One Room Challenge

Before and After: A $500 Redo Turns This All-Beige Bathroom into a Dramatic, Plant-Filled Escape

published Jun 28, 2022
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Credit: Carrie Kline

If you’re a plant lover and want to add a few more leafy greens to your space, look no further than these nine nature-inspired projects that bring the outdoors in. A tenth to add to your list? This moody, plant-infused bathroom redo from Carrie Kline (@honeydohoney_home).

The “after” looks nothing like the 2001 “basic beige tile and orange oak” bathroom Carrie was living with before. She says the bathroom was in fine working condition back then, and she loved the large tub, but “there just wasn’t much personality or character to the room.”

Credit: Carrie Kline

The floors were tan sheet vinyl, the ceilings were popcorn, the walls were plain, the stall shower was narrow and crowded, the vanity was made of the “orangey oak you see in a lot of ’90s homes,” the light fixture was dated, and the mirror was a basic rectangular sheet. “It was a nice bathroom, but it didn’t make you feel anything at all,” Carrie says.

Credit: Carrie Kline

In an eight-week project, she added lots of drama to the space during the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge. “I pictured transforming this bathroom into an old-world-style spa,” she says. “I wanted the room to feel earthy, organic, calm, quiet, and still. I wanted a space to remind me to slow down and take a breath of fresh air. To just be.”

Credit: Carrie Kline

The earthy, old-world inspired touches she added included wooden beams and brackets on the ceiling, a DIY Roman clay wall treatment, stenciled floors, a revamped light fixture with vintage-looking bulbs, upcycled Facebook Marketplace mirrors, and laminate-turned concrete countertops.

“Beauty and one-of-a-kind-ness doesn’t need to be expensive,” Carrie says. “The only ‘new’ things in the room were: the towels, the shower curtain, the cabinet hardware, the shelf brackets, the shower brackets, and the soap dispensers. EVERYTHING else was either built by me or thrifted and refinished in some way.”

Credit: Carrie Kline

The vanity is a case study in upcyling and working with what you have. Rather than replacing the countertop, Carrie removed and refinished the laminate with cement “to fit with the moody earthy vibe.” She used Henry’s Feather Finish, applied with a putty knife, to give it its new textured look. She also spray-painted the faucets a matte black, and for the light fixture, she removed the 2000s frosted glass shades, added texture to the actual light fixture, painted it black, and added vintage-looking Edison bulbs instead. The only new detail added was hardware.

The floors and walls are another prime example that innovation can completely transform a space. For the walls, Carrie added a textured treatment (partly inspired by the walls in this bedroom redo), and she sanded and then revamped the vinyl floors with a stencil and paint (Rustoleam’s Porch and Patio Low Lustre paint in white for the base, and a combination of Tarrytown Green, Behr’s Rustic Taupe, and Behr’s Chic Taupe for the pattern and lines). “I wasn’t very concerned about crisp lines or bleeding, which is why I just blobbed it on there,” Carrie explains on her blog. She loves the way the faded look turned out so much that she added a bit of it to the walls, too.

Credit: Carrie Kline

As for the other dated features, Carrie removed the old (and gross from years of residue build-up) chrome-edged shower doors from her shower, refinished the base, and hung a corner-rod and curtain instead. She replaced her existing window trim with something newer and sleeker before painting it black.

Credit: Carrie Kline

Then, it was time to accessorize — and when it comes to that step, Carrie says to check thrift stores for decor. “There are so many ways to use and change secondhand finds to fit your style,” she says. She didn’t pay more than $5 for any of the artwork and frames, and all of the vases are painted-over thrifted glass and ceramics. She also added tons of plants to complement the green paint in the space, of course.

Because so much of the space relied on upcycling and secondhand finds, Carrie was able to keep her total transformation cost under $500 — not bad for the vintage-meets-zen setup she now has. She says she’s most proud of the fact “that [she] was able to create such a beautiful room — and stay very true to [her] vision — without spending a lot of money.”

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.