Before and After: This $800 Bathroom Makeover Is “Dopamine Decor” at Its Best

published Dec 17, 2023
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‘Dopamine decor’ was a buzzy term in the interiors world in 2023. In short, it’s all about joie de vivre and playfulness — filling your home with colors, shapes, and mementos that make you smile — and this bathroom redo from Michelle Norris (@michellenorrisphoto) and her partner, Forrest Aguar, fits the bill. 

Michelle and Forrest dubbed this home, which they rent out, “Prismatic Parkside.” The joyful, bold-hued bathroom certainly lives up to the home’s nickname. It was colorful before, too — just not in quite the right way. “Frankly, we hated this color blue!” Michelle says of the bathroom’s earlier look. “With all the blue and white in this space, even though it was brightly lit by the window, it felt drab.” In a mostly paint redo, the bright blue makes way for pink and red.

The tiles got a creative paint job.

The tile was painted over with Benjamin Moore’s Heritage Red and Teacup Rose (a light pink). “Forrest’s mom, Dytre, did all of the painting in this room,” Michelle explains. “She’s such a pro.” 

Michelle says that if you’re thinking of painting over your bathroom tile, you should go for it for two reasons: “Using paint as the way to transform a space rather than needing to do demolition or construction work is much more cost-effective,” she says. And the straight lines and 90-degree angles that come with tiles can be a helpful guide for creating a cool pattern.

“Using the tiled structure that already existed as the outline for the checkers behind the sink and mirror really elevates this pattern and makes it feel more high-end than if it were painted flat,” Michelle says, adding that she loves the pattern play between the checkers and stripes.

The linens double (and triple!) down on pattern. 

To add even more color and pattern into the space, Michelle and Forrest added a custom striped shower curtain by Colours of Arley and a bathmat from Ruggable. In total, the redo cost about $800. 

The whole thing comes together for a joyful, colorful experience. “Bathrooms have so much potential for playfulness, and this is no exception,” Michelle says.