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Before and After: It’s Hard to Believe This Total Bathroom Redo Cost Just $1,900

published Apr 9, 2020
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Before: White '90s-style bathroom vanity with wood trim and a brass mirror above

There are plenty of home decor items from the 1990s we love—hello, Monica’s purple apartment walls—but some ’90s looks haven’t aged as well as others. For Heather Cooke, who blogs at InteriorSwag, the 1990s-style master bathroom in her home was looking a little tired. “My home was built in the early 2000s, and it had a very traditional ’90s feel,” Heather says. “We fell in love with the size of the master bathroom and its large open windows. The space had a large long double vanity that was functional, just very dated. We wanted to update the space immediately to fit our personal style and make it feel more modern.”

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Heather and her husband Jason knew there would be other home projects on their list, so they didn’t want to blow their whole budget on just one space. So they decided to keep their spending under $2,000 for this project—a feat when it comes to redoing a whole bathroom! “To achieve this, we knew the major elements needed to be “spruced-up” or replaced. Our goal was to replace the vanities, mirrors, lighting, and do something with the floors without having to rip out existing tile, along with a wall feature like board and batten or faux shiplap,” Heather says. “We also wanted to achieve a bit of an old farmhouse vibe and ensure that the space felt old and more original.”

Heather and Jason started by taking out the old double vanity; once she had more space, Heather painted and stenciled the old beige floors with a cool Spanish tile pattern from Cutting Edge Stencils. “The stenciling transformation is pretty easy, just time consuming,” says Heather. “I did mess up a few times, but you can just paint over it—that is the beauty of using paint!” Once the floors were done, Heather and Jason installed faux shiplap that they painted white.

The new pair of marble-topped matching vanities, both from Home Depot, look way more luxe than the old white one—especially with the new oil-rubbed bronze faucets. The gold mirrors above, from Target, and the new vanity light, from Amazon complement the glam farmhouse-y look.

One of Heather’s favorite features, though, is the storage she added to compensate for what was lost in removing the old double vanity. The black metal lockers—purchased on Facebook Marketplace for just $40—have a charming vintage feel that adds plenty of character to the space. “They work great for storage and blend nicely with other design elements,” Heather says.

Since the couple could only work on the project over weekends, it took them about two months to complete, with painting and stenciling the floor taking about one full week by itself. But the couple managed to come in under budget, spending only about $1,900 for the whole bathroom.

“I call this project DIY transformation phase one of the master bathroom,” says Heather. “The end result was exactly what we were going for, though a few elements are temporary fixes. The stenciled floor is not meant to keep forever. We will eventually replace the tile on the floors, and I also want to redo our tub area.”

Even so, Heather says, this is proof that you don’t have to have an endless budget to make a big impact: “A little goes a long way when transforming a small space,” she says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.