Before and After: A $200 Bathroom Redo Ditches the Dingy but Keeps the Retro ’60s Vibes

published May 4, 2023
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Bathroom before renovation: off white walls, white shower curtain with black stripes, 2 round bath mats, white small rectangular floor tiles, wood cabinets with black pulls, double sink with hanging globe pendant lights

There’s (maybe) no better feeling than having a crisp and clean bathroom waiting for you to start your morning routine. But in some older bathrooms, it’s nearly impossible to get those crisp and clean vibes. That’s often thanks to old grout, beige coloring in finishes like tile and counters (not to mention paint), and poor lighting. 

Trina Huizinga’s 1960s home’s bathroom was no exception. “The bathroom was very dingy before,” she says. It had cream-colored paint on the walls, ceiling, and trim, and tulip-print wallpaper that was added in the 1980s. Worse yet, “the bathroom was filthy with caked-on grime on the floors and dirty walls,” Trina (@midmodhotdog) says. 

In a $200 redo, she and her husband, Stanton, took it from filthy to fresh, and they kept what they liked about the bathroom: its retro tiles, its wood vanity (countertops and sinks included), and their favorite detail, the globe lights.

All the tile needed was a good cleaning; Trina and her husband did that upon moving in in 2021. “I got sick of looking at the wallpaper and the overall cream color and was ready to make a change this year,” Trina adds. “I removed the wallpaper in January and got some paint samples to ponder over. Then it was time to jump in and do some painting!”

Trina and Stanton landed on a terracotta-meets-peach color (Valspar’s Desert Carnation) for the walls and an off-white (Sherwin-Williams’ Greek Villa) for the trim. Trina says she was initially nervous about using a darker color on the walls, especially given that the bathroom doesn’t have a ton of natural light, but that her bold color choice paid off. “Don’t be afraid to go for a fun, bold, or darker color — especially in a windowless bathroom,” she says. “Leaning into the moodiness of a darker room makes it feel more intentional.”

Trina is also proud of the work behind the freshly painted walls, the “lots of taping, patching, and sanding.” Painting was the easy part, she says. Prepping to paint, though, required a lot more patience. 

“There’s a lot of steps to doing a paint job well,” she says. “I’ve skimped on the prep work for painting projects before and have learned from those mistakes.”

In the end, Trina’s hard work was worth it as the lively new color rejuvenates the vintage vanity, sinks, lighting, and tile. “Just updating decor and paint instead of renovating” can save a ton of money without sacrificing style, Trina says. Beyond paint, she added fresh hardware, a new wood stool, a decade-appropriate fern, and a new bath mat from Target to spruce up the place.

“I love that the ‘after’ gives this old bathroom new life without changing its character or cool retro original elements,” Trina says. “It feels like we’re honoring our home by bringing it back to life.” 

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