Before and After: A Smart 15-Hour, $1.5K Budget Bathroom Makeover

published Aug 13, 2018
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(Image credit: Kristine Buffa)

This 50-year-old bathroom had two major things going for it, and they were both tile. All of the other features were perfectly fine, but, after a refresh, the entire room lives up to the high standards of the fantastic original tiles.

Reader Kristine Buffa submitted this project and described exactly what was going on before the makeover:

The before bathroom was outdated and dark, but the character of the original tile and tub had survived. The vanity that was present before was way too small for the space and the paint was a worn-out off-white that made the space appear much dingier than what it is.

(Image credit: Kristine Buffa)

This looks so clean and modern, and all the new features juxtapose beautifully with the vintage tiles—more on those below. Black-and-white is a classic bathroom palette—here that look gets some jazzy color thanks to the blue—and I really enjoy all the bold black lines, both in the accessories and the shower curtain.

The mirror is from Target, the engineered marble vanity top is from Home Depot, the cabinet pulls are from Amazon, the shower curtain is from Target, the plant is from Trader Joe’s, the plant holder is from Amazon, and the “picture above the toilet [was] purchased at a flea market several years ago and professionally framed at Flying Pig Picture Frames. The picture is labeled ‘Day after V.E. Day.'”

(Image credit: Kristine Buffa)

Kristine has more to share regarding this room’s place in this home:

This bathroom serves as the hall/guest bathroom in my recently purchased 1960s ranch and I wanted my guests to have a bright, clean, and stylish bathroom to use while visiting. I purchased the house knowing, and looking forward to, the many renovations the home needed. A majority of my renovation budget went to other projects, such as a backyard fence for my miniature dachshund and a gut renovation of the master bathroom, so this refresh had to stick to a strict budget.

I really appreciate Kristine sharing the budgetary priorities at play. And a puppy’s needs must always come first.

(Image credit: Kristine Buffa)

Here we get a great look at the original tiles, and that floor is utterly delightful. I also appreciate the muted blue of the shower towels, and think that the new black and white decor allow them to shine. Everything is brighter overall:

I love how much brighter the space feels. It’s amazing what two coats of white paint in an eggshell finish will do for a space. Additionally, the larger vanity makes the space feel larger overall. The only thing I would do differently would be to prep my floors more carefully. Paint splattered on a small section of the tile and I had to painstakingly clean it off.

It’s really incredible how well the much-larger vanity fits into this space—it appears to be exactly the right size…

(Image credit: Kristine Buffa)

…Whereas this one actually looks a bit too petite for the space. That’s an incredible opportunity for expanding storage. The entire project was impressively efficient and budget-friendly:

The process didn’t take long, maybe 15 hours total. The total cost was $1,236.26, including shipping & handling and tax. Sticking to my budget of less than $1,500 was important since every room in my house needs attention and I want to make my renovation budget stretch as far as possible without compromising quality. While I didn’t hire any outside contractors, my dad did help me with certain parts of this project (thanks Dad!). It just isn’t possible for a 60-inch person to move a 48-inch vanity without help; plus it’s nice spending time with him. Fortunately, there weren’t any setbacks or surprises.

(Image credit: Kristine Buffa)

This photo really gives us a good look at all the angular black accessories, and I love them all; I particularly enjoy how the faucet and the towel holder echo each other’s shapes. The hand towel ring is from Build, as is the toilet paper roll holder and the faucet.

Although Kristine managed to finish this project in just 15 hours, there were still lessons learned:

Plan, plan, plan. When working with a tight budget, it’s important to shop around for similar products at a lower price and either wait for a sale or coupon code. For instance, I almost bought a faucet for $284.17, but found a cheaper version with great reviews for $70.10.

Thank you, Kristine Buffa!