Money Month

Before and After: An Old Yellowed Bathroom Gets a $900, DIY-Packed Makeover

published Mar 7, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
House
Project Type
Bathroom
Children's Room & Nursery
Style
Colorful
Organic Modern
Skill Level
DIY
Rental Friendly
No
Yes
Double sink with oval mirrors and white cabinets

Sometimes, there are so-so things in a bathroom that you can still live with. Maybe your drawer pulls are a little dated, but if the rest of the decor to your liking, they’ll blend in well enough and eventually become an afterthought. Maybe you’d prefer a framed mirror over a sheet mirror. Maybe you’d prefer a built-in toilet paper roll rather than a freestanding one.

If there are more than one of these little annoyances on your list, it might be worth it to make a change, especially if you can find budget-friendly fixes. That’s what DIYer Tracy Bennett (@4009decorates) did in her sons’ bathroom, which she says was “kind of blah” before.

The flooring was cork, which Tracy and her family were not fans of, and the faucets had tons of hard water stains on them — not to mention let out low water pressure.

There was an issue with the functionality of the bathroom, too, since there were no hand towel bars. There was “only the odd double towel bar in between the mirrors,” Tracy says. “My 9-year-old had a hard time reaching [it], so his towel was always strewn about.”

Overall, the space was very yellow. “The walls were a boring and drab beige and the lighting was warm and very low,” Tracy explains. “The bathtub has yellow tile surround, and the tub itself is almond.”

There was another odd towel bar placement in the tub area, as well, “that was always just crammed with towels, and it was very high and not easy to reach.”

Tracy decided to make a design change that would work well for her 9- and 13-year-old sons as they grow. She started by making a vision boards in Photoshop and Canva, a similar (and free!) design tool. “I knew all the elements I wanted and pulled them together to create a fun space for our boys,” Tracy says.

To keep costs low, Tracy opted to use mostly temporary surface covers. She was inspired by a tile-covering hack using a curtain and towel rod that she saw online. “I knew this would be perfect for hiding the tile in the bathtub,” she says. When the shower’s not in use, she can pull the white curtain shut for a clean, concealed look.

Tracy used vinyl sticker tiles to quickly cover the cork floors and paint to refresh several other surfaces. The vanity, for instance, was painted a bright green, a 50/50 mix of Fusion Mineral’s Park Bench and Pressed Fern.

“For the countertops, it wasn’t in my budget to replace them, so I researched and watched many many how-to videos on how to paint your countertops,” Tracy says. “I even added veining to look like marble!” Waterproof sealer on top of the paint helps with longevity. “It has held up beautifully!” Tracy says.

The countertops took eight days and lots of patience, Tracy recalls, but “I think it was so worth it,” she says. “They look like real quartz/marble.”

The accent wall behind the vanity looks like wallpaper but is actually paint. “I gave the walls a fresh coat of Frostine by Benjamin Moore, and just before I hung the mirrors, I decided I wanted to add something fun to that wall,” Tracy remembers. “I got my leftover Black Fox latex paint from a previous project and used a small craft brush to paint small strokes and dots to look like wallpaper.” Tracy says the accent wall took three days and required tedious work with the paintbrush, but it, too, was worth it.

As for the other details: The cheetah rug was a Black Friday find, the gold mirrors are from Wayfair, and the new, modern light fixtures are from Amazon. Tracy upped the storage in the space by hanging floating wooden shelves between where the random towel rod once was and adding a small cabinet to the water closet and hanging hooks to the right of it for towel storage.

The countertop and brushstroke wall are the details Tracy is most proud of, but she loves the way the whole room came together — and all for about $900. “I love everything about the after,” she says. “It is clean, crisp, masculine, and fun all at the same time.”

This piece is part of Money Month, where we’re covering everything from side hustles to down payments to a beginner’s guide to investing. Head over here to read more!