One Room Challenge

Before and After: This Luxe Mid-Century-Style Bathroom Redo Has a Surprising Highlight

published Jun 23, 2023
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About this before & after
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Neutral painted bathroom with dark wood vanity topped with speckled beige and grey stone surface before renovation.

No one starts their DIY journey knowing how to do absolutely everything. You have to start somewhere, and even as you gain experience and skills, there are still plenty more things to learn and .

While she wasn’t a DIY novice, this bathroom redo offered up a first for DIYer Jaret Martinez (@jlovingandliving). She started out with a space that was fine, if a bit boring. “We had our house built in 2016 and this bathroom aesthetic was very basic,” Jaret says. “It had builder-grade beige walls, nickel door handles, and very minimal decor.”

Jaret wanted to participate in the One Room Challenge and decided that because it was a small room that didn’t require any demo, she could pull off a makeover of the bathroom in the eight-week time frame (and with the help of her husband, Wilson). Her goal: “I wanted to create a bathroom with character and dimension, and to incorporate vintage and modern elements,” Jaret says.

The most important piece of the bathroom redo was the wall color. Jaret decided on a slightly muted navy blue (Behr’s Midnight Blue) for most of the bathroom, but wanted to add an accent wall as well. For that, she chose a faux grasscloth wallpaper in a bold geometric pattern and a deep blue that comes close to her chosen paint color. Because her walls were textured, she needed to skim coat them before applying the wallpaper to get it to stick better — a DIY first for her.

“I had never smoothed out a wall in my life and was so scared to mess up,” Jaret says. “I went online to ‘YouTube University’ and gathered all the knowledge, tips, and tricks, and the courage to skim the walls.” It was a lot of work and a lot of dust, she says, but totally worth it to see the wallpaper sit smoothly.

Jaret used her same deep blue paint color overhead, but also added a little extra interest with slatted wood detail stained in a warm walnut brown. But a true highlight is the door handle (yes, the door handle!). Jaret couldn’t find exactly what she wanted for her Art Deco-meets-mid-century space, so she DIYed the atomic-style backplate using wood trim painted black and then finished with gold Rub ‘n Buff.

Some quirky art, fresh vanity hardware, and a new framed mirror pull the whole space together. Now, the once-blah bathroom packs a bold design punch. “Every time I walk in I am mesmerized by the decor and beyond proud of our hard work!” Jaret says.

This project was completed for the Spring 2023 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.