Before and After: This Under-$200 Bathroom Redo Is All About Little DIY Upgrades

published Jan 23, 2021
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Before: Builder bathroom with off-white tile and vanity

A big renovation just isn’t always in the cards, since it usually involves a large budget, a lot of time, and plenty of work. But there are smaller fixes that you can make to a dated space while you wait to give it a full reno. Take this project from Jessica Nickerson of House Homemade.

Jessica’s bathroom started as an outdated space, with an off-white seashell sink speckled with gold glitter — not exactly Jessica’s taste. “I wanted to make it more presentable before I did a more permanent fix,” Jessica says. “I just wanted the space to feel fresh. It gets good light and wasn’t in bad shape, so a little elbow grease is all it needed.”

Inspired by a photo of a vintage mirror she saw in a magazine, Jessica started her journey by swapping the plain builder-grade mirror for a vintage mirror she had left over from her own home. “That got the ball rolling, but when I put it above the sink, it didn’t look right,” Jessica says.

So Jessica hopped on Facebook Marketplace, where she scored two matching faux bamboo mirrors for just $12. Jessica bought them both, and was able to re-sell the second one for $12 to come out even.

Next, Jessica selected her paint colors: leftover deep green for the vanity (Sherwin-Williams’s Ripe Olive), and a combo of light green (Sherwin-Williams’s Filmy Green) and white (Sherwin-Williams’s Greek Villa) for the walls. The color-block effect, with the light green on the bottom three-quarters of the wall and the white on top, adds some extra interest. “I love the detail it adds to a simple space,” Jessica says.

Unfortunately, Jessica found that the new paint colors — while stunning —didn’t bring out the best in the cream-colored countertop. “At first, I had every intention of working with our gold glitter counter, but when I chose paint colors, I didn’t pick them with the countertops in mind,” Jessica says. “The colors I picked made the counters look yellower and yuckier than ever before — so I switched gears.”

Jessica’s new plan: use concrete to revamp the look of the countertop. She followed a tutorial from fellow blogger Tasha of Kaleidoscope Living to get it just right. “I’ve been so tempted but always felt a little nervous to take the plunge,” Jessica says. “Welp, I did it! And it worked out great!”

Jessica used a trowel to skim-coat the countertop, sanding between coats and sealing to finish. Her husband Joel helped her install a new drain in the bathroom to match the newly installed faucet.

Another smart move? Painting the grout to refresh the tile floor. “The concrete countertops and updating the grout were two design decisions that made a huge impact for very little money,” Jessica says. Just a couple coats of lighter color paint helped the tile look brand-new.

To finish, Jessica added fresh hardware, a gifted light fixture, and some gifted artwork combined with art she pulled from other areas of her home. She estimates that the project cost her under $175.

“I really love how it all came together, but I love the two-tone walls and how it wraps onto the trim and doors,” Jessica says. “The concrete countertops were a game changer.”

And, she adds, the countertops weren’t even in the original plan: “Mistakes can turn into opportunities, like my concrete countertop. I love the way it looks and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t choose the paint colors I chose, which led me down a different path.” It’s a great reminder that sometimes surprises and setbacks can lead to even better results.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.