Before and After: “A Sad, Dark” Basement Bathroom Becomes “Electric” and Cheery with 4 DIY Projects

published Aug 19, 2022
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Before: gray bathroom with white sink and oval mirror
Credit: Tara Suydam

It’s easy to see why beautiful wallpaper is often the basis for an entire room’s design. It just makes sense to pull paint colors, hardware, and textures that complement a statement-making pattern or vignette.

In the case of Tara Suydam’s (@taracottasunrise) bathroom, she knew that the “Electric Poppies” wallpaper gifted from Lick would be the star of the show, and she selected paint, hardware, and accessories from there.

Credit: Tara Suydam

The gorgeous, nearly-neon “after” is a far cry from the before, which Tara says “felt like a sad, dark hole.”

“It was painted a super dark gray, and the flooring was tile sheet from when our home was first built,” she says. Making the room feel even darker was the light fixture, which was installed before she and her boyfriend moved in and was stained and dirty.

Credit: Tara Suydam

Overall, Tara says they avoided the small bathroom as much as possible because “it was just a sad room to be in.” When Lick approached her with free wallpaper and paint (Pink 05), she knew she wanted to go all-in on a redo with moulding, new lighting, new sink hardware, a new mirror, and a few new accessories throughout.

Credit: Tara Suydam

“I am most proud of the wallpaper and the picture molding,” Tara says. “I’ve always been kind of intimidated by both, so that’s why I decided to try them for the first time in a super small space.”

Tara’s tip for installing moulding is to measure and plan carefully so that you’re confident when making cuts, but she said it was easier than expected, and she’s inspired “to try some new techniques in the rest of [her] home to make it more [her] style.”

Credit: Tara Suydam

She did the painting and installed the new marble-y LVT flooring herself, and her boyfriend helped with installing the wallpaper and fixtures.

“One setback was the faucet,” Tara recalls. “It’s a pedestal sink with very little space in the back, and our new faucet didn’t attach quite right, so we had to go find some fittings to make it work. Thankfully, the new fittings worked and the new faucet looks beautiful!”

The rest of the details in the space include a $60 circular mirror , a $56 light fixture, and a Rifle Paper Co. print to match the botanical wallpaper — plus a couple of cute plants to do the same. Apart from the wallpaper ($190/roll) and the paint ($70) per gallon, Tara spent about $300 on the redo, and she’s pleased with the way it all came together.

Credit: Tara Suydam

“I love how the wallpaper and paint color ended up looking together and how touches of gold throughout really tied it together,” she says. “The updated flooring and fixtures helped to make the space to feel newer and more my style, which I love.”

Her advice to anyone who isn’t 100 percent pleased with their space is to “definitely try any projects you’ve got on your mind to make your home feel more you.”

“I was nervous about trying some new things on this one, and they came together better than I could have imagine,” she says.