Before and After: A “Dungeon-y” Bathroom Gets a Bright, Modern Redo for $500

published Feb 10, 2021
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.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Dark green-painted bathroom with tiled vanity
Credit: Marissa Espy

There are a lot of things that can make a bathroom tough to use, like a cramped size or an impractical layout. But one small thing that can be especially annoying to deal with? Poor lighting.

Aside from dated styling, that was the main problem in Marissa Espy’s bathroom. “The state of the bathroom when we moved in was sorry to say the least,” Marissa says. “It had a dark, dungeon-y vibe.” That was thanks to the mostly avocado-green walls and dim sconces that just didn’t pull their weight in effectively lighting the space.

Credit: Marissa Espy

“Makeup application and general ‘getting ready’ wasn’t possible in this space due to lighting,” Marissa says, so she knew that effective lighting was going to be a key factor in redesigning the bathroom. She also wanted to update the tiled vanity to create a space that felt more open and more modern.

Credit: Marissa Espy

Marissa and her husband only needed a week to complete the redo, which started with fresh white on all the walls and vanity. They also replaced the old sconces with new ones that work way better to brighten up the area around the vanity. Ditching the cabinets over the sconces also helped to create a more open, sunny feel.

Behind the vanity, Marissa and her husband installed a patterned tile backsplash that went all the way to the ceiling, which gives the otherwise minimalist space a hit of design.

Credit: Marissa Espy

Marissa kept the base of the vanity the same, which saved on reno costs. Instead of replacing the whole thing, she just swapped the old tiled counter for a wood one cut to fit the space. With a new vessel sink and modern black single-handle faucet — which complements the simple mirror above it — the updated space is unrecognizable.

Credit: Marissa Espy

The redo cost Marissa just $500 for materials and decor, which includes a new shower curtain over the existing tub. But the low-budget project made a big difference in the vibe of the once dungeon-like space. “I love how much brighter the bathroom is now, and how much cleaner it feels,” Marissa says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.