Before and After: Clever Fixes Transform a Dated Bathroom for Less Than $1,000

published Mar 12, 2021
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Before: Bathroom with gold walls, sheet mirror, and Hollywood bulbs
Credit: Lydia

Sometimes, it takes a full-scale reno to get the bathroom of your dreams. But sometimes, you just need to update some paint, add a few plants, or make other relatively small changes to make a dated bathroom look stylish. 

This bathroom redo from reader Lydia falls into the latter category. Once Lydia moved back in with her parents in 2019, she knew that her childhood bathroom — which looked old and dingy —  needed some help. “After staring at these dated sinks, rarely-scrubbed grout, and the yellow walls of my youth, I decided to make my bathroom more adult,” she says.

Credit: Lydia

Lydia was initially quoted tens of thousands of dollars for a full renovation, but she realized that she didn’t need to completely renovate to get a new look. Instead, Lydia decided to make some small, easy changes that would bring this bathroom into 2021.   

Credit: Lydia

To save money, Lydia kept the vanity and instead, repainted it deep green (Sherwin-Williams’ Hunt Club) and added gold hardware. A tip from Lydia: Let the first coat dry fully before painting the second. She sped through the process and has some later chips to show for it that require touch-ups.

Lydia opted to keep the old countertop, but her dad helped replace the old sinks with modern white drop-in ones. He also installed new matte black faucets with a sleek profile.

The dated old vanity light had to go — in its place, Lydia hired an electrician to install two matching vanity lights with a gold finish that plays off the vanity hardware. Swapping the big mirror for two single mirrors helped make this bathroom look way more high-end (and so did covering the old bright yellow wall color with a more neutral greige).

Credit: Lydia

“The floors just needed a little TLC,” Lydia says, so she decided to keep the original tile in place and give it a budget-friendly facelift. “I scrubbed the floor with OxyClean but realized that grout hadn’t been replaced EVER,” Lydia says. Rather than redoing the grout, she helped hide stains by recoloring it with grout pens. The project took about five days and five pens.

Together, all the changes cost under $1,000, and the impact is huge.

“It’s cozy and I love being in this space,” Lydia says. While she’s moving out soon, Lydia is looking forward to coming back and visiting this comfy and warm bathroom.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a handy person, you can still take on a similar project, Lydia says: “I don’t have a ton of DIY skills, but with some time and effort, you can make a huge difference.” 

Inspired? Submit your own project here.