Before and After: A Dingy Bathroom Gets Dramatic, Luxe-Looking Transformation for $1000

published May 15, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Before: Corner of bathroom with rectangular mirror/medicine cabinet and tan walls

With news that the CDC has determined that fully vaccinated folks can begin to gather indoors in private settings with others who are fully vaccinated, you might be eager to finally start hosting friends and family again. And of course, with house guests on the horizon, you might also be turning attention to areas of your home that you didn’t get much use out of in the past year, like guest bedrooms and bathrooms.

In designer Courtney Scott’s guest bathroom, the dingy white tile and grout were not at all guest-friendly. “While we love hosting friends and family, scrubbing the bathroom to no avail after each gathering was not my idea of fun, and it certainly didn’t make me want to continue hosting,” Courtney says. “Each time I scrubbed the floor in preparation for guest, I cringed at the idea of people actually walking on it.”

Ultimately, Courtney knew she needed something more manageable for high-traffic areas and something with more personality, which the builder-grade finishes were lacking. Courtney says the shower doors were “old, raggedy, and annoying” — hard to clean and easy to get off track. The gray walls needed something a little more bold, the mirror and vanity lights needed an upgrade from 2004, and the white wainscoting needed a little more wow.

“Though white is classic and goes with everything, I felt like experimenting with a wall color that people normally wouldn’t choose, especially for a bathroom,” she says. “If I could offer any words of advice to anyone considering taking on a mini bathroom makeover like ours, I would say bathrooms are a great place to really play with color. It’s an easy and great way to add impact without spending a fortune.”

In the summer of 2019, she put up a wall covering that would definitely wow: whimsical, botanical wallpaper. At first, she and her husband planned to tackle every project in the bathroom themselves, but then they decided to seek help from a contractor. “However, the contractor that we hired kept dragging out the completion date, so we decided to cut our losses and circle back to our original plans,” she says.

Planters: West Elm

In summer 2020, she and her husband removed the glass shower doors, old vanity light, and the too-small square mirror and replaced them with a shower curtain and rod, new vanity lights, and a mirror.

And in March of 2021, Courtney painted the wainscoting black (Sherwin Williams’ Tricorn Black), added a new vanity and trendy marble pulls, replaced the ceiling lights, and, most importantly, tore up the toilet and existing dingy tile to install something much more foot traffic-friendly. “My husband put the adhesive down, and I followed with the black penny tile,” she says.

Courtney’s favorite parts of her now-stunning guest bathroom are her new floors —”I can’t wait to start hosting gatherings again to test them out,” she says — and the accent mirror, a DIY art piece that blends traditional with modern and makes a bold statement with just a few strips of painter’s tape.

Because of the back and forth with the contractor, the project ended up taking longer than Courtney expected, but “had we made all of the improvements concurrently,” she says, “the project probably would have taken about two weeks to complete.”

In total, the upgrades cost around $1000, but small changes made such an impact. The end result is a bathroom that feels and looks expensive but will withstand the foot traffic of dinner parties and family visits to come.

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