pretty standard white hexagon tile. After reading lots of white grout horror stories, I decided on a medium gray grout. I love the way it shows off the geometric tiles but will also conceal a tolerable level of grit and grime. It all came together really quickly, and I am very happy with how it turned out. It matches the feeling of the house as a whole better, and I no longer cringe when guests ask to use the bathroom.

See more of this bathroom update on Mera’s blog!

Thank you Mera!