Home Projects

Before and After: Sage Green Cabinets and a Clever Accent Wall Transform a Blah Bathroom for $265

published Sep 10, 2021
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bathroom before renovation wood vanity
Credit: Raj Thandhi

All too often, bathrooms are designed purely for function, with minimal or no attention paid to the aesthetic. Gross bathtubs, poor lighting, worn-out floors — the list of problems that can make a bathroom icky goes on and on.

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A drab bathroom can be particularly disappointing when it’s the one the whole family is using every day. That was the case for DIYer Raj Thandhi and her home’s main bathroom.

“Everyone who comes into our house sees this bathroom,” Raj says. “It’s visible from the front door, and you see it when you go through the hallway.” In addition to being the most visible bathroom, it’s also the most used. “The kids and my mom share this washroom, and it’s the guest bathroom. We really wanted to refresh this space,” she says.

Credit: Raj Thandhi

After four years in her home, she decided it was finally time to spruce up this room. “We wanted to clean it up before the kids started school so that it would be a happy and bright place for them to start their mornings,” she says.

Raj started her bathroom makeover by taking down the builder’s mirror, only to discover unfinished drywall underneath. 

Credit: Raj Thandhi

After a few unsuccessful attempts to patch it up with putty and paint over it, Raj scrambled to come up with a backup plan. She thought about peel-and-stick wallpaper, but found that it wasn’t in her budget. She ultimately landed on black-and-white floral print contact paper from the dollar store, which ended up working out even better than her original plan to paint. “I absolutely love the wallpaper, and I can’t believe it happened by accident!”

Credit: Raj Thandhi

Then it was time to work on the dated cabinets. She removed the doors, sanded the cabinets, and patched up holes before painting them with Behr’s Jojoba, a cooling shade of sage green. Although she was hesitant to try colored cabinets, she’s thrilled with how they turned out. “I am in love with the green cabinets. I’ve never done a colored cabinet before and I had no idea how it would look. But I think it makes such a big impact,” she says.

Credit: Raj Thandhi

After her new sage cabinets were complete, Raj spray-painted the hardware to give everything a refresh and then installed a medicine cabinet for extra storage. The entire project took her only four days and $265, as she worked slowly and methodically in the evenings.

Credit: Raj Thandhi

For anyone deterred by the cost of peel-and-stick wallpaper, contact paper is a budget-friendly option with tons of prints to choose from. After her experience, Raj suggests working slowly for best results. “Only remove a little bit of the backing at a time. Work in small sections.”